Dear Marriage Supporter,
The scandal over the release of confidential IRS information on the Human Rights Campaign's website grows.
The more we at NOM look into this, the more it smells to high heaven.
As I told the press, "The American people are entitled to know how a confidential tax return containing private donor information filed exclusively with the Internal Revenue Service has been given to our political opponents who also happen to be co-chairing President Obama's reelection committee." It's on the front page of the Daily Caller today (Thursday)!
Just think: By next Tuesday, hundreds of millions of Americans will turn over to the federal government personal and private information on their finances and their families. This information is protected by federal law. Willfully releasing or retailing our private tax information is not just an outrage—it's a crime.
Each one of us is entitled to believe these laws will be respected as we file our tax returns by this April 17. To misuse this information for political purposes is an incredible violation of trust and law—and we are not going to take this lying down!
Joe Solmonese is the head of HRC, an organization which has just posted this illegally-obtained information and in which people are delighting in doing so, even knowing it is illegal. Joe Solmonese is also a national co-chair of President Obama's reelection campaign.
HRC is evidently counting on being politically protected—by its relationship with the President of the United States—for totally outrageous and possibly illegal behavior.
HRC has claimed it received this information from an "IRS whistleblower"—a totally inappropriate term, given that none of the individuals whose private information was released have been accused of any wrongdoing. Nor has HRC accused them, except insofar as Joe Solmonese and his organization apparently believe that opposing gay marriage is in itself justification for illegal intrusions of people's privacy.
Here are the latest developments:
NOM has determined that the documents came directly from the Internal Revenue Service.
The document on the left is as it appeared when published by the Huffington Post. However, that document was modified in a failed attempt to obscure its source. There is a label visibly obscuring a portion of each page, and it was determined that information on the top of each page was also obscured in the version posted on the Huffington Post.
After software removed the layers obscuring the document, it is shown that the document came from the Internal Revenue Service. The top of each page says, "THIS IS A COPY OF A LIVE RETURN FROM SMIPS. OFFICIAL USE ONLY." On each page of the return is stamped a document ID of "100560209." Only the IRS would have the Form 990 with "Official Use" information.
All taxpayers have the right to expect that their confidential tax returns filed with the IRS will not be given to their political enemies. Doing so is a felony. What makes this even more problematic is that the recipient of these confidential tax returns is a group headed by President Obama's national campaign co-chair.
This is something one might expect to occur in the old Soviet Union, not the United States of America.
Here's a copy of the letter we sent to Treasury, demanding that the Treasury Department launch a federal criminal investigation into the IRS and the Human Rights Campaign to bring the criminals to justice.
This is going to be a big fight, and it's a bigger fight even than marriage. It's a fight about whether the rule of law will prevail over politics.
Our DumpStarbucks.com campaign continues. As I write 30,934 of you have signed a pledge to send a message to CEO Howard Schulz—give us coffee, not gay marriage! This week DumpStarbucks.com goes international, with websites and banner ads in Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic, Turkish and Indonesian.
And here's Family Leader's Bob Vander Plaats describing how they're dumping Starbucks.
(BTW, if you have a few minutes could you go to DumpStarbucks.com, sign the pledge, and put us over the top to get to 31,000 today?)
In Great Britain the petition opposing gay marriage has now topped 400,000, and Tory leaders are expressing consternation that Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing gay marriage on an unwilling populace and party—amid increasing doubts that he can actually pass gay marriage.
A survey found that 59% of Conservative MPs expressed doubts that the measure could pass. Even more are doubting that the push for it will help the Tories come election time.
Lord Tebbit, a former head of the Conservative party (back when it acted conservative!), said: "I doubt if Mr Cameron's new-found enthusiasm for 'gay marriage' will make it any more likely that he will lead the Conservative Party to a majority in 2015 or add greatly to the sum total of happiness and contentment in our society."
The so-called "conservative" case for the radical redefinition of marriage is looking more thin and tattered every day, including politically and electorally.
GOP elites thinking through this issue should learn from Cameron's experience. Politico just published a story claiming major GOP donors are splitting from Romney over his opposition to gay marriage.
But while it is true that major GOP donors helped push gay marriage in New York, there are no signs yet of a suicidal (for the GOP) Cameron strategy of becoming the party of gay marriage, against the views and values of millions of voters.
All the major GOP candidates for president signed NOM's Marriage Pledge (except Ron Paul) because they know marriage matters, and matters to millions of Americans.
