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He Doesn’t Even Go Here: Meet NOM’s New Anti-Defamation Alliance Spokesman

November 18, 2011 1:39 pm ET by Carlos Maza

On Wednesday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) announced a new addition to its payroll. Damian Goddard is a former sportscaster who claims to have been fired from his job for tweeting his opposition to marriage equality. At his new job, he’ll be acting as spokesman for NOM’s Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, a project aimed at protecting anti-gay Americans from intimidation and harassment. According to the Marriage ADA website:

We believe America should be a place where passionate moral disagreements are expressed with respect, thoughtfulness and civility—and without fear.

The Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance is dedicated to one, simple, and profound idea: No American should be afraid to exercise core civil rights: to speak, to donate, to organize, to sign petitions, or to vote for marriage as the union of husband and wife.

We recognize that marriage is an important issue, about which people of good will can and do disagree.  We believe America should be a place where passionate moral disagreements about important issues such as marriage are expressed with respect, thoughtfulness and civility—and without fear., or threats of retaliation, on both sides. [...]

We want to hear your story, connect you with others who share your deepest beliefs, with legal and other practical help, and with other Americans of good will,  who  (regardless of their views on marriage) want to put a stop to the shaming and the fearmongering of our fellow citizens. [emphasis added]

There’s just one problem with Marriage ADA’s new spokesperson: he’s Canadian.

Goddard was a sportscaster in Toronto, where he worked for Rogers Sportsnet. The entirety of his story of “defamation” took place in Canada, not the U.S.

Canada is known for its aggressive efforts to crack down on what it sees as hate speech. As Jonathan Rauch wrote on The Dish in July:

This happened in Canada, not the U.S. No First Amendment up there. Canada has long had issues with rampant PC police. Gay marriage opponents have more legal, and cultural, protection [in America].

A lawyer sympathetic to Goddard even acknowledged that Canada’s lax protections for free speech were to blame for his termination:

“In Canada we’ve become far too sanguine about restrictions on speech when in fact we should be encouraging speech, not restricting it,” said Iain Benson, a lawyer whose expertise is constitutional law and religious freedom.

Moreover, Sportsnet denies firing Goddard because his anti-gay tweet. According to the National Post:

In response to questions about Mr. Goddard, Sportsnet released the following statement:

“Mr. Goddard is aware of the reasons — which are well documented ­— why he is no longer with Sportsnet. Out of respect for our employees we do not discuss personnel issues in the press.” [...]

[William Gale, Goddard’s attorney] spoke to a senior person in human resources, who said Sportsnet had already made the decision to terminate Mr. Goddard for cause before the May 10 tweet and the company had lots of documentation to support its case.

In an interview earlier this year, Goddard admitted that it was “absolutely” possible that he was fired for reasons other than his tweet.

So to recap: in order to find a spokesperson to campaign against the “defamation” allegedly targeted at anti-gay Americans, NOM hired a man from Canada who was quite possibly fired for reasons totally unrelated to his anti-gay comments.

Considering the number of times NOM’s “defamation” claims have been dismissed in American courts, it’s no surprise the organization is being forced to look for employees from across the border. 


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