The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Calling All Black People: NOM Wants to Use You

By Mark Potok on March 27, 2012 - 1:58 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

Black folks, this is a message for you: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the country’s preeminent group fighting against same-sex marriage, really, really likes you. They even want to make some of you famous!

Have NOM’s principal leaders, former president Maggie Gallagher and current leader Brian S. Brown, stood up for African Americans before? Well, not so much. But it turns out that they’ve decided that you’re actually very important.

That unexpected revelation came out yesterday, when the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign publicized the contents of some previously confidential 2009 documents outlining NOM’s strategies for winning the national battle for “traditional marriage.” (The documents were just unsealed in a Maine court case over NOM’s refusal to identify its donors there, as required by state law.) “The strategic goal of this project,” NOM said, “is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; and to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.”

Translation: Let’s get people who support marriage equality to denounce black opponents, making them look like evil racists. Maybe that’ll make people forget that the vast majority of black civil rights leaders support same-sex marriage.

Could this be something more than simply exploiting black people — folks who NOM figures would be hard for Democrats to criticize without splitting their base — for the cynical uses of opponents of same-sex marriage?

No, NOM’s pretty transparent about that. The “project” to which its call for a wedge strategy refers carries this title in the newly released document: “Not a Civil Rights Project.” They couldn’t make it much clearer than that, could they?

The newly released documents are remarkable, in part, because NOM has made much of keeping its battle, as well as its propaganda, both civil and factual. But as we say in a story published today— an article on NOM originally scheduled to be published in the forthcoming May issue of the Intelligence Report — NOM can be less than honest in its use of propaganda. Among other things, we point out that although NOM says it has no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than straight men, it frequently links to websites of others who claim to. We also point out that NOM, despite its claims, keeps bringing up the subject of children and sex.

Turns out that’s part of the plan, too. In one NOM document entitled “Sideswiping Obama,” the group urges activists to raise “such issues as pornography” and “the protection of children.” “We will put a special focus on exposing those administration programs that have the effect of sexualizing children,” along with other “policy threats to children.”

What do pornography and sexual threats to children have to do with same-sex marriage? Well, nothing really. But as another NOM document points out, the object isn’t so much to appeal to rational argument, but rather “a new, more emotionally powerful set of messages.” You know, like gay men molesting your kids.

Let’s get back to using certain racial and ethnic groups to battle same-sex marriage for a moment. NOM points out that the Latino vote in America is “a key swing vote” and suggests a good way to appeal to that constituency: “[G]ather and connect a community of artists, athletes, writers, beauty queens and other glamorous noncognitive elites.” And they’ve already talked to a former Mexican beauty queen! Because Latinos apparently are into those “glamorous noncognitive elites.”

NOM isn’t the first organization to use such cynical marketing ploys, schemes that seem to have little do with the interests of the people they claim to represent, and it certainly won’t be the last. But the revelation of its bald attempt to exploit black people and Latinos should help end the idea that NOM is an honorable group that would never engage in race-baiting. Because that is precisely what it has done.

  • Steve

    Why is NOM still not listed by SPLC as a “hate group”?

    Even a quick reading of the recently released NOM document, finds that NOM makes explicit plans to incite hate, by spreading false statements about all three minorities. NOM has a well documented history of making false statements about gays. They have consistently made those statements, over a period of years, as part of an overt program intended to harm gays.

    It seems to me, there is now more than ample evidence that NOM is a bonafide hate group.

  • Chuck

    Why wasn’t NOM preaching about the “sanctity of marriage” when Kim Kardashian split from her husband after just 2 1/2 months, or following Britney Spears’ 48-hour first marriage? Oh, and now that their strategy’s been exposed for all the world to see, they’ve tried to do damage control by citing the promiment African-Americans and Latinos they’ve worked with, which is like a bigot trying to deny his prejudices by saying “I’m not racist, some of my best friends are black”.

  • Reynardine

    Aron, I’d have a perfect response to that, but as noted before, the moderators are prudish. Yet my experience is that even more intricate profanity is to be found among Spaniards, and nobody swears like a good pudin diplomático.

  • Aron

    The best abusive pastries are canolli. Because NOBODY swears like the Italians.

  • Reynardine

    I still can’t get that image of a perorating pastry out of my head.

  • Reynardine

    Thanx, Wade. I was about to resolve never to go near another bakery.

