Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, California, New Jersey, Illinois and Hawaii have joined or re-joined the ranks of marriage equality states this year.

As each state joins the equality fold, National Organization for Marriage responds with a promise to “hold the politicians accountable”.

“We will work tirelessly to hold the politicians accountable for this travesty,” threatened NOM president Brian Brown after the Rhode Island and Minnesota legislatures passed marriage equality laws.  “We will hold the politicians accountable for their votes” he threatened again after Delaware became a marriage quality state.  Brown issued similar threats following marriage equality wins in Illinois and Hawaii.

Those are easy threats to make, but NOM doesn’t have the resources to back them up and run credible electoral challenges in one state, let alone in many.

NOM’s grassroots fundraising this year has been so abysmal that their “young elites” project, called the Ruth Institute, has parted company with them.

But perhaps the biggest blow to NOM’s fundraising prospects is the new papal guidance that the asks the Catholic hierarchy to shift its focus away from ideological politics and towards pastoring and social justice.

At a meeting of the US Catholic bishops yesterday, Vatican ambassador to the U.S. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano relayed a pointed message from Pope Francis.  “The Holy Father wants bishops in tune with their people,” he said.  Pope Francis “made a special point of saying that he wants ‘pastoral’ bishops, not bishops who profess or follow a particular ideology”.

In the past, the Catholic Church and it’s lay affiliate Knights of Columbus have been some of NOM’s most devoted donors.  Much of that revenue source seems now to be in grave peril.

With the number of equality states soaring and its donor base dwindling, it’s not clear how NOM can make good on its promise to “hold accountable” the hundreds of politicians it has so carelessly threatened.

Laurel Ramseyer

Laurel Ramseyer