Tag Archives: brian bond

UPDATED: Right-wing group denied emergency stay to block gay marriage in Oregon

The right-wing National Organization for Marriage on May 19 filed an emergency appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking a stay any gay marriage proceedings in Oregon. And not long after the filing, the motion was denied.

A federal judge has just ruled for marriage equality, and NOM had wanted to get in line for a stay.

NOM wanted to argue that it should be allowed to intervene in the federal case. NOM also wanted the appeals court to strike down any ruling in favor of marriage equality in Oregon.

In a news release, NOM president Brian S. Brown, said the case was an “ugly example” of cooperation between Oregon’s attorney general and “the gay marriage lobby, both of whom want to redefine marriage in contravention of the overwhelming decision of the people to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The people of Oregon are entitled to a defense of their decision on marriage rather than being abandoned in court.”

In a series of rulings this past year, judges in the federal and state courts have overturned state measures prohibiting same-sex marriage and last summer the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on same-sex marriage in the so-called Defense of Marriage Act of 1996.

NOM alleged in its motion with the appeals court that government clerks and business people will “will face injury if marriage is redefined.”

Meanwhile, in Maine, the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices staff issued a report concluding that NOM intentionally violated state law by failing to register or report its activities despite playing a central role in co-managing and funding a $3 million marriage referendum campaign in 2009.

The report said, “The staff views NOM’s failure to register and file financial reports as a significant violation of law. Maine people deserve to know who is funding political campaigns to influence their vote.” 

The report recommends civil penalties against NOM totaling $50,250 and that NOM be directed to register as a ballot question committee and file campaign finance reports reflecting its contributions and expenditures in support of the 2009 Maine referendum.

The commission will vote on the staff recommendation at its meeting on May 28.

“This detailed investigative report once and for all exposes NOM’s fundamental mission to secretly and illegally funnel contributions from a few large unnamed donors to its extreme political causes,” said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin. “NOM was formed to be an illegal pass-through for a few secret donors to fund discrimination against LGBT Americans. Maine’s regulators have caught on and said enough is enough.”

Over the past four years, following a complaint by Fred Karger, the Maine commission conducted the most detailed investigation of NOM’s activities to date.

The investigation included deposing Brown and subpoenaing documents. The investigation was significantly delayed by a series of lawsuits initiated by NOM intended to stonewall the investigation.

NOM appealed unsuccessfully all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in its effort to evade Maine’s public disclosure law.    

Among other findings, the 37-page investigative report found:

• NOM played the critical leadership role in the 2009 referendum campaign. Political consultants close to NOM had significant leadership positions within the campaign and NOM was by far the largest donor. The commission determined that NOM failed to tell the truth when it stated that it made no expenditures to promote the referendum other than by monetary contributions.

• NOM promised its donors anonymity if they gave directly to NOM. According to the report, “NOM intentionally set up its fundraising strategy to avoid donor disclosure laws.”

• NOM sent out a series of emails specifically soliciting contributions from Maine and received contributions sufficient to require it to register as a ballot question committee.

NOM also qualified as a ballot question committee through contributions from major donors. The report noted that in 2009, NOM raised 75 percent of its revenue from 14 major donors. Contrary to NOM’s representations, the report found that “the basic elements of NOM’s communications are known, and they indicate that NOM told major donors in 2009 about NOM’s activities in support of the Maine referendum and NOM’s specific commitment to financially support the Maine referendum.”

NOM failed to disclose these donors in accordance with state law.

Focusing HIV prevention efforts on gay and bisexual men

Today (Sept. 27)  is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. For me, every day is an “awareness day” about HIV/AIDS. I feel it is important for me to talk about it, because I am increasingly concerned that many in the LGBT community don’t. I am worried about the kids out there and the generation that hasn’t seen the devastating impact of this epidemic the way my generation has.

Just a few days ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new heartbreaking data showing that one in five gay and bisexual men in 21 major US cities are living with HIV.  I am one of those men. I have been living with HIV since 2001. 

I have the privilege of serving as the deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and President Obama’s liaison to the LGBT community.  I want to share a personal perspective on the importance of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States,  issued by the Obama administration in July. While I work closely with the Office of National AIDS Policy, I was not directly involved in writing the plan. But I clearly have a personal stake in the mission.

The strategy provides a vision for America that puts saving the lives of gay and bisexual men front and center in our national plan for ending HIV/AIDS, through preventing new HIV infections, increasing access to care, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. Not only is the strategy the first comprehensive plan for responding to the domestic AIDS crisis, it is perhaps the first time that our national policy dialogue could be so forthright about the disproportionate impact of HIV among gay and bisexual men.

Gay and bisexual men make up roughly 2 percent of the US population, but we account for 53 percent of new HIV infections. We are the only group where HIV infection rates are rising. We all have a responsibility to reverse this trend.

I encourage all of you to read the Strategy and Federal Implementation Plan. It calls for new efforts to reduce infections and calls for us to take new steps to end stigma and discrimination. In the president’s budget proposal for next year, which begins on October 1, he proposes a new initiative at CDC to take a more holistic approach to preventing HIV in the LGBT community by promoting sexual health and preventing sexually transmitted infections.

There is a lot to be done, but I have seen firsthand that this administration is committed to working in partnership with the LGBT community and others. I feel like we all have a responsibility to do this for the kids out there and also in the memory of those who have fought this fight before us.

Brian Bond