The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

NOM threatens to ruin careers of more people who simply disagree with them

February 25, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper

As you NOM Watchers know, the National Org. For Marriage is an organization that will claim "victimhood" in just about any situation where someone is told he or she must simply accomodate (or even just tolerate) gay people.  From inn keepers and bakers who are told they cannot wantonly flout nondiscrimination laws to government-subsidized agencies that are told they must follow certain protocol if they are to recieve state and/or federal tax dollars, NOM and its errantly named "Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance" loves to swoop in and claim that the people at the center of these controversies are being unfairly maligned.  

But when it comes to lawmakers who simply express a position on one issue that runs contrary to NOM's agenda?  Well, of course the organization's supposed concern for free will goes bye bye.  Even if a lawmaker is with NOM on every single issue, NOM will still step in and try to destroy the lawmaker if he or she votes in favor of civil marriage equality.  These campaigns of divisivisness have led to billboards that compare state legislators to Judas, flyers that liken lawmakers to Benedict Arnold, mailers that accuse the pro-equality lawmaker of mocking holy books, campaigns to impeach judges who did nothing more than cast opinions that NOM didn't like, and all-out assaults that divide states' political landscapes in ways that tick off both parties.  In these campaigns, NOM shows no understanding or nuance, nor do they engage in rational discussion about the person or persons at the heart of the debate.  Instead, NOM chooses an enemy or enemies and just attacks, attacks, attacks.

Latest example:

Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today pledged to spend $500,000 against any Republican legislator who votes in favor of redefining marriage in Minnesota, and will support any Democrat who votes to preserve marriage. [NOM Press Release]

Now, let's make an important distinction here: None of the lawmakers who NOM has targeted or will be targeting have done anything wrong against another human being.  Whereas in the cases that NOM takes on for the sake of contrived victimhood, there is always someone—usually an LGBT someone, we should say—who has been demonstrably harmed or underserved in some way (e.g. turned away from lodging, refused service because of sexual orientation, nastily condemned by the supposed victim's rhetoric, etc.), the lawmakers who vote in favor of marriage equality do not flout any law, typically stir up any animus, or ever threaten the well-being of anyone who works at NOM.  These lawmakers are simply doing what they were sent to office to do.  

But of course NOM is not really concerned with the human cost attached to any of these situations, either the ones the organization defends or the ones the organization creates.  The obvious goal here is to spin a narrative that flies in the face of reality.  When it comes to those who want to flout nondiscrimination ordinances at will, NOM knows that the majority of people's natural reactions would be to see these situations as the violations they are, thus the reason why NOM pops in and tries to steer the witnesses in another direction.  Or when it comes to state lawmakers who step beyond party lines and stand with the common sense civil marriage equality that we all know is the way of the future, NOM realizes that more and more people come to their own "A ha!" moments every time such a lawmaker takes such a principled stand.  NOM's solution, in these and most every case, is to flip the script.  Those who actually did something to earn their scrutiny are turned into martyrs while those who simply did their jobs in the way they see fit are turned into demons.  It is an aggressively mispresentative game that NOM has shockingly few qualms about playing.

It also happens to be the perfect, in-a-nutshell example of everything people hate about cynical politicking.