After Year of Losses, National Organization for Marriage Ends Year with $2 Million Deficit

by Charles Joughin

Latest financial documents show the organization’s funding comes largely from 3 donors, questions arise around charitable funds used for possible lobbying work

WASHINGTON – The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) continues to struggle financially as its losses at the U.S. Supreme Court and in states across the country pile up. According to the organization’s latest financial documents, NOM ended the year in the red with roughly a $2 million dollar deficit.  Just three donors accounted for roughly two thirds of the organization’s funding – further evidence that everyday Americans have little interest in furthering NOM’s extremist agenda.

According to the 990 form supplied by the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund, NOM’s 501(c)(3) charitable education arm, the Education Fund loaned NOM nearly $1.7 million.  This calls into question whether the Education Fund’s loans allowed NOM to engage in electoral or excessive lobbying activity that violates the Education Fund’s tax exempt status. 

NOM made their 2012 990s available late last night after repeatedly refusing to make them public following their November 15 deadline – a direct violation of federal law. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) first made an in-person request for the public financial documents last Friday morning and again yesterday – both times, NOM was unable to produce the documents. Federal law requires organizations to publicly release their 990s the same day an in-person request is made. As a result, HRC filed a complaint yesterday with the IRS in order to compel NOM to abide by the law.

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to look at the so-called National Organization for Marriage as a viable entity,” said Fred Sainz, HRC Vice President of Communications. “The organization draws its funds from just a few mega-donors, and it boasts a losing electoral track record over the past few years that reflects how increasingly out-of-step NOM’s anti-LGBT agenda is with the values of the average American voter.”

Last year, NOM’s financial documents revealed that just two donors accounted for nearly 75 percent of the organization’s funding. According to the 2012 990s released late last night, three donors contributed roughly two thirds of all money raised.

NOM spent nearly $5.7 million on their unsuccessful field efforts to stem the tide of equality in 2012. Their losses included failed campaigns to prevent marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington; to write discrimination in Minnesota’s constitution; and to politicize Iowa’s judicial system.

NOM’s dismal financial report comes as the organization continues to veer further away from its original, marriage-focused message. This year, Brian Brown traveled to Russia to support a bill – now law – banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples or parents living in countries where marriage equality is legal; and he even sent out a transphobic e-mail lashing out against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, in which he referred to transgender Americans by saying “if a man feels like being a woman, he is; but if he later decides he’s a man again, he’s that.”

“As NOM’s work has expanded to target the livelihood and very existence of LGBT Americans, their funding can’t keep up with the spending their futile work requires,” added Sainz. “These latest financial documents are proof that being anti-LGBT is no longer viable: it’s not smart politically, and it’s not something the vast majority of Americans have any interest in supporting.”

NOM was founded in 2007 to demonize LGBT people in California as part of the effort to pass the now-defunct Proposition 8. Since then 15 states, plus the District of Columbia, have made marriage equality the law of the land. Today, 33% of Americans live in states where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry.  Once Illinois and Hawaii’s recently-passed marriage equality laws go into effect, that number will jump to nearly 38%.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


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