After year of losses, National Organization for Marriage ends 2012 with $2M deficit

NOM President Brian Brown at a "protect marriage" rally.

NOM President Brian Brown at a "protect marriage" rally.

WASHINGTON – The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) continues to struggle financially as its losses at the U.S. Supreme Court and in states across the country pile up.

According to the organization’s latest financial documents, NOM ended the year in the red with roughly a $2 million dollar deficit.

NOM President Brian Brown at a "protect marriage" rally.

NOM President Brian Brown at a “protect marriage” rally.

According to the 990 form supplied by the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund, NOM’s 501(c)(3) charitable education arm, the Education Fund loaned NOM nearly $1.7 million, calling into question whether NOM engaged in electoral or excessive lobbying activity that violates the Education Fund’s tax exempt status.

NOM made their 2012 990s available late Monday night after repeatedly refusing to make them public following their November 15 deadline.

Gay rights activist Fred Karger, president of Rights Human Rights, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) made in-person requests for the public financial documents last Friday morning and again Monday – both times, NOM was unable to produce the documents.

Federal law requires organizations to publicly release their 990s the same day an in-person request is made, prompting the HRC to file a complaint Monday with the IRS.

Last year, NOM’s financial documents revealed that just two donors accounted for nearly 75 percent of the organization’s funding.

According to the 2012 990s released Monday, just three donors contributed roughly two thirds of all money raised – further evidence that “everyday Americans have little interest in furthering NOM’s extremist agenda,” said the HRC, in a statement.

NOM spent nearly $5.7 million on unsuccessful field efforts to prevent marriage equality in several states. Their losses included failed campaigns to prevent marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington; to place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Minnesota’s constitution; and to oust an Iowa Supreme Court justice who voted in favor of same-sex marriage in a 2009 ruling.

NOM’s dismal financial report comes as the organization continues to veer further away from its original, marriage-focused message.

This year, Brian Brown traveled to Russia to support a bill – now law – banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples or parents living in countries where marriage equality is legal; and sent out a transphobic e-mail lashing out against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, in which he referred to transgender Americans by saying “if a man feels like being a woman, he is; but if he later decides he’s a man again, he’s that.”

A spokesman for the HRC said Tuesday that “as NOM’s work has expanded to target the livelihood and very existence of LGBT Americans, their funding can’t keep up with the spending their futile work requires.”

NOM was founded in 2007 as part of the effort to pass the now-defunct Proposition 8, which stripped same-sex couples of their right to marry. Since then 15 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized same-sex marriage.

Today, 33 percent of Americans live in states where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry; once Illinois and Hawaii’s recently-passed marriage equality laws go into effect, that number will jump to nearly 38 percent.

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