HRC: Romney donated to anti-gay marriage group

UPDATED: The GOP front-runner's secret donation to Maggie Gallagher's NOM is revealed by the Human Rights Campaign

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published March 30, 2012 8:20PM (EDT)

        (Reuters/Andrew Burton)
(Reuters/Andrew Burton)

(updated below)

And you thought Maggie Gallagher's National Organization for Marriage was just in the business of making unintentionally hilarious, far-too-easy-to-parody videos equating homosexuality with inclement weather. You thought they were just out to wrest away your lattes. Your gay, gay lattes. Au contraire! They're also in the race-baiting business.

In confidential documents obtained by the Human Rights Campaign, the organization's 2008-2009 report to its board of directors explains that "the strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks – two key Democratic constituencies." The plan was an unusual tack – to "energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage," thereby "fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8."

And what do you know? Suddenly NOM was recruiting African-Americans like David Tyree to declare that same-sex marriage was surely the "beginning of our country sliding toward anarchy" and making videos asking, "Will the black church rise up for marriage?"

In a statement Tuesday, Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese declared that "Nothing beats hearing from the horse’s mouth exactly how callous and extremist this group really is." But NOM is staunchly standing by its "strong record on minority partnerships," announcing in a press release Tuesday that "We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage." Did you know it was possible to "bring together people" while simultaneously strategizing to "drive a wedge" between them? I did not!

But what could be more unifying that a strategy of "interrupting the race analogy" of the "attempt to equate gay with black, and sexual orientation with race" and by "making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity – a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation"?

Way to go, NOM. You've not only been exposed as dumber and more consciously hateful than we'd ever given you credit for, you're got the chutzpah to now pull the old shtick of acting like your creepy philosophy is some big, beautiful tent. I guess if exploiting minorities because you hate homosexuals so much is something you think really brings people together, um, maybe? But meanwhile the rest of us – gay and straight, dark- and light-skinned – are going to keep drinking our gay lattes, advocating for civil rights, and eagerly awaiting your next boneheaded, self-justifying and disastrously backfiring move.

UPDATED: There's a storm coming.... and it's coming for Mitt Romney. On Friday, the Human Rights Campaign revealed that Governor Romney, an outspoken opponent of same-sex unions, donated a generous $10,000 to NOM back in 2008. That puts Romney's magnamimous gesture -- under the name of his "Free and Strong America" PAC -- right around the same time the organization was strategizing on how to incite racial division in its touching efforts to preserve American values. Romney may have managed to keep his association with NOM quiet for the past four years, but that's the thing about aligning yourself with organizations devoted to "fanning hostility" -- eventually, everything ignites.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Lgbt National Organization For Marriage