‘Capital’ columnist calls out NOM push poll; 4 out of 5 NOM staffers unlikely to care

February 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm 66 comments

Part 2 on this story; part 1 can be found here. Great follow-up from Jeremy.

For those who missed it, today, the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted to advance a marriage equality bill, 7-4. -Adam

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

We’ve already shown you how the guy behind NOM’s supposedly trustworthy poll on Maryland marriage, Gary Lawrence, was deep in the pocket of the Prop 8 crowd, distributing a whole host of information that supported the ballot measure more on the basis of Lucifer than any sound constitutional law. Now, Erik Hartley from The Capital newspaper is looking at another aspect: The sheer bias in NOM’s lines of questioning. Here’s a snip and link to full:

Say you’re an interest group that wants to make it seem as if the public is on your side. Just commission a poll, ask the questions a certain way and voilà! You have the poll result you wanted.

That’s what an anti-gay-marriage group has just done.

After a recent Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies poll showed most Marylanders now support same-sex marriage, the National Organization for Marriage decided it wanted a different result.

It complained that the Gonzales poll’s question (“Would you favor or oppose a law in Maryland allowing same-sex couples to marry, giving them the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples in areas such as tax exemptions, inheritance and pension coverage?”) was biased. A “strong, pro-gay marriage bias” was the exact wording.

So NOM asked it this way: “As far as you personally are concerned, should marriage be between a man and a woman, or should it also be available to same-sex couples?”

Hmm. Why the phrase “as far as you personally are concerned”? Perhaps to appeal to people’s visceral discomfort with gay people? Note that the question does not ask about the proposed law; it asks about values — “as far as you personally are concerned” — and how you think the world “should” be.

KEEP READING: If you want a different answer… [Annapolis Capital blog]

Entry filed under: Right-wing.

Lawrence vs. Hexes: The eye-opening spiritual war behind NOM’s new Maryland poll The 24th vote in Maryland

66 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peterplumber  |  February 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm


    • 2. JonT  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      • 3. Straight for Equality  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm

        • 4. RebeccaRGB  |  February 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm

  • 5. Kathleen  |  February 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm

  • 6. Rhie  |  February 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm


  • 7. Phil L  |  February 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm


    That’s sort of like trying to promote sugar by asking, “Would you rather have a candy bar or would you rather have chicken alfredo that sets you on fire when you eat it?”

  • 8. Ronnie  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    It really is immature that because the poll didn’t show what they wanted they had to pay for one that would show what they wanted it to show & was most likely doctored & could be almost entirely fake…Does anybody actually trust NOM to tell the truth…. NOM has no ethical boundaries……we have evidence of anti-equality workers lying a cheating to get what they want…this is no different….case in point:

    In Massachusetts….shoppers were tricked into signing a petition to ban gay marriage that they didn’t even know they were signing…They thought they were signing a petition to ban selling whine in the grocery store….Anti-equality & lack of ethics goes hand-in-hand…just saying…. : I ….Ronnie

    • 9. Ronnie  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      uggg….damn auto-correct..turning it off…..”They thought they were signing a petition to ban selling wine in the grocery store”…. : / ….Ronnie

      • 10. Kathleen  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm

        :) Aww, and I was going to make a quip about not needing to buy my whine, being capable of making plenty of it on my own.

        • 11. Ronnie  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm

          lol…sowwy…..wait?!….. <3…Ronnie

    • 12. Ray in MA  |  February 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm

      This led to a web site called “knowthyneighbor.org”

      http://www.knowthyneighbor.org/index.html (see Who signed it?

      …which led to similar sites in AR FL & OR, see: http://www.knowthyneighbor.org/)

      (I still curse to myself when I drive by some of my neighbors homes who I found out signed it!)

    • 14. fiona64  |  February 18, 2011 at 8:28 am

      Jimmy Kimmel went out in Los Angeles one day to gather signatures on a ballot measure petition to remove womens’ suffrage — and got enough to get it on the ballot. He would actually say “This measure will end womens’ suffrage” and people would sign — because they didn’t know what it meant. Half the time people do not read what they are signing.


      • 15. Rhie  |  February 18, 2011 at 4:18 pm

        Oh a company put a clause in their TOS that stipulated the signer was giving the company their soul. Thousands signed it. Including many people who believe in the concept of soul.

        • 16. Steve  |  February 18, 2011 at 6:29 pm

          You can have even more fun with EULAs. No signature needed:


          • 17. Rhie  |  February 18, 2011 at 10:03 pm

            Oh XKCD is always a good thing :)

  • 18. Ed Cortes  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    checkin’ da box

  • 19. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Oh, come now, do you think someone promoting Prop 8 would ever twist the truth?

