The National Organization for Marriage hits the streets this weekend, just a few days before the Supreme Court hears oral argument in marriage equality cases. They’ll rally and march Saturday afternoon, starting on the mall in front of the Capitol and then proceeding down the street near the U.S. Supreme Court building.
(The Justices don’t come into work on Saturday, so it’s unlikely they’ll actually witness the hubbub first-hand. Oh well, nice try anyway, NOM!)
So what is NOM trying to prove here? That there’s widespread support for marriage bans? Haha, no. This whole event is going to backfire in their faces, just like its last fabulous disaster of a rally, and we’d like to list the reasons why, accompanied by shirtless hunky pics rather than bleak images of angry homophobes:
1. Attendance is getting weaker every year
In 2013, when they held a similar rally, NOM estimated their attendance at 15,000 — but the truth was closer to somewhere around 2,000. Then in 2014, they tried again, and could only get a few hundred folks to show up.
What’s going on here? Well, fewer and fewer people are willing to trek down to D.C. to stand around at a rally for a cause that they know is losing. Especially if that means taking a day or two off of work. Maybe that’s why this year NOM is holding their rally on the weekend — and odd choice, given that the Supreme Court hears oral argument on Tuesday. That means that NOM thinks that attendance is going to be so light that they’re better off holding the event on the wrong day than risking a small crowd due to everyone being at work and not wanting to waste a day off.
As before, NOM will try to get religious groups to bus people in from far away, to bolster the numbers. That may help raise attendance somewhat, but paying for the buses has proven a challenge.
2. They’re running out of money
Times have been tight at the National Organization for Marriage. Recent tax filings show mounting debt, as donors to their lost cause dry up.
And when they do launch fundraising campaigns, they struggle to meet their target. Their last end-of-year fundraiser couldn’t quite stagger over the finish line, falling around $60,000 short after January 1.
They tried to do a GoFundMe to pay for buses to bring people to this weekend’s rally. They almost-but-not-quite made their target, but that’s thanks to only a few major donors who chipped in the bulk of the $40,000. Only a few hundred regular donors trickled in at the $25 to $100 level. That’s pretty weak, considering this is the biggest moment in the organization’s history.
Maybe that’s why the group has depended on illegal fundraising and financing schemes, resulting in record fines from campaign finance regulators. NOM is wasting a ton of cash to pay those fines, which isn’t helping their financial situation much.
3. Public opinion keeps turning against them
In what must’ve felt like a bit of a twist of the knife, a new survey just came out showing that NOM’s public support continues to drop. Around 60% of Americans favor the freedom to marry, with only about 30% taking NOM’s side of the debate. Remember this staggering turnaround has happened in, like five years, the very time NOM has been campaigning in the other direction. It’s a direct rebuke of its cause.
Well, now we know why they can’t count on donations from the public like they once could.
We’ve never had great things to say about Maggie Gallagher, but we’ll give her this: she saw the writing on the wall long before most of her colleagues. She got out of NOM post-haste, distancing herself from the group several years ago. Now, NOM President Brian Brown is stuck there, with his job prospects and income likely to disappear within the next year or two. What’s next for him? Moving to Russia, where the government still beats and tortures gays?
4. They fail at everything
Poor NOM is the Britta of the group. Everything they touch lately turns to failure.
The latest example: The Supreme Court just told them that they can’t intervene in an Oregon case (that was resolved about a year ago). But that’s not the only loss! Since 2012, they really haven’t been able to chalk up any victories at all. States have started approving marriage equality at the ballot box; federal courts from one side of the country to the other have ruled in favor of gay couples; and NOM’s boycotts are a big joke. (When’s the last time you heard anything about Starbucks worrying about their bottom line?)
NOM also wasted a ton of cash on a failed attempt to wring some money out of the IRS. They insisted that government officials conspired to leak their tax documents, but they couldn’t prove anything. In the end, the paltry sum they got for the accidental leak was far less than they were asking for — and less than they probably spent on the litigation.
5. Nobody’s paying attention anymore
There was a time when Maggie Gallagher was constantly on the news, cable shows kept booking Brian Brown, and even turnip-lookalike John Eastman would appear in news articles. No more! The media has pretty much written NOM off, barely even acknowledging their existence for the last year or two. And when NOM does make the headlines on occasion, it’s usually just to report on some new way that they’ve discovered to fail.
Politicians aren’t giving them as much attention, either. Four years ago, NOM managed to get all of the major Republican presidential candidates to sign a pledge to oppose marriage. That’s less likely to work this time around. Sure, the candidates who’ve jumped into the race so far will be more than happy to sign their dumb pledge. But the smarter, more moderate candidates won’t want to waste their time on an issue that they know will only fragment their base and alienate most young people.
And how about those NOM boycotts? Homophobes are supposed to be avoiding Chase, Target, Starbucks, and Angie’s List. But they’ve been having trouble getting anyone to join them, and those companies are thriving like never before. NOM used to have a little meter on their website to show the number of people who’ve taken the pledge to boycott, but the numbers were so low they seem to have removed it.
Not unlike their power in American politics.