In a conference call to supporters last Thursday, Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), pledged to ramp up the organization’s efforts to stop same-sex marriage in the United States by running ads in Middle Eastern countries where Starbucks intends to expand. Starbucks has been an outspoken advocate in Washington State in particular, endorsing legislation to protect marriage equality before a Referendum was even filed to put the issue up to a vote.
The American Independent, which was granted an invitation to the conference call reports that this message is not new. In a statement earlier this year, Brown revealed the organization’s intent to win the preservation of “traditional marriage” by crippling businesses which contribute to the ever growing social support for marriage equality.
“DumpStarbucks.com online ads will also start running in Egypt, Beijing, Hong Kong, the Yunnan region of China, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait,” Brown stated. What is new is that the organization, with this conference call, has now publicly and quite clearly revealed its motives.
“Their [Starbucks] international outreach is where we can have the most effect. So for example, in Qatar, in the Middle East, we’ve begun working to make sure that there’s some price to be paid for this,” Brown said. “These are not countries that look kindly on same-sex marriage. And this is where Starbucks wants to expand, as well asIndia. So we have done some of this; we’ve got to do a lot more.”
During the call NOM leaders, who regard their group as a “baby organization” in comparison to the grassroots power of the Human Rights Campaign, also assessed the results of the election and attributed their recent losses to their trust in the Republican Party to drive this issue home. Rather, as Brown claimed, Fox News contributor and former White House Policy Analyst Karl Rove’s focus on economic issues sold voters “a false bill of goods.” While some in the Republican Party believed it is smart political strategy to focus mainly on economics, U.S. voters responded with resounding clarity on Election Day that social issues were in fact of the utmost importance with marriage equality winning on the ballot for the first time in history in three states, Maine, Maryland and Washington.
In addition to directing some of their organization’s funds to the Middle East, “money that is being used as a help, a sort of carrot,” NOM national political director Frank Schubert urged supporters to hang in there with the organization, conceding, “we think we need to look closely at how we organize at the grassroots level. We have a lot of superficial support, particularly in the Protestant community, but we’ve had a very difficult time in operationalizing (sic) that support into actual grassroots activities, getting people walking precincts, making phone calls, doing the day-to-day hard work of being grassroots allies for us.” The bulk of NOM’s funding has historically come from a few wealthy donors and conservative foundations.
Last Wednesday NOM announced in a press release that it had contributed $5 million to the campaign, yet on Tuesday said that the organization had contributed just over $10 million while supporters of marriage equality had contributed $33 million. Concluding that being outspent was the main reason why marriage ultimately won at the ballot box, Schubert assured voters that NOM will stay the course and that “marriage remains a winning issue.”
National exit polls revealed that 49% of respondents believed that same-sex marriage should be legal in their state compared to 46% who believed it should be illegal.