The Rise and Fall of the National Organization for Marriage

Town clerk is ‘lawless’ claims org that’s encouraged town clerks to be lawless

August 22, 2013, by Jeremy Hooper, Guest Contributor

Take a journey with me, if you will.  Let's go back to that ancient year of 2011.  With New York having legalized marriage for same-sex couples, the ever-self-victimizing National Organization For Marriage waged a very loud campaign in support of Empire State town clerks who wanted to flout state law.  NOM wrote of these clerks:

Ruth Sheldon, Laura Fotusky and Rose Marie Belforti have all been town clerks in various New York towns for several years, with part of their duties including signing marriage license applications. With the New York legislature voting to enact same-sex marriage in the state, these women, who support traditional marriage, faced religious discrimination for their refusal to sign same-sex marriage licenses.

Press Release: New York Town Clerks Lose Jobs for Defending Marriage [NOM]

NOM proceeded to create video campaigns in which these clerks "explained" why the law shouldn't have to apply to them and their jobs.  NOM spilled much ink all across the media trying to turn these three clerks into heroes.  

Fast forward to today and to another "New" state.  With the U.S. Supreme Court finding the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional and state law being silent on whether same-sex couples can marry, a town clerk in New Mexico, Lynn Ellins, is starting to realize that nothing is really barring him from granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  This being so, the clerk is not waiting for the state Supreme Court to make an ultimate determination.  With the understanding that the court could ultimately step in and rule against marriage, Ellins is applying the law in the way that he believes to be constitutionally sound.

So NOM, being so into the conscience rights of town clerks, is applauding the move, right?  Right?!  RIGHT?!?!


National Organization for Marriage lawlessness in New MexicoThis latest action goes beyond the pending lawsuits in New Mexico and moves into the realm of lawlessness and anarchy. County Clerks are not free to make up law on their own; it is there [sic] job to uphold the law and serve the people who elected them. But rather than wait for the legal process to conclude Mr. Ellins has gone rogue and chosen to defy the Governor and the Attorney General. 

Lawlessness in New Mexico [NOM]

It is hypocrisy, plain and simple.  In addition to the NY clerks, NOM has, on several occasions over the years, encouraged its supporters to sidestep duly enacted marriage equality laws in several ways, in multiple jurisdictions.  And again, I'm talking about duly enacted laws that are on the books that NOM pretends are mere suggestions.  

But here, now, in a vague situation where the state law is essentially silent and the state Attorney General has said that he has no reason to stop Ellins, NOM is seriously tossing around words like "lawless"?  No!  Nu uh!  That's not okay.  Not from an organization that has, quite literally, told certain officials to flout actual laws in a way that really does threaten their professional lives!