In the news these first few weeks of November 2013 has been the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) finding itself in the red to about $1 million dollars for 2012. Good-As-You blogger, Jeremy Hooper, comments this deficit of funds comes from the change in attitudes towards the idea of allowing gay people to marry. NOM was founded with on the idea of being an organization to fight marriage quality for gay people. With people and states being more accepting and welcoming of gay people’s right to marry, NOM’s mission is becoming less and less relevant (if it was ever relevant to begin with). But Washington Post conservative commentator, Jennifer Rubin, has a very good idea of where NOM can focus its efforts for the future. But it’s an idea we probably will never see NOM take up:
Campaign for marriage, not against gay marriage. Root out marriage penalties in the tax code. Enlist religious and secular groups to tout marriage and inform people about its physical, psychological and economic benefits. Promote private marriage counseling. If MADD can change attitudes on drunk driving, the environmental movement can make recycling delinquents into social pariahs and a conservative talk show host and Democratic senator can set out to raise awareness of adoption, NOM can certainly lead a cultural movement to promote marriage.
In Hooper’s piece, ‘WaPo’s “Right Turn” on NOM’s increasing lack of turns’, he points out that NOM was founded on “discriminatory and highly offensive gametes.” It was founded to fight equality; to fight the right of gay people of gay people to participate in marriage. It has done this because gay people were an easy target.
If you weren’t gay, you could easily demonize gay people for ‘redefining marriage’ and your own selves as wanting to ‘protect it.’ You could do this sans guilt because you, as a heterosexual, anti-equality person could point at gay people as the problem. We can’t do the same in talking about poverty; in talking about strengthening and promoting marriage in the ways that Rubin outlines. To do this means not pointing a finger at other people, but pointing it back at ourselves. This is a much harder case to champion.
NOM and all the other pro-family organizations like it, do not work on changing divorce laws or marriage education or ensuring married couples succeed economically. They haven’t done this because it’s hard. It requires more work and, more importantly, more buy-in from the general populace. NOM and others know they would never get that buy-in. They know that “Campaigning for marriage, not against gay marriage” is a much heftier goal to lift, which is why we will never see them willing to pick it up.