The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

Charles LiMandri, NOM’s nakedly hostile Founding Father

October 03, 2012, by Jeremy Hooper

When it comes to the foundations of the National Organization for Marriage, there are few names more fundamental to those early days than Charles LiMandri. A west coast lawyer with a number of conservative causes under his belt (Mt. Soledad cross case; Carrie Prejean defense; more), LiMandri served as NOM's general counsel during the organization's first few years of life. Many of the earliest NOM documents come emblazoned with the LiMandri name.

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When I called LiMandri's law firm and asked about the relationship, I was told that the organization simply retained larger, more national-focused counsel when the fight moved beyond Prop 8.  But even though the professional relationship waned over the years, the unbreakable connections continued. All last year, LiMandri co-hosted a Catholic radio show with NOM's own Jennifer Roback Morse. Brian Brown happily appeared on LiMandri's program and NOM ran ads on it.  Brian has also continued to appear at forums alongside like LiMandri, like this one for the Thomas More Lae Center (for which LiMandri serves as a West Coast director).  

And why wouldn't they remain close?  Because again, LiMandri is fundamental to NOM's beginnings.  Without that first year in California—and specifically San Diego, where NOM aligned with LiMandri, Roback Morse, Bishop Cordileone, and others—it's likely that there would not be a NOM (or NOM Exposed) today.  So when it comes to Chuck? NOM owes him one.


In the past, I've showed you some of LiMandri's extreme rhetoric. But now, for even more insight into the kind of mindset that has been ingrained in the NOM DNA from the very start, check out this newly unearthed clip from LiMandri's anti-gay CD set, titled "Goodbye Religious Liberty?" In it, NOM's founding general counsel and close friend once again proves how far beyond just the issue of marriage this NOM agenda goes.

  • Limandri refers to gay family members by saying he loves them but can't support "their destructive lifestyle"
  • He positions gay men as innately non-monogamous and describes our relations as "pathologic," "deviant," and "perverse"
  • LiMandri warns of a "potential civil war in this country by imposing same-sex marriage on this nation"
  • He denies that there is any genetic basis to homosexuality, instead using the "ex-gay" community's beloved theories about fractured relationships with same-gender parents leading to gayness

And much, much more. Listen to as much as you can stomach:

This is the kind of thing that midwifed the organization that we now know as NOM. But that is not a past event. The birth gave NOM life; its life was clearly animus-driven from day one.