September 28, 2010
By Adam Bink
This morning, the Human Rights Campaign and Courage Campaign are launching a new website — www.NOMexposed.org — that breaks open the cover on NOM’s shady activities and lets the sun shine in where NOM doesn’t want to see it. It’s an important way to expose the worst of NOM to the public.
- Connects the dots on NOM’s funding streams and budget, from Opus Dei and the Catholic Church to the Mormon Church and Evangelical Christians
- Is a clearinghouse on all of NOM’s ongoing ethics and campaign finance law violation issues
- Catalogues NOM’s public faces and their deep ties to religious institutions, from the Wirthlin family that appeared in Yes on 8 and Yes on 1 advertisements claiming their children were taught “gay” marriage in public schools to the infamous “Gathering Storm” ad star and Opus Dei leader Damon Owens as well as Ruth Institute founder Jennifer Roback Morse.
- Is a one-stop shopping hub for NOM’s TV and radio ads, along with direct mail and fliers and other propaganda
Newsweek just published a piece this morning about NOM Exposed on their website you can find here. Two quotes I want to pull out, the first from Courage founder Rick Jacobs:
“They [NOM] will take a page from their victim playbook and say they are under threat from us while they are accepting millions of dollars to take people’s rights away.”
And HRC spokesperson Michael Cole:
“We want to out NOM for what it is — a secretive player in antigay politics, which is posing as an offshore company for antigay religious money”
Both frames are exactly right. The other thing is that, as it says in the piece, religious money doesn’t always go where it should. Folks who donate to groups like the Knights of Columbus may not be aware that the money they give isn’t necessarily going to low-income families — it may be going to NOM. In Maine, even as the Catholic Diocese closed parishes for want of funds, it spent an inordinate amount of time and money lobbying in favor of Question 1. In DC, the Catholic Church waged its own war against legislation to enshrine the freedom to marry for same-sex couples into law, even threatening to shut down its social services arm for tens of thousands of residents, leaving low-income people, including children without homes, out on the street. This website helps shed a light on where religious money is going.
NOMexposed.org is a useful resource for those of us working to expose NOM for who they are, and to educate the rest of the public that doesn’t know about NOM or thinks they’re just regular Joes and Jills without the right-wing — in some cases, radically fringe — religious views.
Visit www.NOMexposed.org. And help spread the word by sharing with your networks over e-mail, social media, and word of mouth.
HRC and Courage’s joint press release is below.
HRC & Courage Campaign Reveal the Real National Organization for Marriage
“NOM Exposed” Website Launched as Fall Elections Loom
WASHINGTON – As the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM, embarks on a fall election campaign to defeat candidates who support full marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign, in collaboration with the Courage Campaign, unveiled “NOM Exposed,” a live, interactive website which reveals NOM’s deep anti-gay affiliations, its long connections to the Mormon and Catholic churches and its quest to keep voters in the dark about its financing. The site is at www.NOMexposed.org.
At the same time, HRC announced the formation of the NOM Project to follow the ongoing political work and propaganda of NOM as it attempts to influence elections and legislative campaigns across the country. The project will be led by Kevin Nix, a longtime LGBT advocate and political and media consultant. A former communications director at both Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Family Equality Council, Nix also worked at Media Matters in the 2004 presidential cycle.
“NOM and its leaders project a message of tolerance yet NOM Exposed shows that behind the well-trained talking points is an anti-gay animus and moneyed connections that it is loath to reveal,” said HRC president Joe Solmonese. “This website is not static. Working with the Courage Campaign, we will be watching the campaign trail and documenting NOM’s political buys and bedfellows. We will connect the dots for voters.”
NOM Exposed builds off the success of Courage Campaign’s NOM Tour Tracker – a blog of first-hand accounts, photos and videos chronicling NOM’s “2010 Summer for Marriage—One Man, One Woman” bus tour of 17 states. The Courage Campaign deployed three staffers to follow NOM’s tour and file reports from the road, generating more than one-million page views and more than 15,000 comments. During the course of the tour, federal courts declared two of NOM’s top policy priorities – California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act – unconstitutional.
The NOM Tour Tracker showed NOM’s summer tour consistently outnumbered three-to-one by pro-equality counter rally participants organized by Freedom to Marry and state LGBT organizations. It also showed NOM staff attempting to limit public access to their events, and NOM’s sparse supporters doing everything from speaking in tongues, to comparing marriage equality to genocide and advocating the murder of LGBT families.
“The NOM Tour Tracker unmasked the so-called ‘National Organization for Marriage’ as a small and secretive fringe group devoted to attacking families, spreading lies, and sowing fear,” said Courage Campaign Founder and Chairman Rick Jacobs. “With a majority of Americans and a growing number of conservatives now standing up for equality, NOM Exposed takes this important work a step further by bringing to light the nefarious connections, shadowy finances, and dubious ethics at the heart of NOM’s brand of political extremism. We are proud to work with the Human Rights Campaign on this important initiative.”
NOM Exposed, the result of several months of research and collaboration, reveals the following:
- At a time of the country’s greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, NOM’s financial growth has been explosive. NOM has amassed huge resources – estimated to reach or exceed $10M in 2010 – from modest beginnings in 2007.
- NOM is a highly secretive organization that tries to not only hide the identity of its political donors from the voting public in state after state, but operates in a way to discourage people from knowing who its key players and associates are.
- NOM has deep connections to the Catholic Church hierarchy, to the Mormon Church, to evangelical right-wing pastors and churches and to those who have a long history of anti-gay rhetoric and activity. These are individuals and organizations which not only oppose same-sex marriage, but oppose domestic partnerships, civil unions, hate crimes protections and even fertility treatments for women because some of those women could be lesbians.
- Since 2008, NOM and its allies have engaged in a radical, nationwide plan to flout long-established campaign finance disclosure laws. This is nothing short of a strategic, coordinated plan to hide NOM’s political activities from voters. This effort has prompted several state investigations and resounding legal defeats for NOM.
In addition to the rich archive of information, NOM Exposed features a blog where the latest on NOM’s activities will be tracked. LGBT leaders will also contribute guest posts to the blog with their own research and experiences with NOM. Freedom to Marry which organized the Summer For Marriage tour in response to NOM has the inaugural guest post up today.
“NOM Exposed gives voters a comprehensive look at an organization that operates largely in secret, yet plays a super-sized role in campaigns from California to Maine,” added Solmonese. “By releasing this site and dedicating resources to NOM Project, we will confront this web of secrets and lies wherever NOM seeks to spread its political propaganda.”
Please share what you are seeing and learning about NOM — as well as your reaction to the NOMexposed.org web site — in the comments. It’s important that we expose NOM for the secretive, nefarious fringe group they are, instead of the “rational and reasonable” image they try to present to the public.
Update: We’re getting a lot of reports of problems accessing the site, which may be a possible denial-of-service attack. We’re looking into it and will let you know when we know more.