NOM’s “Treasure[d]” Relationship With The Family Research Council
October 12, 2011 1:27 pm ET by Carlos Maza
It’s been said that you’re only as good as the company you keep. If this past weekend’s Values Voter Summit is any indication, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is in serious need of some new friends.
On Saturday, NOM board member and former chair Maggie Gallagher took a moment out of her speech to thank NOM’s allies for their work in the fight to prevent marriage equality:
GALLAGHER: I want to pause and say I know all of the organizations involved in this fight, and I treasure fighting with each and every one of the people on this panel, the organ – the Family Research Council, and others.
Gallagher’s decision to single out the Family Research Council (FRC) – the organization that hosted the Values Voter Summit at which Gallagher was speaking – is worth noting. The group has been labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for promoting smears about the LGBT community. Indeed, SPLC urged public figures attending the Values Voter summit to stop associating with anti-gay groups like FRC, which work to “create a climate of hate and violence against the LGBT community.” A recently released SPLC report documents FRC’s history of promoting anti-LGBT smears and propaganda, including depicting gay men as mentally ill child molesters:
The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws and anti-bullying programs.
If Gallagher truly “treasure[s]” her relationship with FRC, it’s safe to assume that she doesn’t see this kind of hate speech as particularly problematic. In fact, NOM has criticized the SPLC for labeling FRC as a hate group. Both Gallagher and NOM president Brian Brown signed a statement last year condemning the SPLC for its “hateful rhetoric” and “character assassination” efforts against FRC.
Unfortunately, Gallagher’s statement is just the latest in what has become a powerful and expanding alliance between NOM and FRC.
Over the past several months, NOM has repeatedly promoted FRC press releases and ad campaigns, as well as publicizing the group’s widely criticized documentary on the supposed "problem" with same-sex marriage and its impact on children.
Several FRC fellows have seen their work hyped by NOM’s blog, including Peter Sprigg, who has called for the criminalization of homosexuality and exportation of gay people from the United States. NOM has also pushed the work of FRC president Tony Perkins, FRC’s president who has called pedophilia “a homosexual problem” and suggested that LGBT youth commit suicide because they know they’re “abnormal.”
NOM and FRC’s relationship is most clearly on display during the groups’ frequent bus tours. Last year, NOM teamed up with FRC-affiliate FRC Action in Iowa to launch the “No Retention” bus tour, urging voters to oust three state Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of legalizing marriage equality. This summer, they joined forces again to launch a wildly unsuccessful “Values Bus Tour” in Iowa, with NOM and FRC higher-ups appearing side-by-side at a number of the tour’s stops. FRC recently resumed the “Values Bus Tour” and it is scheduled to stop at a rally with NOM on Thursday.
None of this would be notable if NOM was at all honest about the anti-gay animus that drives its agenda. A group that isn’t shy about its desire to demonize and smear LGBT people should have no problem associating with a hate group like FRC.
NOM, however, consistently claims that it operates with "decency and civility" towards gays and lesbians. As Gallagher stated in her Values Voter Summit speech:
GALLAGHER: The more deeper ground, as we face the relentless wave, the charges that no matter how civilly and decently – and I believe in decency and civility because they’re right, particularly for any of us who want to stand and speak as a believer in God – whether or not it buys us anything, or whether or not it stops the wave of insults. We have to just keep doing the right thing, day in and day out with respect for the citizens who disagree with us and a hope to win their hearts and minds down the road. We can never become the caricature they try to turn us into in the media.
In other words, NOM works to avoid being labeled a hate group by pretending to be reasonable and respectful, even as it supports and relies on its hate group ally to do the heavy lifting of smearing LGBT people.
It’s no wonder Gallager “treasure[s]” the groups’ partnership.