The National Organization for Marriage has once again been caught lying about public support they do not have. NOM’s Ruth Institute is publicizing its “It Takes A Family” (ITAF) conference, which reaches out to college students to encourage them to oppose same-sex marriage, with blatant condemnations of homosexuality and promotion of ex-gay therapy. This year’s conference features, for example, fraudulent anti-gay researcher Mark Regnerus and ex-gay advocate Robert Gagnon. NOM promoted the conference this week by bragging that the Chicago Bears had donated two autographed pieces of memorabilia, with a special thank-you to the team for “supporting our message“:
For now, you should know that we have two fabulous raffle items from the Chicago Bears Organization (and a huge THANK YOU to the Bears for supporting our message).
Unfortunately, both the support of the Chicago Bears Organization and the Bears’ supposed endorsement of NOM’s message were outright lies. In a statement provided to ThinkProgress and numerous other outlets, the Bears made clear the team had no connection to NOM or the conference:
The two items featured in The Ruth Institute gala invitation were personal donations to Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse. Neither was a club donation, nor do they represent the team’s view on any social issues. Any remarks stating otherwise are false.
One of the two items was an official jersey autographed by former linebacker Brian Urlacher, but Urlacher clarified he had nothing to do with its inclusion in the conference raffle, explaining that he signs “a lot of stuff for charity,” but “if I would have known it was for this cause, I wouldn’t have done it.”
The Chicago Tribune reached Ruth Institute head Jennifer Roback Morse for comment, and she eventually conceded that the site had lied. She refused, however, to explain why she claimed to have the support of the Bears, stating simply that NOM regrets “any confusion”:
The Ruth Institute is not working with the Chicago Bears organization or any of its players past or present to promote our upcoming auction. The memorabilia we are auctioning off was acquired by me personally, not through the team or players. We understand that the Chicago Bears organization takes no position on social issues, and we regret any confusion we may have caused on this point.
The ITAF conference page now clarifies that the two items were “donated by individuals, not the team or the players.”
It’s unclear which is more pathetic, that NOM had to lie about having the support of an NFL team, or that NOM has to use NFL memorabilia to attract students to its anti-gay conference in the first place.