NOM was the top donor to fund Proposition 8
“We ended up being the largest single donor,” said Gallagher, who is also NOM’s president. The organization raised roughly $1.8 million to support the proposition’s passage, according to the California secretary of state’s website.
NOM, a 501 (c)(4) nonprofit organization, used its financial contribution to hire Bader and Associates, a petition drive management company, which in turn hired professionals to collect the necessary signatures to qualify Proposition 8 for the November ballot, according to Californians Against Hate (CAH), a group that tracked donations in support of Proposition 8.
“Gallagher does not like gay people and [NOM supporters] were the ones who really put the seed money to [Proposition] 8,” CAH founder and retired political consultant Fred Karger said. “When [NOM] comes along with these terrible, hateful initiatives, it does tremendous harm to many millions of people.”
Karger said that Gallagher has contacted him to let him know that “[she] thinks [CAH is] being unfair to [NOM].”
George did not respond to repeated requests for comment. He told The Daily Princetonian in September that he believes “marriage is the original and best department of health, education and welfare.”
Arizona and Florida voters also passed amendments to their state constitutions to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Likewise, voters in Arkansas, a state that does not recognize gay marriage, passed a measure that made it illegal for unmarried couples to adopt children.
“We only worked on the marriage issue,” Gallagher said. She added that NOM, which also has offices in Rhode Island, New York and California, did play a role in Florida but not in Arizona or Arkansas.
NOM is now working to support minorities and religious communities who supported the amendment and are now facing a backlash, Gallagher said.
Since the passage of the proposition, opponents of the same-sex marriage ban have rallied throughout California, in many cases targeting institutions they believed supported its passage. On Nov. 7, for instance, more than 2,000 people gathered in protest outside a Mormon temple in Los Angeles before beginning a march through the streets.
“[NOM will] continue to be a voice in protecting people, especially religious communities and minorities, from physical danger,” Gallagher said. “It’s a really extraordinary reaction. No American should feel afraid.”
NOM seems to have gone against the prevailing opinion in Princeton, at least in terms of financial support, in backing the proposition.
Eleven Princeton residents contributed a total of $1,833 to oppose Proposition 8, and none donated money to support it, according to a San Francisco Chronicle database.
Of the 11 contributors, six were either University faculty members or students. The proposition’s opponents included Associate Dean of Religious Life Paul Raushenbush, who gave $200, economics professor and Whitman College master Harvey Rosen, who gave $100, and physics professor Frans Pretorius, who gave $50.
Though NOM did not operate on campus, its office at 20 Nassau Street and its role in funding the contentious proposition has garnered it some attention within the University community.
“I am troubled by what I perceive to be homophobic techniques and methods employed by the [Proposition] 8 campaign, which was extremely well funded and depended in part upon misinformation and stereotypes of LGBT people,” Pride Alliance co-president and LGBT peer educator Jacob Denz ’10 said.
Matt McMahon GS, an openly gay first-year architecture student, sent an e-mail to the Pride-net alumni mailing list last weekend proposing a sit-in at NOM’s Nassau Street office.
“It makes me sick to my stomach knowing that I walk by their office regularly,” McMahon said in the e-mail. “I’m typically an apolitical person, but this makes me want to organize a sit-in.”
McMahon said that he has only received one response from a Class of 1968 alumnus who currently lives in Arizona.
Andy Wong, an LGBT graduate student in the Wilson School who campaigned against Proposition 8 in his home state of California, said that he probably would not participate in a sit-in, “chaining myself to a table or fasting for 30 days.”
“I don’t know how productive that would be,” he explained, adding that he would participate in “a demonstration and press conference to get students more engaged.”
“[The town should] try to get NOM out of this community,” Wong said. “I don’t think they should be here.”