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NOM touts false statements, ads in New York, Rhode Island

The National Organization for Marriage is fighting off legislative efforts by Rhode Island and New York assemblies to offer rights to same-sex couples. Fact-checkers have rated elements of NOM’s ads in New York false, and NOM’s public statements in Rhode Island were rated so false, Politfact gave them a “Pant on Fire” rating.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has strongly pressured New York legislators to offer a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, and on Tuesday, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell introduced the bill.

NOM has stepped in to oppose the bill and plans to spend $500,000 on television ads. NOM has pledged another $1 million to support candidates that oppose rights for same-sex couples and reward legislators that vote against the marriage bill.

The ad that NOM has launched in New York is a repeat of one the group ran in the state in 2009.

The ad says, “Massachusetts public schools teach second graders that boys can marry other boys.” It’s a similar line to one used in Rhode Island earlier this year: “Massachusetts’ public schools teach kids as young as kindergartners about gay marriage.”

The contents of the Rhode Island ad were ruled false by fact-check website Politifact:

The National Organization for Marriage mailing says that Massachusetts public schools teach kindergartners about gay marriage. The wording, including the present tense verb, gives the impression this is happening now, in many schools.

But the group’s only evidence is two incidents five years ago. It’s possible that somewhere, in one of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, other kindergartners have been taught about same-sex marriage. But NOM couldn’t cite any other examples. We find its statement False.

Here’s the ad that NOM is running in New York:

The Human Rights Campaign’s Kevin Nix hit back at NOM over the ad. “Independent fact checkers will quickly determine, as they did previously with other NOM propaganda, that things don’t quite add up in this New York commercial,” he said in a statement. “Fear and fiction is the mother’s milk of this secretive, virulently anti-gay organization.”

In Rhode Island, the head of the National Organization for Marriage-Rhode Island claimed that the majority of Rhode Islanders oppose same-sex marriage. A bill to legalize same-sex marriage has been working its way through the General Assembly.

On a panel hosted by WPRI, the group’s executive director Christopher Plante said, “I don’t believe [House Speaker] Gordon Fox had the votes. Our head count showed pretty clearly that they didn’t have the votes and he had to make the decision he did,” he said. “Similarly, the people of Rhode Island don’t want same-sex marriage.”

Politifact ran his statement through their fact-checking service and ruled it “Pants on Fire.” Here’s Politifact’s rationale:

The most recent polls from Brown, RI-GLAD and even NOM-RI — Plante’s organization — show the opposite.

Not only did the trends in the NOM-RI and RI-GLAD polls show opposition to same-sex marriage evaporating, the Brown and RI-GLAD polls showed that the public wants gay couples to have the right to marry, even if you assume that every voter who didn’t express an opinion was opposed to gay marriage.

Plante’s assertion isn’t just false. It’s ridiculous. We rate it Pants On Fire!

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