For Immediate Release
Communications Director, Freedom to Marry
Mayors for the Freedom to Marry Leaders Outraged by National Organization for Marriage’s Divide and Conquer Campaign
WASHINGTON - Today, key African-American and Latino members of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry expressed outrage with the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) campaign to drive a wedge between people of color and gay communities. In an internal memo, NOM detailed the strategic goal of its “Not a Civil Right Project”--“to drive a wedge between gays and blacks.” It also highlights a strategy to establish opposition to the freedom to marry as “a key badge of Latino identity—a symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”
In response to the memo, chair of the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, said, "We need to come together as a country if we are going to tackle our biggest challenges. NOM's divisive effort to pit one group of Americans against another is offensive and takes us in exactly the wrong direction. If we believe in family values, we must value all families; and I believe that every adult – regardless of their race, religion, gender or ethnic heritage -- should have the freedom to marry the person they love.”
The memo details its campaign to funnel money to promote African-American opponents of the freedom to marry through the media, provoke anger among LGBT Americans, and in so doing, “split[s] the base of the [Democratic] Party.”
“Across our nation, gay and lesbian couples seek equal marriage rights because they believe in the same values we all do – commitment, stability, responsibility and family,” said District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “That’s why it’s especially confounding that an organization that claims to support family values would seek to pit groups against each other in a hateful and cynical effort to deny equal rights to some families.”
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Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.