Dear Marriage Supporter,
I've just released a statement to the press. NOM is demanding a federal investigation of the possibly criminal act of releasing private tax return information, information which was posted by the Human Rights Campaign this week!
Here's the background. You've probably followed some of the media brouhaha over the release by Maine's courts of some in-house documents which the Left is trying to use to paint NOM as racist. More on that story in a minute.
Also this week, HRC posted on its website a copy of NOM's 2008 Form 990 with the names of donors and their addresses. We don't release that information because this is private, legally-protected IRS information, not public information. We don't release this information about our donors, the Heritage Foundation doesn't release this information about their donors, and the Human Rights Campaign doesn't release this information about their donors. The names are given to the IRS but they are not revealed to the public and they are legally protected, making it a federal crime for the IRS to release this info.
So legally-protected, confidential IRS information was just put up on the Human Rights Campaign's website. There is no allegation that any individuals on that list committed any wrongdoing. "Whistleblower" laws do not apply. HRC has never explained or been asked to explain by the press how it got this legally-protected private tax return.
Here's what I can tell you definitively: This private IRS return was NOT released by the Maine courts. So as I just told the press, "Either the HRC got NOM's tax return from someone with the Internal Revenue Service, or they got it from a hacker who stole it. Either way, it appears that a federal crime may have been committed."
The privacy of your tax returns is one of the most important privacy rights the federal government promises: Nobody will misuse your personal and private information for political purposes.
I repeat, we do not yet know how HRC got this information, because HRC has not publicly fessed up. That is why we are demanding a federal investigation. But it is clear the document was stolen.
If a clerk in the IRS accessed and released this information, it's a federal crime and a crime against every decent, loving, law-abiding American, whether they favor or oppose gay marriage.
What does HRC know about this federal crime and when did they know it? We want answers.
As a supporter of traditional marriage, you have a right to know that your opposition to same-sex marriage doesn't justify illegal intrusions upon your privacy. We won't back down on this.
It's an outrage!
Another outrage: President Obama is shocked, shocked, at the idea that the Supreme Court would overturn a duly-enacted law passed by a majority in Congress.
Whatever you think of Obama (and I should say that we treasure the brave Democrats we work with, who both support Obama and oppose gay marriage!), the chutzpah to claim that he opposes federal courts overturning law has to be a little much. As Brian Bolduc writes for National Review Online:
On Monday, President Obama admonished the Supreme Court to uphold his health-care law, lest it overturn the legislation in a fit of "judicial activism." The president told reporters: "I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."
Last year, however, the president took the "extraordinary step" of declaring "a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress" unconstitutional. In February 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder sent Speaker of the House John Boehner a letter notifying him that the administration would no longer argue on behalf of the Defense of Marriage Act.
On September 21, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law. It passed both houses of Congress by wide margins (342–67 in the House and 85–14 in theSenate)—much wider margins than Obamacare got (219–212 in the House and 60–39 votes in the Senate). The problem, of course, is that the administration disagrees with DOMA: The law enshrines traditional marriage in federal law and allows states to ignore same-sex marriages approved by other states.
We aren't the only ones wondering about Pres. Obama's disingenuousness in this regard. You might miss this delicious little story if I didn't point it out, but a federal judge just smacked down the Justice Department, which is in court arguing a totally unrelated case, by asking for a 3-page memo on whether the White House believes the Supreme Court has the power to overturn federal law backed by a majority.
Drawing the line between the legitimate exercise of judicial review and judicial activism may be hard, but here's a clue: It starts with the idea that words—whether it's the word "marriage," or the words of the Constitution—have meanings. You can't just make stuff up and put it in the document.
On the good news front, in Great Britain more than 300,000 people have signed a petition protesting the Conservative Party's attempt to redefine marriage. And less than two weeks ago the European Court of Human Rights ruled that same-sex marriage is not a human right.
