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published: 9/6/13

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The National Organization for Marriage

What is the National Organization for Marriage?

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is an American non-profit political organization established in 2007 to work against legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. It was formed in 2007 specifically to pass California Proposition 8 prohibiting same-sex marriage in California. The group has opposed civil union legislation and gay adoption, and has fought against allowing transgendered individuals to use bathrooms that accord with their gender identity. As of 2013, NOM's president is Brian S. Brown.

Nonprofit status and funding

The group operates two nonprofit arms: a 501(c)(4) political advocacy group called National Organization for Marriage Inc. established in January 2008, and a 501(c)(3) called NOM Education Fund established in July 2008. The latter arm is not entitled to influence legislation or political campaigns. The Firefighters' Defense Fund, which existed to fund a successful sexual harassment lawsuit by firemen who claim they were forced to participate in a gay pride parade, was a NOM Education Fund project.

The group also operates a number of state-based political action committees such as National Organization for Marriage PAC New York founded in June 2009, and National Organization for Marriage California PAC founded in February 2009. The state PACs receive funding from the main 501(c)(4) NOM arm.

NOM has said that it has a wide base of grassroots support, but the majority of its funding is from very few large anonymous donors. In NOM's IRS filing for 2009, three donations of $2.4 million, $1.2 million and $1.1 million made up 68% of NOM's contributions and grants income of a little over $7.1 million, and just five donations made up 75%.

In 2010, Jesse Zwick, then a reporter for the Washington Independent, said he uncovered a 2009 donation to NOM—$1.43 million from the Knights of Columbus—that reporter Luke Johnson later said was apparently not reported to the IRS by NOM. In 2010, two donors provided $6 million, two-thirds of the total donations for the year.
Gay rights activist Fred Karger gave his opinion that NOM is connected to the Latter Day Saint movement, with large private donations coming from Mormon sources.

Gallagher responded by denying any connection to the LDS movement "except that a Mormon serves on NOM's board." Former board member Matthew S. Holland is a Mormon as is his replacement Orson Scott Card, and Catholic board member Robert P. George has served since August 2010 as an editorial advisor to the Deseret News, a newspaper owned by the LDS Church. Reporter Zwick demonstrated that at least one major donation in 2009 came from a Catholic group, the Knights of Columbus.

The organization's financial disclosures for the 2009 tax year reported revenues of about $7.4 million including investment income, and expenditures of about $7.5 million.


NOM has been involved in ballot measures, legislative elections, judicial elections, and issue advertising in various states. NOM was involved in the successful Proposition 8 campaign in California in 2008, as well as a similar successful campaign in Maine one year later. NOM was also involved in unsuccessful efforts to pass an amendment eliminating same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in 2007. NOM participated in efforts to block same-sex marriage in New Jersey, and has unsuccessfully attempted to block same-sex marriage legalization in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia.

On June 16, 2009, NOM announced the formation of NOM PAC New York, a political action committee with a goal of providing $500,000 to fund primary challenges against any Republican New York state senator who votes for gay marriage. NOM stated that they were "also looking to aid Democratic candidates who want to buck the establishment on the marriage issue, and to help in general election contests." In 2010, NOM was involved in successful efforts to oust three Iowa Supreme Court judges who had concurred in a decision that effectively legalized same-sex marriage there.
In 2009, Peter Montgomery of the progressive organization People for the American Way stated: "You have to take [NOM] seriously [...] They've raised a tremendous amount of money that they're funneling into various states.”

2007 Massachusetts constitutional amendment

Massachusetts constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage by restricting marriage to "the union of one man and one woman", in response to the Massachusetts court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in that state. The NOM-supported amendment failed to pass. The campaign included a billboard comparing representative Angelo Puppolo to Judas Iscariot and Benedict Arnold after he changed his position to oppose the amendment.

California Proposition 8

NOM was first formed to support the passage of California Proposition 8 in 2008, which amended the state Constitution to discontinue same-sex marriage ceremonies. The amendment defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman. NOM contributed $1.8 million to the Proposition 8 effort, and has been described as being "instrumental" in the success of the initiative.

Proposition 8 was passed by voters 52% to 48%, and involved an estimated $83M by both sides of the issue. The amendment was in force until United States district court Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturned it in August 2010, in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger, ruling that it violated both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the United States Constitution.

NOM chairman Maggie Gallagher expressed her disagreement with the ruling, targeting Walker's sexuality and accusing him of "substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers." NOM President, Brian Snow, also expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling, stating "With a stroke of his pen, Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians.”

Walker did however place a temporary injunction on same-sex marriages to allow the defendants to bring their case before the United States Supreme Court. On June 26, 2013 the United States Supreme Court ruled the defendants in the case lacked standing to appeal earlier rulings in Federal Court. [36] As a consequence, Walker's opinon striking down the law as unconstitutional stands as the final decision in the case. NOM addressed the Supreme Court's ruling on its website, asking the nation "show its displeasure" with the ruling, adding that "the Supreme Court ripped the legs out from under the institution of marriage."


"The National Organization for Marraige" Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (with minor edits), under GFDL.