As NOM's Summer for Marriage Tour 2010
begins to hit its stride, prominent gay group HRC says the entire
campaign is a “sham.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest gay rights advocate, says it believes the National
Organization for Marriage's (NOM) 23-city bus tour to promote
opposite-sex marriage is hiding a dark secret in plain view.
Fred Sainz, vice president of
communications and marketing at HRC, said Tuesday that the tour is
designed to incite loud protests, not promote heterosexual marriage.
Sainz said that the group is “devoting
its energies almost exclusively to condemning lawful protesters” in
an effort to build a case against proponents of gay marriage.
Evidence of ill-behaved protesters could boost several ongoing
lawsuits that claim opponents of gay marriage face threats of
violence and intimidation, and their identities need to be shielded.
“NOM and its allies are making a
last-ditch legal stand in Washington and Maine that they should be
specifically entitled to hide their political activities, and they're
saying that harassment and intimidation should provide them this
cover,” Sainz wrote.
The Supreme Court last month rejected
the groups' broad claim that public disclosure laws violate the First
Amendment, but added that petitioners could return to lower courts
with their specific concerns. The groups say they will continue the
Meanwhile, at its eleventh stop in St.
Paul, Minnesota, NOM drew a large crowd. One head count put NOM
supporters at 163, its largest rally to date.
A counter demonstration held inside the
Statehouse rotunda and led by gay rights group OutFront Minnesota
drew over 200 supporters.
Calling Minnesota “the next key
battleground state,” NOM announced in May it would pour $200,000
into the state.
“Many Minnesotans are unaware that
special interest groups are working to convince activist judges and
DFL [Democratic-Farmer-Labor] lawmakers to redefine marriage in the
state,” Brian Brown, president of NOM, said in a statement.
In its first television ad, the group
took aim at four prominent candidates running for governor who
support gay marriage: former state Rep. Matt Entenza, independent
candidate Tom Horner, former state Senator Mark Dayton and state Rep.
“Leading DFL and independent
candidates for governor support homosexual marriage,” a male
announcer says in the ad. “And most DFL lawmakers don't want you
to have a say. When they ask for your support, ask them if they'll
guarantee your right to vote on marriage.”
In previous stops, NOM has made plenty
of noise concerning the civility of demonstrators. And in two
speeches, Maggie Gallagher suggested that gay marriage backers are
“We live in an upside down world,”
Gallagher told a crowd gathered outside a shuttered grocery store.
“We live in a world where people tell us good is bad and bad is
good … [But] truth and love will triumph over lies and hatred.”
At a Columbus rally, Gallagher
expressed a similar sentiment: “I have a message for our good
friends who don't agree with us – a few of them are gathered out
there on the other side – hate is not a family value.”
At other stops, NOM President Brian
Brown has also attempted to flip the script on supporters by saying
his civil rights were in danger.
“We've taken great pains to make
clear what we are all about,” Brown said Wednesday in St. Paul.
“We view ourselves as a new civil rights movement. … Committed to
something that in the 1960s was key: the right to vote.”
“We stand for tolerance,” he added.
“We will stand up and repudiate hatred on both sides.”
NOM is the group behind measures in
Maine and California that have repealed gay marriage at the ballot
The bus tour is expected to end with a
Washington D.C. rally on August 15.
The bus rolls into St. Cloud on
Thursday and Rochester on Friday.