National Organization for Marriage announced their “marriage march” on January 28, 2013. This coincides with registering on January 23. During the fund drive that followed over the next two months:

  • NOM switched back and forth between NOM and NOM Education fund as the recipient. This shifts whether or not donations are tax deductibe.
  • It is highly probable that donors made contributions that were not tax deductible while presuming that they were.
  • NOM made a dishonest appeal claiming that funds were being used to fund bringing people to DC on the 26th.
  • NOM owes their donors an accounting. How were these funds actually spent?

On January 31, Brian Brown told me:

Meanwhile the pro-gay marriage forces in France held their own rally on Sunday. The police said just
125,000 turned out

At that point I think that Brian was already figuring on bringing a half-million people to DC. On February 19, Brian told me:

I have some great news! Recognizing the
importance of this March for Marriage, one of our best supporters, a
heroic defender of marriage, has agreed to commit up to $500,000 — HALF A
MILLION DOLLARS — for a challenge, matching grant to NOM… so your
contribution to defend marriage will be instantly matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $500,000! NOM will receive an additional dollar for
every dollar you contribute! And this goes for every donation made before March 26, 2013!

By early March, the source of the appeals shifted to NOM Education Fund to make them tax deductible (a dubious proposition in my opinion). On March 4, Brian told me:

We have received requests from churches for 100 buses that we don’t have
the funds to assist. That’s
thousands of people — many of them from Latino and African-American
communities — who want to attend the march but are having trouble
pulling together the necessary funds.

NOM cannot help themselves. What difference does it make that these are from African-American and Latino communities? Anyhow, by their own calculus, 100 buses would carry 5,000 anti-gay demonstrators. That’s more than the total that seem to have come to DC on their behalf. NOM was claiming that each bus would cost $1,000 for 50 people or $20 each.

A week later, on March 11, the pitch changed. Now they were combining the matching grant to the marriage march. Apparently, the matching grant that they announced on February 19, did not fund the “marriage march” in spite of claiming that it did (see above; “Recognizing the
importance of this March for Marriage”). NOM seems to have a problem keeping their bullshit straight:

Well, now there’s an even bigger incentive to make a donation: our heroic marriage supporter who gave us a $500,000 matching challenge gift has extended his offer to include every donation made in support of the March for Marriage!

So please click here to make a confidential, tax-deductible donation …

Two days later, NOM continued to pitch with the “bring-a-bus” motif. On March 13, Brian claimed:

For a gift of $20, you and I can help
enable one out-of-town marriage supporter to attend the March.

Wait a minute. With the matching grant, that should be a gift of $10 according to the March 4 email. Two days later, on March 15, NOM sent out a new gimme money that was not from the Education Fund and did not mention tax deductibility. Brown gave the impression (“still getting requests”) that requests for buses had already been funded.

We’re still getting requests for help for buses to bring marchers out to
stand for marriage, for liberty, for the rights of children and voters and religious individuals and institutions. Please, if you can spare some funds to help us bring these willing and able marchers to our nation’s capital on the 26th,
everything you give us today will be put directly to that use!

 On March 18, as NOM Education Fund, this was sent three times:

We have an incredibly generous matching pledge of $500,000 up until the
March… but we’re falling short of the mark. We cannot afford to waste
this opportunity! As of today, we have only raised around $300,000
our $500,000 goal. Now is the time to take action! Please click here to make your most generous gift in support of the
Match for Marriage and help us take advantage of this incredible matching gift opportunity!

If they raised $300,000 that was $600,000 with the matching grant. Using their math, that would bring 30,000 people to DC     six to ten times the number that actually showed. Furthermore, that would assume that NOM paid for every attendee to get there.

In spite of the $300,000 (or $600,000), just the following day (March 19) they had the chutzpah to claim:

But I’ve got to be honest with you. We are struggling to make sure that everyone has a chance to
make history…

Please click here right away to make a confidential, tax-deductible donation of $35, $50, $100, $500 or more to make the
March for Marriage an unequivocal success!

We’ve received many more bus requests from around the country than we can afford.

Where were all these buses on March 26?

Yet, on March 21,NOM was still claiming (along with the matching grant verbiage):

We still have many, many
churches that want to organize buses for their congregants to attend the March, but do not have the money to fund them.

Won’t you please make an immediate, secure, confidential and tax-deductible donation
to support this historic undertaking?

March 22:

P.S.: In the last few days leading up to the March, we need your
support more than effort [sic] to fund this historic event and make it a great
success. Please consider helping us today with whatever you can spare to give: every dollar matters!
In fact, every dollar matters doubly since all donations between now and the March will be matched by a generous donor. So please give today and double your investment in the future of marriage, the well-being of children, and the rights and
liberties we all cherish so much!

By the following day, March 23, NOM shifted away from NOM Education Fund. This means that donors were contributing to the general purpose fund which would not be tax deductible. By the 25th NOM claimed to have raised $475,000 or $950,000 with the matching pledge.

Where did all that money go?

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.