    *snx* *ppft* BWAAAAAAA HA HA HA!

    Sorry, can’t keep a straight face on that one.

  • 20. Bennett  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Would you like to sign a petition to protect families? You would? Great, well just sign right here, and God bless you!

  • 21. Canadian JAG  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Maryland has votes to pass senate!! Rosapepe just announced will vote for the bill, that is a firm 24 votes!


    • 22. Sagesse  |  February 17, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      So happy for Maryland. I try not to think about about NOM’s petition.

      • 23. Canadian JAG  |  February 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm

        I know… That will dampen things after this (hopefully) passes, but Maryland could be the first state where voters approve equality (it shouldn’t be up for vote, but when it finally passes somewhere that’ll kill any steam on the anti side) I believe that Maryland will have equality!
        Though I am an eternal optimist and want to see lgbt people across the USA enjoy the same respect and protections that I enjoy here in Canada

        • 24. Sagesse  |  February 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

          It’s the stay that is offensive. 55,000 signatures, and no one can marry under the law until at least Nov 2012. At least in Iowa and NH, marriages continue. At least in Maine, the vote happened almost immediately. And if it passes in RI and/or NY, it’s a done deal.

          I’m so relieved to live in a country (happens to be Canada, but has anyone noticed that most of the countries that have marriage equality settled it once and for all at the national level) where marriage rights, and all human rights, are a federal matter.

          • 25. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 17, 2011 at 9:14 pm

            It’ll be interesting to see when it becomes a federal matter here. When NY and CA flip over to the equality side, the discrepancies between state laws are going to get really hard to ignore.

            Also, general thank you to you and the other Canadians who post here. It’s anecdotal, of course, but I’ve had overwhelmingly positive interactions with Canadian folks.

          • 26. Joel  |  February 18, 2011 at 12:56 am

            It is a federal matter in this country, with over 1300 federally mandated rights and benefits for married couples.

          • 27. Sagesse  |  February 18, 2011 at 4:48 am

            The difference is really an ‘accident of history’. Don’t care what Scalia says, the concept of ‘states’ rights (and a few other things) is a VERY different thing when you have thirteen states than when you have to wrangle 50. Having to fight these fights fifty times, under slightly different rules each time, is ludicrous. In Canada, we only have ten provinces… consensus and change are easier to come by.

          • 28. Steve  |  February 18, 2011 at 7:27 am

            States rights also made some sense during the expansion to the west. It was a different matter whether you lived in well-developed New England or in some frontier state where the situation is different.

            In today’s highly mobile society where you can get anywhere within hours, it’s a bit silly that there are such huge differences between states.

          • 29. Bob  |  February 18, 2011 at 11:19 am

            I’m a big fan of American Equality Movement,,, as an idea, an organization,,, they are fighting a battle against a mindset in America which seems to make people think they have to fight the battle piecemeal,, inside the box , the box being the state…. people seem afraid to lend a voice to this important project that puts civil rights in one package,,

            I like the notion that AEM could win all rights, from a national level,,,, either through the SCOTUS or legislation…

            I like that they challenge this thinking that it has to be a state by state battle…..

            I agree that there are many alpproaches, and individual circumstances in local communities dictate the issues dealt with locally,,,, but why are all these local organziations unwilling to endorse the American Eqaulity Movement,,,, it seems straight forward to me that any volunteer organziation that springs up,, and does such amazing work as they do, would automatically endorse equal rights for all,,,,, this issue has not been properly addressed in the last panel,,, or anywhere I caqn see, there must be some power struggle or personality issues that are being avoided,,,,

            The fed’s get off, by sending the fight to local states,,, I still do not understand why considering the states and the federal gov’t both have to uphold the constituion,,, why can’t the Senate pass a bill enforcing constituional equal rights for all……….

          • 30. Bob  |  February 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

            correction that’s American Equality Bill,,,,,,, of all organizations out there fighting for equality,,, look at the small number who endorse the AEB,,,,, why is that???????

          • 31. AnonyGrl  |  February 18, 2011 at 11:40 am

            I will try to answer some of your questions, Bob, and I am sure others will jump in if I go astray…

            First, we can’t just take a case to SCOTUS. It is not an option. A case must start in the lower courts then move up, that is how the system works.

            As far as a national legislation, this provides its own set of difficulties. First, we would need to find federal legislators who would be willing to introduce it. Second, we would have to have a TON TON TON of money. And third, we would, at this point, lose big time. Not a happy thought, but it is the truth. Currently, despite the growing pro-equality sentiment around the country, there is not enough support to get a national law passed. That is just the difficult truth. Senators and Congresspersons from states with anti-homosexual legislation in place are not going to support it. The GOOD news is that the reverse is also true. If NOM’s threat to get an amendment to the US Constitution introduced ever actually happened (I have little concern that it will) it would not get enough support to pass. All of this means that the federal level is not where we need to be focused at the moment.

