Is the National Organization for Marriage a front group for anonymous, deep-pocketed donors from conservative churches who are pouring money into fighting efforts by gays to attain marriage equality? More people are starting to ask if that's the case, since NOM runs political campaigns without disclosing its donors, and the group has staunchly refused to comply with disclosure laws. Instead, NOM prefers to sue in the courts to try and keep its donors secret as long as possible. Gay rights activists in California, where NOM was instrumental in passing Proposition 8 (a ballot measure that effectively bans gay marriage) have long speculated that the Mormon Church is one of NOM's biggest financial supporters. NOM denies the allegation, but gay rights activist Fred Karger used public records to show that Mormon families contributed a large portion of the $40 million raised to help pass Proposition 8. The Mormon church also failed to report anywhere close to the full extent of its efforts in California. The California Fair Political Practices Commission found the Mormon Church guilty of 13 counts of late reporting, and fined them accordingly. NOM also sued the state of Maine after it started an ethics investigation against the group. The Catholic fraternity, Knights of Columbus, donated $1.4 million to NOM, more than it spent on all of its charitable programs to help widows, orphans and poor children. The Knights of Columbus itself disclosed the donation, leaving NOM's wall of secrecy about its donors intact.
By Anne Landman on September 23, 2010