DC Comics has defended hiring Orson Scott Card, a board member of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

The decision to hire Card to write the new digital comic Adventures of Superman has been protested by the group AllOut.org.

“We need to let DC Comics know they can't support Orson Scott Card or his work to keep LGBT people as second-class citizens,” the group wrote in an online petition which has received more than 8,000 signatures as of Wednesday. “They know they're accountable to their fans, so if enough of us speak out now, they'll hear us loud and clear.”

The backlash to hiring Card has received backlash of its own, with NOM President Brian Brown blasting the effort to oust Card.

“This is completely un-American and it needs to be stopped,” Brown said in a statement. “Simply because we stand up for traditional marriage, some people feel like it's okay to target us for intimidation and punishment.”

“Marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” he added. “That is not hateful. That is not bigoted.”

Card has stated that marriage equality would lead to the end of civilization, supports the criminalization of gay sex between consenting adults and has threatened to abandon the United States if it legalizes such unions.

“If America becomes a place where the laws of the nation declare that marriage no longer exists – which is what the Massachusetts decision actually does – then our allegiance to America will become zero,” Card said.

A spokesman for DC Comics told gay glossy The Advocate that Card was welcome to hold his own opinions.

“As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that – personal views – and not those of the company itself.”

The new digital comic will be written by guest writers, the spokesman added, of which Card would be one.

Card is best known for writing Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead, both of which won Hugo awards.