The leading opponents of same-sex marriage planned to defeat campaigns for gay marriage by "fanning the hostility" between black voters from gay voters and by casting President Obama as a radical foe of marriage, according to confidential documents made public in a Maine court today.
The documents, circulated by the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, are marked "confidential" and detail the internal strategy of the National Organization for Marriage.
“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies," says an internal report on 2008 and 2009 campaigns, in a section titled the "Not A Civil Right Project."
"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," advises the document, which is a road map to the successful campaign against same-sex marriage in California.
The document also targets Hispanic voters, whom conservatives have long hoped would join the backlash against gay rights.
"The Latino vote in America is a key swing vote, and will be so even more so in the future, both because of demographic growth and inherent uncertainty: Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values?" the document asks. "We must interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity - a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation."
A spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, which has battled NOM tooth and nail for several years, said the documents showed a darker side of the conservative organization.
"Nothing beats hearing from the horse’s mouth exactly how callous and extremist this group really is," said HRC's Campaign Media Director, Kevin Nix.
The documents also makes clear that NOM's plans include the 2012 election.
In a "$20 million strategy for victory" keyed to the 2010 midterm elections, the group says its agenda "requires defeating the pro-gay Obama agenda."
"A pro-marriage president must be elected in 2012," the document says, although Obama has offered tepid opposition to same-sex marriage.
The same document, an update to the group's board, described a $1 million plan through the conservative American Principles Project to "expose Obama as a social radical."
The section, headed "Sideswiping Obama," suggests raising "side issues" including pornography to attack Democrats' flanks.
The group also sought to identify "victims" of same-sex marriage — children raised in gay households — and in another document budgeted $120,000 to locate "children of gay parents willing to speak on camera."
The documents emerged in a dispute over campaign financing under Maine law, and also include detailed 2009 budget plans for the group, whose spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comments on the document.
UPDATE: National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown released a statement Tuesday morning on the documents, which does not refer to the documents but touts the organizations credentials with African-Americans and Hispanics:
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) was formed in 2007 and has worked extensively with supporters of traditional marriage from every color, creed and background. We have worked with prominent African-American and Hispanic leaders, including Dr. Aveeda King, Bishop George McKinney of the COGIC Church, Bishop Harry Jackson and the New York State Sen. Reverend Rubén Díaz Sr., all of whom share our concern about protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Gay marriage advocates have attempted to portray same-sex marriage as a civil right, and the voices of these and many other leaders have provided powerful witness that this claim is patently false. Gay marriage is not a civil right, and we will continue to point this out in written materials such as those released in Maine. We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage.