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Racially-tinged documents have NOM doing damage control

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

In the wake of the release of previously confidential strategy memos by the pro-gay marriage Human Rights Campaign, the conservative National Organization for Marriage is attempting to tout its record with minorities.

The documents, released Monday, reveal NOM calling for a strategy of racial division to raise support and win elections.

“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies,” a NOM document reads. “Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.”

Another points to Latinos as a key group to win over in the same-sex marriage divide.

“The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity – a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”

The documents, dating from 2009, were released in Maine as part of a campaign finance investigation of the group.

Following the release of the documents, NOM issued a statement expressing their commitment to “minority partnerships” — with African-American and Hispanic leaders such as Dr. Alveda C. King, Bishop George McKinney of the COGIC Church, Bishop Harry Jackson and the New York State Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz Sr. — and further argued that same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue.

“Gay marriage advocates have attempted to portray same-sex marriage as a civil right, but the voices of these and many other leaders have provided powerful witness that this claim is patently false,” Brian Brown, president of NOM said in a statement. “Gay marriage is not a civil right, and we will continue to point this out in written materials such as those released in Maine. We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage.”

MSNBC reports that the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (conducted Feb. 29 through March 3) found that 49 percent favor same-sex marriage over 40 percent who oppose. In October of 2009 41 percent favored while 49 percent opposed.

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