Friday, May 29, 2009

Washington Post Story - The Mormons Are Coming

'The Mormons Are Coming!'Supporters of Same-Sex Marriage Trumpet the Church's Work Against It

Washington Post

By Karl Vick Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, May 29, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- As more states take up the debate on same-sex marriage, some advocates of legalization are taking a very specific lesson from California, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dominated both fundraising and door-knocking to pass a ballot initiative that barred such unions.

With the battle moving east, some advocates are shouting that fact in the streets, calculating that on an issue that eventually comes down to comfort levels, more people harbor apprehensions about Mormons than about homosexuality.

"The Mormons are coming! The Mormons are coming!" warned ads placed on newspaper Web sites in three Eastern states last month. The ad was rejected by sites in three other states, including Maine, where the Kennebec Journal informed Californians Against Hate that the copy "borders on insulting and denigrating a whole set of people based on their religion."

"I'm not intending it to harm the religion. I think they do wonderful things. Nicest people," said Fred Karger, a former Republican campaign consultant who established Californians Against Hate. "My single goal is to get them out of the same-sex marriage business and back to helping hurricane victims."

The strategy carries risks for a movement grounded in the concept of tolerance. But the demographics tempt proponents of same-sex marriage: Mormons account for just 2 percent of the U.S. population, and they are scarce outside the West. Nearly eight in 10 Americans personally know or work with a gay person, according to a recent Newsweek survey. Only 48 percent, meanwhile, know a Mormon, according to a Pew Research Center poll.

Many Mormons also acknowledge a problematic public profile that could make it difficult for them to lead the fight against same-sex marriage. A 2008 poll by Gary C. Lawrence, author of "How Americans View Mormonism: Seven Steps to Improve Our Image," found that for every American who expresses a strong liking for Mormons, four express a strong dislike. Among the traits widely ascribed to Mormons in the poll were "narrow-minded" and "controlling."

"We're upside down on our image," said Lawrence, who organized Mormon volunteers in California, where on a typical Saturday 25,000 turned out to knock on doors. "People have misperceptions of us because of ignorance, because of the history of polygamy, and because we organize quickly, which scares some people."

Mormon officials have tried to stay out of the controversy that followed the California vote, when the church's prominent role in the marriage fight became clear. A spokeswoman in Salt Lake City declined to say whether the church is involved in debates going on in states such as New Jersey and New York, except to say that leaders remain intent on preserving the "divine institution" of marriage between man and woman. The faith holds that traditional marriage "transcends this world" and is necessary for "the fullness of joy in the next life."

The church has a top-down hierarchy that answers to the First Presidency, who also holds the status of prophet. Last June, congregations were read his letter urging that "you do all you can" to pass the California initiative, known as Proposition 8. Lawrence, who like Karger worked as a Republican political consultant, professed no concern about the effort to shift the focus away from the definition of marriage.

"He is demonizing the opposition. It's Political Consulting 101," Lawrence said of Karger. "The average guy does not know the extent to which the Mormon Church was involved on Prop. 8."
The proponents' strategy is grounded in a stubborn reality: While the number of states legalizing same-sex marriage is slowly increasing -- Maine recently became the fifth -- in every case the agent of change was either a court or a legislature. Voters have rejected the idea wherever it has appeared on a ballot.

The election results track public opinion nationwide. Polls consistently show that while a majority of Americans support some legal recognition of gay unions, more want to keep marriage reserved for a man and a woman.

The disparity is narrow and shrinking, however, and in California, Mormons may well have made the difference on Proposition 8, which nullified a decision by the state Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage.

A torrent of last-minute contributions from church members across the country financed well-framed TV ads in the final weekend of the campaign. Opponents' analysis of campaign-contribution reports indicated that Mormons contributed more than half of the campaign's $40 million war chest.
"The church's position on the issue of same-sex marriage is well known and well documented," church spokeswoman Kim Farah said by e-mail. She declined to comment on estimates from individual Mormons but emphasized that the church itself made no cash contribution. It reported "in-kind" contributions of $190,000, mostly in the form of staff members' time.

