The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

Inaugural ratchets NOM chutzpah to new high/low

January 22, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper

  • The National Organization for Marriage demanded that all of the 2012 GOP candidates sign a pledge rejecting LGBT marriage rights in full (and chilling) ways.  All signed it; all failed to win the nomination and eventual presidency.
  • The National Organization For Marriage vowed to "sideswipe" and ultimately defeat President Obama.  NOM failed at this task.
  • The National Organization For Marriage said they would win marriage fights in four states.  Come November 6 of 2012, NOM lost all four.

So why exactly does this organization, built as it is around nothing other than dividing the nation on the subject of marriage equality for LGBT people, think it has *any* capital when it comes to the re-elected President's pledge to include LGBT people within the fabric of America?  In a word: chutzpah.  Pure and utter chutzpah:

National Organization for Marriage Criticizes President's Decision to Divide Nation Over Marriage on Inauguration Day

“Gay and lesbian people already enjoy full equal rights under the law."

– Brian Brown, NOM president –

Washington, D.C. — Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), criticized President Obama’s decision to use his Inauguration Day address to further divide the nation on the question of what is marriage. The President chose to make a veiled reference to redefine marriage when he said "our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law."

"Gay and lesbian people are already treated equally under the law," Brian Brown responded. "They have the same civil rights as anyone else; they have the right to live as they wish and love whom they choose. What they don’t have is the right to redefine marriage for all of society. In fact, six federal courts have rejected the idea that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court in a summary decision in 1972. Furthermore, the vast majority of states have codified the commonsense view held for thousands of years that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. The President is profoundly wrong to imply that those who have acted to protect marriage have denied anyone's rights by doing so."

Brown continued: "A presidential inauguration should be a time for the nation to come together; instead President Obama chose to voice his support for a radical agenda advanced by some of his biggest campaign contributors to redefine marriage for everyone. Marriage brings our nation together. The concept of gay ‘marriage’ would have been totally alien to our founding fathers, and the protection and advancement of marriage between one man and one woman will immeasurably serve the common good of this country and further strengthen our Union. Today the President should have thrown his support behind this beautiful vision of men and women coming together in love to raise the next generation. Nonetheless, we pro-marriage Americans pledge to defend the institution which the President has chosen to undermine once again."


Uh huh.  Because I'm sure if a theoretical President Romney (or NOM's preferred Santorum) were giving the inaugural address and mentioned excluding gays via the Federal Marriage Amendment (which the NOM pledge demanded of the GOP slate), Brian would have accused the new President of also dividiing the nation.  Right?  Yeah—riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. 

And this new "gays already have equal rights" meme that is taking shape with the far-right?  Come on.  Seriously!  COME. THE. HECK ON!  Do they really think America is going to buy that one?  Even their own ardent supporters don't believe that long-marginalized LGBT people have achieved equality in this country.  Yet NOM, the org that has quite literally taken away tangible rights in more than a few states (i.e. California's same-sex couples had a right on Nov. 4 2008; California gays no longer had this same right on November 5 2008) thinks it can tell us to just pipe down and enjoy the rights that they will allow us to have?!  Good luck with that big bag of offense, Brian Brown!


It seems that NOM needs to wake up from what they surely see as an awful, org-indicting nightmare and realize that America really did elect a pro-equality President and really did reject the NOM agenda at several state polls, via both candidates and ballot initiatives.  It was a nightmare for them, yes, but it wasn't some sort of altered state of existence.  It really happened.  In America.  In 2012.  And now, in 2013, NOM, an organization long fond of reminding us that "elections have consequences," is facing the repudiation that voters delivered their way.  No "agenda" put this in place—an electorate did.

The question now: when will NOM drop its own radical agenda so that America can finally get past the contrived "culture war" that pays six figure salaries to its staffers and that distracts our body politic in very real and very damaging ways?


*Speaking of NOM chutzpah, yesterday Brian Brown equated NOM's agenda with Dr. King's: NOM president draws from Dr. King's legacy to save married gays from 'false promises' that bring 'sadness and even despair' [G-A-Y]