HRC and Freedom to Marry jointly signed a letter to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, describing NOM as a "fringe" group which divides Americans. This is going to be an increasingly prevalent meme from them—no matter how many elections we help you win.
Last week, Sen. Rev. Rubén Díaz said about NOM:
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.
This week I'm proud to tell you that a truly major religious leader, Bishop George McKinney, published an op-ed. Yes, he defended NOM, but more importantly, he defended the right of the black church to speak for marriage.
Bishop McKinney is on the governing board of the Church of God in Christ, which is not only the largest predominantly-black Pentecostal denomination in the United States—it is the fifth-largest Christian denomination of any kind, and a worldwide church in 60 countries. Here's Maggie with the Presiding Bishop, Bp. Charles E. Blake:
I'm very proud of the the work NOM has done with great men and women of every faith and color who stand for marriage. But I also want to make it clear, in case I haven't yet in the smoke and roar of battle, that I genuinely regret the language in that memo—not the part that says we will work with leaders of every race, creed, and color, but any language which suggests that we believe we can manipulate or provoke either African-Americans or gay-rights advocates.
It is wrong to think we have the power to do so, and wrong to try. And it's not what NOM does.
We also do not use the marriage issue to elect Republicans. Our goal is to build a rare thing in America: a genuinely interfaith, interracial coalition of Americans across both parties, who are willing to stand for God's vision of marriage—no matter what heat that brings.
Bishop McKinney explains it this way:
This idea of marriage has roots not only in the great, stirring words of Genesis, but in the human heart across time and diverse cultures. Marriage is a virtually universal human social institution because every society has recognized the need to bring together man and woman in order to encourage and protect the next generation. Both our faith and our reason direct us to this understanding of marriage.
About 10 years ago, gay marriage advocates decided to overturn this historic and religious understanding of marriage and insist that unions of two men or two women were the same as a marriage and must be treated as such by the government and society. They created out of whole cloth the idea that gay marriage was a basic civil right and that dismantling the public meaning of marriage was somehow akin to overturning racist bans on interracial marriage. Misusing the sacred value of equality, they began insisting that all opposition to their new morality was "bigotry" or "hatred."
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his famous "Letter from the Birmingham Jail," wrote "How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law."
But Bishop McKinney, a man of God, also says something else that all of us who oppose gay marriage need to keep in our hearts:
The actual natural rights of homosexual people, rooted in God's laws and the moral order, must be respected and protected. These include the right to vote, the right to earn a living, the right to be free from harassment and/or violence and the right to visit loved ones in the hospital, etc.
Let me echo the words of this great man of the cloth. Even as I fight with every fiber of my being for marriage, I remember that gay people are our fellow citizens, our neighbors, and in many cases our friends and family members. More importantly, each is a child of God, infinitely precious to Him. We must never let ourselves become the caricature that Joe Solmonese apparently carries around in his head about us. (BTW, gay-marriage advocates are not all gay—and the few brave gay people who oppose gay marriage deserve our special thanks).
Each of us has the right to live as we choose, but none of us has the right to redefine marriage, which was created by God not government.
Bishop McKinney ends with this simple, powerful truth:
"To suggest the prominent leaders of African-American churches are in the fight for marriage as the result of 'race-baiting' is unjust and indeed patronizing on the part of media elites at MSNBC.Marriage, and the black church, deserve better."
NOM's website, Twitter account, blog, and Facebook page were all illegally attacked and briefly shut down this week. Thanks to all of you who have responded by reaching down and helping us pay for the expensive job of fixing the problem and protecting NOM's voice from attacks like these.
They are becoming increasingly bold in taking illegal action, because gay marriage advocates don't believe that you and I have a basic moral and civil right to disagree with their views and stand up for marriage.
Nothing else explains how the single most "establishment" gay-rights organization, whose head serves in the Obama campaign as a major fundraiser, has no problem posting on its website illegally-obtained tax information.
You are being attacked in this way not because you are hateful or bigoted—but because you, the decent, loving, law-abiding majority in this country, have through NOM exercised your core civil rights to participate in this great democracy of ours.
NOM is under attacks like these not because we are the most hateful, or even hateful at all, but because we are the single most effective single-issue national organization fighting to protect marriage.
Thank you again for all that you've made it possible for NOM to do. To be your voice for your values is something I treasure.
Please pray for every leader, black or white, Christian, Jew or atheist, brave enough to stand up for something as good as the idea that in order to make a marriage you need a husband and wife willing to give themselves to each other and their children.
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.