Rick Jacobs, director of the Courage Campaign, an advocacy group that produced a TV ad drawing attention to the Mormons' role in the campaign, said, "We have zero interest in demonizing anybody who believes in any religion."

In the spot, a pair of Mormon missionaries knock on the door of a lesbian couple, rifle their drawers and shred their marriage certificate in front of them.

Mormons "exist and flourish in this country because of the concept of equal protection," Jacob said, noting the persecution that drove members of the church to Utah in the 19th century. "I find it just an irreconcilable hypocrisy that a group that rightly thrives within the essence of the American system would seek to repress and deny rights to another. And it's even a little worse, because I certainly didn't choose to be gay. People make choices to be Mormons, or any other religion."
Mormon officials issued statements calling for "civility" in the wake of Proposition 8. "The Church has refused to be goaded into a Mormons versus gays battle and has simply stated its position in tones that are reasonable and respectful," one statement said.

Suspicions that the church may be working behind the scenes in other states are encouraged by documents showing efforts by the church to cloak its participation in a late-1990s campaign that led to a ban on same-sex marriage in Hawaii.

"We have organized things so the Church contribution was used in an area of coalition activity that does not have to be reported," a senior Mormon official wrote in one document Karger posted on his Web site, and the church has not disputed.

Mormon headquarters contributed $400,000 in an effort to persuade Hawaiians against same-sex marriage but urged the Roman Catholics to take the lead in a group dubbed Hawaii's Future Today after polls showed that the other church had better public acceptance. A decade after the 1998 Hawaii vote against gay marriage, Lawrence wrote that the image problem remained: "The collection of negatives they are willing to apply to us suggests that they view us as a growing threat."

That works for Karger, whose specialty at his consulting group was opposition research. "People will vote for someone because they like so and so, or because they don't like the other guy," said Karger, who entered gay activism to preserve the Boom Boom Room, a gay bar in Newport Beach, Calif.

And favorability ratings declined for Mormons over the last year, Lawrence said, from 42 percent to 37.

"Is it fruitful to use the Mormon bogey?" said Mark Silk, a professor of religion and public life at Trinity College in Connecticut. "My sense is that there aren't great risks to it. Once a religious institution is going to inject itself into a public fight, which the LDS did in a straight-up way, then I think people are prepared to say, 'Well, okay, you're on that side and we're against you.' "

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Statement by Fred Karger on Supreme Court Ruling & The Future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: 619-592-2008

We are deeply disappointed with today’s majority decision issued by the California Supreme Court. As the county moves forward on gay and lesbian equality, our Supreme Court took a giant step backwards.

One year ago the California Supreme Court showed great courage and conviction in recognizing equal protection for all. Now we must regain marriage equality, and immediately go back on the ballot to repeal Proposition 8.

Next year we will win back our rights.

Until that time,
Californians Against Hate will continue to closely watch all who oppose our civil rights. We will be a watchdog for our community.

We will carefully monitor and take action against those who bully us and spend vast sums of money against us. Individuals and organizations who give millions of dollars to deny our full civil rights will be held accountable.

Over the last 10 years, our opponents have beaten us at the ballot box in 30 out of 30 states. Now we are aggressively fighting back. Same-sex marriage is now legal in 5 states, and more will follow soon, including California.

During the next election cycle, Californians Against Hate will closely scrutinize our opponents, carefully review their campaign reports and make sure that all who oppose our civil rights are abiding by California Election Law. All major donors must disclose their full financial support, be it monetary or non-monetary. Owners and principals of businesses must fully comply with the law. No hiding behind spouses or listing false occupations and information when reporting contributions. We will be watching very carefully.

We have also begun looking into the principal organizations and their leaders who qualified and funded Proposition 8. These include the
National Organization for Marriage, Focus on the Family and the American Family Association They continually spend millions of dollars to try and prevent us from full equality.

We live in a country that was founded with the express belief that “all men and women are created equal.” We will fight for that inalienable right so that future generations never, ever have to experience discrimination.

