BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Here is a sobering thought: Brian Brown, the notoriously anti-LGBTQ president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), recently penned a fundraising missive to his supporters, claiming the Supreme Court is just one retirement away from banning same-sex marriage. While Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has indicated that she has no plans to retire, Brown speculated that Justice Anthony Kennedy could soon announce his retirement and, in any case, "it's no secret that most of the liberal justices are quite elderly and the cold reality of life is that nobody lives forever."
Over the past year, Brown has been pummeling his supporters with fundraising appeals. According to Fred Karger's February 2017 piece in The Advocate, "NOM filed both of its 990 IRS tax returns late, late last year, and they showed that revenue is way down, to well under $4 million for the combined NOM and the NOM Education Fund. This is down 400 percent from just four years ago when NOM raised and spent over $16 million."
Karger, a longtime political consultant, LGBT rights activist, and founder of Rights Equal Rights, pointed out that "NOM's debt was up to $1.9 million and it owes over $650,000 to its vendors. NOM barely pulled in enough money last year to cover Brian Brown's salary, rent, and whatever it was paying NOM's political consultant, Frank Schubert. … Brown's salary in 2015 was listed as $165,000, but as recently as 2011 he was reported to be making $500,000 a year combined from both NOM and its education fund, and it's doubtful that he's taken a pay cut.
There are at least two strategies for rectifying an organization's financial woes: appeal to supporters' fears, by doing such things as playing the anti-transgender card to the hilt; and, a group could also go optimistic, which Brown does in his latest appeal, by maintaining that once the Supreme Court is up for grabs, anything – read that, eliminating same-sex marriage, sanctified by the Supreme Court in June 2015 – is possible.
In his latest missive, Brown told his supporters:
Yesterday there was some media buzz about a comment that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made, saying she had no plans to retire from the Supreme Court. This sent liberals off to celebrate, being reassured that one of the most liberal members of the Court planned to stay on. Of course, the Ginsburg story is a bit of fake news, because no Democrat would voluntarily retire when a Republican president is in office.
But the statement from Ginsburg does serve to illustrate a very important point for all of us at NOM: we could be only one retirement away from having a majority on the Supreme Court that could vote to restore marriage to our nation's laws.
Many people in the elite are fond of saying that "marriage is lost," but marriage is not lost. First of all marriage is an immutable, universal relationship – the union of one man and one woman – and no decision of any court or politician can change marriage. Thus, marriage will never be "lost" because it is a permanent, universal truth. But more to the point of the political discussion, marriage is not "lost" as a public policy issue because the rationale used by the Supreme Court in redefining marriage in 2015 was so specious, so utterly lacking in judicial precedent and legal foundation, that the retirement of a single justice who voted to redefine marriage could totally upend the situation and bring marriage back before the Supreme Court with a realistic opportunity to restore marriage.
And we could very well have just that situation occur later this year if Justice Anthony Kennedy retires from the Supreme Court, as many have speculated he will do.
And of course, it's no secret that most of the liberal justices are quite elderly and the cold reality of life is that nobody lives forever.
This is one of the reasons that a top priority of NOM's 2018 Strategic Plan is to work to keep marriage before the American public so that it can be restored to our laws at the earliest possible moment.
In late December, Brown, who also heads up the International Organization of the Family, announced the launching a project called the First Freedom Initiative. Maintaining that, "religious liberty has come under increasing attack," Brown jumped on board the "Christians are being persecuted in the U.S." bandwagon.
"Our country's culture has devolved into extreme individualism that denies universal truths," Brown wrote in yet another fundraising appeal. "Concepts such as social mores are discarded as outdated and oppressive to individual choice and expression. Religious liberty is said to be bigoted and discriminatory because it may call into question or serve to restrict acceptance of individual assertions. The consequences of this are all around us. A man can be a woman if he asserts a female 'identity.' A woman can marry another woman if that is her desire. A child is not entitled to a mother and a father, but might have four fathers or four mothers, and woe be to that child who might one day come to complain about the arrangement."
Thus, the First Freedom Initiative, which "is NOM's vehicle to push back against what is going on." Brown also assured supporters that while religious freedom is supremely important; the organization was not giving up on "restor[ing] marriage to our laws."