            Federal legislators have made it clear that they want this to be decided on the state level. And the good news here is that, one state at a time, slowly but surely, we are winning that fight.

            This means that the best way we CAN proceed at this point is by doing what we are doing. Fight in court, and keep fighting, with the hope that sooner rather than later it WILL make it up to SCOTUS and be ruled on there. Fight in the states, and keep fighting, in some places holding actions to keep the status quo, in some winning and moving forward. And our various individual organizations, Courage Campaign included, helps to organize people locally to fight on the immediate ground level in state, and nationally to fight with words and support from all across the country.

            There is no one “Gay Rights Movement” group with everyone under one banner. There was no civil rights group either… there were the Black Panthers, and Dr. ML King and many others who led, and lots of people who did the equivalent of what you and I do now, by standing up and refusing to be silenced.

      • 32. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 17, 2011 at 9:11 pm

        I know. First, major legislative victory for LGBT rights; second, HERP DERP! Referendum! And the referendum automatically stays any legislation? So for 55,000 signatures you can block whatever you like until it’s on the ballot? Seems like a recipe for chicanery.

        • 33. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 17, 2011 at 9:15 pm

          And you can bet your sweet tuchus that “Bishop” Harry Jackson will be in the vanguard of that chicanery!

        • 34. Rhie  |  February 18, 2011 at 4:05 pm

          Yes, yes it is. Maryland has an…interesting political history.

  • 35. Peterplumber  |  February 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm


  • 36. Richard A. Jernigan  |  February 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Again, NOM is WAY short on those values knows as honesty, integrity, ethics, morality, legality.

  • 37. SoCal Dave  |  February 17, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    “As far as you personally are concerned, should marriage be between a man and a woman, or should it also be available to same-sex couples?”
    I know the word “also” is in there, but with the “or” it still comes off as a false choice… either a man and a woman, OR same-sex couples? Well, both!

    • 38. AnonyGrl  |  February 18, 2011 at 6:48 am

      And it is in the inflection of the caller too…

      Sincere and sweet “As far as YOU personally are concerned, should marriage be between a MAN and a WOMAN…” switch to snarkiness and disgust “or should it ALSO be availabe to… SAME-SEX couples?”

      Many people will answer the way you want them to, even if the question looks even handed in print, just by the tone of voice you use when asking the question.

  • 39. Linda  |  February 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    ‘As far as you personally are concerned, should civil rights be granted to people who agree with me, or should all Americans have them?’

  • 40. John  |  February 17, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    I’m surprised it wasn’t phrased “Do you believe that children need a mother and a father?”

    NOM disgusts me. They literally want to take the love out of marriage, yet somehow that doesn’t seem absurd to many people. I don’t get it.

    • 41. AnonyGrl  |  February 18, 2011 at 6:49 am

      I’m not surprised, since this was obviously an ATTEMPT to sound legit. At this point the mother and father argument has been parsed to death, and pretty much everyone can see through it.

  • 42. AB  |  February 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Everyone should see Dr. Lawrence’s profile: http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Lawrence_Gary_39502969.aspx

    It is incredibly illuminating; he is on the board of the LDS church and has written a book on how it can improve its image.

    • 43. Sagesse  |  February 18, 2011 at 4:50 am

      “Member – Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychologists”

      Oh goody. Amicus briefs.

      • 44. fiona64  |  February 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

        Anyone want to bet that it’s an association of one?


    • 45. Sheryl, Mormon Mother of a wonderful son who just happens to be gay  |  February 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

      Actually, if you read this correctly, it states that he is a member of the LDS Church. It is very misleading but not being familiar with the LDS Church having a governing board that is called a board and if he were a member of the General Authorities (what we call our “governing board”), it would have been listed as such. So, since the heading is Board Membership and Affiliations, I read it as he is a member of the LDS Church and has nothing to do with “governing.” Just another way in which people are deceptive in how they portray themselves.

      Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 46. Ed  |  February 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Totally OT….but I just watched “Jesus Camp”……what a complete and total mind-fuck…..And these people say ***WE*** are indoctrinating kids?

    • 47. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  February 18, 2011 at 6:27 am

      yes, that horror movie is known by several here….VERY scary! :::shudders:::

    • 48. fiona64  |  February 18, 2011 at 9:10 am

      I’ve mentioned it before, but that angelic-looking toddler in his tiny suit, talking about people going to hell if they aren’t saved? Scared the crap out of me. It was like there was no one home inside him. :-(


    • 49. Carpool Cookie  |  February 18, 2011 at 10:17 am

      Also, what about the fervent, unmarried female camp organizer in the movie; Does she strike anyone else as a tad…butch?