Help us wage this fight against those who want to deny us our equal rights. Please contribute today! Go to oue web site and click DONATE

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Manchester & Bragman Coverage!!!

editorial LINK:
GLT San Diego - Editorial

Manchester should bridge the rift with apology

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When Doug Manchester, owner of three San Diego hotels including the Manchester Grand Hyatt, gave $125,000 to help qualify Proposition 8 for the ballot, it’s unlikely he foresaw a boycott by the GLBT community. But even if he had, he likely wouldn’t have cared. In fact, when a coalition of union labor and GLBT organizations began the Boycott Manchester campaign, internal communications leaked to the public show he didn’t.

Most estimate that, as of this month, Manchester has about seven million reasons to wish he had. That’s the estimated amount the 10-month boycott has cost him so far. The boycott is headed up by Californians Against Hate and UNITE Here Local 30 labor union and supported by San Diego Pride at Work, San Diego LGBT Pride, and many other community leaders. It’s been so successful, Manchester is now trying to make amends with the GLBT community.

To get him out of the doghouse, Manchester hired openly gay crisis PR guy, Howard Bragman from Los Angeles. It took Bragman three months to come up with his crisis PR plan – a “settlement” to end the boycott, which he announced last Friday at the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association’s (IGLTA) annual convention in Toronto, Canada.

Bragman sent Manchester’s marketing director, Kelly Commerford, to make the pitch. Commerford – making it quite clear that he is gay – announced the offer to the 350 gay and lesbian travel professionals at a Hyatt-sponsored luncheon. He said Doug Manchester would offer $25,000 to a national organization that supports domestic partnerships and civil unions and make available $100,000 in hotel credits to GLBT organizations.

The settlement – or blood money as we see it – is laughable. In Toronto, it was boo-able, and that’s exactly what those present at the luncheon did, booing and hissing Commerford right out of the luncheon. He, along with three other Hyatt executives, never returned to the convention.
On a positive note, we will say thank you to Commerford for bringing the boycott to even more travel agents’ attention. With Pride season right around the corner, we hope that national travel agents who are booking travel for GLBT folks attending Pride will be mindful of the boycott.
Things aren’t going much better for Manchester back home.

The Human Rights Campaign announced it would not accept the $25,000, and Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate says his coalition is not budging. Manchester’s offer of $100,000 in hotel credits and services merely seeks to divide the GLBT community on the boycott, he says.
Manchester and Bragman had hoped to bypass such boycott organizers by taking the offer right to gay travel professionals, the press and the blogosphere, and at first some may have been tempted by his offer of $100,000 in free hotel credits to deserving San Diego GLBT groups and puzzled by his sudden concern about local GLBT groups. After all, it’s a very difficult time for nonprofits, and that kind of gesture is not insignificant.

Bragman was banking on groups taking advantage of the free room and meeting credits crossing the picket lines. In turn, he hoped Manchester could claim he was actually helping local groups and thereby marginalize Karger and his coalition.

But Karger and his coalition of community and union leaders stood firm. No local organization would cross a picket line or take money. With the boycott as well known as it is, who would even show up for the event, knowing there is an ongoing GLBT and labor boycott?
And Bragman’s own rhetoric is troublesome on two points.

He dismisses Manchester’s views as understandable given Manchester’s age (66) and religion (Catholic). And he says lack of bridge building, not donations by wealthy donors such as Manchester, is to blame for Proposition 8’s passage. “That’s why we lost Prop. 8, not enough bridge building,” Bragman said in one press story. Sounds like a feeble attempt to justify working for one of Proposition 8’s biggest supporters. Sadly, Bragman married his partner during the summer and so has every reason to want Proposition 8 to be struck down. But it seems that all the Benjamins Manchester is throwing at him made Bragman forget his own words.

Bragman wrote a commentary for the Huffington Post last November saying, “To my brothers and sisters in the GLBT movement and our friends, I urge you to use every legal and moral tool at your disposal to change hearts and minds. Peaceful protests, boycotts and community organizing are the tools of our trade and ultimately the things that will win this struggle.”

Rather than offering lip service, perhaps Manchester should create a more direct dialogue with union and community leaders. Anyone want to invite “Papa” Doug and his new gay step-child Bragman to a town hall forum? We’d certainly be game.

