Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's Official: Southern Poverty Law Center Labels NOM a Hate Group

The National Organization for Marriage, the anti-gay group founded and funded by the Mormon Church, and the group responsible for California's Proposition 8 and a series of other anti-marriage equality initiatives, has been officially designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the leading organization tracking the activities of and classifying hate groups nationwide.

According to organization's website, "Generally, the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling."

SPLC describes NOM and their activities this way:
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which is dedicated to fighting same-sex marriage in state legislatures, was organized in 2007 by conservative syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher and Princeton University politics professor Robert George. George is an influential Christian thinker who co-authored the 2009 “Manhattan Declaration,” a manifesto developed after a New York meeting of conservative church leaders that “promises resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same sex marriage.”

NOM’s first public campaign was in 2008, supporting California’s Proposition 8, which sought to invalidate same-sex marriage in that state. It was widely mocked, including in a parody by satirist Stephen Colbert, for the “Gathering Storm” video ad it produced at the time. Set to somber music and a dark and stormy background, the ad had actors expressing fears that gay activism would “take away” their rights, change their lifestyle, and force homosexuality on their kids.

The group, whose president is now former executive director Brian Brown, has become considerably more sophisticated since then, emphasizing its respect for homosexuals. “Gays and Lesbians have a right to live as they choose,” NOM says on its website, “[but] they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”

For a time, NOM’s name was used by a bus driver named Louis Marinelli, who drove a van for NOM’s “Summer for Marriage Tour” this year. Marinelli called himself a “NOM strategist” and sent out electronic messages under the NOM logo that repeated falsehoods about homosexuals being pedophiles and gay men having extremely short lifespans (see story, p. 32). In homemade videos posted on his own YouTube page, he said same-sex marriage would lead to “prostitution, pedophilia and polygamy.” But this July, NOM said it was not associated with Marinelli.
Other groups on the list include Abiding Truth Ministries, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries, The Family Research Council and The Liberty Counsel (affiliated with Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in nearby Lynchburg, Va.). These hate-mongers disguise themselves as religious organizations and prey on the feeble-minded faithful by spreading lies and homophobia in order to pass anti-LGBT legislation.

SPLC lists 22 hate groups currently active in Virginia, including a KKK chapter right here in Roanoke. For more information, visit the SPLC site here.


As you might expect, there are those out there that support the efforts of groups like NOM and the other anti-gay hate groups and are against anyone who call them out for what they are. One such person is Cornell University Law Professor, William A. Jacobson, who blogs at Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion. In his post this morning called, "SPLC Demonizes Supporters of  Traditional Marriage". He writes, I cannot begin to tell you how much it sickens me that the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group I supported many years ago because of its work against the Klan, has become a key player in labeling legitimate conservative political and religious groups as "hate groups."

Jacobson claims that SPLC has exaggerated the number of hate groups and says that SPLC "seeks to shut down debate by applying the "hate group" or similar epithets to political opponents, and those political opponents almost always are conservative."

His rant in defense of hate groups only proves what I've always said, that bigots never see themselves as bigots, especially when they believe they have God on their side. Civil rights should never be put to the popular vote, no matter what your faith or who your targeted group is.

The reason I bring this up is that at the end of his post, Jacobson references this story with a link. The hit tracker shows numerous hits from his story today, so everybody wave and say "Hi" to the bigots. it's nice to know they're listening. Be sure to drop in on Prof. Jacobson's site to leave a comment or two.

Thanks, Prof. Jacobson for the shout out. Preaching to the choir is nice, but sometimes it helps to know the sinners are paying attention too.

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1 comment:

  1. Wade@MacMorrighan.NetNovember 23, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    Well, technically, while I despise NOM (especially Maggie Gallagher, who once said that Civil Unions "erodes the status" of marriage), the SPLC didn't trechnically designate them as a "hate-roup", but as an anti-Gay group thus outting them on SPLC's radar. I, personally, think it's a tactic meant to keep NOM in-line, letting Gallagher (whose posed fpor photos with the Pres. of the TVC...another SPLC hate-group). ;o) I also think that their declaration as being an "anti-Gay group" is germane considering the hypocracy of their positions, claiming on the one-hand that they are not "bigots" (how, porecisely, can Christians be absolved of this term?), and that they are not anti-Gay and want respect for us. Yet, on the other hand, they have advocated that they oppose all rights for us, they play on parents' fears, and recently that have signed a letter with several other Christofascist groups declaring that will not attend CPAC next year if GoProud is allowed to attend. If they're only concerned with so-called "marriage", and if they are not anti-Gay, than why should it matter that GoProud attends CPAC?


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