Media Highlights Efforts to Counter Anti-Gay Group NOM

rsz_092-0618125306-gay-marriageLast week,  One Iowa spoke out against the National Organization of Marriage (NOM) by creating a petition for supporters of marriage for gay and lesbian couples to sign. NOM―a New Jersey-based anti-gay organization―launched their Reclaim Iowa campaign last week attempting to undermine existing law that extends marriage to gay and lesbian couples.

According to One Iowa’s website, the organization has collected 1,200 signatures so far.  In addition, they state that the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board issued a letter to NOM warning the group about their campaign practices:

In a August 27 letter, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, warns the National Organization for Marriage about their campaign activities in Iowa. Here are the key points of the warning:

  • only an “insignificant and insubstantial amount” of NOM’s income is permitted to come from business organizations
  • if advocacy activities in Iowa exceed $750,  NOM must form a PAC and disclose contributors.
  • “To continue to file an independent expenditure statement for future elections in Iowa would mean that your organization is not raising more than $750 from outside sources for such purposes”

On August 28, The Iowa Independent reported that One Iowa isn’t alone in fighting NOM.  Fairness Fund Pac, an Iowa-based political action committee, has stepped up to the plate as well.

An Iowa-based political action committee that supports marriage rights for same-sex couples is working to raise $10,000 by midnight Friday in the hopes of countering the huge investment made by an anti-gay marriage organization in the special election in House District 90.

Fairness Fund PAC, which is associated with the state’s largest gay-rights advocacy group, One Iowa, is hoping a last-minute surge of money can help bring Democrat Curt Hanson to victory. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a New Jersey-based group that opposes same-sex marriage, spent nearly $90,000 on a television ad campaign for Republican candidate Steve Burgmeier.

“If Stephen Burgmeier wins this election, it will be spun as a victory for anti-gay marriage opponents in Iowa and across the country,” said Carolyn Jenison, executive director of One Iowa, in a post on the PAC’s blog. “We can’t let this happen.”

If their anti-gay efforts succeed, opponents of marriage equality won't just negatively affect Iowa residents, but many other  same-sex couples in neighboring states. On August 30, The Associated Press in the Kansas City Star reported that almost half of  gay and lesbian couples who have been married in Iowa, are from out of town.

Between April 27 and July 27 there were 5,214 marriage certificates issued statewide. Of those, 676 were for same-sex couples. Gender was concealed on 339 marriage certificates.

Of the 676 same-sex couples, 312 couples weren't from Iowa. They were from neighboring states.

Data show 57 couples were from Illinois, 38 were from Nebraska, 37 were from Missouri and 36 were from Minnesota.

GLAAD will continue keeping up with the latest developments around this issue.