October 4, 2010
Kathleen is the Trial Tracker who made the Peter, Paul and Mary action possible. -Adam
By Kathleen Perrin
It is obvious to all of us that the so-called National Organization for Marriage doesn’t receive permission for use of the music they play at their public rallies. If they had asked permission, they would know that the artists whose works they’re co-opting want nothing to do with NOM and their bigoted anti-equality campaigns.
I’m sure you remember the cease and desist letter sent to NOM President Brian Brown in response to the organization’s use of the Peter, Paul & Mary recording of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” at their rally in Albany, NY.
Well, John Mellencamp isn’t happy about NOM’s use of his music, either.
I heard NOM playing Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses” during their rally in Madison, WI, as this video shows:
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. There’s an article about this from the Washington Post that I’ve pasted below. (editor’s note- you can find that article here, segment related to this at the bottom)
We would encourage you to find music from a source more in harmony with your views than Mr. Mellencamp in the future.
Of course, this is just more of the same from the National Organization for Marriage. They’ve repeatedly used the music of artists who are not interested in being associated with NOM’s discriminatory message. They consistently lie about being oppressed, trying to take the role of victim, blaming the very people they’re oppressing. They’ve even attempted to co-opt the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., claiming that their perverted idea of civil rights somehow makes them his “natural heirs.”
So Brian Brown, I have a few questions for you: What other music have you used without permission? How many people do we need to contact for public disclaimers before you realize that these artists whose music you exploit want no part of your bigoted message?
And one last question. We’ve heard you claim you’re the leader of a new civil rights movement, following in the steps of Martin Luther King, Jr. So ask yourself this, and try to answer honestly: Do you think John Mellencamp and Peter, Paul & Mary would want to distance themselves from the messages of Dr. King? Or perhaps, is it that they realize the truth of the matter, and only want to distance themselves from you?
h/t to John Hobbs, friend, musician and producer extraordinaire, for helping me get in touch with Bob Merlis and to Emily Mills for use of her video.