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Anti-gay group president touts honorary degree from defunct university, according to HRC

Posted by Jim Lopata  March 6, 2013 07:03 PM

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Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), is claiming that he received an honorary degree from a university that is no longer incorporated, according to the The Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Brown, leader of NOM, a group that opposes equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, tweeted on Monday that he received an honorary degree from "American Urban U. & Church of God in Christ" in Memphis. HRC verified that the American Urban University's corporate status has been suspended.

Here's from HRC's press release:

NOM President Brian Brown Touts Honorary Degree – From Non-Existent University

Records show the American Urban University’s corporation status has been suspended

Washington – National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown is touting an honorary degree he’s received from a non-existent university. On Monday, Brown – fresh off a jaunt to Paris in an attempt to take NOM’s anti-LGBT message abroad - tweeted that he was “honored to receive honorary doctorate this weekend in Memphis from American Urban U. & Church of God in Christ!” Brown also tweeted a picture of himself receiving the “honorary degree.”

Unfortunately for Brown, American Urban University does not exist. HRC has independently confirmed that the school is not in operation as a postsecondary institution.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, there is no American Urban University accredited postsecondary institution anywhere in the country. The Tennessee Higher Education Committee lists no such school on its database of authorized institutions.

“NOM just continues to remove itself further and further from reality,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “Brian Brown has made it a habit of denying the growing support for marriage equality despite the historic victories we achieved in 2012 and a wide array of polling that shows support growing across virtually all demographics. He has conveniently ignored the fact that his membership base is rapidly deteriorating and that his organization relies on the deep coffers of just two donors. And now apparently he thinks it’s perfectly normal to receive a degree from a non-existent university.”

In fact, public records indicate that the “university” was incorporated in California – not Tennessee - and has had its corporate status suspended. According to the California Secretary of State, some of the reasons an entity can have its status revoked include a failure to pay taxes or other fees, or a failure to file all required information with the state.

“This is just more bizarre, head-scratching behavior from NOM and Brian Brown,” added Sainz. “Congratulations to Mr. Brown on his well-deserved recognition from the non-existent American Urban University.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author: Boston Spirit Magazine’s daily blog brings you all of the information you need on New England’s LGBT community. In addition to highlighting local and national LGBT news, we will also highlight local leaders from the worlds of business, politics, fashion and entertainment and keep you up-to-date on all the latest events and parties, hot spots for travel, shopping, dining, and more!
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