About Those “Dirty Tricks” In Iowa’s Senate Race...
November 09, 2011 4:02 pm ET by Carlos Maza
Last night, Democrat Liz Mathis won Iowa’s special state Senate election, allowing Democrats to retain control of the chamber and dealing a major setback to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). NOM was heavily invested in the race, reportedly spending around $40,000 to elect Republican candidate Cindy Golding while framing the election as a referendum on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Just hours before the election was decided, however, controversy erupted over news that a group calling itself “Citizens for Honest and Sound Marriage in Iowa” had been funding homophobic robocalls to attack Mathis over her support for marriage equality. The calls asked voters to contact Mathis and “ask her which homosexual acts she endorses”:
Liz Mathis also endorses homosexual marriage. But Iowa just threw out three Supreme Court judges who also did. Homosexual marriage obviously involves homosexual sex… So, before you support Liz Mathis, call her at 319-XXX-XXXX and ask her which homosexual sex acts she endorses.
NOM quickly distanced itself from the robocalls, suggesting that they were actually created by Mathis supporters in order to “steal the election from Ms. Golding.” In a press release, NOM president Brian Brown explained that the robocalls were “so offensive” that they must have come from Mathis supporters:
"Yesterday a phony group claiming to support marriage launched robo calls that were so offensive they clearly were designed to turn voters away from Cindy Golding because she supports marriage between one man and one woman," said Brian Brown, president of NOM. [emphasis added]
It says a lot that Brown saw the Iowa robocalls as being “so offensive” that they’d actually end up hurting Golding at the polls.
While NOM isn’t responsible for the calls, linking same-sex marriage to “homosexual sex acts” is a pretty common NOM strategy. By NOM’s standards, the “offensive” robocalls in Iowa are actually pretty tame.
In August, NOM promoted articles that stated homosexuality will “hurt you badly” and “leads to disease and an early death.” NOM’s Brown wrote that legalizing same-sex marriage would “normalize pedophilia” by denying the “fundamental truth” about marriage.
In September, the group promoted a column that referred to public displays of affection between gay people as “darkness parading around as light.” A few days later, NOM attempted to explain “why real justice forbids” same-sex marriage by posting a column that called gay sex “the cancer version of... spousal intercourse.”
And just last month, NOM promoted the work of Brian Raum, who wrote that people who engage in “homosexual conduct” bring “physical and mental harms on themselves.”
Given NOM’s history, it’s clear that what NOM finds “so offensive” isn’t the content of the Iowa robocalls, but the fact that – for a small window of time – voters were able to witness the kind of anti-gay animosity that really drives those in the “pro-marriage” movement.