Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles and Vincent Gray of the District of Columbia have weighed in on the National Organization for Marriage's (NOM) race-baiting strategy.

The strategy was revealed earlier this week when gay rights advocate the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) posted four of NOM's confidential strategic memos from 2009, which were unsealed in the course of NOM's ongoing legal challenge to Maine's campaign reporting laws.

The memos have caused an uproar for stating that the strategic goal of its Not a Civil Right project “is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two key Democratic constituencies.” The group also said it wanted to establish opposition to marriage equality as “a key badge of Latino identity – a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”

Villaraigosa, a Mexican-American and chair of the group Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, expressed outrage in an email to supporters.

“We need to come together as a country if we are going to tackle our biggest challenges,” he said. “NOM's divisive effort to pit one group of Americans against another is offensive and takes us in exactly the wrong direction. If we believe in family values, we must value all families; and I believe that every adult – regardless of race, religion, gender or ethnic heritage – should have the freedom to marry the person they love.”

Gray, who is African-American, called the group's efforts “hateful.”

“Across our nation, gay and lesbian couples seek equal marriage rights because they believe in the same values we all do – commitment, stability, responsibility and family,” Gray said. “That's why it's especially confounding that an organization that claims to support family values would seek to pit groups against each other in a hateful and cynical effort to deny equal rights to some families.”