In the wake of the major electoral victories for marriage equality across the country this fall, the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage (NOM) had some explaining to do. No longer able to rely on its long-standing argument that voters always reject same-sex marriage, NOM did some soul searching and finally identified the reason it suffered unprecedented defeats: It just didn’t raise enough money.
In a post-mortem email to donors and supporters, NOM President Brian Brown wrote that “each of the state marriage campaigns was significantly outspent by their opponents…. [W]e were outspent by over three-to-one … and by nearly five-to-one in Washington.” Brown went on to bemoan the fact that the anti-LGBT campaigns only raised half of the $20 million they allegedly needed to win. “What is required to regain victory?” Brown asked rhetorically in conclusion. “In a word, money.”
Still digesting NOM’s losses in four states, Brown can be excused for forgetting that spending alone doesn’t equate to electoral success. Just ask Sheldon Adelson or Linda McMahon what they got in return for their nine-figure political investments in 2012. But by publicly raising the issue of the money gap, Brown may have inadvertently touched on a new and significant development in the fight for LGBT equality: a steadily decreasing appetite among the right wing, especially among small donors and the conservative grassroots, to support anti-LGBT initiatives.