Joe Mirabella

Anti-equality foes so ashamed they have to hide

Filed By Joe Mirabella | January 06, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Focus on the Family, Iowa, Maine, NOM, Prop. 8, Protect Marriage Washington, referendum 71

This is part 2 of a 3 part series discussing the pending Supreme Court case that will decide the future of our petition gathering process in Washington, and the push by anti-equality forces to operate in secrecy nationwide. Yesterday I argued Referendum 71 petition signatures should remain public and I urged the US Supreme Court to let the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision stand.

Our opponents in Washington who wish to destroy our open process of government to conceal their identities are not alone. They work in concert with organizations throughout the country who also wish to work anonymously.

Moving from state to state, these forces routinely avoid campaign laws, IRS rules, and violate campaign ethics rules. They've done so while attempting to co-opt a status as victims -- a status that only exists in their over active imaginations.

NOM's addiction to the closet

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) who funds campaigns against equal rights throughout the country -- even acts as humane as the ability to claim the remains of a deceased loved one--has been dodging state and local governments every step of the way.

NOM is currently facing campaign ethics investigations in Iowa and Maine. They are repeatedly accused of skirting campaign laws to conceal the identities of contributors.

Bay Windows
reported, "In an August 13, [2009] letter to the Maine Commission, Californians Against Hate leader Fred Karger suggested NOM is "trying to hide the true identities of those contributing to the campaign."

The evidence is mounting that NOM my be serving as a contribution laundry service so donors can operate in secrecy and avoid state laws mandating disclosure of donor contributions.

Focus on the Family, a colleague of NOM's, followed their lead and tried to pull a similar stunt in Washington. In a last minute legal push during the Referendum 71 campaign, Focus on the Family wanted to abandon state disclosure rules so people could donate anonymously while abandoning campaign finance rules that restricted donations to less than $5,000.00.

They lost.

NOM regularly evades IRS rules that require timely disclosure of tax returns. TPM Blogger Danielle Truszkovsky obtained a copy of their 2007 return from the IRS despite NOM's attempt to keep it private for several years.

Since NOM is facing everything from money laundering charges in Maine, to campaign ethics violations in Iowa, Truszkowvsky is correct to call on congress to investigate NOM since they are spreading their reach throughout the country.

It is easier to be shameful when you are hiding

The cost for those families caught in the wrath of anti-equality organization's unethical practices are high. Their dishonest and secretive practices continue to threaten civil rights and the foundations of our government at every turn.

One has to wonder if NOM, Protect Marriage Washington, Focus on the Family, the Supporters of Prop 8, and other anti-equality forces were so convinced their arguments were noble, why would they want to operate in a cloak of secrecy?

David Ink at Independent Gay Forum proposed an answer:

...our opponents don't want to have a public debate. That leaves me with the distinct impression our opponents are afraid of nothing more than their own illogic. They want and need to hide because their arguments don't hold up. Of course they lack the pride and the drive of our supporters -- they don't have anything to be proud of. The discriminatory laws they are trying to maintain have no real justification; they are supported by nothing more than fear of homosexual couples.

That's a ludicrous thing to be afraid of, so they have to concoct what they think is a more respectable veneer. But, as with other forms of prejudice, in the end they are victims only of their own fevered imaginations.

That doesn't require a court's protective order; it requires some soul searching.

Ink is exactly right. The only logical explanation for our opponents desire for secrecy is that their arguments against our community have warn thin and they are on the wrong side of history. No one really wants to their legacy to be that of the hooded monster who tried to hurt families. Even they can see the writing on the wall. Their decedents are going to grow up in a country where every American is treated equally. History does not treat those that stand in the way of civil rights very nicely.

Tomorrow, in the final part of the 3 part series, I will examine how secrecy is destructive to democracy and human rights.


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I think this has a LOT to do with it...

History does not treat those that stand in the way of civil rights very nicely.

By keeping their "secret," they just don't want anyone to know that they hate gays and lesbians so much that they are willing to give money to deny us civil rights. That's Santa's List they don't want on. They're more than willing to let Maggie Gallagher take it on the chin as their leader if it means they can keep their cloak of civility.

Angela Brightfeather | January 7, 2010 10:41 AM

Joe,

Has anyone considered the idea of placing embeds in the NOM movement?

I note your earlier post about HRC. It would seem to me that instead of spending millions on trying to stop things like Prop 8 after the fact, that it might be worth more to have a few embeds to find out what NOM and their ilk are doing before they do it and head them of at the pass, so to speak.

I think that only the good nature of GLBT people stops them from playing the game that NOM plays and after all, the only thing that embeds would do is to allow a bit more light into the NOM closet. We all talk about where the fear and hate comes from in groups like them, but no one has really put their finger on exactly why they are so fearful and anyone who fears SSM like they do, must have other fears also that need some airing. Fears like equality for people of color or immigrants, just to mention a few. I think that it would be well worth the effort to expose these bigots for what they are and to extend their bigotry beyond just the GLBT community and the SSM issue.

I am sure there are a few GLBT people who need jobs. So why not create our own version of the Secret Service and get behind their battle lines. It might save our community a lot of money and time if we didn't play so nice with these people. Besides, we look just like them and we speak the same native language.

Arlene Barber | January 7, 2010 1:32 PM

Are all records of pro-gay contributions and petitions usually made public? I don't see why this shouldn't be "equal" also, if lgbtq and allies submit this information to public scrutiny. This sounds like a strong growing groundswell. Who is in the closet now?

Angela, I don't know the answer to your question.

Arlene,

In Washington we have a very strong public disclosure law that requires the disclosure of all money coming in and out of political action committees. The information is online on Washington State's PDC website. It contains a lot of personal information including the person's or business's name, address, job, and amount contributed or the amount spent.

We also have an online searchable database of registered Domestic Partners via the Secretary of State. You can look me up and see who I'm registered with, the city I live in, and my registration number. The goal of the database was to give partners a way to prove their legal relationship to concerned entities.

The public disclosure law is incredibly important to maintain the integrity of our electoral system, to hold our candidates ethically accountable, and to insure that campaign finance laws are being followed.

Our Federal Government would be wise to implement a similar system.