  • Wade@MacMorrighan.Net

    LOL! I meant “pastor”! Damned Mac autocorrect. :P

  • Mike
  • Mike

    There was a typo in one of the links I posted. Here’s the correct one:

  • Aron


    Everyone knows the tastiest croissants are the ones that scream abuse at you. You’re seriously missing out, my friend!

  • Reynardine

    Wade, I followed you just fine, but if a pastry ever started hollering at me, I’d put it in the outside trashcan so fast-

  • Wade@MacMorrighan.Net

    Mr. Potok, with all due respect, do the following two actions not count as “hate speech” by NOM: NOM sponsored an anti-Gay rally in which a pastry (Ruben Diaz?) screamed at the assembled crowd that “Gays are worthy of death!” and just late last year Brian Brown posted a blog on NOM’s site insisting that the acceptance of Gay people would lead to the normalization of pedophilia as another “valid” sexual orientation.

  • Wade@MacMorrighan.Net

    It’s also interesting to note that Maggie Gallagher may be more than *slightly* racist, herself! More than 20 years ago in 1991 she penned an article in which she expressed how harmful and threatening diversity and multiculturalism was to white Christian parents in public schools, and even ending it by noting how embarrassed she was to admit that “most African Americans are Christian”! Here’s the article in question:

  • Wade@MacMorrighan.Net

    Mark, also hidden within their docs. was the disclosure that they paid someone (otherwise anonymous) an annual salary of $60,000 to seek out and film dysfunctional children of Gay parents who might have an axe to grind against their parent, thereby exploiting kids and using it as a propaganda weapon to make out gay people to be villains and even harmful to children.

    ~Wade White

  • Supersonic250

    Mike… Not ModerateMike, but the other guy… You make the assumption that gay people are part of some sort of united conspiracy based on this book. You also assume that the gay community has “leaders” who are enforcing this conspiracy. This makes you either incredibly paranoid, intensely stupid, or both. No one group is united entirely, and there is no “gay agenda” outside of being afforded the same rights that everyone else has. Its right-wing nutjobs like you that give EVERYONE on the right-wing a bad name.

    …Not that I’m a right-winger myself. I’m a liberal nutjob. :3

  • ModerateMike

    This is why I feel that groups like NOM are so much greater a threat than the Westboro Baptist Church. Keenly aware that they will be called out for posting inaccurate data, they facilitate access to misleading information while disclaiming affiliation with or responsibility for the groups that supply it.

    Thanks, SPLC, for doing the digging that appears to be increasingly necessary to expose organized bigotry.

  • Reynardine

    Yes, Mike, the quote is accurate, but it’s not theirs. It’s Focus on Family’s paraphrase. You just failed to mention that at all, didn’t you? Or even come clean about Erastus Pill? Unless academe has deteriorated seriously, that kind of thing would get you kicked out of any kind of degree program, and a court on its toes would likewise sanction you for a specious cite.

  • Mike

    Oooo good try on the diversion, but no cigar. The passage I quoted was accurate in both its content as well as it’s attribution. Yes, Erastas Pill was the pen name for Hunter Madsen. They both wrote the article, which they later turned into a book.

    URL for their book:;sr=1-1

    Their article is located at various sources, but the one below is a gay site. Browse it for a while:

    It does not matter that most gays don’t know about these. It only matters that the leadership knows.

    The left wing meme is that this is a right wing meme.

  • Erika

    They can’t find a suitable bigot among the Uncle Ruckus for pay deziens of the conservative media? Or are all of the Uncle Ruckus types to busy watching White women in “lesbian porn” videos to join the anti-gay crusade?

  • Joel

    The actions of NOM are remarkably familiar. I worked against Amendment 2 in Colorado, an amendment that was overturned by the Supreme Court in Romer v Evans. While NOM is focussed on equal marriage, Focus on the Family took the same tactic as NOM in attacking basic civil rights of GLBT people in Colorado.

    Prior to the hearings, FOF published articles claiming that Nazi stormtroopers were recruited in Berlin gay bars with the intent of splitting ANOTHER traditionally Democratic base, Jews and gays.

    I remember seeing a letter drafted by FOF stating that they would frame the amendment in terms of “special rights”. Like NOM, FOF used Black and Latino spokespeople in tv ads to keep “special rights” from being accorded to GLBT people. When SCOTUS finally overturned the amendment in 1996, those “special rights” included medical care, housing, and taking out library books.

    NOM is using the same tactic. The questions I have are: ” Did NOM get the tactic from FOF ? Is there another group that for political ends is coaching FOF and NOM on these tactics ? What group ?”