Closer to home, there's more good news: Frank Schubert, the Prop 8 campaign manager, just announced that he is leaving his existing firm to start a new firm, Mission Public Affairs, which will allow him to devote his considerable political genius to the causes of protecting life, marriage and religious liberty full-time!
From his press release announcing his decision:
Schubert, a conservative Catholic, said he would build a new national consulting practice focused on social issues such as protecting life, strengthening families, preserving traditional marriage and protecting religious liberties, along with pursuing conservative public policies that promote prosperity and liberty. A 30-year veteran of public affairs, Schubert has twice been named the nation’s most valuable political consultant by the American Association of Political Consultants, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Business Communicators (Sacramento Chapter).
"My conservative ideology and my faith have been major guiding forces in my decision to work on some important but controversial issues, including life and marriage," Schubert said. "But the firm has become much bigger than me personally. I don't want my work on social issues to continue to overshadow the people who work for me, or the clients we serve. By stepping away from the company, I will be able to continue to work on the issues I care about while allowing the remaining leadership and staff of the firm to pursue the excellent work they are doing for clients, and to continue to grow the business going forward."
One small step for a man—one giant leap for life, marriage and religious liberty!
And finally, in Alaska, voters defied polls to reject "Prop 5" in Anchorage. Prop 5, which would have established gender identity and sexual orientation as protected legal categories, was defeated by voters 58%-42%.
We don't usually cover campaigns like this because NOM as an organization is focused on the marriage issue, not gay issues generally. There's a power in being a focused single-issue organization which undergirds the victories we've helped you win for marriage.
But what caught my eye was the huge gap between the expectations from polls that this law would pass and the actual verdict from voters in the polling both.
Now the ad campaign defeating Prop 5 emphasized that Alaska was already a tolerant place and that the new law posed threats to liberty—both gay bar owners and Christian book store owners might face criminal penalties for understandably wanting to hire people like themselves.
Opponents were outspent 4-1 and in the end the polls meant little. "'It's amazing what happens when the curtain closes behind you in a voting booth,' Jim Minnery, the chairman of Protect Your Rights Campaign—Vote No on Prop. 5, said Wednesday morning in an e-mail," as reported by The New York Times.
Marriage supporters like you and me will remember this phenomenon too, from Maine and California: Polling on gay marriage is often dramatically different from actual results of elections. Voters are sensitive to how questions are phrased. They value tolerance and support the legitimate rights of gay people to be free from fear, harassment, and violence, to vote, and to participate in the democratic process on an equal basis.
But fundamentally, the majority of Americans see a difference between tolerance for gay people as their neighbors and fellow citizens, and the equation of gay marriage with civil rights.
Do not be discouraged!
Remember that, when you read headlines like those in The New York Times, "Divide and Discriminate," calling on everyone—but especially Republicans—to disaffiliate from NOM because of our alleged "racial politics."
(Anyone surprised—really—that the New York Times editorialized against us?)
The conservative Washington Times just posted a column by R. Clarke Cooper that basically retweets The New York Times' message points: "NOM's Racial Politics Leave A Bitter Taste."
Reasonable people can and do disagree about gay marriage, but Americans stand united against the failed politics of discrimination and division. As recently revealed, NOM has sought to divide Americans based on race, and is dividing our attention away from the issues that matter most to our nation today. NOM has rejected the American motto of "e pluribus unum"—out of many, one—and their politics of division should be rejected by all Republicans in return.
My response to this meme? Well, I just sent this letter to the Washington Times, which will be published on Friday:
R. Clarke Cooper urges Republicans and conservatives to refuse to associate with the largest and most effective single-issue organization standing for marriage on the grounds that NOM is engaging in racial division by recruiting Black and Latino spokespeople for marriage. NOM did not create the divide between African-Americans and gay marriage advocates, standing for marriage is not standing for division or discrimination, and it is patronizing for media elites to treat the heroic stand of the Black church as a product of hateful politics. Reaching out to black and latino supporters who share our view is something conservatives do and should do more of and NOM will continue to do so.
