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NOM's latest blog post is called "They're Lying Again." It contains an image of people yelling with the caption "Just A Reminder: Radical Anti-Marriage Activists Lie (I have no idea what the photo is actually of)". So I decided to take a look back at all of NOM's lies.

Misusing photo of Obama rally

In October of 2011, NOM produced this graphic promoting their activities:

Now, this is a photo from an Obama rally in November of 2008, as reported by Upper Arlington Progressive Action. I included the report so you can quickly verify that it indeed is an Obama rally:
Now, this is a real photo of their supporters:
That was the most fun part of this diary.

Lying about same-sex parents

In June of 2012, Mark Regnerus came out with his bullshit (not my word, but that of a reviewer of the study) study that has been used endless to claim that same-sex parents are harmful. NOM's initial reporting on the study was actually quite honest and accurate:

The New Family Structures Survey is the first new survey of young adults that is large, nationally representative, and looked at more than 40 varied outcome measures, from the chance a young adult has been arrested, is unemployed, is depressed or suicidal, has relationship problems, or has had multiple sex partners, to how good he or she felt about their family growing up, and whether he or she was sexually abused. On 25 of these 40 outcomes, adult children who reported that one of their parents had had a same-sex romance during their childhood, fared worse.

Overall, 1.7 percent of all American adults between the ages of 18-39 reported either their mom or their dad had a gay romance. Very few of them lived with their fathers during that time. 91 percent lived with their mothers while she had this romantic relationship. But most of these relationships turned out to be fleeting.

The researchers interviewed more than 15,000 people and found just two young adults who had been raised from birth by two moms.

This tells me something really important: gay marriage is not about helping children. The "Modern Family" we see on TV and relayed in the media is vanishingly rare. We aren't seriously contemplating gay marriage because it will protect the children.

Does this new study prove gay parents harm their children? No. Does it tell us how children fare, on average, when raised by two moms from birth? No. We still can't say that from scientific evidence because we don't have good data.

In the very next paragraph, however, they draw a conclusion that can't be drawn:
But together these two studies do tell us Judge Walker was wrong. They show us the claim that science has disproven and ruled out of court the idea that children need a mom and dad is just bogus.
That was on June 15, 2012 at 12:30 p.m.. A mere hour-and-a-half later, they returned with a number of commentaries on the study, and endorsed the claims that same-sex parents harm their children (emphasis added):
Here are some helpful links going into more depth and examining the implications of the two landmark studies that were released earlier this week.

Be sure to first to check out a new website on the New Family Structures Study, including links to Mark Regnerus’ and Loren Marks’ studies as well as the three scholarly comments on those studies. The website also has helpful tools for easily comparing outcomes among the different family structures studied:

Here are the reactions and op-eds:

Supreme Court Take Notice: Two Sociologists Shift the Ground of the Marriage Debate by Matthew Franck (Public Discourse)

Are Gay Parents Worse Parents? by Mona Charen (NRO)

The Kids Aren’t All Right: New Family Structures and the “No Differences” Claim by Ana Samuel (Public Discourse)

The Regnerus Debate: Most gay-parenting studies are long on bias and short on hard data by Douglas Allen (NRO)

A Liberal War on Science: Don’t bury Mark Regnerus’ study of gay parents. Learn what it can teach the left and right by William Saletan (Slate)

New Research on Children of Same-Sex Parents Suggests Differences Matter by Christine Kim and Jennifer Marshall (Heritage’s The Foundry Blog)

Gay Parents and the Marriage Debate by Ross Douthat (New York Times)

Debate on a Study Examining Gay Parents by Benedict Carey (New York Times)

A Mom and a Dad Make a Difference by Kathryn Lopez (NRO)

Exposing the Schlock Social Science on Gay Parenting: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 by Ed Whelan (NRO’s Bench Memos)

Is Gay Parenting Bad for the Kids? Children of gay couples are disadvantaged – because of family instability by Charles Cooke (NRO)

Good weekend reading!

That was June 2012. On December 19 of that year, they released a video celebrating their successes of the year (apart from the passage of the marriage discrimination amendment in North Carolina, there's not much). In the blog post promoting the video, they said:
Marriage is winning . . .

... with new, powerful, and compelling research by scholars like Mark Regnerus at the University of Texas, whose ground-breaking "New Family Structures Study" showed the major differences between young adults raised by same-sex parents and those raised by a married mom and dad;

The video contained these two graphics:
But NOM's smears of same-sex parents don't end there. Even though they have dismissed the legitimate American Academy of Pediatrics, which supports marriage equality and same-sex adoption, because it is good for children, they have cited the illegitimate American College of Pediatricians, which is not a medical organization. It is a socially conservative advocacy organization, founded in response to the AAP's support of same-sex adoption. From the ACP's Wikipedia page:
[Co-founder Joseph] Zanga has described ACP as a group "with Judeo-Christian, traditional values that is open to pediatric medical professionals of all religions who hold true to the group's core beliefs: that life begins at conception; and that the traditional family unit, headed by a different-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children."
When you dismiss medical organizations and promote religious organizations to make medical claims, you are a complete laughing stock.

Lying to oppose changing the membership policy of the Boy Scouts

In May last year, the Boy Scouts voted to allow membership to openly gay youth but not adults. NOM didn’t even bother pretending that it’s not anti-gay. It strongly opposed the change, using inaccurate fear-mongering to make its case.

The post I will quote is from February 2 last year. They pointed out that the Boy Scouts do have a legal right to discriminate:

But thirteen years ago, in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, the Supreme Court of the United states upheld the right of the Boy Scouts to make their own decisions about membership, despite a New Jersey law that would have required them to accept an openly homosexual Scoutmaster.
Then they make their case for their opposition to the change in policy:
[Gay rights activists] will settle for nothing short of capitulation – homosexuality-affirming troops in every locale across America, tolerating no exceptions, period. Any parent or young man who holds a traditional Judeo-Christian view of sexual morality will be attacked as bigoted and accused of discriminatory conduct. You can imagine the lawsuits that will follow.
They didn’t realise two things:

1. Accusations of bigotry against anti-gay Scouts and parents can occur without a change in policy. A change in policy would not cause accusation of bigotry against anti-gay Scouts and parents.

2. They forgot the very Supreme Court case that they referenced a few paragraphs earlier. How can they be worried about lawsuits against the Scouts when the highest court in the country has already ruled that they have a legal right to discriminate? And they made that very point in the same blog post.

They’re not really concerned about lawsuits. They just want to keep LGBT people out of the Boy Scouts, and will say anything to achieve that.

Lying about civil unions

NOM's position of civil unions is remarkably inconsistent. Their official line is to oppose them, but when the New Hampshire House voted on repealing marriage equality in March of 2012, they suddenly supported them.

But when Colorado legalized civil unions in March last year, NOM went insane. The post I will quote is from February 22 last year. Their case for opposing them was this:

In 2003, California adopted a civil unions law. Two years later, a California state court judge ruled California's marriage law unconstitutional. By 2008, the state Supreme Court echoed that ruling, finding that civil unions undercut any possible justification for laws recognizing marriage only between a husband and wife.
Not true. Civil unions had nothing to do with the decision. Here's the explanation for the decision, from the court's opinion:
The right to marry is not properly viewed simply as a benefit or privilege that a government may establish or abolish as it sees fit, but rather that the right constitutes a basic civil or human right of all people.
The decision was simple: not allowing same-sex marriage is discriminatory and irrationally impinges on the fundamental right to marriage. The Court ruled that civil unions were insufficient to achieve equal protection of the laws. They ruled that only allowing same-sex couples to marry achieves this, not that civil unions mean you now have to allow same-sex marriage. They would have made that decision even if California hadn’t legalized civil unions.

