Dear Friends of Marriage,
What a week! What a great victory for marriage in New York!
Rumors were rampant that gay marriage was going to pass in New York. The night before the vote I got an urgent alert call from an Albany insider reporting that gay marriage was a done deal in New York! News blogs said that Democrat State Sen. Ruben Diaz, the leader of the pro-marriage forces in New York, was visibly upset after the Democratic caucus; Sen. Diaz told reporters he was going into his office to pray. How the bloggers made fun of this great Christian man for that!--as if his prayer was somehow proof that gay marriage was inevitable in New York.
Let me tell you, we were all praying pretty hard at that point!
I didn't see how the New York State Sen. Tom Duane or the Empire State Pride Agenda was going to pull this one off: by our vote counts, gay marriage advocates were at least 5 votes short. We were cautiously optimistic gay marriage would not pass. "Nervously optimistic" would be more accurate.
The senate debate was dominated by out-of-touch politicians who made astonishingly arrogant and tone-deaf statements. Politician after politician got up there and said that those of us who know that marriage is the union of husband and wife are somehow similar to racists who imposed slavery or voted for segregationist oppression. State Sen. Suzie Oppenheimer actually cited the Nazi persecution of her husband's family as somehow a reason to vote for gay marriage. State Sen. Tom Duane, the lead sponsor, was weepily self-congratulatory, implying that his support for gay marriage made him akin to great heroes of history from Harriet Tubman to Nelson Mandela who risked their lives for moral truth. Senator after senator turned to Tom Duane and suggested that the great relationship he had with his partner was a good reason to publicly redefine marriage over the wishes of their own constituents. Huh?
Do they have any idea how odd they sound? Not only to the majority of Americans who disagree with gay marriage, but even to a big chunk of their own supporters? Most Americans, regardless of their own views, do not think their friends, family members, and neighbors who support our marriage traditions are anything like the bigots and racists who wanted to enslave Harriet Tubman, or throw Nelson Mandela in jail for twenty years. Grandma is not like George Wallace because she doesn't see two guys in a union as a marriage.
Many black Americans in D.C. are making that clear: As Taylor Harris, a young black grad student, put it in a November 28 op-ed in the Washington Post (responding to a column by Julian Bond arguing that African-Americans should support gay marriage as a civil right), "I'm sorry, Julian. I wasn't there with you in 1963 to fight, but I still can't be your George Wallace today."
As I listened to the debate drone on, I remember thinking to myself: Have we done everything we could? Thanks to you, NOM was able to put out an enormous effort. We spent more than $600,000 using sophisticated technology that allows us to reach out to voters across the state to make sure they knew what their politicians were up to. We had just come off a great victory in November, not only in Maine but in New York's 23rd Congressional District where Dede Scozzafava, one of the few Republicans ever to vote for gay marriage, had just gone down to a very public defeat. NOM spent more than $100,000 making sure voters in her district understood that Dede had voted twice for gay marriage in the New York state assembly. (Fifty percent of Doug Hoffman's voters told us on the eve of the election that Dede's vote for gay marriage was a "significant factor" in their decision to abandon the GOP candidate and vote for a third party.) "The Dede Effect" surely helped persuade some squishy GOP state senators of a basic political truth: It is a bad idea for a Republican to vote for gay marriage.
And we know your help made a huge difference! When regular Americans learn their politicians are messing around with marriage, instead of focusing on the big important issues (like jobs, the budget, taxes, education), they rise to the occasion and make their voice and values heard! NOM's voter outreach generated thousands of calls in every state senate district--in many cases from people who had never before picked up the phone to call their elected representatives.
How big a difference did this make? We know many others in New York were working hard and making a difference on both sides of the aisle. But listen to what one of the key swing senators, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (Democrat, of Queens) told the New York Daily News about why he ended up voting "no": "Addabbo said he was simply following what 74% of constituents who contacted him wanted."
That's right. In New York City, 74 percent of the constituents who wrote or called Sen. Addabbo said: "We want you to vote no to gay marriage." Together we can make a difference.