As a community, we should be proud that we do not accept blood money. We do not allow money to talk its way out of hateful actions.

As a community we should stand behind the coalition of community and labor organizations as they continue the Manchester Boycott. When Manchester is prepared to meet with union and community leaders, then the real dialogue can happen. Until then, Boycott Manchester’s hotels.
As for you Mr. Manchester, let us give you some advice on what to do when you’ve made a mistake. I’m sure it’s quite similar to what you taught your children to do, as we’ve taught ours.
Say, “I’m sorry I made a mistake. I’ve realized how unAmerican it is to deny any citizen of this great country the same civil rights others are afforded. Nothing less than full civil marriage for every American is acceptable. In the beginning of this debate, as it was first explained to me, the church would be involved. Thank God we live in a country that separates those two institutions. I sincerely apologize for my misunderstanding, and to help right my wrong I am writing a check of equal value to the ‘No on 8’ campaign to level the playing field.” Sign it: Doug Manchester.

There’s no need to hire an expensive, sellout PR firm. Just a simple heartfelt apology directly from you will do. Isn’t that the way you taught your children to do the right thing? Perhaps simple and heartfelt will go a lot further than the lengths you are jumping to bridge the rift you’ve created.

san diego
Doug Manchester offers to pay donation to gay groups
Manchester boycotts will continue

by Kenneth Harvey, Editorial Intern LINK:
GLT San Diego - Story

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate hands out boycott materials
at the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Convention in Toronto last
weekend. Photo courtesy of Californians Against Hate

On May 8, Kelly Commerford, the marketing director for the Manchester Grand Hyatt announced at the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Convention in Toronto that Doug Manchester, the owner of the hotel, will give $125,000 to the gay community.

“Mr. Manchester is giving us [the GLBT community] a $25,000 personal donation and a $100,000 in kind,” Howard Bragman, Manchester’s public relations professional said. “These [funds] will go to gay groups to be determined,” he added, reiterating his support for gay and lesbian civil rights and civil partnership.

Many believe Manchester’s donations are in response to the backlash from the boycott waged against the Manchester Grand Hyatt for Manchester’s $125,000 donation to the “Yes on 8” campaign last summer.

A coalition of labor leaders and supporters of same-sex marriage announced last July, a full-scale boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt and other Manchester-owned properties. The coalition – which includes labor union UNITE Here Local 30, nonprofit organization Californians Against Hate, and is supported by City Councilmember Todd Gloria, San Diego Pride at Work, San Diego LGBT Pride and a number of community leaders – aims to inform Californians about Manchester’s contributions.

“I don’t think it’s because he suddenly cares about the rights of the LGBT community,” UNITE HERE president Bridgette Browning said. “I think he’s losing a lot of money. I think the travel industry universally recognizes that the LGBT community is a very profitable community for them to have staying in their hotels and patronizing their establishments.”

Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate, was in Toronto during the announcement and says his organization along with labor unions will continue to boycott Manchester’s properties. The San Diego Hotelier owns three hotels, The Manchester Grand Hyatt, the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, and The Grand Del Mar.

“[We will boycott] at an increased pace because of this [offer],” he said. “The organizers of the boycott are not intending to end the boycott because of his offer.”
Karger added gay organizations are under pressure to accept Manchester’s offer because of the economic downturn.

“I think it’s a sad situation because groups are in such need of money,” he said. “That creates a huge problem and puts all of these gay organizations in a very awkward position. I’m sure they would like to take the credits at the hotel. Who do you think would show up?”
Browning also confirmed UNITE HERE’s boycotts will continue.

The boycotts were also in response to poor working conditions. According to Browning and Karger, no attempt has been made at mending the relationship between Manchester and labor. Bragman was not able to comment on Manchester’s issues with labor, because he works with GLBT issues.

“Neither UNITE HERE nor any of the other organizations have heard from Mr. Bragman and Mr. Manchester,” Karger said, noting that he was approached by Manchester last July for a settlement. “My first question was ‘does this include the labor portion?’ They said no. We have nothing to discuss if we’re not going to discuss both.”

