Ever get the impression that anti-equality organizations are trying to drive a wedge between LGBT communities and people of color? It’s not your imagination. And now there’s proof.
Internal documents (pdf) from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) outline the ways in which NOM is “fanning hostility” between people of color and the LGBT community. The 2009 documents, which emerged yesterday in a Maine campaign finance court case, detail “an aggressive $20 million plan aimed at stopping, isolating and partially reversing the advances of gay marriage advocates in the United States” in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
The document outlines the million-dollar “Not A Civil Right Project” (emphasis is ours):
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. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party. Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key…
Another section titled “The Latino Project,” outlines a million-dollar effort to “identify glamorous young Latina and Latino leaders” to make opposition to marriage equality “a key badge a key badge of Latino identity – a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”
This is the latest – and best documented – example of how anti-equality groups, desperate to turn back the tide on growing support for the freedom to marry in Oregon and elsewhere, resort to dividing communities, creating conflict, and distracting from the real issues. It has been widely documented that NOM used this divisive race wedge successfully in helping pass Prop 8 in California.
Not only does this strategy weaken the political voice of both LGBT communities and communities of color, it effectively erases the existence of queer people of color who are uniquely and deeply impacted by both homophobia and racism. When we work toward racial justice within LGBT movements, we ensure that space for LGBT people of color is centralized, and that NOM’s divisive tactics have no place in our community.
Basic Rights Oregon’s Racial Justice program seeks to increase the visibility of LGBT families of color, and strengthen alliances with straight communities of color. This work is led by a team of LGBT and allied leaders of color from across the state who, along with staff, work to create educational tools like the Our Families video series and to be effective, reliable allies in racial justice policy work.
You can help us fight the racist tactics of NOM by getting involved! To work toward winning the freedom to marry in Oregon, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved with the Racial Justice program, email email@example.com.