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Catholic dollars at work: National Organization for Marriage financed rally, July 2010 (Bilerico)
With disclosures that funding provided to National Organization for Marriage "has been used to exploit people of color and the children of gay parents in this country as pawns in a political chess game," "manipulate these communities and 'fan… hostility'" two national LGBT organizations, Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry have called on the Catholic Church to end their support of the disgraced organization.

They ask the Church to disentangle itself from a "shell-group" that explicitly uses "such toxic tactics to pit American against American, minority against minority, family member against family member."

HRC's Joe Solmonese:

"We are asking the Catholic Bishops to spread the message that all people are loved. Cardinal Dolan has the opportunity to denounce race-baiting and attempts at ethnic division, and in doing so would be representing the views of fair-minded lay Catholics across the country, who overwhelmingly support LGBT equality.”
Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry:
“The Catholic Church hierarchy is way out of step with the majority of Catholics, who, like the majority of Americans, support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. We call on the Bishops to stop funneling funds through NOM and to repent and renounce the toxic tactics they have supported in anti-gay campaigns that pit Americans against Americans, minorities against minorities, and family members against family members.”
Catholic organizations, like regional diocese, and Knights of Columbus have been a major source of funding for National Organization for Marriage. In 2009, Knights of Columbus donated $1.4M to NOM. Also in 2009, the Portland Catholic Archdiocese contributed $550,000 to National Organization for Marriage to be used to fund the Question 1 battle in Maine—83% of the total funding.

The letter below:

April 10, 2012

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, President
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street, Northeast
Washington, DC 20017-1194

Dear Cardinal Dolan:

On behalf of the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry, the two largest organizations working to secure marriage equality in America, we are writing to ask that you and affiliated organizations such as the Knights of Columbus end your financial support and collaboration with the fringe group known as the National Organization for Marriage or NOM. Last week, HRC uncovered a series of documents that shed light on the racially and ethnically divisive strategies and tactics used by NOM.

The documents reveal that NOM’s key goals are to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks,” and to manipulate Hispanic communities by “making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity” and “to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of ‘Anglo’ culture.”  Perhaps most shocking, NOM planned “to identify the children of gay parents willing to speak on camera,” essentially tricking minors into publicly criticizing their families.

Sadly, the evidence shows that the funding provided to NOM has been used to exploit people of color and the children of gay parents in this country as pawns in a political chess game.  NOM’s attempt to manipulate these communities and “fan… hostility” has outraged fair-minded Americans and civil rights leaders all across the country.   The NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the National Council of La Raza are just a few of the many national organizations condemning NOM and these poisonous strategies.

It is hard to believe that the Catholic Church hierarchy, which professes to “promote the greater good which the Church offers humankind,” would continue to funnel funds into, and align itself with, an organization that explicitly uses such toxic tactics to pit American against American, minority against minority, family member against family member.  The Knights of Columbus, to give just one example, has acknowledged pouring at least one million dollars into NOM.  

The truth is the great majority of Catholics support the freedom to marry. The Public Religion Research Institute recently found that 71 percent of American Catholics support civil marriage for same-sex couples.  Increasingly, church-going Catholics question why hospitals, soup kitchens, and even parish churches are being closed for lack of funds at the same time their Church leadership is spending millions of dollars to divide families.

Freedom to Marry and HRC implore you to stop collaborating with, and to immediately stop funding, the National Organization for Marriage and such tactics.  By doing so you would send a resounding message that race-baiting, ethnic exploitation, division, and anti-gay campaigns have no place in the Church, or in America.


Joe Solmonese
President, Human Rights Campaign

Evan Wolfson
President, Freedom to Marry

Freedom to Marry and Human Rights Campaign cite the objections of the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the National Council of La Raza as condemning NOM's poisonous strategies. A sampling of their statements after the fold.

Today, Right Wing Watch is reporting National Organization for Marriage is continuing to promote the views of a right-wing extremist minister who maintains homosexuality is a “wicked, deviant, immoral, self-destructive, anti-human sexual behavior,” and that violence against gays is "normal."

A recap of what some civil rights leaders had to say about
National Organization for Marriage's political tactics.

Julian Bond (AFER)
Dr. Julian Bond, NAACP's Chairman Emeritus said:
"NOM's underhanded attempts to divide will not succeed if Black Americans remember their own history of discrimination. Pitting bigotry's victims against other victims is reprehensible; the defenders of justice must stand together."

Bond also used the words "evil" and "filthy" when asked to share his thoughts with The Hill paper. Bond spoke at greater length with Anderson Cooper on CNN saying "It's one of the most cynical things I've ever heard of" and it's "scary" that NOM tried to move people "around like pieces on a chess board." The video is here.

Current president and CEO of the NAACP Benjamin Jealous said:

“This memo only reveals the limits of a cynical agenda. The truth is that no group, no matter how well-funded, can drive an artificial wedge between our communities. People of color understand what it is like to be the target of discrimination. No public relations strategy will make us forget that.”
Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of Policy for the National Council of La Raza:
"The cravenness on display from NOM is reminiscent of another bastion of intolerance, the anti-immigrant movement...

The documents reveal an organization rife with bigotry, willing to do anything to advance intolerance in our society."

Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center's Director of Intelligence said:
"[T]he revelation of its bald attempt to exploit black people and Latinos should help end the idea that NOM is an honorable group that would never engage in race-baiting. Because that is precisely what it has done."
Sharon Lettman-Hicks (NBJC)
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, said:
“These documents expose NOM for what it really is—a hate group determined to use African American faith leaders as pawns to push their damaging agenda and as mouthpieces to amplify that hatred.”
Kara Suffredini, Executive Director of MassEquality said:
"It has been obvious for years that one of the key strategies employed by opponents of marriage equality is to weaken Americans’ collective fairness by pitting parents against children, neighbors against neighbors, and minority groups against minority groups.


“Nonetheless, such toxic cynicism never ceases to be shocking. The casual tone with which NOM outlines how it will turn fair-minded Americans against each other solely to hurt LGBT families speaks for itself. This is the ugliest example of a “solution” in search of a problem.”

Minister Leslie Watson
Malachi (PFAW)
Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council said:
“African American men and women of faith are not a political football to be tossed around in a cynical game of resentment and division. We, like all Americans, struggle thoughtfully with issues of faith, family and politics.


“NOM’s explicit attempt to drive a wedge between the LGBT community and African Americans is deeply offensive, and it exposes the depravity of their politics.”

Wade Henderson Esq., president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said:
"The National Organization for Marriage's 'divide and conquer' tactics are desperate and despicable. African Americans, Latinos, and sexual minorities recognize injustice when they see it, and they recognize when they're being used. NOM has no standing in minority communities, and these documents further underscore this reality."
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