The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

NOM vows to turn U.S. Constitution into weapon against certain citizens, families

June 28, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper, Guest Contributor

The Federal Marriage Amendment is one of the most egregious pieces of legislation ever introduced into Congress.  This attempt to change the U.S. Constitution so that it becomes a weapon against LGBT citizens, our families, and our supportive allies was too extreme to pass even during the most conservative part of George W. Bush's presidency.  Even then, when we only had one state with marriage rights and polling was still reliably against marriage equality, the American public knew that this amendment was way over the line.

But now, with twelve states (+ D.C.) with marriage equality, California on the cusp of restoring marriage rights for same-sex couples, the federal Defense of Marriage Act struck down as unconstitutional, and credible polling that consistently tips in favor of equality, some of the most reactionary members of Congress (Hartzler, Huelskamp, et al.) are trying to bring this outrageous amendment back up for consideration.  

And who do you think is right there to help these far-far-right representatives?  Why NOM, natch:

Rep Huelskamp marriage equality


On one hand, it doesn't really surprise me that NOM is supporting this.  For one thing, NOM's co-founder, Robby George, was one of the co-authors of the original FMA, and NOM's other co-founder, Maggie Gallagher, was one of its biggest champions.    These two were out-of-step with the American public then, and the organization they created is even more out-of-step with the American public now—but it's not that surprising.  

It is, however, ridiculous.  Politically, this is only going to undermine NOM's credibility even further.  There isn't one objective person who works in American politics who will tell you that an FMA has any chance of passing Congress, much less meet the incredibly high bar for ratification (38 states).  Anyone who is honest will tell you that this is yet another attempt by the most anti-LGBT, most conservative members of the House of Representatives to send a message, raise some funds, and claim some stake within their own party.  It's like those many fruitless votes for Obamacare repeal that these same members keep bringing up.  The game might be beneficial to some of them (and might bring in some funding for far-right groups), but it is a complete waste of Congressional time.  And some could reasonably argue that it only serves to undermine the reputation of the party that chooses to support it.

Of course NOM has to grasp at something.  This week was such an incredible repudiation of everything for which NOM stands that the org. has to find some sort of a straw.  Some sort of a brave face.  Some sort of a life raft.  Some sort of a something to give its supporters (and donors) hope.  If NOM wants to keep the lights on, NOM has to throw something at the wall and hope that it sticks. 

But by choosing a fringe-initiated bully club that would quite literally turn a nation's government against one minority population, NOM has only poked more holes in its organizational existence.  It is a laughably terrible choice.