The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

NOM likens NOM Exposed to gun violence

October 07, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper

This site that you are reading right now is simple push back against the National Organization For Marriage's chosen agenda.  NOM opted to get into this game back in 2007, entering the political debate as a group proud to stand against same-sex couples—our lives, our loves, our rights, and our families.  NOM Exposed launched a few years later as a way to give interested parties a little more insight into this organization and its practices.  All fair game.

But now check out this snip from NOM's latest newsletter (words attributed to president Brian Brown):

Of course, [Family Research Council shooter Floyd Lee Corkins'] deadly plans are an instance of extremism. But extremism is no stranger to the HRC. Their stock in trade is bullying, harassment and intimidation. (See their disgusting website, NOM Exposed, for an example.) [SOURCE]

I take no exception with NOM thinking NOM Exposed is "disgusting."  I mean, of course they do.  When you run an organization that depends on masking your true agenda behind nice-sounding talking points, maintaining lock-solid secrecy, and pretending your cause is not an animus-driven one, you are not going to be too fond of any effort that helps shed light on what's really going on.  This is especially true when the effort is as effective as NOM Exposed and the cause is as winning as marriage equality.  

But to take a lone incident of gun violence that every major LGBT organization (including HRC) quickly decried and link it to political pushback of the kind that goes on here at NOM Exposed?  Well that is beyond the pale!  

In an America that values its speech and expression, political pushback is a free and fair exercise.  When a rival operates in a way that you think undermines that sort of nation that you hope to cultivate, you step up and challenge that rival's vision.  So when a NOM comes on the scene and begins filling the ether with press releases, media hits, campaign ads, and organizing for the cause of inequality, it's only fitting for a rival organization to step up and say, "Enough!"  In a way, that's what NOM itself was doing upon the time of its launch, challenging what its co-founders saw as the growing influence of pro-equality organizations.  None of this is unfair practice.  NOM had every right to get into the game, as far as it goes; NOM Exposed had every right to fight back.  

When it comes to response, NOM's better option would be to push back against NOM Exposed with pointed repudiations of the things we expose.  But notice they never do that.  They even tried, buying up and quietly launching the domain name, "Exposing NOM Exposed."  But that went nowhere because they have nowhere to go with it.  NOM knows that if they acknowledge our arguments and try to fight us on merit, they lose every time.  Some of the things that we expose are simply indefensible, while others simply make NOM look bad or pull the organization off its messaging.  Either way, NOM realizes that engaging us in more speech is a bad idea.  

So NOM's answer is to yet again play the victim.  Even though they are working with a focused goal on taking away our rights, we are supposedly the "bullies."  And even though they laid out a strategy that specifically called for "driving a wedge between gays and blacks," we are supposedly the ones using intimidation tactics.  And even though they have launched truly disgusting campaigns that attack public figures for doing nothing more than voting for equality, we are the ones who are supposedly harassing others.  NOM makes these kinds of claims because it is all NOM has. The far-right, in general, has fostered this truly reductive meme that says pushing back against an anti-LGBT conservative's free speech is somehow a violation of that initial speaker's rights, and NOM is simply hitching its wagon to this tired framework. 

And now NOM is taking it all one step further and quite literally linking our fair pushback to one truly troubled human being's wicked and resoundingly shunned act of violence—a truly heinous new wrinkle in an already-backwards way of dialoguing.  The layers of roundabout thinking are so many that it's tough to even see if NOM is this time playing the bully or the victim.  But let's be sure: this invoking of gun violence is a clear (and nakedly political) attempt to intimidate us into silence by suggesting that our refusal to stay silent is itself an act of malevolence.  NOM is unfairly conflating the pen with the sword because NOM knows that our words are more effective than any weapon could ever be.