The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

If the struggles are so different, why does NOM want to ‘drive a wedge’?

March 27, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper

There are many ways to discredit Rev. Bill Owens' attempts to deny a link between African-American and LGBT struggles. But first, let's take a look at what he, NOM's named religious liaison, said at yesterday's rally in DC:

Okay, so let's first examine the obvious. Bill Owens is trying to make it sound like homosexuality is a choice which could never be compared to skin color. Not a surprise that he would do this, since he is someone who has compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia.  Only thing? No credible body of science backs the idea that homosexuality is a "choice." Even more than that, the vast majority of LGBT people (i.e. the people who actually know what it feels like to be LGB or T) dispute the idea of "choosing" their sexual orientations or gender identities. So on its very face, Owens' obvious attempt fails to carry water.  

Then there are the attempt to turn differences into hard breaks.  Look, all of us recognize that there are differences between the two struggles.  However, the differences do not negate the similarities.  There are sweepingly obvious similarities between issues like interracial marriage and marriage equality for same-sex couples.  It is just silly to deny this.

But for the sake of a larger point, let's overlook even those two truths for one second. Perhaps the most damning aspect—one that both belies Owens' attempt and connects this whole thing squarely back to NOM—can be found in those heinous strategy documents that we all saw one year ago this week. Just to remind you of thoses documents' single worst revelation:

This proves, without a scintilla of doubt, that NOM sees a direct and compelling political connection between blacks and gays. Even if NOM staffers do not support the idea of inborn homosexuality (and judging by their past comments, it's likely that they don't), NOM undeniably sees a strategic reason to "drive a wedge." By so cynically (and disgustingly) admitting the intention to "fan hostilities" between blacks and gays, NOM itself made the connection that Mr. Owens took to the stage to both break and denounce. 

I would sugest that it's highly logical for NOM Watchers like us to assume that what Mr. Owens did there on the stage yesterday afternoon is further fulfillment of this same NOM strategy to "drive a wedge" (whether Owens himself realizes it or not).  With organizations like the NAACP, civil rights heroes like John Lewis, and even on-air reporters starting to call out people like Maggie Gallagher on the overlaps between their current work and past fights over interracial marriage, the public is catching on to these connections between two minority populations' struggles over that which has kept them down.  Rather than run away, egg-faced from the shocking documents we all saw one year ago this week, NOM is doubling down on its divisive tactics.  We will not let them get away with it.