Documents have come to light in a Maine court filing that detail a plot by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to slow the legalization of same-sex marriage by dividing black and LGBT people, according to the Human Rights Commission.
The documents, marked “Confidential,” emerged as part of an investigation by the State of Maine into the conservative organization’s campaign finance activities in the state. In a board report called the “Not a Civil Right Project” for 2008 to 2009, the group discusses its heavy involvement in Proposition 8 in California, it’s goal of blocking attempts by New England states to legalize same-sex marriage, and, most controversially, a plan by NOM to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks.”
The organization hoped to “(f)ind, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots,” thereby “fanning the hostility” between two groups it sees as “key Democratic constituencies.”
NOM also hoped to target Latinos and prevent the “process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture” from leading Hispanics to “abandon traditional family values.”
The Human Rights Campaign has been watching the campaign finance case closely, with representatives on site in Maine obtaining documents as they are made available at the courthouse. HRC’s Campaign Media Director Kevin Nix told Raw Story, however, that when he read the confidential strategy documents, “My jaw literally dropped.”
Both Nix and BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith have expressed incredulity that NOM would put such nakedly cynical tactics into writing. Another document outlines what it calls “a ‘$20 million strategy for victory‘” in the 2010 elections by painting President Obama as a “social radical” and disseminating anti-LGBT materials to the media.
As unsavory as these tactics are, it is currently unclear whether NOM has done anything specifically that undermines its status as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. When asked what’s next, the HRC’s Nix said that more findings are expected later today, and that “shining a light” on NOM and “how dirty they play” will be “the best disinfectant.”
Attempts by Raw Story to reach representatives of NOM were unsuccessful.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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