Bragman said he was not working with Manchester at the time of the alleged offer and was not able to confirm any information. Karger said if the GLBT community was offered a similar settlement as last year’s alleged settlement, “that would be different.”

“He’s trying to force people to come to the hotel, but he’s going to fail. It’s a dumb idea,” Karger said.

Bragman has come under scrutiny because he is a gay man and is working for Manchester.
“As far as personal criticism, I think people should look into my three decades of work in the GLBT community – what I have achieved, who I have represented and the awards I have been honored to receive,” Bragman said. “If people want to discount me or my work because of [my work with Manchester], so be it. I know who I am, what I’ve done and am very comfortable in my own skin.”
Bragman believes the GLBT community lost the battle over Proposition 8 because of a lack of communication.

“I believe the reason we lost Prop. 8 is because we didn’t build bridges to certain communities,” he said. “If we’re going to win in the future, we need to build bridges. When people offer an olive branch, we should be willing to accept it. I am trying to [help my client] begin a dialogue, build a bridge and find common ground.”

Bragman asserts Manchester is not homophobic.

“We hope the community will understand that this is not a homophobic man. This is a man who came to his beliefs because of his religious upbringing. I hope the community understands this is a man of great dignity. It’s not easy to say I made a mistake,” Bragman said.

Manchester is Roman-Catholic. It was also announced at the convention that Manchester supports civil unions and domestic partnerships but not same-sex marriages.

“Before Prop. 8, there was a great relationship [between the Manchester Grand Hyatt and] the [GLBT] community. We want to get that back,” Bragman said.


Hotelier Doug Manchester Can Keep His Blood Money
Link: Queerty
Lavendar Newswire Coverage

Friday, May 8, 2009

Manchester's Not So Surprise Attack - Divide and Conquer

Statements by Fred Karger and Brigette Browning regarding Today’s Proposal from Doug Manchester’s re our
Manchester Hotel's Boycott

Statement by Fred Karger, founder, Californians Against Hate;

On July 18, 2008 we partnered with many LGBT individuals and organizations and
Unite Here Local 30, to call for a boycott of Doug Manchester’s two San Diego hotels; the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel and the Grand del Mar Hotel. This was done to let the world know that Doug Manchester gave $125,000 to end gay marriage in California.

Over the past 10 months, the boycott has been very successful. Countless groups and individuals have canceled well over 100,000 room-nights. Over 12 large meetings and conventions have left the hotel. Many others have stopped eating and drinking at his boycotted properties. At the Manchester Grand Hyatt alone, after just 4 months they said that they had lost $2.4 million. Now they are saying that over $7 million has been lost from the boycott. It's probably much higher.

Recently the
Metropolitan News-Enterprise reported that the 2,000 + attorney members of the American Association of Justice are leaving the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego and instead taking their annual 2009 convention to San Francisco.

Doug Manchester approached us last summer, just 10 days after we called the boycott, with an offer to settle. That offer did not address any labor issues on behalf of our boycott partner, Unite Here Local 30, and we rejected his offer then and we reject his offer today. He is clearly trying to buy his way out of this, and it will not work.

Two months ago Mr. Manchester hired well known gay PR agent Howard Bragman from Los Angeles to try and give him PR advice to stop the hemorrhaging of business at his hotels. Howard Bragman appears to have given Mr. Manchester bad advice. An end to such a long and emotional boycott should not be first offered in the public square. Mr. Manchester is a very successful businessman, and I am sure he has been involved in lots of negotiations. He knows that this is not the way business is done.

Messrs. Manchester and Bragman are attempting to buy their way out of the boycott and divide the LGBT community, and that will not work. Their proposal is a real slap in the face to the gay community and to all fair minded people who believe in equality and support full civil rights for all gays and lesbians. Their feeble attempt to give free hotel rooms and services to try and lure people back to the Manchester Grand Hyatt and make them cross the union picket line is a dumb idea that will fail.

If Mr. Manchester is truly serious about ending the boycott, I am sure that we along with our boycott partners would be willing to sit down with him and listen to his proposal.

