Saturday, August 20, 2011

NOM's Minnesota Battle Plan

Over at the always informative Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters, Alvin McEwen outlines the "battle plan" of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to defeat marriage equality in Minnesota. According to McEwen, the plan involves three main components: money, churches, and martyrs.

McEwen's report is reprinted in its entirety below. It's followed by links to previous Wild Reed posts documenting the struggle for marriage equality in Minnesota, primarily from a progressive Catholic perspective.


NOM's Minnesota Game Plan Involves
Money, Churches, and Martyrs

By Alvin McEwen

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
August 18, 2011

The National Organization for Marriage is setting up its battle plan to defeat marriage equality in Minnesota and it seems that the plan pushes three points - money, churches, and marytrs.

According to Think Progress:

The fight over a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota could cost up to $10 million before voters go to the ballot in November 2012. And while the measure only seeks to define civil marriage as “a union of one man and one woman,” proponents of the amendment have begun waging a campaign that blurs the line between civil and religious unions.

And of course you know that a good amount of that will probably be provided by NOM. After all, the organization has already spent over $700,000 in the gubernatorial race which the candidate it supported, Tom Emmer, lost.

So win or lose, NOM can expect even more questions at to where exactly is it getting its funding and why does it fight losing court cases to hide its donors. The organization has fought in several states to hide its funders, most recently losing two cases this month.

Think Progress also notes how NOM is attempting to get Minnesota churches behind its efforts:

Even though marriage equality bills have never tried to dictate what any religion can believe or practice when it comes to sanctifying religious marriage, the Minnesota coalition, Minnesota for Marriage, and other so-called “traditional groups” are defining their campaign in religious terms. For instance, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is encouraging Facebook fans to “support marriage as God intended it to be,” while Minnesota Family Council (MFC) President John Helmberger has injected God into his rhetoric, predicting success if “people of faith [rise] up, speak, and participate in the campaign.”

The article also says that MFC is actually "recruiting church captains." My question is wouldn't that present a problem in court should NOM win and someone challenges the victory? But more the point, MFC is the same group which claimed that gays engage in pedophilia, bestiality, and the consuming of feces and urine - points that it did not apologize for nor did NOM address. Whether or not they believe these things about the gay community is definitely a question which should be asked to NOM's allies in Minnesota, particularly the prospective "church captains."

And let's not forget about the martyr.

Earlier this month, a freelance writer, Carrie Daklin, with Minnesota Public Radio, wrote a piece which criticized Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) for calling out Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery during a hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act. Daklin contended that Franken had rudely set Minnery up for ridicule by obscuring the fact that Franken had actually called out Minnery for wrongly citing a government study on families.

Daklin was justifiably criticized for her faux pas. Today she claimed in another column that she was unfairly attacked and naturally, NOM has a portion of that column on its blog, using it to claim that those support marriage equality are "meanies." This is what Daklin claims:

There must be a group of advocates who watch that website for anything that might conflict with their point of view. Within days, my words, taken completely out of context, and my message — better manners — had been used as the basis for a rallying cry: Carrie Daklin of Minnesota is a homophobe.

I am not sure how my message got so skewed. I have become the object of hate mail and really vicious comments, all in the name of etiquette. Go figure.

I found this all rather unsettling.

. . . What has happened in our culture, that so many of us are completely unable to accept someone who doesn't share our views? I don't agree with all that my conservative Christian friends espouse, but I support their right to their beliefs. I don't agree with a very liberal friend who said certain members of the religious right should be shot. Actually, he used the word murdered. Sadly, I think he meant it.

In retrospect, the original infraction I wrote about is positively innocuous compared to the resulting uproar. To be blunt: My article was not about gay rights, it was not about the Defense of Marriage Act, and it most certainly was not a promotion for the National Organization for Marriage.

If some of the comments directed to Daklin were as vicious as she claims, I certainly don't agree with them. However her attempts to claim martyrdom is as sad as the original column itself.

Daklin's words were not misconstrued, but her intent was justifiably questioned. It was obvious that Ms. Daklin was commenting about a situation in which she had absolutely no clue, much like a baseball referee attempting to officiate a hockey game.

While her original column was seemingly innocent, the adage of "looks can be deceiving" were definitely into play. Through her words, Daklin allowed some folks to obscure the fact that they were deceptively manipulating studies to push a vicious and vindictive lie regarding children and same-sex households. While at the same time Daklin pleaded for civility, she was giving ammunition to people who know nothing about the term because there is no such thing as civility in the absence of truth.

Let's be clear about what exactly happened between Franken and Minnery yet again.

Franken did not set up Minnery for ridicule. He rightfully called him out for pushing fraudulent material.

The pushback Daklin received (the respectful pushback that is) for her column was not a matter of people showing intolerance to someone registering a different opinion. It was a simple reaction of a people harmed yet again through lies and distortions, by research manipulated to make them look like monsters.

The sad thing about Daklin's new column is her contention that she does not appreciate being an object of hate to those on the left or a hero to those on the right.

I wonder how she feels about NOM exploiting her new column?

– Alvin McEwen

For more of Alvin McEwen at The Wild Reed, see:
Marriage Equality: Simple Answers to NON's Complicated Lies

For The Wild Reed's coverage of the struggle for marriage equality in Minnesota, see the following chronologically-ordered posts:
A Celebration of Faith and Family; A Call for Compassion and Fairness
A Catholic Statement of Support for Same-Sex Marriage
Governor Mark Dayton to LGBT Advocates: "I Stand with You"
Disappointing but Not Unexpected: "Marriage Amendment" Bill Passes MN Senate Judiciary Committee
Rep. Steve Simon on Gay Marriage and the Arc of History
Winona Daily News Calls Proposed Marriage Amendment "Bigoted" and "Malicious"
Catholic Attitudes on Gay and Lesbian Issues: An Overview
Quote of the Day – May 5, 2011
Tips on Speaking as a Catholic in Support of Marriage Equality
Law Professor: Marriage Amendment is Divisive and Mean-Spirited
Opposition to the Marriage Amendment Grows
The Real Losers at the MN State Capitol Today
David Booth on What It Might Mean to "Let the People Decide"
At the Minnesota Capitol, Signs of the Times
MN Marriage Amendment Headed for House Vote
An Eventful Day at the Capitol
Protests Against the Proposed Marriage Amendment Continue
Day One of the Campaign to Defeat the Anti-Family Marriage Ban
Doug Grow on Republican Rep. John Kriesel's Anti-Amendment Speech
Quote of the Day – May 23, 2011
The Political Intrigue (and Money) Behind the MN Marriage Amendment
In the Struggle for Marriage Equality, MN Catholics are Making a Difference by Changing Hearts and Minds
Sharing the Good News of Marriage Equality at the Basilica Block Party

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