National Organization for Marriage’s PR guy, Frank Schubert, is trying to explain away NOM’s inability to attract grassroots donors by alleging that NOM’s would-be donors aren’t giving because they’re afraid that gays will harass them if they do. From Campaigns & Elections:
Frank Schubert, president of Mission Public Affairs and political director for the National Organization for Marriage, says the high court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act should encourage gay marriage opponents to reengage and hopefully boost fundraising. But he admits that those trying to fight back same-sex marriage at the state level have been dealing with a lack of willing donors.
“Donors are afraid to give because they don’t want to be harassed,” says Schubert, who accuses gay marriage supporters of working to “intimidate people into silence.”
“That’s their primary strategy now,” he says. “They’ve given up really trying to convince people.”
NOM appears to be using this “gays harass our donors” allegation to avoid taking responsibility for being unattractive to donors. The allegation has been thoroughly debunked by the federal courts. When NOM sued California’s Secretary of State in an attempt to keep the identity of its Proposition 8 campaign donors secret, District Court Judge Morrison England, Jr. rejected NOM’s motion for preliminary injunction, saying:
Because the Court finds very little chance of success on the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims, because there is likewise minimal probability of the occurrence of irreparable harm to Plaintiffs or their contributors, and because the balance of interests, including the public’s interest, weighs against it, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction is DENIED.
Judge England later denied NOM’s attempt to circumvent California’s donor disclosure laws and discharged the case.
From a fundraising standpoint, repeating the debunked “gays harass our donors” allegation seems a peculiar strategy for Frank Schubert to employ if he is trying to inspire people to give money to NOM. The message he’s sending, in so many words, “The gays will come after you if you donate to NOM! Please donate to NOM.”
No wonder NOM’s receipts are down.
Meanwhile, the pro-equality side has had great success in sharing with the heterosexual community the simple dream of falling in love, getting married and growing old together with one’s spouse. From the Campaigns & Elections article:
Richard Carlbom, who led Minnesota’s pro-gay marriage campaign, laughs off Schubert’s intimidation claim, noting that gay marriage opponents are still reeling from their recent losses. Carlbom says the real fundraising disparity, which he thinks is likely to continue in future gay marriage ballot fights, is thanks to the country’s rapidly shifting stance on marriage.
“It’s unfortunate that the folks who continue to push these divisive policies in this country frankly don’t understand that it’s not the gay community who is responding in droves, it’s the straight community who is standing up and saying ‘I would never want to be told it’s illegal to marry the person I love, and therefore, I’m going to make sure that everybody has that freedom,’” Carlbom says.
In the last year alone, this approach has achieved marriage equality ballot measure wins in Washington, Minnesota, Maryland and Maine and legislative wins in Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota. Marriage equality is now the law of the land in 13 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled unconstitutional the section of DOMA that for federal purposes defined marriage as a heterosexual-only union.
Since this news can’t have escaped NOM’s sympathizers, it would be reasonable for them to question the integrity of an organization whose political director makes obviously erroneous statements that marriage equality supporters have “given up really trying to convince people.”