Don't believe everything you read in the media. After the D.C. city council voted for the first time to pass a gay-marriage bill, we issued a press release that said "We Have Not Yet Begun to Fight!" So what did Tim Craig of the Washington Post report? Somehow he decided that opponents of gay marriage were giving up.
Bishop Harry Jackson and others are not giving up, and we will be there to help fight for marriage every step of the way. Stay tuned.
But our immediate battle shifts across the mighty Hudson to New Jersey. Garden State Equality chief Steven Goldstein promised supporters he would pass a gay-marriage bill in the lame duck session. Archbishop Myers and the Catholic Conference, however, circulated petitions with more than 150,000 New Jerseyans who oppose gay marriage; the New Jersey Family Policy Council, Mayor Steve Lonegan, and many other are refusing to accept the allegedly inevitable. And NOM is fighting right alongside, using the same powerful technology and techniques to reach tens of thousands of voters quickly and get them in this fight too.
If we win this battle in the next four weeks, Gov.-elect Chris Christie has promised to veto any gay marriage bill that crosses his desk. The stakes are high, the battle urgent.
If you leave marriage to the politicians or the judges, the political insiders will cut themselves deals that leave your values on the outside. But we at NOM promise: We will not let that happen. We will never give up fighting for the truth, for common sense, for democracy, for civility, for the idea that we are made male and female, and meant to come together in love in marriage, for life.
God bless you! Until next week,
Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage
20 Nassau Street, Suite 242
Princeton, NJ 08542
PS: NOM relies on your generosity and support to speak up for your values. Can you help us today with a donation of $10, $15, or, if God has given you the means, $100 or $150? Your donations make a difference!
NOM Featured Article
"N.Y. State Senate Votes Down Gay Marriage Bill By Wide Margin"
December 3, 2009
"I think you put it all together and it most likely spells the end of the idea that you can pass gay marriage democratically anywhere else in the United States," said Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which spearheaded opposition in Albany. "I think the gay marriage lobby will have to go back to a court-based approach."
NOM in the News
"New York State Lawmakers Vote Against Gay Marriage"
December 2, 2009
"This is an enormous victory," said Maggie Gallagher, the leader of the anti-gay marriage group, National Organization for Marriage. "What you saw was the will of the people. ... The culture really hasn't shifted on gay marriage."
"Gay Marriage Momentum Stalls in NY, NJ"
November 28, 2009
"If they are unable to pass gay marriage in New York and New Jersey, combined with the loss in Maine, it will confirm that gay marriage is not the inevitable wave of the future," said Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which mobilizes social conservatives to fight same-sex marriage.
"DC Votes to Allow Gay Marriage, But Issue Not Settled"
Christian Science Monitor
December 1, 2009
"Please take a moment right now to call your state senator, urging him to vote NO on the same-sex marriage bill. Then call three friends and ask them to do the same," read an alert put out by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
"Few Roadblocks Remain to Gay Marriage in DC"
Wall Street Journal
November 28, 2009
Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, said his group would apply pressure on Capitol Hill to scrap the bill. "It's a difficult thing for Congress to actually overturn a law in the District," Mr. Brown said.
"The National Organization for Marriage's Bill for NY-23: $112736.75"
The Washington Independent
November 23, 2009
The National Organization for Marriage spent more than $100,000 on get-out-the-vote efforts for the failed (yes, really) campaign of Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in NY-23. NOM's work for Hoffman -- it also paid for hand-outs distributed by the Susan B. Anthony List -- was a minor blow to the organization on what was otherwise a good election night for it, given the voter repeal of gay marriage rights in Maine.
"Gay on Trial"
The American Prospect
November 23, 2009
"The law affects marriage primarily through its capacity to 'name a shared reality,'" says Maggie Gallagher, president and founder of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage. "Gay-marriage advocates understand this on their side of the issue -- the name matters, because words matter, symbols matter, naming reality matters."
"Religious Leaders Unite Against Abortion and Same-Sex Unions"
New York Times
November 20, 2009
The document was written by Mr. Colson; Robert P. George, a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, who is Catholic; and the Rev. Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School, an evangelical interdenominational school on the campus of Samford University, in Birmingham, Ala.