Californians Against Hate has called for national boycotts of four of the largest contributors to last year’s Yes on Proposition 8 campaign. The Manchester Hotels boycott was the first. Two of the boycotts were settled within weeks of calling them when the companies approached us directly and we met and negotiated a settlement.

Only our Boycott of Manchester Hotels and the
Boycott of A-1 Self Storage remain. San Diego based A-1 Self Storage owner Terry Caster and his family gave $793,000 to Prop. 8 to take away marriage from millions of Californians. Caster told the San Diego Union-Tribune one year ago that marriage equality threatens society. "Without solid marriage, you are going to have a sick society," he said. Caster encouraged his friend Doug Manchester to give his $125,000 to the campaign, the newspaper reported.

Statement by Brigette Browning, President of UNITE HERE Local 30 in response to Doug Manchester’s ‘apology’

Contact: Dan Rottenstreich – Unite Here! Local 30 619-516-3737 x 306

Today we learned that Doug Manchester, owner of the boycotted Manchester Hyatt hotel, attempted to apologize for his $125,000 contribution that qualified Proposition 8 for the ballot last year. As part of his apology, he is contributing money and donating hotel services to undisclosed LGBT groups. I have not heard directly from Mr. Manchester, but if these reports are accurate, this is not an adequate response. Our boycott is not over.

Mr. Manchester’s money helped qualify and pass Proposition 8 last November. An apology is too little, too late from Mr. Manchester who consistently spoke in favor of Proposition 8 throughout the campaign. Further, his statement did not address the lack of job security and onerous housekeeper workload at the Manchester Hyatt that motivated the union to boycott the hotel in the first place.

We are happy to engage in a conversation about what it would take to end the boycott. However, that conversation can only be had if Mr. Manchester agrees to sit down with hotel workers and the gay community and meaningfully addresses both our community’s issues. We are ready.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Carrie Prejean: Junior Miss Bryant

Beauty queen revives memories of Florida’s past with orange juice boycott


MAY. 7, 2009

For those of us living in Florida, the story is particularly familiar: a failed beauty pageant contestant spews anti-gay sentiment in front of any camera that crosses her path.

We are subjected to nightly news stories featuring a pretty bigot espousing hate speech. Extremist evangelicals come out of the woodwork to promote their interpretation of the Bible, and bask in the shared glow of 15-minutes of fame.

Our community thought we heard the last of Anita Bryant after her gay bashing came to an abrupt halt thanks to the wildly successful orange juice boycott. Fast forward 30 years and enter Carrie Prejean -- Junior Miss Bryant.

The similarity of the two women is almost comical. Anita Bryant was Miss Oklahoma and a second-runner in the 1959 Miss America pageant. One of Bryant’s evangelical mentors was the notorious Jerry Falwell, the bigoted televangelist who was most known for hate speech. Falwell had a very profitable career heading the Thomas Road Baptist Church -- a megachurch based in Lynchburg, Va., where he used his pulpit to frequently criticize gays, feminists, and non-evangelicals.

Falwell and Bryant partnered up in Dade County on the so-called “Save Our Children” campaign. They used silly lies in an attempt to scare the American public with statements like, "If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail biters."

Like Anita Bryant, Carrie Prejean also had an unsuccessful attempt at winning a crown -- her bid was for the Miss USA pageant. Prejean has her own evangelical mentor -- Miles McPherson of the Rock Church, a former football player turned megachurch pastor, who is well-known for his hate speech towards gays. Miles has been quoted as saying, “The attack is not from the gay lobby. Here’s who the enemy is: it’s the devil!”

Unfortunately, the Miss USA competition does not require a “talent” to participate in the pageant, so we’ll never know if Prejean can hold a tune quite as well as Bryant. Bryant was at least an accomplished singer long before her failed Miss America run. What talent does Prejean have? It is safe to say that public speaking is not her forte when her best attempt at explaining herself is prefaced with a very juvenile-sounding “no offense.” The qualifier “no offense” generally drops from one’s repertoire sometime around junior high, but apparently, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) thinks this is a true gem. In fact, they have launched an official “No Offense” campaign in honor of Miss California and her views against gay marriage.

