I’m sure you remember the dog-days of summer, when NOM played a Peter, Paul & Mary recording of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” during their rallies. Peter Yarrow, one of the two surviving members of the group, “Peter, Paul, and Mary,” sent Brian Brown, the President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) a cease and desist letter.
We have Kathleen Perrin of the blog Prop 8 Trial Tracker, (which is a project of the Courage Campaign Institute,) to thank for contacting Peter, Paul, and Mary. (Thanks, Kathleen!) She writes that Peter Yarrow, the “Peter” in “Peter, Paul, and Mary,” called NOM’s use of the song, “heartbreaking.”
Kathleen is at it again. This time, she’s caught NOM using John Mellencamp’s, “Pink Houses” during a rally in Madison, Wisconsin.
Perrin writes, “A contact with John Mellencamp’s publicist confirmed my suspicion. Not only had NOM not received permission to use the recording, but John Mellencamp does not want his music associated with NOM. In fact, John Mellencamp stands solidly with us – on the side of equal rights. Thank you, Mr. Mellencamp, for your support!”
“On John Mellencamp’s instruction, his publicist Bob Merlis sent the following note to NOM (copied here with permission)”
“I am getting in touch with you on behalf of my client John Mellencamp who has become aware that his music (“Pink Houses”) has been used at events sponsored by your organization. Please be aware that Mr. Mellencamp’s views on same sex marriage and equal rights for people of all sexual orientations are at odds with NOM’s stated agenda.
“Back in 2008, we pointed out to the McCain-Palin campaign that their use of Mr. Mellencamp’s music in campaign events was puzzling in light of Mellencamp’s own political views which were, largely, in opposition to those of these candidates. Immediately after we sent notice to campaign manager Rick Davis, the McCain campaign had the good sense to stop the use of Mellencamp’s music at their events…”
“We would encourage you to find music from a source more in harmony with your views than Mr. Mellencamp in the future.”
One really has to wonder, what next will NOM think is theirs to use without permission? First, they claim that the word and institution of “marriage” is theirs to define and defend. Next, as Kathleen points out, NOM co-opted Martin Luther King’s civil rights message and twisted it into their own.
Personally, I was deeply offended when Brian Brown said that NOM’s fight against equality is, “the new civil rights movement!” I know Maggie reads this blog, I assume Brian does, too. I believe civil rights are for everyone, that no one group owns the term, (hello, Ann Coulter…) but I don’t believe that anyone has the “civil right” to deprive another of a civil right.
Journalist Lisa Keen last week had this to add about NOM. She writes, “Evan Wolfson, head of the national Freedom to Marry group, says NOM’s real reason for wanting to ignore state campaign finance laws is motivated by its primary function: “laundering money funneled from sources that don’t want to be exposed.”
Sounds like playing by the rules just isn’t something NOM pays much attention to.
What do you think?
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