Why Anti-LGBT Tactics to Divide Latinos and the LGBT Community Won't Work

Even by Washington standards, the National Organization for Marriage's (NOM) unmasked strategy to drive a wedge between blacks and Latinos on one side and the LGBT community on the other is stunningly cynical. In a series of documents obtained last week by the Human Rights Campaign in a court proceeding, NOM outlined a bewildering campaign to make opposition to gay marriage "cool" and "hip" among young Latinos and convince other Latinos that supporting gay marriage was tantamount to "forced assimilation."

The cravenness on display from NOM is reminiscent of another bastion of intolerance, the anti-immigrant movement. They, too, have enough political savvy to realize that, first, Latinos are an important demographic and voting block, and that, second, movements built on bigotry and intolerance are most successful when their shameful agenda stays hidden from the public.

That's why the granddaddy of the anti-immigrant movement, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has created front organizations purporting to represent both anti-immigrant Latinos and blacks. In classic "pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain" fashion, they somehow believed that no one would notice the deception -- as if everyone is too dumb to notice the man who chooses to hide by standing still in room with a lampshade over his head.

If NOM had stopped its indefatigable scheming for just a moment to learn something about our community, this diabolical plan would never have been hatched. First, not all Latinos are immigrants. Second, Latino immigrants welcome integration into American society. Third, Latinos are not foolish enough to believe that NOM has our best interests at heart. And, fourth, despite what NOM may think, the Latino community overwhelmingly supports LGBT equality. The Movement Advancement Project released research recently that showed that 74 percent of Latinos "support marriage or marriage-like legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples."

Fortunately, this truly offensive idea has completely backfired. The documents reveal an organization rife with bigotry, willing to do anything to advance intolerance in our society. If anyone wondered whether black, LGBT, and Latino leaders have awakened to realize that we have common enemies that seek to divide us, these revelations and reactions from civil rights leaders last week show that we have and are ready to work together to defeat those enemies.

This piece was first posted to the NCLR Blog.