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Mar 27 2012

NOM memo reveals strategy to “drive a wedge between blacks and gays”

By Frederick Sparks

Revealed as part of a court ordered release of documents related to a lawsuit over finance disclosure violations, a 2009 National Organization for Marriage memo spells out a strategy of racial targeting in its opposition to marriage equality.  In a section titled “Not A Civil Right Project” the memo states “The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. “  The memo also speaks to accomplishing a “sophisticated cultural objective: interrupt the attempt to equate gay with black, and sexual orientation with race.”  This is all part of an overall objective to “raise the cost of identifying with gay marriage, and also raise the attractiveness of identifying with traditional marriage.”

In  a section devoted to targeting Latino opposition to same-sex marriage, the memo queries “will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values?”  Rich irony..the same political forces who xenophobically decry the perceived resistance of Latinos to dominant culture assimilation now worry about the effects of said assimilation.

Sikivu Hutchinson wrote previously of the alliance between Black and Latino fundamentalist anti-abortion groups and the white Religious Right .     Black and Latino conservatism on social issues, largely related to high degrees of Christian religiosity, is ripe ground for political forces who otherwise couldn’t be concerned with the most pressing issues facing those communities.

16 comments

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  1. 1
    Ace of Sevens

    Have any of the people the found reacted to the revelation they were exploitable pawns yet?

    1. 1.1
      Ace of Sevens

      Actually, chances are good anyone who was helping NOM was a mercenary and doesn’t care. The strategy here was to try to get gay people (who they apparently think are all white) to look racist, right? This would piss off racial minorities and let white people know it’s okay to be prejudiced against gays, because it isn’t bad prejudice, like against black people. I’m not even sure who should be the most insulted. It’s like they had no idea Wanda Sykes was a prominent pro marriage equality spokesperson. It’s not like she’s the only queer of color anyone’s ever heard of either.

    2. 1.2
      mynameischeese

      I waiting for Racialicious to pick up this story so I can see the reaction there. I’m wondering if they will mention the religious angle of NOM at all.

  2. 2
    Winterwind

    Wow. I can’t believe the shamelessness and cynicism of these people.

  3. 3
    David

    Wait – what if someone is black and gay? Stop pointing that wedge!

    1. 3.1
      fredericksparks

      all the gays are white and all the black are straight. Try to keep up, David

    2. 3.2
      Winterwind

      Then the wedge is aimed right at our hearts.

    3. 3.3
      Nentuaby

      I know, right? Yet this is a plausible strategy– which is a big part of why Dan Savage needs to stop being the Designated Spokesqueer about 5 years ago…

      1. Winterwind

        Not to mention his ugly attitudes towards overweight people. While I respect him immensely for starting the It Gets Better project to fight anti-gay bullying, I hate that he thinks it’s okay to shame fat kids/adults.

        1. Nentuaby

          Among trans people, bi/pan people, and lesbians. There is only a very small slice of QT identity Savage actually does speek to.

    4. 3.4
      Crommunist

      The black gay is like the unicorn or the female orgasm – a quaint children’s story but undetected by the best techniques that phrenological science has to offer.

  4. 4
    Alyson Miers

    NOM is willing to toss a monkey wrench into this country’s race relations just to keep teh gheyz from getting married. They can go find a short pier and take a long walk.

  5. 5
    Pen

    For once, I am shocked by an expression of cavalier cynicism.

  6. 6
    herewegoagain_a

    Is it really surprising that Black and Latino conservatives would join up with white conservatives and oppose civil rights for Gay Americans? I read or heard that in Israel, the only thing that will bring Jews, Christians and Muslims together is their hatred for gays.

  7. 7
    demonhauntedworld

    Everything with the religious right always comes down to a wedge strategy, doesn’t it?

    1. 7.1
      Alyson Miers

      Since conservatism is by definition about reinforcing and perpetuating hierarchies, it’s not really surprising when rightwingers fall back on a divide-and-conquer strategy. As long as the blacks and gays are at each others’ throats (and gay blacks are running out of options for a place where life doesn’t suck), there are a lot of people who won’t notice who’s really screwing them over.

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