Although we don’t know yet what lies in store for Miss Prejean, we do know how the Anita Bryant story played out. Bryant was signed on as spokesperson for the Florida Citrus Commission, but a national boycott was called in response to her anti-gay stance; the boycott was successful, delivering a blow to Florida orange juice products, and as a result the Florida Citrus Commission failed to renew her contract. She subsequently lost all of her other major sponsorships. She got divorced, and then remarried; she and her new husband attempted to revitalize her singing career and failed. They filed for bankruptcy (twice). Then Miss Bryant did what any self-respecting, twice-married, twice-bankrupt evangelical should do -- started her own church. She now heads Anita Bryant Ministries International.

Although NOM isn’t exactly an official sponsor of Carrie Prejean, they are certainly are capitalizing on her image. In an effort to comply with Miss California regulations, NOM and Prejean are attempting to portray her as a “private-citizen” who is not officially aligned with the group.

But Keith Lewis, who runs the Miss California pageant, issued the following statement: "Given the fact that Carrie Prejean's first act upon returning to California was to headline five services at a church that promotes homosexuality as both unnatural and abnormal, we stand by our concern for her individual image and look forward to a time in the near future when she can put down her personal agenda.”

Her personal agenda seems to be moving forward at full force—considering the “semi-nude” photographs of Prejean that have “mysteriously” appeared on the internet, which could cause her to be stripped of her 2nd Place win. Is it possible then she is purposefully attempting to lose her title in a move for more publicity?

We can only
hope that the “Junior Miss Bryant” media circus is coming to a close. This whole phenomena has only served to detract from the real issue at hand: millions of tax-paying Americans are denied basic civil rights each and every day and are denied fair and equal access to healthcare. In most states it is illegal for us to marry the one that we love and the only option we have to protect our families is to create expensive legal contracts that can be contested in a court of law. Although it is disappointing that a failed beauty queen is using this important issue to gain a few minutes of fame and promote her own personal agenda -- it is certainly not surprising, especially to those of us in Florida.

Monday, May 4, 2009

NOM Fails to Release Federal Financial Records

Where’s the Money Maggie???
Requests for National Organization Marriage
Financial Reports Go Unanswered

Californians Against Hate had representatives go by the Princeton, New Jersey offices of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) twice to get copies of their IRS 990 reports, to no avail. NOM is required by federal law to have these available for public view. Then our representative, Ben Katzenberg, sent two certified letters to the NOM office on March 18, 2009 requesting its two 990 forms. Federal law requires NOM to furnish copies of these IRS filings within 30 days after the requested has been received. And 40 days later, still no 990s.

We believe that NOM has two committees; the National Organization for Marriage 501(c)4 and National Organization for Marriage Educational Fund 501(c)3. Both certified letters were signed for (see US Postal receipt below) at their Princeton, New Jersey office on March 25, 2009.

We have filed a formal complaint with the IRS for their failure to comply with the federal public disclosure laws. The IRS imposes fines of $20 per day up to $10,000 per committee until the financial disclosures are made public.

Here is a copy of the U S Post Office certified mail receipt signed by NOM:

Six weeks ago Californians Against Hate filed a formal complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) charging that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) established NOM as a front group to qualify California ’s Prop 8 for the ballot, and to fight marriage equality around the country. The FPPC has an ongoing investigation
(Case # 080735) against the Mormon Church. They are looking into this charge and the Mormon Church’s lack of reporting its massive non-monetary contributions on behalf of Yes on Prop 8.

The Mormon Church has a long history of using front groups to carry on its fights opposing same-sex marriage beginning in Hawaii in 1998. The Mormon Church established “ Hawaii ’s Future Today” to support that state’s constitutional amendment opposing same-sex marriage. Documents obtained by Californians Against Hate are posted on our new web site: which detail exactly how the Mormon Church has set up these front groups in the past. The 18 month old NOM shares a strikingly similar heritage.

Maggie Gallagher is president of NOM. She was the subject of a George W. Bush administration scandal. Maggie was paid over $40,000 by the federal government to promote Bush’s educational agenda and never disclosed the fee for several years. She was a nationally syndicated columnist at the time, and used her columns as the vehicle to promote the Bush Administration policy. She continually denied that she was under contact to the Department of Health and Human Services for many years.

