NOM Unable To Explain Away Race-Baiting and Other “Secret Tactics” Despite Best Efforts

The gay community has known that the National Organization for Marriage is a group of duplicitous, bigoted people willing to do whatever it takes to stop families from experiencing full equality. In recent weeks, however, the rest of the world has also become suddenly aware of how awful NOM is capable of being with the revelation of NOM’s race-baiting anti-gay tactics.

Now, public attention is focused on NOM, and they’re scrambling to stand up to the scrutiny. Since the initial revelation that NOM was consciously planning to pit communities of color and queer activists for marriage equality against each other, it’s also come out from the same documents that NOM was targeting “glamorous but unintelligent celebrities” as well as “glamorous young Latino and Latina leaders.”  Aside from an apparently deep-seated desire to transform the image of anti-equality organizing into a “glamorous” one, NOM’s specific focus on “unintelligent” celebrities or “non-cognitive elites” (NOM briefly worked with Carrie Prejean) reveals how little they think of their audience.  It would appear that significant amounts of NOM’s overall strategy were based wholly on the idea that they could manipulate or control the people around them, whether they were blacks, Latino/as, or “non-intellectuals.” Rather than constructing a campaign that brought people together around  a shared set of values or beliefs, NOM chose to rely on identity politics and assumptions about their own supporter base. Maybe that’s because when actually examined, the “values and beliefs” that NOM espouses are exposed as prejudice and baseless bigoted rhetoric. Regardless, it would seem that they’re regretting it now.

In response to the release of these documents, NOM’s Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown have both made statements implying that while the language used in the documents was regrettable, it didn’t actually reflect race-baiting. Maggie Gallagher’s exact words were:

“The documents used language which I would call ‘inapt’ — in part because it’s tremendously vain to think that I or NOM or any other white Christian conservative can manipulate black and latino church leaders. I don’t think so. They speak out of their own convictions and become subject to tremendous vituperative for doing so.” 

Just a few days later, Brian Brown was quoted as saying:

“Let me be the first to say that the tone of the language in that document as quoted by the press is inapt. Here’s something I know from the bottom of my soul: It would be enormously arrogant for anyone at NOM to believe that we can make or provoke African-American or Latino leaders do anything. The Black and Hispanic Democrats who stand up for marriage do so on principle—and get hit with a wave of vituperative attacks like nothing I have ever seen. We did not cause it, nor can we claim credit for these men and women’s courage in standing up in defense of our most fundamental institution: marriage.”

Aside from the irony of the fact that Brown was clearly not “the first to say” almost any of that statement, the fact that it’s virtually identical to Gallagher’s statement implies, as Alvin McEwen of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters notes, “[apparently] the leaking of the confidential documents detailing NOM’s plan of divide and conquer got members of the organization scared witless.” Despite how clear-cut NOM’s strategy appears to have been in their documentation, it seems that the only strategy their leadership can think to fall back on is pretending that it’s somehow been misconstrued — or that “the language” involved is an unfortunate accident of wording that somehow no individual in NOM should ever have to take responsibility for.

Gay GOP candidate Fred Karger was in fact the person who called for the release of NOM’s documentation in Maine, and he appeared along with Gallagher on MSNBC on Friday to discuss it.

When confronted with NOM’s words, Gallagher explained that it was an “in-house document” (as if the sentiments expressed in it would somehow be okay if no one else ever found out about them?) and, again, that she didn’t like “the language” because it implied that NOM had some level of control over religious and cultural leaders of color. Her resentment over this implication is a little confusing, because it comes from none other than NOM itself, but she seems insistent upon treating that as an assertion of the media, not her own organization. She then name-drops a number of politicians and leaders of color like Ruben Diaz, because obviously if you’ve ever worked with or shared the same views as a leader of color, it absolves you from ever having interacted with communities of color with anything other than the purest of intentions.

Just last month, GLAAD announced a new campaign to make sure that the average consumer of mainstream media knew the truth about “experts” like Maggie Gallagher; namely, that they’re bigots whose “expert opinion” isn’t based on research or education, but personal bias. In this case, it would appear that NOM may be doing their job for them — it should be obvious to anyone paying attention at all that NOM’s entire project is based in injustice and a perpetuation of harmful hegemony.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. “The Non-cognitive Elites” is the name of my new alt-country/surf-rock GOP parody band. I claim mandolin, but djembe is still up for grabs. Who’s in?

