Today, just two weeks after voters in Washington, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota affirmed their support of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples by rejecting NOM’s anti-gay ballot measure campaigns, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) released a video extolling its “Top Ten Marriage Victories of 2012“. The question is, what victories? Here is NOM’s list:
1. Dump Starbucks — What can only be described as a total flop, Dump Starbucks was launched by NOM in March of 2012 in response to Starbucks’ statement in support of marriage equality. Since the campaign’s inception, less than 49,000 people have signed on, despite NOM advertising in scathingly anti-gay countries. In contrast, over 650,00 people have signed onto the Thank You Starbucks message for Starbucks’ support of marriage equality.
2. Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance launched — NOM does not explain how simply launching a new website qualifies as a victory.
3. Indiana Proposed Marriage Constitutional Amendment — Although the Indiana legislature passed an anti-freedom to marry constitutional amendment in 2011, no action was taken on it in 2012. Before the measure can be put to a popular vote, identical legislation must be passed again during the 2013-14 legislative session. However, Gov. Mitch Daniels, who has not stated a position on the measure, reported that business leaders have expressed their concern over the amendment. “They wouldn’t want their ability to offer benefits and that sort of thing limited,” he told The Herald Bulletin. A majority of voters (54%) polled in November opposed NOM’s anti-gay amendment. Only 38% supported it. This “victory” appears to be defined as “it’s not totally dead yet”.
4. Regnerus Study Published — Like their launch of a new website, NOM does not explain how the publication of a study, especially one widely considered to be junk science, can be declared a victory.
5. Republican National Committee Platform – The GOP continuing to maintain anti-gay planks in their platform can only be considered a victory if NOM has been fighting ever-growing forces for fairness to gays within the Republican Party. Otherwise, this qualifies as “Is the Pope Catholic?”.
6. Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day — While it is true that many people lined up for chicken sandwiches on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, it isn’t entirely clear whether patrons were supporting the restaurant’s anti-gay stance, or sending a message of disapproval to city officials in Boston and Chicago who seemed to be overstepping their boundaries. In any case, NOM was apparently unable to monopolize on Chick-fil-A’s windfall.
7. GOP Candidates Sign NOM’s “True Marriage” Pledge — Again, is the Pope Catholic? How is the pandering of Republican candidates to their base a victory rather than just business as usual?
8. NY State Senator Saland Ousted — Sen. Saland, a Republican who voted for New York’s marriage equality bill, did lose his re-election bid…to pro-equality Democrat Terry Gipson. NOM’s spoiler candidate in the race came in third. What NOM isn’t saying is that it completely failed to accomplish the first step in its plan to “reverse same-sex marriage in New York”, which would have required it to oust 21 pro-equality legislators in the November, 2012 election. No victory for NOM here.
9. Passage of Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment in North Carolina — This is NOM’s only bona fide victory in 2012. It is a shallow victory, however, because same-sex marriage was already illegal in North Carolina before the amendment passed. NOM doesn’t mention that at the start of 2012 there were only six marriage equality states, plus Washington, D.C., but now there are nine. This wouldn’t be the first time NOM uses it’s own new math to spin defeat or lack of gain into “victory”.
10. US Supreme Court Takes DOMA and Prop 8 Cases — There is trepidation on all sides whenever the court agrees to hear an appeal, but it is difficult to understand how the court’s decision to take up these cases is a victory for NOM when the gay, pro-marriage equality plaintiffs wanted their appeals heard.
In sum, it’s hard to find any victory in NOM’s list. Frankly, if I were a supporter of NOM’s goals, I’d be concerned about investing in an organization that isn’t up-front and honest. What other truths might NOM be fudging?