HRC: National Organization for Marriage’s Law Firm Defended Racist Campaign

by HRC Staff

NOM President Brian Brown quietly running fundraising and compliance operations for far-right causes out of NOM’s offices


Washington – National Organization for Marriage (NOM) President Brian Brown is organizing, fundraising and providing support for far-right and racially insensitive clients out of NOM’s K Street office via his relatively new ActRight properties, including the ActRight Legal Foundation. One of the group’s first clients was Minnesota Majority, which came under fire for producing a racist ad in Minnesota as part of its efforts aimed at passing a voter ID amendment that would have required voters to present a valid form of photo identification before voting.

The Minnesota Majority ad in question featured a number of offensive stereotypes implying certain people were committing voter fraud. The ad featured what were depicted to be fraudulent voters in line at a voting both, including an African-American convict and a man wearing a sombrero. After public outcry, MM edited the ad. The voter ID amendment failed on November 6, 2012.

"Brian Brown and NOM are dedicated to serving the agenda of the few deep-pocketed extremists who can keep their anti-gay causes well-funded,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “NOM can no longer sugarcoat their true animus. Their anti-LGBT agenda doesn’t sit well with an increasing number of Americans, and it’s forcing them to align with extremists. Their allies now include people who work with Aryan terrorists and call for southern states to secede from our country, and groups that think it’s okay to push offensive stereotypes as part of an effort to disenfranchise voters. NOM deals in the currency of hate.”

Minnesota Public Radio reported that Minnesota Majority’s executive director said it was ‘coincidental’ that the felon attempting to vote in the ad is an African American. The NAACP strongly condemned the ad, with NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous stating: “The Minnesota Majority advertisement plays into racial stereotypes that have no place in public debate.”

Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign reported that the NOM-funded campaign to reject marriage equality in Maryland accepted significant funding from a lawyer with active ties to a white supremacist, secessionist organization.

ActRight Legal Foundation is co-located with NOM in Washington D.C. and staffed mostly with lawyers from the Bopp Law Firm in Terra Haute, Indiana. James Bopp has made a career of challenging campaign finance laws and public disclosure to permit his clients to operate secretly and free of accountability. ActRight also serves as NOM’s new legal shop, representing it and its affiliated campaigns across the country.  

This is not the first time Brian Brown and NOM have worked with campaigns that attempt to create false racial divides as a means of advancing anti-gay discrimination. Earlier this year, HRC uncovered confidential NOM strategy documents that exposed the anti-gay organization’s plan to pit Latinos and African Americans against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The strategy laid out NOM’s hope to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” and to “interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity - a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.


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