10 Things You Should Know About the Beleaguered National Organization for Marriage

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has suffered a great many defeats recently.  The group was founded in 2007 to help pass Proposition 8, California’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. However, now that the issue of marriage appears to be on a one-way path toward nationwide equality in America, NOM has expanded its war against basic civil rights and human dignity to touch virtually all aspects of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

What’s more, NOM has begun exporting its personal brand of anti-LGBT advocacy abroad, working with governments around the world to pass legislation targeting LGBT people for unfair treatment under the law.  NOM’s mission and work have changed over the years; take a look at 10 things you might not have known about the organization:

1.     NOM uses racially motivated tactics as part of its official strategy. From the group’s internal memos: “The strategic goal of the project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two key Democratic constituencies.” They’ve also tried to make opposition to equality a “key badge” of Latino identity in yet another attempt to divide.

2.     NOM thinks businesses like grocery stores, restaurants and hotels should be able to deny service to LGBT customers if they believe LGBT people are immoral.

3.     NOM’s Brian Brown says LGBT advocates are “bullies” and has compared the “persecution” he faces to that of Jesus Christ.

4.     NOM pushes discredited and harmful “conversion therapy,” even though practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation have been condemned by every major medical and mental health organization in the country.

5.     NOM’s Brian Brown says families headed by gay and lesbian parents aren’t “normal,” and he even traveled to Russia to support a draconian bill banning adoption by same-sex couples.

6.     Though NOM tries to portray itself as a grassroots organization, they aren’t. In reality, NOM is primarily funded by a few large donors who hide behind a wall of secrecy.

7.     NOM is so hell-bent on operating secretly; the organization is willing to break the law to avoid exposing its deep pockets.  In May the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices voted to fine NOM to the tune of over $50,000 after a four-year investigation exposed “a significant violation of law” by the national anti-LGBT organization.

8.     This isn’t about partisan politics. In 2014, facing a string of legal defeats, NOM has decided that the best use of its remaining funds is to attack Republicans just for being pro-equality.

9.     NOM hosted a rally and invited speakers who likened the marriage equality movement to slavery, and other terrible comparisons.

10.  NOM is losing support and donors fast as more people stand up for civil rights and against discrimination. Maybe that’s why Brian Brown is travelling all over the world looking for countries more hostile to equality and more open to NOM’s outdated views.

 

Source: HRC Blog, “10 Things You Should Know About the Beleaguered National Organization for Marriage,” October 22, 2014 by HRC staff

Obama: ‘I Think The Equal Protection Clause Does Guarantee Same-Sex Marriage’ In All States

President Barack Obama seems to have changed his tune on gay marriage, telling The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin he believes same-sex couples in all 50 states should be allowed to marry under the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

Obama first publicly backed gay marriage in May 2012, but noted he thought the issue should be left to the states. Speaking with Toobin for the Oct. 27 issue of The New Yorker, Obama said the best Supreme Court decision since he took office was the recent rejection of gay marriage appeals from five states, a move the president said is “a consequential and powerful signal of the changes that have taken place in society and that the law is having to catch up.”

While Obama said the high court “was not quite ready” to “indicate an equal-protection right across the board,” he personally believes same-sex marriage is protected under that clause. From The New Yorker:

Obama opposed marriage equality until May of 2012. He told me that he now believes the Constitution requires all states to allow same-sex marriage, an argument that his Administration has not yet made before the Supreme Court. “Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states,” he said. “But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.

“The bulk of my nominees, twenty years ago or even ten years ago, would have been considered very much centrists, well within the mainstream of American jurisprudence, not particularly fire-breathing or ideologically driven,” Obama went on. “So the fact that now Democratic appointees and Republican appointees tend to vote differently on issues really has more to do with the shift in the Republican Party and in the nature of Republican-appointed jurists … Democrats haven’t moved from where they were.”

The federal government has extended federal benefits to same-sex married couples in states where gay marriage has been legalized, most recently giving benefits to those in the five states where the gay marriage appeals were rejected.

Read Toobin’s entire piece on Obama at The New Yorker.

Source:  The Huffington Post, “Obama: ‘I Think The Equal Protection Clause Does Guarantee Same-Sex Marriage’ In All States,” By Posted: 10/20/2014 9:22 am EDT Updated: 4 hours ago

Colorado AG says all 64 clerks must issue same-sex marriage licenses

Anna Simon, left, puts the ring on the finger of Fran Simon after getting the first same sex married couple to get their license at the Denver County clerk's office where they began issuing same sex marriage licenses July 10, 2014. (John Leyba, Denver Post file photo)

Anna Simon, left, puts the ring on the finger of Fran Simon after getting the first same sex married couple to get their license at the Denver County clerk’s office where they began issuing same sex marriage licenses July 10, 2014. (John Leyba, Denver Post file photo)

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers on Monday said all 64 county clerks must begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear all appeals on gay marriage bans.

