The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

A NOM vendor breaks ranks (*but you’ll never hear about it)

November 19, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper

It's "weighed on my mind" for the past year, this person admits to me.  

I'm talking about a prominent businessperson whose company went into a formal agreement with the National Organization For Marriage a couple of years back (most recent tax filings show a financially robust relationship) but who spent the past year—from the time I initially wrote this person to express my concerns about the business relationship with NOM to sometime earlier in 2013—thinking about that unfortunate decision.  He or she has had a "change of heart," this person confirms to me in perfectly legible print.  In fact, he/she wrote me specifically to tell me this information.  

Ultimately, this person goes on to tell me, his/her company wised up and broke its business agreement with NOM.  "Consider it done," this person says of the apparently bygone contract work.  "Please forgive me," this person even implores to me in another message.  

This request for forgiveness was a little odd to me, since I, in my initial contact, in no way flogged this person about the past company choice or asked for any sort of apology—I simply expressed my practical concerns as both a legally married gay taxpayer and equal rights activist, and I asked for better choices in the future.  But his/her unsolicited mea culpa tells me that this person really does understand the impact of the decision to partner with NOM and sincerely does feel remorse about ever entering into a contract.  Even though this person is verifiably on the right-wing side of most things political, with many conservative bona fides under his or her belt, the sincerity of the message, or even the choice to even reach out to me in the first place, sent me a strong message about the changing tide of this debate, our growing ability to reach across party lines on this matter of basic fairness, and the increasing indefensibility of the National Organization For Marriage.  

And I would, in fact, welcome the chance to have a public conversation with this person so that we can reach a true place of forgiveness and think about how we can work together for a common future.


But with that, I have reached the end of the story.  Sadly.  I won't say more because I can't say more.  This person threatened me with legal action if I do say more or go beyond the anonymity of a "this person" label.

I will respect this person's desire to protect whatever interests, be they business or political or personal, that he or she wants to protect.  I have to; I have no real choice.

But I do wonder (and have asked) why this person is more comfortable with having NOM attached to the company name—publicly, forever, indelibly, as a potentially weighted alliance—than he or she is with having his or her passionately stated distance presented to the public.  The NOM connections are documented on the public filings of many different states, as well as in NOM's most recent federal filings.  A few press reports have mentioned the connections between NOM and this particular vendor, with all assuming that the cozy relationship is ongoing.  Does that mean that this person, the top dog of the company, is okay with that just remaining out there when he or she fully admits that things have changed? I don't get that. I don't see how one can reconcile that.

Moreover, a media person like myself can absolutely write a follow up story asking if these public record contracts between NOM and this particular company are still in effect.  This person's lawyer cannot stop me from doing that—the contracts are there for all to see.  So if I do decide to write such a story, this person thinks it's better for me to pretend like I don't know what I do, in fact, know rather than help his/her company make a strong statement about acceptance in America?  Again, that, to me, is a very weird choice for either a businessperson or a fair-minded person to make.

Alas, I have no choice. My hands are tied.  The fact is, despite this person's weird and undeserved rush toward a lawsuit, I was never going to write anything quoting this person without his or her permission.  Not my style.  This person has demanded my restraint and I will honor that demand. 

But as I question this person's choice to put public political concerns above his/her privately stated principles, I do have to wonder: Will this, the choice to remain silent when presented a chance to make a good point, be the thing that weighs on this person for the next year?  If so, I eagerly await the 2014 edition of his/her "please forgive me" tour.