Karen Ocamb

NOM's Dirty Deal with the Devil

Filed By Karen Ocamb | June 07, 2014 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: deal with the devil, marriagemarch.org, National Organization for Marriage, NOM

NOM-marriage-march-promo.jpgRemember that musical "Damn Yankees" where an aging Washington Senators baseball fan makes a Faustian bargain with the devil to become the young hero who wins the pennant against the Yankees? But there's an escape clause in the devil's bargain, and in the end, the devil fails to secure the fan's soul because he is madly in love with his wife. One bit of irony: the fan's younger self, who eschews "Lola" (Gwen Vernon) to remain true to his middle-aged wife, is played by closeted gay Hollywood star Tab Hunter. Not all marriages or Faustian bargains are what they seem.

And that brings us to the National Organization for Marriage, which is planning a major march on Washington featuring D-list extreme, lackluster speakers. This is the Catholic political group run by Brian Brown and Frank Schubert, who exported their Prop. 8 success to Maine, where they funded the 2009 ballot referendum to stop that state's new marriage equality law from taking effect. They used basically the same scary "what if" election tactics Schubert and his then-partner Jeff Flint made up for Prop. 8 - tactics the U.S. District Court found were based in animus towards gays when the court ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

Technically, Schubert, whose sister is a lesbian, didn't violate any professional ethics since the American Association of Political Consultants, which gave Schubert an award for his Prop. 8 campaign, has a code against using "racism, sexism, religious intolerance or any form of unlawful discrimination" in political advertising. Homophobic is not included and - in that devilish way political hacks have in spinning the truth--same-sex marriage had not yet become lawful so the efforts to make it unlawful by NOM's political strategist Frank Schubert was not a violation of AAPC's professional code.

However, pursuant to a 2009 complaint filed by former political consultant and equal rights activist Fred Karger, the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices found NOM guilty of election fraud and fined the anti-LGBT group a record $50,250. A 37-page report of their investigation [pdf] found numerous lies about how Question 1, the referendum on the Nov. 3, 2009, ballot, was funded. NOM President appears to have also lied in sworn testimony before the Ethics Commission and his "Sworn on his Oath" affidavit. (See the agenda for the Maine Commission meeting and background materials here.)

"After nearly five years of NOM head Brian Brown and his army of lawyers fighting in state and federal court against the investigation, the verdict is in and NOM is guilty of election fraud," Karger said after the commission announced the fine. The commission found that, in order to disguise the names of donors, Brown directed contributors to make checks out to NOM, which would turn the money around for using by the campaign - an illegal practice commonly known as money laundering.

Karger offered kudos to the commissioners and officials who "stood up to the all the threats and lawsuits from the bullies at NOM and their cadre of high-priced attorneys over the past four and a half years. They beat back NOM's attempt to break the law and then cover it up every step of the way," said Fred Karger. "All Americans who believe in truth and transparency in our election process owe everyone in Maine who worked on this investigation and all the lawsuits around it a huge debt of gratitude."

But as the devil himself discovered in "Damn Yankees," sometimes hubris and self-delusion can overwhelm any sense of decency or proportion. And that seems to be what's happened to NOM. Still denying any wrong-doing, still wrapping themselves in religiousity, NOM released a video Sunday promoting their June 19 March for Marriage 2014 that not only flips history but appropriates the MLK March on Washington in 1964 as if NOM's anti-gay marriage movement and the civil rights movement are even in the same ballpark.

But even fast-cut editing reveals the truth. As this back shot of Brian Brown reveals, they do not have the thousands of supporters they claim.


If NOM lied to get their way in Prop. 8 and again in Maine, and then lied to the independent commissioners investigating their actions - and then lied again here to seduce people empathetic to civil rights advocacy - who but the devil is making them lie? If NOM really had God on their side, they wouldn't need to lie. The truth is sufficient.

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