  • Steve

    Mark — Perhaps it’s time SPLC added “maliciously pitting minority groups against one another” as a criterion for hate groups. Also, “indirectly propagating known falsehoods”. It’s clear that NOM has (successfully?) attempted to insulate itself by linking to other sites to do its dirty work, such as associating gays with child molesters, but this cynical ploy should not insulate them from being identified as the hate group they are. And, perhaps SPLC should also consider maintaining a current list of hate groups online and updating it as the evidence comes in.

  • Robert Castle

    The entire Republican campaign is constructed around hate mongering, bigotry – nominate and vote for a candidate who can beat Obama. – If President Obama is for it Republicans are against it. Two of their candidates are using their religiosity, Christianity, while ignoring the essence of Christianity, compassion. They are an embarrassment and disgrace to those who believe in the principles set forth in the Bible and Constitution.

  • Gregory

    It sounds like “Mike” and “Paul” have issues. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were sockpuppets.

  • Reynardine

    Mike, I was curious enough to look up Erastes Pill. There was no Erastes Pill. There was an author named Hunter Madsen, who used the name, but the passage you attribute to him is neither his nor Mr. Kirk’s rather, it was what Focus on the Family *said* they said: your typical right-wing DARVO tactic. Either you have been taken in by the false quote, or you yourself were misattributing in bad faith. If the latter, don’t misattribute it to anyone with a name like Erastes Pill, because someone is sure to check it out.

  • Claude

    There should be no quota or time to add a hate group to the hate group list. You have the evidence. You add them.

    These people resort to lies, defy court decisions on electoral spending, pretend they are a grassroots organization when they are funded 90% by 5 huge donors (institutional or individual… not disclosed).

    They now add cynical use of minorities against other minorities.

    Just call them what they are.

  • a.mcewen

    Mike, the citation of that book – The Overhauling of Straight America – is an old religious right meme. The majority in the gay community have never heard of it and the only time it ever comes up is when someone from the religious right is accusing gays of using tactics outlined in it.

  • Reynardine

    Mike, if you think there even is such a person as Erastes Pill, let alone that he works for SPLC, you have a credulity problem, while if you think we’re going to believe in Erastes Pill, you have a credibility problem.

  • Mark Potok

    Our basic criteria for listing anti-gay groups has been that they “propogate known falsehoods” (like the claim that gay men molest children at very high rates) and engage in “repeated, baseless name calling.” As a practical matter, we just published the 2011 list of hate groups, so we won’t be looking at the list again until late this year.

  • CM

    These guys are keeping some pretty dubious company. “Noncognitive elite” seems to have been coined by libertarian Charles Murrary, co-author of the infamous “Bell Curve” book, for example. And if you Google the phrase, you’ll get hits from Stormfront and other white nationalist websites. Nice.

  • Paul

    What does it take to actually get these guys declared a hate group?

  • Larry Joseph

    Mr. Potok, I see no reasdon why you should add NOM to the list of hate groups. What more evidence could you need?

  • Mike

    Provoking the opposition? You act as if you knew nothing of this. Isn’t NOM taking a tip from your own playbook?


    At a later stage of the media campaign for gay rights-long after other gay ads have become commonplace-it will be time to get tough with remaining opponents. To be blunt, they must be vilified…. we intend to make the antigays look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from such types.

    The public should be shown images of ranting homophobes whose secondary traits and beliefs disgust middle America…. A campaign to vilify the victimizers is going to enrage our most fervid enemies… ”

    from “The Overhauling of Straight America,” by Marshall K. Kirk and Erastes Pill.

  • Reynardine

    These people are no more about the sanctity of marriage than the Man in the Moon is about a date with Venus. They’re clearly another propaganda arm of the reactionary octopus, whether it head is in the CNP, ALEC, or elsewhere.

  • Supersonic250

    …I… am absolutely disgusted by this. I mean, truly speechless at how horrid NOM’s strategy is. Not only are they proving they’re hypocrites, but they’re also proving they’re not-so-slightly racist too. Lovely people…

    …Also, “Non-cognitive.” …They’re attempting to appeal to Hispanic folk… using STUPID people. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

  • Aron

    There aren’t many artists and authors I know who aren’t ‘noncognitive elites.’ They tend to be pretty smart folks. And with that ‘elite cognition’ comes the realization that homosexuals deserve every single right heterosexuals receive.

    Good luck with that, OM NOM NOM NOM. (Also, I’m sure The Cookie Monster is very disappointed in your theft of his signature line.)