Washington - The Human Rights Campaign is calling on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to immediately reject the endorsement of the National Organization for Marriage, one of the nation's leading anti-gay groups that uses racial exploitation for its own political gain. As Romney exits the primaries and begins making his Etch a Sketch appeal to mainstream voters, the backing of a fringe group like NOM will most certainly present a problem. NOM's strategy of racially dividing and pitting communities against one another is not representative of the values of mainstream Americans.
Last month, HRC unearthed previously confidential documents that shed a light on NOM's racially divisive strategy to fight marriage equality. In the documents, NOM said: "The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks -- two key Democratic constituencies. 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..." Romney donated $10,000 to NOM in 2008, according to financial documents recently obtained and released by HRC. Last summer -- before NOM's strategy was known -- Romney ominously signed NOM's marriage pledge, which includes the formation of a McCarthy-like presidential commission to investigate allegations of harassment against opponents of marriage equality. Every single court that has reviewed these claims by NOM has rejected them.
"If Romney does not reject NOM's endorsement, his silence -- coupled with his 2008 donation -- is tantamount to his approval of NOM's ruthless, racially divisive strategy," said HRC president Joe Solmonese. "The fact that one of the most hate-filled groups in American politics is endorsing Romney today is something the governor should run from, not embrace. We'll see what he chooses to do."
NOM's embrace of Romney this morning represents a change of heart for the organization. NOM founder Maggie Gallagher had endorsed and been a vocal supporter of Rick Santorum. In a column published March 15, 2012, Gallagher wrote: "For a candidate whose strong suit is 'electability,' Romney's beginning to emerge as a very weak candidate to win in November, especially if the economy continues to nudge toward recovery." On the day of the April 3 primaries, Gallagher also wrote: "Santorum's sense of genuineness, and his fierce commitment to principles (including life and marriage) is what is keeping him competitive, preventing Romney from closing the deal, and causing the growing frustration of Team Romney."
The endorsement comes the same morning as NOM appears to be struggling with hacked social media accounts. In a series of tweets, Facebook, and blog posts, the anti-LGBT organization appears to have apologized for its racially divisive strategy, unblocked supporters of equality who the group had barred from commenting on their Facebook page, and even said it endorsed marriage equality as a "mutiny" was underway at the organization's DC headquarters.