Suthers’ announcement is an abrupt and unexpected resolution to the legal battles in Colorado, including the attorney general’s previous successful efforts to stop to county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses this past summer.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file photo)

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file photo)

“By choosing not to take up the matter, the court has left the 10th Circuit ruling in place,” Suthers said in a statement. “We expect the 10th Circuit will issue a final order governing Colorado very shortly. Once the formalities are resolved clerks across the state must begin issuing marriage licenses to all same-sex couples.”

Federal and state judges in Colorado have previously struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage but they also implemented stays in those cases.

Suthers said his office will file motions to expedite the lifting of the stays in both the state and federal courts. The attorney general said he will to continue to advise the clerks on when to begin issuing the licenses.

Attorneys representing the couples in the federal lawsuit also filed a motion Monday morning to have the stay lifted in that case.

Once the legal formalities are finalized, same-sex marriage will be legal in Colorado.

On June 25, Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples hours after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Utah’s ban. Clerks in Denver and Pueblo counties joined Hall, after a Boulder District Court judge denied Suthers’ request to stop her.

In just over a month, about 350 same-sex marriage licenses were issued in Colorado.

Hillary Hall

Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall is all smiles during a media briefing at the Clerk & Recorder’s Office in Boulder, July 10, 2014. Hall, along with County Attorney David Hughes, answered questions from the media in regard to the Boulder County District Court decision on the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in Boulder County. (RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file photo)

DOCUMENT: Read Suthers’ statement about same-sex marriage.

On July 18, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered Johnson to stop issuing the licenses , and Suthers persuaded the Pueblo clerk to stop shortly after. But it took more than a week and two additional court orders before the Colorado Supreme Court ordered Hall to stop.

On Monday, Hall’s office said once the injunction is resolved the office will resume issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

The high court’s decision not to hear appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin has effectively legalized same-sex marriage in those states.

Six other states — Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming — are bound by the same appeals the Supreme Court denied. Couples in those states should be able to get married soon.

Jason Woodrich, left and Ben Hauth share a kiss after signing their marriage license at the Denver County clerk's office where they began issuing same sex marriage licenses July 10, 2014. (John Leyba, Denver Post file photo)

Jason Woodrich, left and Ben Hauth share a kiss after signing their marriage license at the Denver County clerk’s office where they began issuing same sex marriage licenses July 10, 2014. (John Leyba, Denver Post file photo)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source:  The Denver Post, “Colorado AG says all 64 clerks must issue same-sex marriage licenses,” by Jordan Steffan, POSTED:   10/06/2014 10:33:34 AM MDT2 COMMENTS| UPDATED:   8 MIN. AGO

SCOTUS opens same-sex marriage in several states

The justices’ action, announced without comment by the court Monday morning, appears to clear the way for same-sex marriages in at least five states in short order. A series of other states could also see the practice quickly legalized under appeals court rulings already handed down.

The justices turned aside petitions challenging appellate decisions that overturned same-sex marriage bans in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The decision surprised many analysts because the justices had twice stepped in — in Utah and Virginia — to halt same-sex marriages in those states after lower court rulings found gay marriage bans unconstitutional.

(PHOTOS: Where same-sex couples can wed)

Now, those stays will be swept aside, with those decisions likely to kick in within a matter of days.

“I think this is a terrific result, for now,” said Richard Socarides, a gay-rights advocate and former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “It’s a little bit incremental, but I think it’s fantastic result and we should celebrate today.”

Conservatives were puzzled and disappointed by the outcome, since it takes only four justices to grant review of a case and the four most conservative justices last year dissented from the court’s decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act as violating the rights of gays and lesbians.

(PHOTOS: 26 gay-rights milestones)

”The Court’s denial of review in all the pending cases strikes me as grossly irresponsible, as a huge abdication of duty on the part of at least six justices,” Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center wrote on National Review online.

The action was announced shortly before the justices convened Monday morning for the first session of the Supreme Court’s new term.

Source:  Politico, “SCOTUS opens same-sex marriage in several states,” By Josh Gerstein | 10/6/14 10:10 AM EDT Updated: 10/6/14 10:54 AM EDT

Breaking: Missouri judge rules state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states where they are legal. #MarriageMomentum

MO-HRC