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NOM Claims Victory In Helping Elect Pro-Equality NY Democrat

November 08, 2012 12:38 pm ET by Carlos Maza

Brian Brown

Eager to tout any success after a string of historic defeats Tuesday night, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has resorted to bragging about the role it played helping elect a pro-equality Democrat to the New York State Senate.

On Wednesday, NOM President Brian Brown appeared on Janet Mefferd’s radio show to lament his organization’s failure to win in any of the four states voting on same-sex marriage this week.

Desperate to save face, Brown proudly announced that NOM had at least helped unseat New York State Senator Stephen Saland (R-SD 41), one of the few Republican senators to vote for the state’s marriage equality law last summer:

BROWN: We did have some good news last night and that is that another one of the Republicans who voted for gay marriage in New York, Republican senator, he lost his seat. Stephen Saland has been senator for thirty-two years. He had incumbency and everyone said that when NOM and other groups pledged to challenge him in the primary and support a Conservative Party candidate that it was foolish, that it wasn’t going to happen. Well, we proved them wrong. The Conservative Party candidate didn’t win but Stephen Saland ended up losing because the vote was split and that’s the sort of thing we’re going to have to do. We’re going to have to hold accountable Republicans who betray Republican values. [emphasis added]

Brown is certainly right that NOM contributed to Saland’s defeat. Saland ended up losing his race by only a few thousand votes. If he received the over 16,000 votes that went to his Conservative Party challenger, Saland would have easily won reelection.

What Brown failed to mention is that the person who actually won Saland’s seat, Democrat Terry Gipson, is a proud supporter of marriage equality. In an interview with the Red Hook Observer on November 2, Gipson stated:

I would have voted for Marriage Equality for New York in 2009 and 2011. I am the only candidate in this race who can make that statement.

Our entire history as a nation can be charted by how we have removed discrimination from our laws. From slavery in the 1860’s to women’s suffrage in the early 1900’s to the civil rights in the 1960’s to the gay rights movement today. Who would have thought we would even be having these discussions anymore? We cannot go backwards.

More importantly, Gipson’s victory is likely to jeopardize Republican control of the New York Senate, making it even more difficult for NOM to fulfill its pledge of someday reversing the state’s marriage equality law. 

In other words, NOM’s greatest Election Day victory was helping to elect a pro-equality Democrat who will stand firmly in the way of NOM’s future campaign efforts.

That’s some serious straw-grasping for a group that has previously bragged about its ability to influence state legislative elections.


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