The National Organization for Marriage has grown quickly since its formation in 2007. In its quest to fight marriage equality, it now brings in millions of dollars every year, which allows it to make big threats to elected officials who campaigned against same-sex marriage and then voted to make it legal. In New York, NOM has committed both to punish the “traitors” who flipped their vote on marriage as well as to finance a long-term campaign to “Let the People Vote.” Given that New York does not have a referendum process, that campaign entails lobbying for the legislature to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and then convincing a majority of voters to pass it, which could only happen in 2015 at the earliest. Nonetheless, NOM is “seeking an army to undo a lie.”
But NOM’s confidence comes from the fact that its fundraising continues to grow at exponential levels, even though that money comes from a very small number of people. Consider this Washington Independent report on NOM’s fundraising, which shows that in 2009, Brian Brown and company brought in over $7 million, 14 times what they raised in 2007. But the number of donors giving over $5,000 is still relatively small — just a handful of people are funding the majority of NOM’s anti-gay crusade:
Brown and Maggie Gallagher are now living quite comfortably off their work as NOM’s officers. In 2009, Brown took a salary of $154,167 and Gallagher took $92,500. It’s no wonder that the organization has been so eager to keep its donors secret in states where they wage campaigns like Maine and Minnesota. If those few donors are exposed and discouraged from giving, it could severely jeopardize their efforts to “protect marriage” by demonizing same-sex couples.
NOM-defector Louis J. Marinelli attended one of NOM’s marriage protests yesterday and noticed that all the same staff people were there as when he worked for them. They even brought in their Rhode Island staff to help. For as much as its fundraising has increased, it seems the organization is either reluctant to grow or unsure how. In the meantime, NOM will continue to make brassy threats and big claims on behalf of tens of thousands of Americans, even if they only financially represent the interests of tens.