NOM continues:

In 2005 Connecticut adopted a civil unions law. Three years later the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that because of civil unions, Connecticut's marriage laws were now unconstitutional.
Not true. Civil unions had nothing to do with the decision. From the court's opinion:
In accordance with these state constitutional requirements [of equal protection under the law], same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry.
The decision was simple: not allowing same-sex marriage is discriminatory and irrationally impinges on the fundamental right to marriage. The Court ruled that civil unions were insufficient to achieve equal protection of the laws. They ruled that only allowing same-sex couples to marry achieves this, not that civil unions mean you now have to allow same-sex marriage. They would have made that decision even if Connecticut hadn’t legalized civil unions.


In New Jersey, a civil unions law was used to deny tax exempt status to religious organizations that refused to allow use of their property for civil union ceremonies.
Not true. The Methodist Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in New Jersey refused to allow a same-sex couple to rent a pavilion that they owned for a civil union ceremony. This made the pavilion ineligible for tax-exempt status under New Jersey’s Green Acres program, which is intended to increase the availability of facilities to the public. The New York Times explains:
A boardwalk pavilion in the seaside town of Ocean Grove, N.J., that has been at the center of a battle over gay civil union ceremonies has lost its tax-exempt status because the state ruled it no longer met the requirements as a place open to all members of the public.
By making your facility available to everyone, you can get tax-exempt status for it. The Church was denied it for the pavilion because it did not do that. That it was a civil union ceremony is irrelevant. It could have been any ceremony. And by the way, the Church has since been granted the tax-exempt status specific to religious organizations.

Lying about New Mexico's marriage laws

On August 21 last year, Lynn Ellins, the county clerk of Doña Ana County in New Mexico, announced that he would be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples:

After careful review of New Mexico’s laws it is clear that the state’s marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Doña Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Doña Ana County is upholding New Mexico law by issuing these marriage licenses, and I see no reason to make committed couples in Doña Ana County wait another minute to marry.
Over at NOM, heads exploded. From August 22 (emphasis original):
Same-sex 'marriage' activists in New Mexico are not content to wait for the courts. Now they have found a county clerk willing to defy the Governor and Attorney General by issuing illegal 'marriage' licenses to same-sex couples.
New Mexico County Clerk Breaks Law; Issues Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

First Pennsylvania, now New Mexico. Another county clerk has taken it upon himself to completely ignore state law and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

From August 23:
More than two dozen GOP legislators are moving to stop clerks in Doña Ana County from illegally issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
From August 26:
State and County Officials Defying New Mexico’s Marriage Law
However, New Mexico had no laws regarding same-sex marriage. Their statutes did not require them to recognize or prohibit same-sex marriages. Therefore, there was nothing stopping a county clerk from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples if he or she wanted to. Lynn Ellins made that clear in his initial announcement. Issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples was not making up the law, it was enforcing the Constitution of New Mexico. And on December 19, in a unanimous decision, the New Mexico Supreme Court agreed.

Distorting the results of Australia's federal election

Australia's federal election was held on September 7 last year. The issues at hand were asylum seekers arriving to Australia by boat, the Labor Party’s controversial carbon tax, the economy, and the dysfunction and infighting that had plagued the Labor Party over their change of leadership (and thus, Prime Minister) in June of 2010. The latter issue and the unpopularity of the carbon tax meant that then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who supports marriage equality, was voted out, and current Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who fights it tooth-and-nail, was voted in.

NOM was dizzy with excitement. From September 9:

Same-sex marriage has proven to be anything but a vote winner in elections not just across U.S., but internationally as well. Australia's opposition crushed the governing Labor party in yesterday's elections and the people voted Tony Abbott into office, who has made clear that he supports marriage between one man and one woman, over the incumbent SSM-pushing prime minister Kevin Rudd.
From September 12:
Dear Marriage Supporter,

"Sank Like a Stone" — that's how same-sex marriage faired in Australia this past week.

Australia held elections for Prime Minister the other day, but it was as much a referendum on whether the Aussies would redefine marriage or not. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd nailed his hopes of winning to a promise of introducing legislation to redefine marriage within the first 100 days of returning to office.

As was reported, the pro-marriage platform of the former Prime Minister "sank beneath the waves" of the pro-marriage majority down under.


It's a great victory for marriage, and a win worth celebrating across the globe. It also serves as a reminder that when people are given the right to vote on marriage, they invariably vote to preserve the true and intrinsic nature of marriage as an institution binding one man to one woman for life in order to love and care for one another and for any children born of their union.

They left out this part. From Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, from just before the election:
A majority of Australians continue to support legalising same-sex marriage but they do not rate it as an issue that will decide their vote at the election.

A national Fairfax Nielsen Poll conducted from Sunday, August 18, to Thursday, August 22, surveyed 2545 people across the country and found support growing for legalised marriage equality.

Sixty-five per cent of respondents supported legalising marriage between same-sex couples, up 8 points since December 2011, while only 28 per cent were opposed (down 7 points).


But when asked how important same-sex marriage was in deciding their vote, 57 per cent of respondents said it was "not important at all".

Even among those who supported legalising same-sex marriage, 49 per cent said the issue was "not important at all" in deciding their vote. Sixteen per cent said was "very important".

The headline itself reads “Gay marriage support up but it won’t change poll”. Despite the election of Abbott, 65% of Australians support marriage equality. It’s just that Australians did not vote according to their views on marriage equality.

Lying about Matthew Shepard

This is one of NOM's most offensive lies. Last September, right-wing author Stephen Jimenez (who is also gay) published "The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About The Murder of Matthew Shepard", that claims that his murder was not an anti-gay hate crime.

Downplaying the seriousness of homophobia that killed him and countless others is disgusting, but not too disgusting for NOM. On September 17 last year, the Ruth Institute, which at the time, was part of NOM, reprinted this from far-right anti-LGBT writer Michael Cook:

But in a book published this week, Jimenez debunks this hagiography. After interviewing more than a hundred people, including the murderers, he has concluded that the murder had little to do with Shepard’s sexuality and a lot to do with drugs. America’s most reviled hate crime was not a hate crime after all.


But the hallowing of Matthew Shepard is just the latest chapter in a mythology of grievance and sexual oppression.

Media Matters' Luke Brinker does an excellent job shooting down Jimenez, Cook and NOM's lies.

Lying about transgender rights

California's Safe Schools and Opportunity Act took effect on January 1 this year. It gives transgender students (and, in theory, all students) the right to use facilities in public schools in accordance with their gender identity. NOM joined the Privacy For All Students coalition, a right-wing group that unsuccessfully attempted to put the law up for a referendum with the hope of repealing it. The group was headed by NOM's political director, Frank Schubert.

On September 20 last year, Brian Brown explained his opposition to the bill:

How bad is this new co-ed shower and bathroom law? It's truly outrageous. This new law invades the privacy of our children while they are in the most vulnerable areas of a school — showers, rest rooms and locker rooms. The law allows any student to use the facilities reserved for the opposite sex simply by asserting a vague "gender identity." The bill contains no definitions, rules, standards or guidelines. It simply creates a right for students of the opposite sex to use the most sensitive private areas at school.

Can you imagine how your daughter or granddaughter would feel having to share a shower with a male student following gym class? All the male student has to do is claim a female gender identity, and this new law gives him the absolute right to shower with female students!

Conversely, imagine a scenario where a fully-developed teenage girl decides to shower with the guys, claiming that she identifies with the male sex.

The new law is so poorly drafted that the student claiming a gender identity opposite his or her actual gender needs no evidence that he or she actually identifies with the opposite gender. There is no requirement that the person have ever presented himself or herself at school or home as the opposite gender. There's no requirement for a medical or professional evaluation. And there is no requirement that the student's parents be involved in the decision. The law is wide open for abuse.

The part about no evidence being required to verify one's gender identity is technically correct. It's not in the text of the bill. However, the gender identity must be legitimate. Gender identity is not a switch that one can flip from male to female for five minutes while they use the bathroom. A school will not allow that. Additionally, considering the anti-LGBT bullying that occurs in many schools, no student would have the gender identity not match their biological sex if they could help it.

Brown's claim about the law being "wide open for abuse" is invalid. The Los Angeles Unified School District has had in place a similar policy for about a decade. The district's Program Coordinator for Human Relations, Diversity and Equity, Judy Chiasson, writes:

Opponents of A.B. 1266 have expressed concerns that students will abuse the policy, imperiling the safety of others. But our experience stands in stark contrast to such fears: In all the years since the LAUSD implemented its policy, we have encountered nothing but positive results. We are committed to providing safe schools for all children. Our equal access policy enhances, rather than diminishes, school safety.
The other piece of misinformation is Brown's misgendering of transgender students. He says that "[a]ll the male student has to do is claim a female gender identity, and this new law gives him the absolute right to shower with female students! Conversely, imagine a scenario where a fully-developed teenage girl decides to shower with the guys, claiming that she identifies with the male sex."

A person with a male biological sex but a female gender identity is female. A person with a female biological sex but a male gender identity is male. For Brown to suggest otherwise indicates he is either quite misinformed about the issue, or he's being deliberately transphobic.

Lying about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

It's about time NOM changed its name from "National Organization for Marriage" to "National Organization for anti-LGBT discrimination in every area of life". They oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which, if made law, would make it employment discrimination in businesses with at least 15 employees.

On November 1 last year, Brian Brown wrote this:

Why is ENDA so dangerous? Because with the precedent set by this bill, courts in states around the country would soon find easy rationale for ruling that any organization or business that treats same-sex 'marriage' as different from man-woman marriage are discriminatory by definition.
No court has ever ruled that a law like ENDA makes marriage discrimination laws unconstitutional. They make those decisions because marriage discrimination is a violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment. Also, pro-equality decisions have come down in states without laws banning anti-LGBT employment discrimination. There is no relationship between laws like ENDA and court decision about marriage equality.
Under the law, individuals holding the common-sense belief that marriage is about giving kids a mom and a dad would be subject to punishment.
Brian, what provision in ENDA provides for that? There is none. You completely made it up.
Expressions of support for true marriage in the workplace would no longer be a fundamental right, but discriminatory, bigoted and an actionable offense!
No they wouldn't. They are protected by the First Amendment. If there was a provision in ENDA that mandated that, it would be unconstitutional.

He gave NOM's supporters these talking points to use when contact legislators:

"I oppose ENDA because it is a threat to religious liberty, workplace civility, and traditional marriage."
Prove it.
"This bill will be used to bully and intimidate traditionally-minded citizens and organizations like we've already seen occurring in states that have passed they own ENDA-type laws."
How will it be used for that? And where is that happening?
"Believers in traditional marriage are already threatened with stigmatization by the reckless wording of Justice Kennedy's DOMA decision, and this bill will put them in even more danger of being labeled bigots or haters by those who disagree with them."
So you support the right to speak out against marriage equality in the workplace, but can't stand it when it's given back to you.
"Employees nationwide shouldn't feel that their workplaces are hostile environments just because of their belief in marriage."
Wikipedia explains that expressing opposition to marriage equality does not constitute a hostile work environment:
The United States Supreme Court stated in Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, that Title VII is "not a general civility code." Thus, federal law within the USA does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not extremely serious. Rather, the conduct must be so objectively offensive as to alter the conditions of the individual's employment. The conditions of employment are altered only if the harassment culminates in a tangible employment action or are sufficiently severe or pervasive.
Back to NOM:
"This bill will almost certainly be used as a tool for pushing a nationwide redefinition of marriage."
"Almost certainly"? That's code for "I have no f***g idea."
"I urge you to reject this bill and protect religious liberty and marriage."
Those talking points were incredibly weak proof.

On November 7, in response to ENDA passing the Senate, Brian Brown said:

We are very disappointed by the Senate's passage of this bill. While protecting people against discrimination is a very important goal, this legislation is problematic because of its broad and unclear definitions. Concepts like 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' are too vague to be a basis for such a law which could lead to individuals facing reprisals or even criminal action simply for expressing their values in the workplace.
Again, expressions of opposition to marriage equality are protected by the First Amendment, and do not constitute a hostile work environment.

He also said:

ENDA could be a Trojan horse that enables the marriage redefinition agenda to be forced on the entire nation through the courts.
Again, no court has cited a law like ENDA as a rationale for a pro-marriage equality decision.

On November 12, Brown demanded answers from the Senators who voted for it. He argued that there are too few religious exemptions in the bill:

But don't just take my word for it! Consider this: even the weak religious exemptions which are included in ENDA — which NOM, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Family Research Council, Heritage Action, and many others all consider to be entirely insufficient — are themselves being attacked by some gay activists as too large a concession!
As noted by PolitiFact, ENDA has a broad religious exemption, broader than that of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act:
Nelson Tebbe, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who specializes in religious liberty, said ENDA’s religious exemption exceeds Title VII’s.

"It’s broader because the religious exemption in Title VII only allows religious organizations to discriminate on the basis of religion," he said. But it doesn’t allow religious groups to discriminate based on factors like an employee’s gender or race.

So by permitting religious organizations to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, ENDA allows them more flexibility than Title VII.


The bill’s religious exemption indicates that churches, church-run initiatives and other religious businesses need not comply by employing people of all sexualities and gender identities.

Brown also rehashed the arguments from Colorado's 1992 anti-LGBT Jim Crow amendment that anti-discrimination laws constitute special rights:
Of course, "full protections in employment, housing and public accommodations" are legitimate concerns, but ENDA isn't about protecting all Americans, it's about special provisions for a small portion of citizens.
ENDA does not only ban anti-gay, anti-bi and anti-trans employment discrimination. It also bans anti-straight and anti-cis employment discrimination. Everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is protected by ENDA. It's just that anti-straight and anti-cis employment discrimination does not exist.

Brown then demonstrated just how uninformed he is about sexual orientation and gender identity:

"Sexual orientation" is a difficult enough term to pin down and define. Depending on which 'experts' one talks to, it's either fluid and flexible along a continuum of behaviors, or it's fixed and immutable. Of course, no scientist has ever identified a "sexual orientation" gene and studies among identical twins find no evidence of sexual orientation being an immutable characteristic.
Sexual orientation is easy to define. Wikipedia defines it as "an enduring personal quality that inclines people to feel romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more than one gender." Simple enough.

If one can't get sexual orientation right, then one has no hope of getting gender identity right:

But if sexual orientation is a difficult concept to define, so much more so is the totally amorphous idea of "gender identity." Basically it means that if a man feels like being a woman, he is; but if he later decides he's a man again, he's that. These are dangerously fluid and shifting notions, and hardly the sort of thing one would want to build a law upon — especially a law that can result in real for damage and punishment to others.
Wikipedia notes that "[g]ender identity is usually formed by age three and is extremely difficult to change after that." You can't backflip between male and female.

I know that NOM's lies are very tiring. I have just one more:

Lying about United States v. Windsor

On June 26 last year, SCOTUS struck down Section 3 of DOMA, which banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed by the states. The states' rights language in the majority opinion says that Section 3 is a restriction of the states' rights to define marriage. But NOM twists this as SCOTUS upholding marriage discrimination laws.

From March 18 (emphasis original):

You see, last year the Supreme Court gave us something of a split decision in the Windsor case involving DOMA. While tragically invalidating a section of DOMA that defined marriage under federal law, the Court reaffirmed that marriage is and always has been in the purview of the states to regulate and define.
From April 4:
Less than a year ago, the US Supreme Court held that it is up to the states to define marriage, and the federal government could not substitute its own definition of marriage for the judgment of the states.
Marriage is a states' rights issue, but this does not mean what NOM says it means. Even in states' rights issues, state laws must comply with the federal Constitution. That an issue is a states' rights issue does not mean that states may make unconstitutional laws for that issue.

Okay, that does it. If you got through the whole thing, you are very patient, and I congratulate you. I think NOM's a drain on all of us.

Originally posted to leftprogressive on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 07:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality, Milk Men And Women, and LGBT Kos Community.


Which of NOM's lies was more offensive?

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