    • I’ve already started your fan page and have proclaimed myself Fan Club President..My tumblr will consist purely of pictures of The Non-cognitive Elites..And I will annoy my friends on Facebook with an endless stream of your lyric quotes..


      srsly though, I did just get invited to play the drums for a girl band in Philly but you guys remain my first priority…

    • I can’t wait until Rolling Stone Magazine is referring to me as “that drunken sluttly chick who’s always hanging backstage at The Non-cognitive Elites shows.

      • i will be “that drunken slutty chick who’s always getting dragged out of Non-Cognitive Elites shows by security”

      • I’ll be right there beside you. Or possibly underneath you, depending on your preference.

    • “The non-cognitive elites” would be the band name of the entirety of my old law school.

    • I just did a quick scan & I have maracas, a chinese rattle drum, 3 spoons, and an early 90’s mixed tape. I also have an unopened bottle of Kahlua & half a pie.
      One of these items should get me into the band. Right?

      • MIXED TAPE! I miss having someone make me a mix tape. You are not only in the band, you will be my favorite member! My tumblr will now also speak of how “dreamy” Lily is…

    • This will be the best band ever. 50 gays on a stage, groupies lining up already…we’re going all the way, queers.

  2. Ugh, NOM’s worldview and actions are definitely drenched in so much unapologetic, unrepentant GLAMOUR. I live for it! ☆!

  3. The great philosopher/chef of our times, Hannah Hart, once asked us to “show me where your noms at”. And I dare say, our “noms” have finally come to the place where they belong, in the toilet, like the stomach-churning vomit that they are.

    “If you’re with me, can I have a what!?”

  4. Oh my word.
    This is absolute craziness.
    As if the country needs more people working to create divisiveness?!

  5. Cause ya know, you can totally make those kinds of statements as long as you have “friends of color”. It’s a like a Pass Go and collect $200 for bigots. lmbao!

    Isn’t divorce the antithesis of marriage? If they are such strong supporters of marriage, shouldn’t they be using their money to fight divorce laws instead of the people (i.e. LGBT’s) who also support the institution of knot tying? There’s a word I’m looking for but I can’t seem to find it…On a similar note, I have to give her credit for introducing the word “vituperative” into my vocabulary.

    • I would give credit except I bet they used vituperative and inapt because they figured the “noncognitive-elite” and “unintelligents” wouldn’t understand what they were saying and thus stop reading. But I do give credit for passive- aggressiveness bullshit, ie, let’s apologize to people we don’t believe have the capacity to comprehend our apology.

  6. So…let me get this clear. They’re only “apologizing” for the language suggesting they’re arrogant enough to assume that they can manipulate PoC Communities………rather than the actual issue of them actively targeting minority groups. Did I get that right? They’re apologizing with a non-issue?

    • Maggie Gallagher apologises about the documents in much the same way I apologise to my boss when I get busted being on facebook during office hours..

      “Motherfucker… I guess I’m sorry… that I got caught. Pricks.”

  7. I just know if I could get Maggie Gallagher alone for five minutes, I’d have her doing body shots out of my naval.

  8. “…subject to tremendous vituperative for doing so.”

    I think someone needs to go back and check her word-of-the-day calendar. That’s not a noun, just a little more evidence that religious conservatives are ignorant racists.

    • I noticed that, too. I kept wanting them to add a noun afterward and THEN IT DIDN’T HAPPEN so my poor English degree-having brain kind of melted.

      Well that and all the bigotry.

  9. so, re: Ruben Diaz, did she just use the but-I-have-a-black/hispanic/poc-friend defense?

    • Yeah that was tote’s misleading. I thought I was going to get Melissa Awesome Harris Perry and her adorable lisp and instead I get Maggie Ghalager’s hateful hateyness only?!?!?!

  10. Looks like someone at NOM learnt a big word and couldn’t wait to share it with her buddies.

  11. I am just thankful to Fred Karger for exposing this, and to the Maine courts for ordering the documents released. Certainly not surprised. Now, the whole world can see what these people are: hateful, nasty, racist, homophobic BIGOTS who will stop at nothing to make people miserable just because.

  12. Anyone notice how NOM’s leaders said that they couldn’t, not that they wouldn’t?

    What horrible people.

  13. One of my proudest moments came when I videotaped NOM’s little “Summer of Marriage” tour stop in Madison a couple years back, and inadvertently caught them using Mellencamp’s “Little Pink Houses” as part of their pre-show music.

    My video got sent to Mellencamp’s…uh…camp, and they promptly slapped NOM with a cease and desist.

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