NOM Produces Video In Response To Race-Baiting Criticisms
April 23, 2012 4:08 pm ET by Carlos Maza
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is still in damage control mode following last month’s discovery of some of the group’s internal documents which revealed NOM’s plan to “drive a wedge” between the gay community and blacks and Latinos.
On Monday, NOM posted a video to its YouTube accounted titled “Is Gay Marriage a Civil Right? Black & Latino Leaders Speak For Themselves.” The video featured a number of black and Latino anti-gay activists rejecting marriage equality as a civil rights issue:
The video emphasizes the same argument that NOM leaders like Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown have been struggling to make since March; they say that it’s not race-baiting because blacks and Latinos really do oppose same-sex marriage. On MSNBC, Gallagher crystallized NOM’s response to the controversy over the internal documents, saying:
GALLAGHER: This is an in-house document. I don’t like the language because I think it makes us sound way too big for our britches. ... It makes me seem -- or NOM seem much more powerful than it is. It’s insulting to suggest that these African-American or Latino leaders are standing up because NOM is manipulating them.
NOM’s video reiterates that argument, asking “It is really ‘Race Baiting’ When African-American and Latino Leaders Oppose Gay Marriage?”
The answer, of course, is that NOM is indeed race baiting.
The controversy surrounding NOM’s internal documents has never been about whether blacks and Latinos actually oppose same-sex marriage. The real question is whether it’s appropriate for NOM to intentionally exploit anti-gay hostility among some blacks and Latinos in order to fight marriage equality.
NOM’s documents revealed that the group explicitly aimed to fan hostility between gays and blacks:
The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party. Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriageto its advocates and persuading the movement’s allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue. [emphasis added]
The same can be said for NOM’s approach to dealing with the Latino community:
Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We can interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity.
Our ultimate goal is to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of “Anglo” culture. [emphasis added]
Gallagher might be right in saying that NOM isn’t powerful enough to manipulate black and Latino leaders, but that doesn’t change the fact that the organization tried to do so. NOM’s internal documents reveal a callous and calculated desire to exploit divisions between racial minority groups and the gay community.
This is why NOM’s video – along with the rest of its PR campaign – has missed the mark. When it comes to race-baiting, it really is the thought that counts.