The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

Redefining Defamation: New group, same NOM strategy

September 23, 2011, by Jeremy Hooper, Guest Contributor

NOM describes it like this:

Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance; NOM; National Organization for Marriage“If you have been threatened, harassed, or made to feel afraid because you believe in the great, foundational truth of Genesis –we are born male and female and called to come together in love to give children mothers and fathers—Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance is here to help you: you are not alone.

 We want to hear your story, connect you with others who share your deepest beliefs, with legal and other practical help, and with other Americans of good will, who (regardless of their views on marriage) want to put a stop to the shaming and the fearmongering of our fellow citizens. The goal of the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance is to create a supportive community for those who have been threatened for standing for marriage, to nip the climate of fear being created in the bud, to expose for fair-minded Americans on both sides of the debate the threats being made, to conduct high-quality qualitative and quantitative research documenting the extent of the harm, to develop legislative and community proposal to protect Americans right to engage in the core civil rights: to organize, to vote, to speak, to donate, and to write for marriage.

Isolated and alone, we can be suppressed and intimidated. Together we are too many to be treated as second-class citizens.“


What it really is: A blatant attempt by NOM to flip a script that is leaving them behind.  I’ve always said that while marriage is the stated fight, NOM operates with an equally focused undercurrent that is geared towards changing the psychology of this debate.  That’s why you hear Maggie always using her self-victimizing lines.  Or why you hear Jennifer Roback Morse warning that history is actually on their side and against equality proponents.  Or why you see them using Martin Luther King in videos.  Or any of the rest of NOM’s carefully framed rhetoric.  It’s because they see the same polls that we do, and they know that our shared future is leaving their silly “protect marriage” games behind and certainly leaving abject discrimination behind.  So NOM has upped even the usual social conservative game of masking bias behind words like “pro-family” or “value voter,” and is instead working to rewrite the stakes of this fight so that the pro-equality folks who are “radical” enough to stand up and be counted are somehow the tyrants.

Since the second Prop 8 passed and NOM saw how fully it galvanized our side, a “Ruh Roh” crossed the NOM crowd’s collective minds.  Even though they had just spearheaded a nasty, divisive, extremely costly campaign of pure animus that managed to take away a court-tested matter of constitutional fairness, NOM, in the most egregious of fashions, started branding the soul-punched equality crowd with every onus-redirecting label they could think of.  They didn’t want to have a debate on what they had just done before a suddenly awakened nation.  Instead, they wanted to find any “in” they could that might allow them to save face.  So to do so (or at least give it the old college try), NOM turned to the literally millions of people who were showing up in the streets, online, and anywhere else to protest Prop 8 and discrimination in general, and began isolating and exploding any minor incident they could find.  Never mind that out of those countless demonstrators who remain active to this day, every credible report cites virtually no act of actual violence, tyranny, vandalism, or anything else that exceeds traditional politics.  And never mind the continued tales we hear of people (especially young people) who are harmed by anti-LGBT games.  For NOM it all came down to that psychological factor — of casting themselves as the scorned, shunned, and maligned.  In their view, the way to escape Prop 8 scrutiny was to instead place it on those they had wantonly hurt.  Those they still hurt every day.

Which leads us to this new ADA project in particular.  While NOM is continuing the war against our lives and loves, pushing marriage bans into any state they can shape and seeking any federal limitation that they and their willing conservative allies can dream up, they are also continuing the war on this national conversation.  Rather than letting the organic truth play out, with Americans gleaning their insight into this marriage equality thing from the actual marriage equality that’s now around us in a growing list of states, NOM is looking for those little nuggets that they can exploit in order to tell America that their support for the same-sex couple down the road is actually a ticking time bomb that they don’t yet fully understand.  In the mislabeled name of “anti-defamation,” NOM is sparking a new push to defame the very movement that has suffered eons of defamation!  And egregiously, they are launching this campaign with Frank Turek, a man who has said outright hostile things not about gay marriage, but about “destructive,” “illegitimate” gay people themselves!

This new game, like most NOM games, will ultimately fail.  But I’m not just seeking its failure.  I want to use this, an all-out attack on the generalized good nature of the equality movement, to show how deep, destructive, and callous NOM’s true agenda really is.  I think that they have unwittingly given us a new “in” to show how willing they are to say and do just about anything in the name of their contrived political “culture war.”  I know that we can use it our great advantage, if we’re smart about it.

Remember, as a good writer once wrote and then for some silly reason misapplied to the wrong cause: “Isolated and alone, we can be suppressed and intimidated. Together we are too many to be treated as second-class citizens.”  Together, we can use these very misapplications to put a certain civil-rights-defaming organization out of business!