'Drive a wedge between gays and blacks'

An internal memo (link) by a national traditional marriage group that was disclosed earlier this week lends credence to a charge made by NC House District 72 candidate Ed Hanes at a candidate forum last night in northeast Winston-Salem.

The document drafted by the National Organization for Marriage, entitled “Marriage: $20 million strategy for victory,” discloses

The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African-American spokespeople for marriage, to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; and to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party. [page 13]

A key part of the strategy is to knock Obama off balance:

Expose Obama as a social radical. Develop side issues to weaken pro-gay marriage political leaders and parties and develop an activist base of socially conservative voters. Raise such issues as pornography, protection of children, and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty at the federal level. [page 11]

North Carolina, where a constitutional amendment defining marriage as strictly between a man and a woman, gets special attention in a heading that urges:

Go on the offense: Win victories by pushing for marriage amendments in conservative states, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Indiana will be the top priorities. [page 7]

Hanes, an African-American candidate for NC House, told (link) a predominantly black audience in Winston-Salem last night:

We have to move as a community to be strong, to stand up and to not let the Republican Party use this issue as a wedge in our community and try to turn this into Ohio 2004. Does everybody know what I’m talking about when I say, ‘Ohio 2004’? The Republican Party inserted the issue of gay rights into Ohio as a wedge in the black community because they know this is an issue in our community, something we don’t want to talk about.

It’s something we try to deny. It’s something we try to say doesn’t exist. And they knew that if they put it in the churches that it would split our churches straight down the middle. They did it because they knew that the president at that time might win by the slimmest of margins if they could divide that black community and that black evangelical vote. And that is what happened. George W. Bush got a second term because we as African-American people in this country allowed that issue to divide us.

H/T: Institute for Southern Studies

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