A story ran in the Oct. 28, 2008 edition of Deseret News reporting on Mitt Romney's $10,000 donation to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). We since have come to learn that NOM circulated some nefarious memos to convince donors that their cause was strategically planned.
Key things to keep in mind about the explosive confidential documents that have emerged is that they were mostly donor materials. The lawsuit from which they emanated centered around donors, so presumably these pieces of evidence were used to persuade donors of NOM's political viability. The 42-page brochure titled "Winning the National Battle for Marriage" is very clearly a professionally designed, forceful sales pitch. Page 35 says, "How Can We Possibly Do All This? A Note to Donors."
Was Mitt Romney among the privileged few high-dollar donors who got an "eyes-only" glimpse at NOM's confidential strategy memos?
In other words, it's worth asking: what did Mitt Romney know, and when did he know it? To be fair, Romney's 2008 donation predates the materials that have been made public. But his relationship, and that of his Church -- a major donor to NOM -- continues. And it stands to reason that there were 2008 versions of this strategy memo, as well as 2010, 2011, and 2012 versions. The mind shudders to imagine what is in the ones we haven't seen.
When Mitt Romney cut his $10,000 check for Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown's National Organization for Marriage, did he know that his money would be used to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks -- two key Democratic constituencies"? Did he know it would be going toward fanning hostility between his fellow Americans?
It's a question American Bridge 21st Century is asking, and thus far almost 5,000 people have signed their Change.org petition asking Romney to denounce his ties to the National Organization for Marriage.
Romney's connection to NOM doesn't stop at financing their repugnant, divisive political tactics. Romney also signed NOM's marriage pledge. It read:
- Support and send to the states a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman,
- Defend DOMA in court,
- Appoint judges and an attorney general who will respect the original meaning of the Constitution,
- Appoint a presidential commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters,
- Support legislation that would return to the people of D.C. their right to vote for marriage.
Those were heady days for NOM. They gleefully announced, ""All Major Candidates Sign NOM Marriage Pledge, Commit to Concrete Steps to Support Marriage." Like most everyone, they overlooked Ron Paul, but of the remaining candidates, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have also signed the pledge. NOM has, unsurprisingly, been especially supportive of Rick Santorum's candidacy.
And American Bridge 21st Century isn't the only group appalled that a presidential candidate would get involved with such a divisive and contemptible organization. Now, Freedom to Marry is calling on GOP candidates to renounce their affiliation with the group. According to a press release:
"Now that NOM's race-baiting strategy of pitting American against American, minority against minority, and family members against family members is out in the open, we call on GOP candidates to renounce their NOM pledges," said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide. "A president's job is to lead and unite the nation, not take part in a politics of division and cruelty. Anyone seeking the nation's highest office should not be affiliated with a group seeking to discredit the strong and clear voice of those African-American civil rights champions, such as John Lewis, Julian Bond, and Coretta Scott King, who have stood up for the freedom to marry and the equal civil rights of all people, including gay people of color."
Late Thursday the coalition of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry also released a statement. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said:
We need to come together as a country if we are going to tackle our biggest challenges. NOM's divisive effort to pit one group of Americans against another is offensive and takes us in exactly the wrong direction. If we believe in family values, we must value all families; and I believe that every adult -- regardless of their race, religion, gender or ethnic heritage -- should have the freedom to marry the person they love.
District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray said:
Across our nation, gay and lesbian couples seek equal marriage rights because they believe in the same values we all do -- commitment, stability, responsibility, and family. That's why it's especially confounding that an organization that claims to support family values would seek to pit groups against each other in a hateful and cynical effort to deny equal rights to some families.
Will the GOP presidential candidates continue to stand with National Organization for Marriage now that it has been made abundantly clear what a corrosive and unhealthy force Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown, with the help of the Mormon and Catholic Churches, have created in American politics?
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