SPLC Report: Can NOM Avoid Becoming An Anti-Gay Hate Group?
May 23, 2012 4:38 pm ET by Carlos Maza
In late 2010, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) narrowly avoided being designated as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Although several of the organization’s employees were criticized for making anti-gay remarks, NOM hadn’t crossed the line into “propagating known falsehoods” about LGBT people.
According to the Summer 2012 edition of SPLC’s Intelligence Report, however, that line is becoming increasingly blurry.
In an article titled “National Organization for Marriage Continues to Spread Lies About Gays,” SPLC’s Mark Potok and Evelyn Schlatter document NOM’s growing willingness to promote anti-gay misinformation on its websites by linking to external sources:
For more than a year now, gay rights activists have alleged that NOM is playing a shell game, avoiding the most egregiously false defamations of gay people on its own website, but linking directly to others who don’t. The charge had enough impact that Maggie Gallagher — who co-founded NOM in 2007, is past chairwoman of the board, and remains a key NOM spokeswoman — felt forced to respond.
Maggie Gallagher and [NOM president] Brian Brown have repeatedly claimed that they are simply trying to protect marriage, that they bear no animus toward LGBT people or their sexual orientations. But again and again, signs of such animus have crept into the material issued by NOM: scary warnings about pedophilia, “addictive behavior,” “jihads” against Christians and so on. Now, as pressure ratchets up on opponents of same-sex marriage — Maryland this year became the eighth state to approve such unions, even as a federal judge found the anti-same-sex-marriage Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional — it remains to be seen whether NOM can avoid following other religious-right groups into a world of untrammeled hate.
NOM’s habit of peddling anti-gay hate speech by relying on the work of others has been well-documented. Since the start of 2012, NOM’s websites have promoted the claims that same-sex marriage leads to polygamy, normalizes pedophilia, legitimizes child abuse, and causes young boys to become addicted to gay sex. Just last week, the organization promoted a documentary that suggested that gays and lesbians could choose to leave the homosexuality.
If NOM’s higher-ups want to avoid officially being tagged with the “hate group” label, it looks like they’re going to need to do a lot more than just assert that they “bear no animus toward LGBT people.”