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NOM taps Teabagger attorney Cleta Mitchell to lobby for Minnesota marriage amendment

Does NOM know the high-powered attorney and GOP bigwig was married to a gay man? It might explain a lot about her rabid homophobia.

I was not surprised in the least that the anti-LGBT goons at the National Organization for Marriage would hook up with Tea party lawyer Cleta Mitchell to handle the gladhanding/influence peddling for the campaign to pass a bigoted “marriage protection” amendment. Voters will decide on the civil rights of its LGBT residents on the November 2012 ballot. Cleta’s right in alignment with NOM’s goals:

Mitchell’s expertise is in campaign finance law and Minnesota for Marriage—of which NOM is a member—has already announced plans to challenge Minnesota’s finance law surrounding ballot initiatives.

Mitchell registered as a lobbyist with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board last Wednesday, according to board records. She’s the only lobbyist that NOM has currently registered in Minnesota, although NOM President Brian Brown was registered for a month earlier this year.

…Cleta opposes marriage equality for same-sex couples. She spearheaded efforts to repeal marriage equality in Washington, D.C. She staged a walkout of board members at the Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C. this spring in protest of CPAC’s decision to allow GOProud, a group of conservative LGBT activists, to attend the event.

NOM and Minnesota for Marriage have been very vocal about their opposition to Minnesota’s campaign finance disclosure rules regarding ballot initiative committees. NOM and MFM say that they shouldn’t have to disclose any of their donors for fear of boycotts or political retaliation from supporters of gay rights.

Yeah, well, what about transparency, NOM? I predict that the organization is going to lose this battle to keep the bigot rolls secret (again, it’s lost similar legal fights in California and Washington State).

But the curious thing about Mitchell, and we covered this on the Blend last February when she was working hard behind the scenes to make CPAC unwelcome for GOProud mentioned above, is that a little digging into her past uncovered an interesting fact that may shed light on her obsessive homo-hate. From my original post:

Why Cleta has a problem with TEH GAY.

Why is Mitchell so strident about this? Why the fixation on GOProud’s participation in CPAC? Well, the public record reveals, ahem, a possible factor and motivation in Mitchell’s crusade. Back in the 80s, she was known as State Rep. Cleta Deatherage (D-Norman). She married a gentleman named Duane Draper and they later divorced.

State Rep. Cleta Deatherage, D-Norman , has been granted a divorce from her husband of nine years, Duane Draper . Cleveland County District Judge Mike McDanel approved the divorce petition July 13, the day it was filed, allowing the couple to waive the normal 10-day waiting period for divorces involving only property settlement. Deatherage cited incompatibility as grounds for the divorce.

There was a reason for that incompatibility – Draper was gay.

How do we know this? Draper went on to become director of AIDS programming at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where he was well-known and when he passed away in February of 1991, his partner was mentioned in the obituary in the Boston Globe.

Duane Draper, director of AIDS programs for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, died of AIDS Monday night at his home in Brookline. He was 43.A former prosecutor in his native Oklahoma, Mr. Draper left a teaching fellowship at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1987 to become AIDS policy coordinator for the state’s Executive Office of Human Services. A year later he moved to the public health AIDS job.

His performance prompted the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts to give Mr. Draper its 1991 recognition award.

…He leaves his parents, Ellsworth and Clairene Draper of Washington, Okla.; two brothers, Conrad of Yelm, Wash., and Craig of Norman; a sister, Renee Wiggins of Norman; and his companion, Gary Leuschner of Brookline.

I don’t really have a dog in this hunt other than to say that this bit of information is just another reminder that the personal issues of the closet wreak havoc on people; it can turn and twist average people into believing that the entire LGBT community should be punished when a marriage didn’t work out because of someone discovering they are gay.

Mitchell has a lot of power in conservative circles, and her open war against  GOProud was so overwrought that its presence was barred from CPAC, despite mainstream/country club conservatives had no problem with the gay conservative group’s sponsorship and presence there. The fact that her personal and professional homophobia overrides any common sense regarding the burgeoning public presence of gay conservatives seems to be lost on other conservatives who need to muzzle her and move on into the 21st century. In Cleta’s world, she prefers silent, old school, tortured, closeted homosexuals.

As I said, she’s right up NOM’s alley.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding