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Some Questions for NOM's Brian Brown

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Dear Mr. Brown:

With this week's court-ordered release of previously classified NOM strategy documents, there are way more questions than answers. I know that you're one to keep your cards pretty close to the vest and that you aren't likely to spill the beans on any number of questions, but I'd like to pose a few queries nonetheless.

First, how can you think you're winning when the American people are so clearly moving toward fairness? You write that "victory is possible, even likely...." Before you get too far ahead of yourself, you should take a look at a few nonpartisan public polls (like Gallup, for instance) that show majority support for equal marriage. And don't forget young people, whose support is off the charts, and nothing indicates that as that cohort ages they'll suddenly be inclined to reverse their support for marriage equality.

Where are all of these supposedly unhappy kids of gay parents? I've got to be honest: one of the most bizarre parts of these documents was your goal of paying an outreach coordinator to find kids of gay parents to speak on camera. Aside from how patently offensive that is, how'd it turn out? My guess is that you didn't have a lot of takers.

Does Mitt Romney buy into your strategy of racial division, rebuffing disclosure laws, and lying about people of faith? You are clear about your close working relationship with Rick Santorum, but Mitt Romney has also signed your horrendous pledge to fight against equal marriage and investigate your made-up harassment. Has Romney signed on to your agenda lock, stock, and barrel?

Will you continue to insist that you're more than just a front for a small cabal of donors? You take great pains to paint yourselves as a large grassroots force, but everything suggests the opposite. Five megadonors make up 88 percent of your funding. And your bus tour failed to turn out more than a handful of supporters at each stop. Where are the teeming masses you insist exist?

Do you think all the resources you've put into places like New Hampshire and New York to stop marriage have been a waste? In 2009 you said you had budgeted $2 million for New Hampshire, but even with a solidly Republican majority legislature, just last week they decided to keep their equal marriage law in place.

Why didn't you establish a federal PAC? You clearly planned to do so back in 2009, but that seems never to have materialized. Is it that federal election law would have required that you disclose who gave money to it?

How can you say you're solely focused on marriage when you tout the work of your American Principles Project? As part of your self-described strategy toward "winning the marriage battle," you discuss efforts to "expose Obama as a social radical," "raise issues such as pornography," and wade into keeping open the Guantanamo prison and opposing the president's appointees. What does that have to do with marriage again?

Do you wish you spent more than $50,000 on the "Expert Witness Project"? You say you want to help nurture intellectuals and scholars, but you don't have much to show for it. Would it have been worth it for you to invest more so that in the Prop 8 trial, for example, the one so-called expert did more to help our case than your own?

Why are you hell-bent on avoiding campaign disclosure laws? Aside from going to court to keep your dealings in the shadows (by the way, you have to appreciate the irony of a court forcing these strategy documents to be released, no?), you brag that "one key advantage we now have is the capacity to protect the identity of our donors." Then you also encourage donors to give to a slush fund for use around the country, saying, "It is critical that we have a reserve fund to give to these efforts to ensure victory and protect donor identity." What is it that you'd go to such great lengths to hide?

Brian, I look forward to your thorough answers to these questions. Maybe over a coffee at Starbucks? I'll wait patiently...

Joe Solmonese
Human Rights Campaign President