Equality Matters

NOM’s Brian Brown Implies NY Republican Senators Were Bribed Into Supporting Marriage Equality

June 29, 2011 4:21 pm ET - by Carlos Maza

Anti-gay groups have finally come up with an explanation for why a handful of Republican senators in New York decided to vote in favor of marriage equality: They were bribed!

Never mind that a significant majority of New Yorkers support marriage equality. Never mind that the senators spent days negotiating provisions that would adequately protect religious groups. And never mind that each of the Republicans explicitly laid out their own personal reasons for deciding to vote “yes.”

For the anti-gay zealots who refuse to admit they’re fighting a losing battle, only political corruption can explain why their campaign in the Empire State was a complete failure.

During the June 28 edition of the American Family Association’s radio program AFA Report, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) President Brian Brown asserted Republicans “sold their vote to the highest bidder”:

BROWN: [A] number of pro-gay marriage Republicans, including Ken Mehlman, and others that raised a significant amount of money – over about $2.5 million. And the way Albany works – there’s a lot of corruption there – and basically these Republicans sold their vote to the highest bidder.

Brown was echoing Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who last week claimed that “taxpayer funded” incentives were used to “sway votes” in New York.

What’s ironic about Brown’s statement is that NOM wasn’t exactly been secretive about its own “bidding” for votes in New York. In May, the group pledged to spend $1 million dollars supporting legislators who voted against marriage equality:

“We want to be sure those courageous Democrats and Republicans who cast their vote of conscience in favor of traditional marriage will have a strong supporter if the radical gay activists come after them in their next election.”


Last year NOM helped elect nearly 150 state legislators around the country.

In fact, NOM’s campaign in New York relied heavily on using the prospect of campaign funding (and the risk of losing that funding if a legislator decided to support marriage equality) to sway on-the-fence politicians.

And in case anyone is counting, NOM did the exact same thing in Maryland earlier this year, again pledging $1 million and even referencing (ironically enough) New York Senator Ruben Diaz as an example that anti-gay legislators will have access to the organization’s deep pockets of campaign support:

“We want to be sure those courageous Democrats who cast their vote of conscience in favor of marriage will have a strong supporter if the radical gay activists  come after them in their next primary election.”

The NOM PAC Maryland is similar to a PAC formed in New York by NOM, which successfully defended Democrats who supported marriage, despite a major effort by pro-gay marriage advocates to defeat several Democrats in their primaries who had stood up for marriage. In fact, NOM supported candidates like state senator Ruben Diaz, won by larger margins than before their votes against same-sex marriage.

If Brown is really concerned about politicians selling their votes, maybe he should work on closing his own wallet.


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