Inside NOM’s Strategy: Scare Parents With Threats To ‘Childhood Innocence’

It’s no secret that anti-gay groups have primarily targeted children in their campaigns, whether through overt accusations that homosexuals recruit and molest kids to the more recent and more subtle threat that young people might actually be “taught homosexuality” in schools. The intended audience for all of these messages is parents, as the National Organization for Marriage confirms in their 2009 confidential strategy memos released today.

NOM’s parental fear-mongering suggests a two-step process. The first is to raise awareness about various “side issues” (read: irrelevant issues) that put parents on guard for their children:

Expose Obama as a social radical. Develop side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders and parties and develop an activist base of socially conservative voters. Raise such issues as pornography, protection of children, and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty at the federal level. […]

The Preserve Innocence Project will monitor all administration initiatives from the White House, Department of Justice, Education Department, and the Health and Human Services Department that affect the welfare of children. We will put a special focus on exposing those administration programs that have the effect of sexualizing young children. We will provide a weekly update to Congress, to conservative leaders and to the national media on personnel or policy threats to childhood innocence. We will work with Congress to develop appropriate legislation to reverse current Department of Education policies that use the Safe Schools program to foist de facto sex education on children as young as kindergarten age.


The second step is to then pursue a media campaign alleging that “parental rights” are sacrificed to accommodate gay rights. This scares parents into believing that learning about the existence of gay people and their families infringes on their child-rearing responsibilities. RightWingWatch also notes that NOM committed to investigating negative outcomes for children raised by same-sex couples:

This tactic can clearly be seen in NOM’s many ads, produced by its go-to media company, Schubert Flint Public Affairs — a partnership the organization flaunts to donors throughout the documents. Perhaps the most infamous example (of which there have been many variations in other states) was the “It’s Already Happened” ad that ran during the Proposition 8 campaign:

The obvious anti-gay animus behind this “parental rights” strategy confirms that NOM’s opposition to same-sex marriage has nothing to do with actually protecting children. In fact, allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt is good for children, because it allows more of them to find homes and ensures that their families are protected and secure.