African American Leaders Condemn NOM’s Race-Wedging As Artificial And Exploitative

Ben Jealous speaking at the National Conference on LGBT Equality in January, 2012.

The National Organization for Marriage’s confidential memos released this week reveal the group’s insidious attempts to foster racial divisions to further its opposition to the freedom to marry. The leaders of various groups that advocate for African-Americans are now speaking out to condemn the exploitative tactics.

Adding to comments made by Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond earlier this week, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous rebuked any attempt at creating a wedge as “artificial”:

JEALOUS: This memo only reveals the limits of a cynical agenda. The truth is that no group, no matter how well-funded, can drive an artificial wedge between our communities. People of color understand what it is like to be the target of discrimination. No public relations strategy will make us forget that.

Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, also spoke out, expressing her concern that NOM has exploited the black faith community to advance a hateful agenda:

LETTMAN-HICKS: These documents expose NOM for what it really is—a hate group determined to use African American faith leaders as pawns to push their damaging agenda and as mouthpieces to amplify that hatred. NOM is fighting a losing battle. With these memos made public, the black faith community must refuse to be exploited and refuse to deny their fellow brothers and sisters equal protections under the law.

NOM President Brian Brown responded to the controversy this week by bragging, “We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors.” Clearly, that is not the case.


Jeremy Hooper delivers this clip of Julian Bond discussing the memos with Anderson Cooper. Bond describes the “cynical” tactics as NOM attempting to move pawns around on a chess board:

Share Update