WASHINGTON – As the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM, embarks on a fall election campaign to defeat candidates who support full marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign, in collaboration with the Courage Campaign, unveiled “NOM Exposed,” a live, interactive website which reveals NOM's deep anti-gay affiliations, its long connections to the Mormon and Catholic churches and its quest to keep voters in the dark about its financing.
At the same time, HRC announced the formation of the NOM Project to follow the ongoing political work and propaganda of NOM as it attempts to influence elections and legislative campaigns across the country. The project will be led by Kevin Nix, a longtime LGBT advocate and political and media consultant. A former communications director at both Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Family Equality Council, Nix also worked at Media Matters in the 2004 presidential cycle.
"NOM and its leaders project a message of tolerance yet NOM Exposed shows that behind the well-trained talking points is an anti-gay animus and moneyed connections that it is loath to reveal," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This website is not static. Working with the Courage Campaign, we will be watching the campaign trail and documenting NOM's political buys and bedfellows. We will connect the dots for voters."
NOM Exposed builds off the success of Courage Campaign’s NOM Tour Tracker – a blog of first-hand accounts, photos and videos chronicling NOM’s “2010 Summer for Marriage—One Man, One Woman” bus tour of 17 states. The Courage Campaign deployed three staffers to follow NOM’s tour and file reports from the road, generating more than one-million page views and more than 15,000 comments. During the course of the tour, federal courts declared two of NOM’s top policy priorities – California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act – unconstitutional.
The NOM Tour Tracker showed NOM’s summer tour consistently outnumbered three-to-one by pro-equality counter rally participants organized by Freedom to Marry and state LGBT organizations. It also showed NOM staff attempting to limit public access to their events and NOM’s sparse supporters doing everything from speaking in tongues, to comparing marriage equality to genocide and advocating the murder of LGBT families.
“The NOM Tour Tracker unmasked the so-called 'National Organization for Marriage' as a small and secretive fringe group devoted to attacking families, spreading lies, and sowing fear,” said Courage Campaign Founder and Chairman Rick Jacobs. “With a majority of Americans and a growing number of conservatives now standing up for equality, NOM Exposed takes this important work a step further by bringing to light the nefarious connections, shadowy finances, and dubious ethics at the heart of NOM’s brand of political extremism. We are proud to work with the Human Rights Campaign on this important initiative.”
NOM Exposed, the result of several months of research and collaboration, reveals the following:
• At a time of the country's greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, NOM's financial growth has been explosive. NOM has amassed huge resources – estimated to reach or exceed $10M in 2010 – from modest beginnings in 2007.
• NOM is a highly secretive organization that tries to not only hide the identity of its political donors from the voting public in state after state, but operates in a way to discourage people from knowing who its key players and associates are.
• NOM has deep connections to the Catholic Church hierarchy, to the Mormon Church, to evangelical right-wing pastors and churches and to those who have a long history of anti-gay rhetoric and activity. These are individuals and organizations which not only oppose same-sex marriage, but oppose domestic partnerships, civil unions, hate crimes protections and even fertility treatments for women because some of those women could be lesbians.
• Since 2008, NOM and its allies have engaged in a radical, nationwide plan to flout long-established campaign finance disclosure laws. This is nothing short of a strategic, coordinated plan to hide NOM's political activities from voters. This effort has prompted several state investigations and resounding legal defeats for NOM.
In addition to the rich archive of information, NOM Exposed features a blog where the latest on NOM’s activities will be tracked. LGBT leaders will also contribute guest posts to the blog with their own research and experiences with NOM. Freedom to Marry, which organized the Summer For Marriage tour in response to NOM, has the inaugural guest post up today.
"NOM Exposed gives voters a comprehensive look at an organization that operates largely in secret, yet plays a super-sized role in campaigns from California to Maine," added Solmonese. "By releasing this site and dedicating resources to NOM Project, we will confront this web of secrets and lies wherever NOM seeks to spread its political propaganda."
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.
The Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across America. Its ongoing equality initiatives include "Testimony", a nationwide public education campaign that's bringing the Prop 8 trial and the stories of affected families into the lives of everyday Americans and the Prop 8 Trial Tracker, a courtroom live-blog, news and commentary site which has generated more than 3 million views and 60,000 comments to date.