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NOM’s Racialist Divide and Conquer Strategy Wins Support

NOM’s Racialist Divide and Conquer Strategy Wins Support

Bill Berkowitz
April 3, 2012

The Ruth Institute has nothing to do with preserving the memory of baseball's immortal Babe Ruth, nor is it a tribute site to Ruth Wakefield, the inventor of the Tollhouse brand of chocolate chip cookies. Founded by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the Ruth Institute whose tag line reads "One Man. One Woman for Life," is a project of the National Organization for Marriage Educational Fund, and a dedicated opponent of same-sex marriage.

It is no wonder then that Morse had some choice words in defense of the National Organization for Marriage after previously secretive strategy memos were released that revealed that NOM was specifically setting out to divide minority communities from the gay community in order to win their support in the battle over same-sex marriage.

"If I were an investor in social conservative causes," Morse told, a daily news project of Donald Wildmon's American Family Association, "I would put Brian Brown on my speed dial because these documents are showing that Brian Brown is basically a strategic genius, and he's doing what any sensible person ought to do in his situation."

Morse proclaimed that she thought that it was "very amusing that the left proclaims itself to be shocked when somebody uses exactly the same kinds of strategies that they themselves use all the time," she offers. "'Divide and conquer' has always been their main strategy; it's the only thing they know how to do."

The NOM memo, titled "Marriage: $20 Million Strategy for Victory," was unsealed in late-March in Maine "as part of an ongoing investigation by that state into NOM's campaign finance activities," Box Turtle Bulletin reported. "Many of the tactics revealed in the documents include manipulating ethnic and racial minorities in order to pit them against LGBT Americans - as well as LGBT members of their own ethnic and racial groups."

In a section titled "The Stakes," NOM declares that "Marriage is a cornerstone of every known civilization," the document declares. It goes on to state the "Gay marriage is the tip of the spear, the weapon that will be and is being used to marginalize and repress Christianity and the Church."

NOM states that its "goal is to use a victory in the U.S. to launch a global movement to reverse the tide on cultural and legal respect for core family values like marriage."

One of the purposes of NOM's overall strategy has been to convince minority communities that same-sex marriage is not a civil right. And a key to dividing both African Americans and Latinos from gays is to fan the flames of hostility. In a previous NOM document titled "Board Update 2008-2009," the organization declared:

Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates and persuading the movement's allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue. Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington, D.C.; find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.

In the recently revealed document, a section titled "Not a Civil Right Project," declares:

The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key Democratic constituencies. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; and to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.

The majority of African-Americans, like the majority of Americans, oppose gay marriage, but Democratic power bosses are increasingly inclined to privilege the concerns of gay rights groups over the values of African-Americans. A strategic goal of this project is to amplify the voice and power of black Americans within the Democratic Party. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as civil rights. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.

The national strategy memo also targeted Latino communities:

The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be even more so in the future because of demographic growth. Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity.

We aim to identify young Latino and Latina leaders, especially artists, actors, musicians, athletes, writers and other celebrities willing to stand for marriage, regardless of national boundaries.

In a document titled "Ruth Institute - Strategic Plan 2010-2013," the group claimed that "No other organization deals with such a broad range of issues surrounding marriage - including premarital sex, same-sex marriage, pornography, no-fault divorce, child-custody practices, multi-partner fertility, and the coming demographic winter - while focusing on the rising generation."

While Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the anti-gay head of the Ruth Institute may be amused by the release of the NOM documents, the Human Rights Campaign's outgoing leader, Joe Solmonese, took it with the seriousness it deserves: "Nothing beats hearing from the horse's mouth exactly how callous and extremist this group really is," said Solmonese. "Such brutal honesty is a game changer, and this time NOM can't spin and twist its way out of creating an imagined rift between LGBT people and African-Americans or Hispanics."

After learning of the content of the documents, Dr. Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus of the NAACP, released a statement that said:

"NOM's underhanded attempts to divide will not succeed if Black Americans remember their own history of discrimination," said Dr. Bond. "Pitting bigotry's victims against other victims is reprehensible; the defenders of justice must stand together."

In early April, the Newark Star Ledger, New Jersey's largest newspaper wrote in an editorial on NOM that, "It is sick beyond words that a group to ‘save' marriage would exploit racial and ethnic divisions, stir intolerance and fear, and even rip families apart by pitting children against parents. In their self-described ‘battle,' they come across as the biggest losers of all."


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