The National Organization for Marriage -- which has a pretty Orwellian name for a group seeking to prevent a lot of people's marriages -- is hitting Maine hard this season in an attempt to revoke the marriage rights of gays and lesbians in that state -- and trying to skirt Maine's election laws in the process.
NOM is most famous for producing "The Gathering Storm," a sublimely overwrought and often-parodied TV ad which, in the words of Frank Rich, portrayed "homosexuality as a national threat second only to terrorism."
So far, NOM has donated $1.6 million or so to Maine's anti-marriage campaign, as is its habit: Wherever wingers stage their efforts to repeal gay and lesbian marriage rights, NOM can be counted on to swoop in with boatloads of cash to fund their efforts.
And it seems nobody knows where all that money comes from. NOM is fiercely secretive about its donor list. Federal 990 forms on the group's website are grudgingly sparse -- mostly blank, in fact -- and during California's Prop. 8 campaign the group was criticized for its reluctance to comply with disclosure regulations. In fact, as far as I can tell, NOM has never disclosed a list of its major donors.
NOM is suing Maine's ethics board in an effort to get around that state's laws -- apparently, no state can be trusted to conduct marriages or elections in the way NOM would prefer.
But now, a judge has ruled that Maine can actually require an organization operating within its borders to, um, stop breaking the law. Didn't see that one coming.
The question is: Why all the secrecy? Why is the National Organization for Marriage so unwilling to comply with election laws that other advocacy groups follow as a matter of course? What is NOM trying to hide?
Speculation is rampant. A lot of people think that a great deal of NOM's money comes from the LDS Church. This would explain why the organization doesn't want to reveal its major donors -- most states probably wouldn't like having their elections hijacked by the Mormons, and anyway the church has had enough PR disasters over the past few years, thank you very much.
Also, if such a disclosure were made, one wonders how members of the church would feel if they learned their charitable tithing contributions were going to fund political advertisements like these:
(You can tell it's a NOM ad because it doesn't have anything to say about marriage equality, but dodges the issue and launches into an unhinged tirade about the school curriculum ... hey, it worked for them in California.)