The National Organization for Marriage continues to face fall-out over the confidential strategic memos released last week that reveal its intent to “fan hostilities” between marriage equality activists and African-American and Latino communities. Adding to a chorus of groups condemning NOM, the National Council of La Raza’a Vice President Eric Rodriguez said on Friday that the group’s tactics are “stunningly cynical” and rival those of the anti-immigration movement:
The cravenness on display from NOM is reminiscent of another bastion of intolerance, the anti-immigrant movement. They too have enough political savvy to realize that first, Latinos are an important demographic and voting block and second, that movements built on bigotry and intolerance are most successful when their shameful agenda stays hidden from the public. [...]
If NOM had stopped its indefatigable scheming for just a moment to learn something about our community, this diabolical plan would never have been hatched. First, not all Latinos are immigrants. Second, Latino immigrants welcome integration into American society. Third, Latinos are not foolish enough to believe that NOM has our best interests at heart. And, fourth, despite what NOM may think, the Latino community overwhelmingly supports LGBT equality. The Movement Advancement Project released research recently that showed that 74 percent of Latinos “support marriage or marriage-like legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples.”
Some have been incensed that the NAACP support for same-sex marriage is equating the gay movement to our struggle for civil rights and racial equality. We disagree. The African-American struggle will forever stand as one of the greatest civil rights movements in modern history. After 400 hundred years of slavery, the achievements of some basic civil rights, 100 years of marching, protesting, court battles and violence that led to our freedoms and many gains in society is a wonderful legacy. As we continue the struggle for total equality in America, we must also fight for the total equality for others, whether it is another race or another group. Thus, the NAACP is the best organization to join the fight for equal protection for LGBT couples to help them overcome the same irrational arguments that were once used to justify slavery and the law of “separate but equal.”
While the memos were rife with evidence of NOM’s insidious agenda, its blatant manipulation of racial politics continues to stand out as the pinnacle of an agenda built not around “protecting marriage” but promoting anti-gay intolerance.