National Organization for Marriage tries to throw 2016 election for Democrats

The National Organization for Marriage has had a rough go of it lately. Their fundraising is drying up, what little money they do have is being wasted on tinkering with foreign elections they can’t influence and they’re counting down the days until the Supreme Court confirms that the one cause they champion is a lost one.

And now, in a last-ditch effort to prove to everyone that they still matter, they’re trying to throw the 2016 election.

From CNN:

Candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination will be urged Thursday to sign a pledge promising to support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The National Organization for Marriage’s request comes as the nation waits to see if the U.S. Supreme Court will rule this month to legalize same sex marriage across the country.

This should be fun.

This kind of pledge would have been relatively noncontroversial in GOP circles in, say, 2004, when George Bush rode state-level anti-marriage amendments to re-election and used them as a springboard to try (and fail) to pass a national version. But even today’s Republican Party, which is fifty shades of crazy, is split on the idea of banning same-sex marriage. And I can’t wait for Jeb Bush to politely, and awkwardly, tell NOM that they can take their pledge and know it in the Biblical sense — all while reminding everyone how awful his brother was. At least, that’s what he’d do if he were the smart one in the family.

NOM co-founder Brian Brown, via Wikimedia Commons

NOM co-founder Brian Brown, via Wikimedia Commons

Because if whichever GOP candidate emerges from the cartoonishly-large primary field has signed that pledge, they’ll be hard-pressed to explain to the American people why a supermajority of them are so wrong that we need to change the Constitution to tell them how wrong they are, and why so many marriages between loving couples should be invalidated just so NOM can get their ego stroked.

If NOM wants a president who hates gays as much as they do, they’re going to have to hope they sneak in. Their values are increasingly becoming a disqualifying feature in a presidential candidate, and the last thing any serious candidate wants to do is tie themselves to NOM so tightly that they can’t Etch-a-Sketch their way out next fall.

Of course, there are plenty of GOP candidates who are going to be more than happy to sign on to NOM’s pledge. They just aren’t the candidates who take their chances of winning the White House seriously. Everyone’s reading the same polls, but not everyone’s doing the same market research. And Ben Carson knows that he has no shot at winning but a great shot at parlaying his candidacy into a massive pile of money. Being rabidly anti-gay makes that pile bigger, not smaller.

So NOM’s pledge won’t do a great job of telling Republicans which candidates share their values, as those values are themselves becoming increasingly diverse. But it will serve as an adequate sorting mechanism to tell us which candidates are serious about winning and which ones are just out to sell another book.

As if we couldn’t already guess.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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