      • 50. fiona64  |  February 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

        Actually, she immediately put me in mind of a line from Joni Mitchell’s song, “The Magdalene Laundries,” which refers to the “bloodless brides of Jesus.”


      • 51. JonT  |  February 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm

        To me, she just seemed really angry, vain, and lonely.

      • 52. JonT  |  February 18, 2011 at 7:10 pm

        A neat quote (paraphrased): ‘Democracy will eventually destroy us, since we have to give everyone equal freedom, and ultimately that’s going to destroy us.

        – ‘Becky’ on the radio program in Jesus Camp.


    • 53. Rhie  |  February 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Still can’t watch it. Just the thought sends me into a panic attack.

      If you want to read more about that batcrap crazy world chec out the slacktivist blog.

    • 54. Ginger  |  February 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      My favorite part of that movie is after (during?) the credits when they show a group of kids going up to a group of black people to proselytize, and after getting quickly dimissed, one of the kids turns to the others and whispers, “I think they’re Muslim.”

    • 55. Steve  |  February 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Can’t fight the video anymore, but on one atheist video blog they talked about jesus camps in general. A guy called in and told them a story about how he walked around and found a strap-on lying around near some cabin.

      The hosts immediately went “:D” and “Awesome!” and “:thumps up:”

      • 56. Steve  |  February 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm



    • 57. JonT  |  February 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      Totally OT….but I just watched “Jesus Camp”……what a complete and total mind-fuck…

      Heh – I noticed it was available via netflix streaming so I thought I’d check it out.

      Wow. Just. Wow.

      And these people say ***WE*** are indoctrinating kids?

      Yep, they do. Whcih is astonishing when you watch this video. This kind of propaganda directed towards kids should be a crime.

      I also had to laugh when they had old Ted Haggard on talking about the evils of homosexuality. I LOL’d.

  • 58. Carpool Cookie  |  February 18, 2011 at 9:17 am

    It’s so disgusting that NOM and their Christianist-puppet Gary Lawrence are waging a religious war, but break their Commandments daily by bearing false witness (i.e., outright lying)

    • 59. AnonyGrl  |  February 18, 2011 at 9:23 am

      Sadly, they think lying FOR God is acceptable.

      I don’t get it, but I’ve heard it said enough times to believe there is some truth to it. Very sad.

      The thing is, the side of good is hampered by not being able to use the tools of evil. The side of evil is not.

      What side does that put Liars for God on, do you suppose?

      • 60. Carpool Cookie  |  February 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

        We could pass out “Liar for God” tee shirts to them next time they give a tour?

      • 61. Steve  |  February 18, 2011 at 6:37 pm

        Believers can rationalize anything away if they are fanatical enough and convinced that they are doing their god’s will. It’s what makes religion so dangerous.

      • 62. fiona64  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

        Lying for the Lord


        The missionaries who got my parents to join the church blatantly engaged in this practice on a variety of matters.


        When I brought this up later to my mother, she said “Well, they didn’t want us to learn about things out of context.”

        I asked why they didn’t just say so instead of lying about the matter, and she didn’t have an answer.


    • 63. Sheryl, Mormon Mother of a wonderful son who just happens to be gay  |  February 18, 2011 at 10:44 am

      Actually, CC, if you were to ask most non-Mormons, they do not consider us Christians. I, unfortunately, believe that one of the reasons for the coalition, from my churches perspective, was/is to become accepted as Christians by other Christian religions. If you saw 8 The Mormon Proposition then you might have noted, toward the end, appreciating the involvement of the Mormon Church even though they were not a Christian religion. This is, of course, my opinion. Makes me very sad, when I was growing up the slogan for youth was “Dare to Be Differen” and now it appears that we are trying hard to “fit in.” But then, we know that NOM uses whatever means they can find to promote their bigotry under the guise of “promoting marriage and protecting the children.”

      Sheryl, Mormon Mother

    • 64. Rhie  |  February 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      Actually bearing false witness is far more than just lying. It’s anything one person does, says, implies, or otherwise gives a false impression of a person or group. So, asking survey questions in a tone that suggests that gay marriage is awful is bearing false witness. So are straw man arguments.

  • 65. Jon  |  February 18, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Yeah, push-polls are old school dirty politics. The tobacco industry loves ’em.

  • 66. John D  |  February 18, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I got one of these anti-gay push polls once and I spoke harshly to the woman who was doing the poll. She was a poorly paid boiler room employee, just following the script. She wasn’t aware of the issues involved or the implications of what she was doing. When I explained my position (pulling her off her script), she sympathized. I’m sure she continued making these calls, but I hope I shook her up a little.


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