NOM Launches Billboard Attack on NY Lawmakers
Anti-gay group the National Organization for Marriage has launched a billboard attack on Republican New York lawmakers who supported the recently enacted law that made that state the latest to extend marriage parity to gay and lesbian families.
The first billboard in what the group promises will be a barrage has already gone up, a Sept. 5th New York Daily News article reported.
"Roy McDonald, You’re fired," the billboard declares. The message is aimed at a state senator who joined three other Republicans in voting for marriage equality earlier this summer.
NOM had threatened to work to defeat any GOP state lawmaker that supported the new family parity law. The billboard targeting McDonald is the opening salvo in the efforts that NOM vowed would be forthcoming.
"This is not going to end," the president of the anti-gay group, Brian Brown, told the media. NOM intends to spend $40,000 in the short term on billboards attacking pro-equality legislators, with more expenditures to follow. The group has already spent $150,000 on leaflets in the four lawmakers’ districts.
The other three state senators -- James Alesi, Mark Grisanti, and Stephen Saland -- are targets as well, with NOM aiming to plaster attack messages on billboards in their districts in the coming weeks.
NOM also hopes that a Proposition 8-style referendum might go before New York voters and lead to the repeal of the new law, the article said.
"This is what this campaign is going to be from here on out," Brown promised. "We are not going to rest until the people of this state get a vote."
The state senators targeted by NOM were not alarmed.
"People need to get over it because the simple fact is that everyone should enjoy the same rights," said Grisanti spokesman Doug Curella. "This just rolls right off our back."
"They are entitled to their opinion; it is a free country," added McDonald spokesman Mike Veitch.
In this country, speech and money are one and the same, and NOM has announced its intention to flood the state with speech geared toward tossing pro-equality lawmakers out of office. The anti-gay group had spent lavishly in 2009 to help ensure the defeat of an earlier marriage equality bill.
"We spent over half a million dollars in New York," Brown boasted last spring, last spring, "and we’re ready to spend that and more this time. We are willing to spend a million against any Republican senator who votes for gay marriage."
NOM, a well-funded group with ties to the Mormon Church, underwrote a successful 2009 campaign to recall marriage equality at the ballot box in Maine, and was also a major player in the bitterly divisive 2008 campaign in California to rescind the then-existing right of gay and lesbian families in that state to marry. California voters, told that young children would be taught about homosexuality in schools unless marriage equality was revoked, narrowly approved Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution in a manner that yanked marriage rights away from same-sex couples.
Proposition 8 was later found to be unconstitutional in a federal court challenge. That verdict is now under appeal.
The Human Rights Campaign is prepared to do battle with NOM to support pro-equality lawmakers in New York and elsewhere, the article said.
"We are going to do everything we can to ensure that those who voted for equality are reelected," the HRC’s Brian Ellner told the media.
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor, writing about film, theater, food and drink, and travel, as well as contributing a column. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.