Surprise! The National Organization of Marriage uses race as a strategic wedge issue in the debate over marriage equality.
A confidential memo obtained by the Human Rights Campaign outlines the strategy to divide along racial lines stating (Via The Daily Beast):
“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies,” it said. “We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage, to develop a media campaign around their objections to marriage as a civil right; and to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.”
The racial divisions aren’t only between black and white. Hispanics are actually the key to the plan with celebrity spokespeople being lined up to shill to the Hispanic community for the organization. In the memo, this is called the “Pan-American Strategy” and the memo describes their, “ultimate goal is to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of ‘Anglo’ culture.”
It’s not surprising that the NOM would exploit racial divisions strategically to advance their own agenda. The controversy after the passage of Proposition 8 in California of just how many black voters supported the measure (a myth that was later debunked) is just one example of how race and marriage equality has been molded and shaped to give anti-marriage equality an angle to shape the debate. Also, revealed by the memo is that the recent hullabaloo over the contraception mandate and “religious freedom” was also a planned and manufactured strategy.
What is somewhat surprising is that the memos are so explicit and open as to exactly what the strategy is. That is somewhat reassuring because at times it’s easy for these groups to use the defense that those who point out these racialized strategies are delusional or overreaching but the proof is in the memo.