The current round of media attacks on NOM for one line in a 3 year old document reflect the basic tactic of the Left: use government to push a new moral norm; when Americans with more traditional values object, attack them mercilessly. Then blame conservatives (especially Christian conservatives) for being "divisive." End game? Shutting down the voices of millions of Americans.
NOM is proudly going to continue to stand up for marriage as the union of husband and wife, and reach across lines of race, creed, color and party to do so.
And here's Maggie versus a hapless MSNBC anchor, who first blamed her on-air for not showing up to an interview, and then had to tweet an apology because it was MSNBC's own scheduling error:
More signs that gay marriage is not a civil right, in the views of the majority of African-Americans:
The Coalition of African American Pastors just released a press release announcing a campaign to get 100,000 signatures for marriage, led by the Church of God in Christ, America's largest black Pentecostal denomination, with members in 60 countries, and the 5th largest Christian denomination in the U.S. According to this press release:
Bishop George D. McKinney, Bishop Felton Smith and Rev. William Owens will lead in ensuring the 100,000 names for the marriage campaign around the nation. They plan to travel to various cities around the country to gather signatures, but the thrust of the campaign will begin in North Carolina where there is a marriage vote slated for May 8, 2012.
Rev. Owens stated that the civil rights he marched and fought for in the late 50s and early 60s is being seized by the radicals who want to take advantage of a long and hard fight for civil rights and use it for their own agenda on same-sex marriage.
In North Carolina, where voters will vote on a marriage amendment on May 8, even the Daily Tarheel report on a debate at Meredith College notes that African-Americans have something to say for themselves when white liberals claim gay marriage is a basic human right:
The front of the room, reserved for students, was mostly white, young and female. They cheered for Eichner's arguments about the amendment denying benefits for domestic partnerships....the rest of the first floor was dominated by members of the Upper Room Church of God in Christ—mostly black and middle-aged—and vocally opposed to same-sex unions.
Patrick Wooden, the pastor at Upper Room, was a panelist at the event who had members of his congregation present in support.
But their views reflect a larger demographic of the state: black, Democratic and opposing same-sex marriage.
... [Panelists] referencing past laws against interracial marriage, [hoped] to frame the issue in a civil rights light.
But Wooden's reply, redirecting the argument back to religion, showed the stronger influence for many black voters in the state.
It is insulting for the elite media to imply that these marriage supporters are NOM puppets, just like it would be arrogant for anyone at NOM to imagine we are responsible for this show of support.
We are grateful to people like Pastor Patrick Wooden for their courage and leadership.
We are grateful to each and every one of you who has dared to stand up for God's first institution, marriage.
But I have to give an extraordinary shout-out, one I hope you'll share with me, to Sen. Rev. Rubén Díaz. That New York Times editorial, "Divide and Discriminate," alleging that NOM is racially divisive, apparently touched his heart.
Díaz is a Latino Democrat from the Bronx, who worked with NOM opposing gay marriage in the New York legislature.
He had this to say about this media meme, writing as both a state senator and the President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, which represents tens of thousands of Hispanic and black Christians in New York City:
On behalf of all those churches, I am here to say: I have worked closely with the National Organization for Marriage and I have marched with NOM's President Brian Brown to defend our civil right to be heard in the debate over the meaning of marriage.
Brian Brown and NOM have done something, that no one has been able to do before: they have helped Black and Hispanic people throughout the nation to find our voice when everyone else rejected us and excluded us from the debate.
You should know that NOM has not divided us, it has brought us unity; NOM has given a voice to the voiceless on the marriage issue, and shown us respect for our core, and sacred values on marriage—a respect the mainstream media has consistently denied us.
A voice for the voiceless. Unity not division. Respect for views the mainstream media ignores.
I'm so grateful to each and every one of you who has refused to yield to the contempt the media elites display for the good sense of the American people.
As Winston Churchill said, "Never give in—never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense."
This message has been authorized and paid for by the National Organization for Marriage, 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006, Brian Brown, President. This message has not been authorized or approved by any candidate.