HRC Blog

Calling Out Opponents of Equality in 2012

nom exposedPost submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

Despite the tremendous progress for equality we saw in 2012, the year wasn’t without incidents provoked by anti-equality leaders and organizations. Once again, HRC called out these groups and exposed their anti-gay rhetoric as false. Some of the incidents this year included: 

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), one of the nation’s leading anti-equality groups, attempted to execute a strategy aimed at stemming equality by pitting the LGBT community against other minority groups. HRC obtained and released these strategy documents, which detailed NOM’s plan 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…

The documents also illuminated NOM’s goal of “sideswiping Obama,” painting him as a “social radical” and talking about “side issues” like pornography.

Mitt Romney proved to be one of the most anti-LGBT candidates for president in quite some time, with the track record to prove it. Romney was against even the most basic forms of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, had openly ridiculed LGBT families, refused to acknowledge the need for workplace protections for LGBT people (he thought legislation protecting people from losing their jobs based on their gender identity or sexual orientation would be an “undue burden” on employers), and even had a troubling past with anti-gay bullying himself. A Romney presidency would have represented a startling step backward in the fight for equality.

HRC launched an aggressive online and earned media campaign to ensure every anti-gay comment from Romney’s past and present, as well as his financial and personnel-related connections to anti-gay groups, were pushed into the public realm for all to see. We closed our case on Romney with a video detailing his anti-gay animus. Check out the video here.

The Roman Catholic Church, at the direction of Bishops in the United States, donated nearly $2 million to efforts aimed at supporting discrimination against LGBT people in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. As in the past, the Knights of Columbus remains the largest and most financially threatening anti-LGBT force within the Church. 

HRC released a report detailing the Roman Catholic hierarchy’s anti-LGBT donations in the 2012 elections, revealing that dioceses from across the country funneled money to the marriage fights – in many cases, likely without the knowledge of parishioners. In Minnesota alone, the Roman Catholic Church funded nearly 25 percent of the overall campaign to write discrimination against same-sex couples into the state constitution.

The report also highlights the stark gulf between the hierarchy and the laity in the Church – despite these donations, polling shows that a strong majority of Catholics – nearly 60 percent – support equality for their LGBT sisters and brothers.

HRC will continue calling out our opponents in 2013. As support for equality becomes increasingly mainstream, our opponents must align with anti-gay extremists whose true agendas are unpalatable to fair-minded folks. We saw tremendous progress for equality this year, and time and again, attempts from our opponents to stem that progress failed.

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