The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

To support NOM’s cause, NOM uses two men who reject NOM’s cause.  What?!

July 15, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper

NOM, in its increasing desperation to find a meme that works, is now acting as if Justice Anthony Kennedy's DOMA opinion was a knock at the 2008 version of President Obama:


Except not, NOM.  At all.  Let's examine.

(1) Justice Kennedy never once used the word "bigot" in his writing on DOMA.  I've already written a lengthy post on this subject.  Justice Kennedy and the majority ably noted that animus was at play when Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, a bill that the rabidly anti-gay Family Research Council workshopped and drafted.  But neither Kennedy nor anyone on the court's majority ever ascribed the word "bigot" to anyone.  Only the dissent used that word, and it's primarily the dissent's supporters who continue to do so!  

(2) The Kennedy opinion in question deals with the Defense of Marriage Act, something President Obama did, in fact, oppose when he was running for President in 2008!  Let me repeat that: Even the 2008 version of POTUS that NOM is using here was in full agreement with Justice Kennedy's 2013 opinion on DOMA!  In fact, as early as 2004, President Obama was referring to DOMA as "abhorrent" and was accusing the members of Congress who passed DOMA of "perpetuating division and affirming a wedge issue," which is pretty much what Justice Kennedy's majority opinion said about DOMA! 

(3) Yes, when it comes to personally supporting full marriage (as opposed to simply opposing DOMA and anti-gay laws) President Obama had to find his footing to get where he is today.  But [a.] he was never on NOM's side, always voicing general support for LGBT rights, always opposing marriage bans, and always showing strong support for civil unions; and [b.] his evolution on this issue is a direct repudiation of NOM's work.  President Obama, like others in high-ranking positions, had come to understand  that marriage inequality is, in fact, a form of discrimination.  Like Justice Kennedy (and many of us who support equality, self included), President Obama always refrains from determining the individual motivation that leads each person who opposes marriage equality to his or her fight.  However, the President is clear to note that efforts to ban marriage are, in fact, discriminatory actions.  He looked at this issue and he learned the truth.  His trajectory is itself a repudiation of NOM's own work.  I can't for the life of me understand why they'd want to highlight that.   

(4) President Obama was fully out for equality by the 2012 election, and the American public handily voted him back into office.  So even if you wanted to accept NOM's childishly oversimplified "logic" about a certain justice, a certain president, and a certain election, you'd have to factor in the reverse claim about America electing an "enlightened person" in 2012.

(5) President Obama, as a Christian, probably does still believe that God is in the mix for marriage.  It certainly was for his church-housed marriage, just as it is for many LGBT people of faith.  So while NOM clearly threw that godly message in the mix to score some points, there is nothing in it that serves NOM's purpose.  President Obama simply now believes and voices the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman sometimes, and between a man and a man or a woman and a woman at other times.  He held the wrong position before, and he's proud to say so now.  Doesn't mean he was a "bigot"—just wrong.

(6) Let's call this exactly what this is: just NOM's latest attempt to make themselves look like the victims.  They are craftily using the President as a stand-in here (others have chosen to use President Clinton instead) so that they can make themselves look more mainstream.  They are trying to lump these known LGBT allies in the same box with them so that they can make Justice Kennedy and the court's majority seem that much more "extreme" and "reckless."  The idea is that if this court is willing to go so far as to call President Obama a "bigot"—EVEN PRESIDENT OBAMA!—the the average NOM supporter should not trust anything this mean ol' court has to say about anything.

It's desperate and illogical, NOM.