“We want transparency here,” stated Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate. “We hope that the National Organization for Marriage will obey the law and release both of its Federal 990 reports immediately. What are they hiding?"

"They now claim to be spending $1.5 million on their outrageous TV commercials. Where is that money coming from? How much are they personally paying themselves? How much 501(c)4 money did they raise to qualify and pass Prop 8? These and many more questions need to be answered, NOW."

"The Mormon Church has led the fight against same-sex marriage in the United States for the past 20 years, and it has always done so very secretly. They have the right to participate in the political process, but they must abide by all federal and state laws. The public is entitled to see the IRS filings, and we hope that Maggie Gallagher and the other NOM board members will comply with our request," concluded Karger.

Matthew R. Holland, NOM Board Member Resigns (?)
Replaced by Scary Mormon Science Fiction Writer

Soon after Californians Against Hate charged the Mormon Church with creating NOM, founding NOM Board Member, Matthew R. Holland, son of Mormon Apostle Jeffrey S. Holland suddenly resigned from the Board of Directors Then soon after that, NOM Chairman, Robby George announced that, “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be ‘represented’ on the NOM board by Orson Scott Card, a columnist for the Mormon Times.” Note to NOM: if Matt Holland is really gone, you might want to remove his name from your
NOM California web site…..

Take a look at what
People for the American Way came up with on the new Mormon on the NOM Board, Orson Scott Card:

“The NOM has argued that it is not a homophobic organization, but Card’s remarks suggest otherwise. Card, who represents the Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the board and received an
effusive welcome last week from NOM president Maggie Gallagher, supports criminalizing sex between same-sex adults:

Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books…to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens.

“Card has also advocated
overthrowing the government if same-sex marriage is permitted:

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.

Column Links NOM and Opus Dei

A must read; Danielle Truszkovsky a respected columnist with the
South Florida Blade released new and startling information last Thursday. Her well read, well researched column paints quite a picture of the closeness between the Mormons and Opus Dei. They appear to have worked together to create NOM!
Colbert Report Has Mormon Church in its Parody

This is our favorite of all the very clever parodies of the NOM “A Gathering Storm” commercial:
Colbert Report Check out the disclaimer at the end – very funny, and the Mormon Church on the closing credit looks to be fact!

NOM has Right-Wing PR Firm

We heard they’ve been around for a while, but now they are the contact for Maggie and Brian Brown, NOM’s Executive Director. The firm CRC
link is headed by none other than Greg Mueller and Mike Russell. Mueller was far far right, former Presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan’s Communications Director. And guess who Mike Russell worked for? If you guessed Pat Robertson, you were right!

Seems like NOM has picked up steam in the last couple of months, and we’re pretty sure this duo has a lot to do with it. Both Buchanan and Robertson are notoriously homophobic, so it is no surprise that their staff follows suit.

American Association of Justice to Honor Manchester Grand Hyatt Boycott -- Moving Annual Convention to San Francisco!

According to the
Metropolitan News-Enterprise, the 2,000 + attorney members of the American Association of Justice are leaving the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego and instead taking its annual summer convention to San Francisco. Hotel owner, Doug Manchester gave $125,000 to Yes on Prop 8 to qualify the constitutional amendment for the November 2008 ballot.

“The American Association for Justice, formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, has relocated its annual convention to avoid meeting at the San Diego hotel that has become the target of a boycott because of its owner’s support of Proposition 8. In an undated letter addressed to members, President Les Weisbrod of Miller, Curtis & Weisbrod in Dallas announced that the organization’s convention has been rescheduled to take place from July 25 to 29 in San Francisco.”

Californians Against Hate launched a boycott of both Manchester hotels, the Manchester Grand Hyatt and the Grand del Mar Resort. We partnered with
Unite Here Local 30, the hotel worker's union, and several LGBT leaders nearly one year ago. The two San Diego hotels have lost countless meetings and conventions since the boycott began on July 18, 2008.