NOM Loses Again In Maine

NOM has lost yet another court battle to cloak the names of their donors in Maine.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said Thursday his group is disappointed in the ruling, but feels its arguments will hold sway with an appeals court. NOM will pursue an expedited appeal to the U.S. First Circuit Court in Boston, he said, because of the short time before the upcoming election season. Though Thursday’s decision will delay NOM’s plans for political activity in Maine, Brown said, the group is reviewing the decision to gauge a potential timeline for action. NOM plans activity in Maine both on behalf of candidates that support “redefining marriage,” said Brown, and on candidates that support traditional marriage.

He declined to say whether NOM would be active in the state’s governor’s race, as well as the legislative races. Brown also expressed frustration at the legal hurdles spurred by what he called “frivolous” lawsuits filed by their political opponents, one of which, Californians Against Hate, asked the Maine ethics commission to investigate NOM. That group, one of the primary advocates for preserving California’s gay marriage law that was repealed by voters there in 2009, questioned whether NOM raised more than ,000 to directly repeal Maine’s same-sex marriage law.

It’s not a complete win for the good guys, however, as the judge also ruled some parts of Maine’s campaign finance disclosure laws to be “unconstitutionally vague” and struck down the requirement that donations over 0 be reported within 24 hours.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Judge Delivers Split Ruling in NOM Maine Donor Disclosure Case

Nom_maine A U.S. District Court has ruled in the Maine case seeking disclosure of the names of donors to the successful effort by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to repeal the state's marriage equality law:

"Saying a state law requiring that the names of donors be disclosed within a certain time frame is 'unconstitutionally vague,' U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby nevertheless said the request by the state Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices that the National Organization for Marriage disclose names of donors who gave money to defeat a gay marriage law in Maine is not a burden on NOM’s freedom of speech.

But Hornby took shots at some of Maine’s campaign finance disclosure rules. The judge said rules requiring 24-hour disclosure of independent expenditures over 0 — not just before an election, but whenever they occur — 'has not been justified … is impermissably burdensome and cannot be enforced.'"

It's unclear from the article what happens next. Will update this post with any additional information…


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

The parents were not all right: Why Prop 8 passed

Newly released study says ads claiming same-sex marriage would endanger children, run late in the campaign, swayed enough parents to pass California’s anti-gay marriage amendment

Lisa Keen  |  Keen News Service LisaKeen@aol.com

David Fleischer
BY THE NUMBERS | David Fleischer talks to volunteers about results of a poll of Boston voters on the issue of same-sex marriage in 2004. This week, Fleischer released a study he conducted on what swayed voters to pass Proposition 8 in California in 2008. (Stanley Hu/Associated Press)

Proposition 8 passed in November 2008 because parents with kids living at home were scared and the LGBT community did nothing to assuage that fear.

That’s the conclusion of an exhaustive, 448-page analysis of the vote on California’s Proposition 8, which passed by 52 percent-to-48 percent — or barely 600,000 votes — in an election in which 13.7 million votes were cast.

But 500,000 of those 600,000 votes were ready to side with the LGBT community against Proposition 8 up until the last six weeks of the campaign.

During those last six weeks, explained the report’s author, David Fleischer, the Yes on 8 campaign saturated the television airwaves with advertisements that borrowed from the 30-year-old Anita Bryant “Save the Children” campaign from 1977.

The advertisements — also used successfully in 2009 in Maine — told parents that the legalization of same-sex marriage would require public schools to teach children that same-sex marriage is a viable option for them. The No on 8 campaign failed to respond directly and quickly to that claim and, thus, lost the vote.

Fleischer’s analysis — “The Prop 8 Report: What Defeat in California Can Teach Us about Winning Future Ballot Measures on Same-sex Marriage,” — was released Aug. 3 and drives home the point that “anti-gay forces know how to exploit and stimulate anti-gay prejudice, and the LGBT community has difficulty facing and responding to the attack.”

“Recycling a lie as old as Anita Bryant’s ‘Save the Children’ campaign in 1977,” said Fleischer, “the anti-gay Yes on 8 campaign whipped up fears about kids to move voters to its side.”

Fleischer rejected analyses proffered by other political observers who suggested that African-American voters had been the deciding factor in the Proposition 8 vote. He also rejected a recent analysis by political scientist Patrick Egan, who said spending large amounts of money on ad campaigns has no impact because most voters’ minds on gay ballot measures are made up long before election day.

Instead, Fleischer lays the passage of Proposition 8 at the feet of “parents with children under 18 living at home,” saying that about 500,000 such voters switched from “no” to “yes” on 8 in the closing weeks. And he says the No on 8 ad campaign could have made a difference if it had responded quickly and directly to the fears parlayed by the Yes on 8 ads.

The most effective Yes on 8 ad, said Fleischer, was one showing a little girl coming home and telling her mother that she had just learned in school that a prince can marry a prince and that she could marry a princess.

The narrator then claimed that, “When Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, schools began teaching second-graders that boys can marry boys. … The courts ruled parents had no right to object.”

“The lesson of the ‘Yes on 8’ campaign,” said Fleischer, is that “when parents hear that their kids are in danger, even if it’s a lie, some of them believe it — particularly when the lie largely goes unanswered.”

“Those ads are fear-mongering directed at parents to make them think their children are in danger,” said Fleischer, during a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Aug. 3.

He noted that daily polling data showed that adults with no children at home did not show any change in their plans to vote against Proposition 8 once the so-called “Princes” ad started airing, but adults with children at home changed their plans — from voting against to voting for Proposition 8 — in dramatic numbers.

The “Princes” ad was on the air by Oct. 7, just a week after Yes on 8 had begun airing another TV ad in which San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was shown telling a crowd that gay marriage is “going to happen — whether you like it or not.”

Prior to those ads going up, said Fleischer, polling showed a virtual tie on the Proposition 8 question.

“Yes on 8’s fear-mongering about children was particularly effective because No on 8 waited 17 of the 30 days remaining until the election was over to directly respond,” said Fleischer.

“[W]hen an anti-LGBT campaign alleging indoctrination of kids unfolds on TV; and when that campaign is well-funded enough that the average voters see ads exploiting anti-gay prejudice five or more times each week for four to five weeks; then the ads generate, awaken, reawaken or reinforce a response among some voters that moves them to vote against the LGBT community,” wrote Fleischer in his report.

The report can be viewed in its entirety at Prop8Report.org.

Fleischer spent many years training openly gay candidates to run for elective office as a part of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and then the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He notes, in the report, that he has participated in more than 100 campaigns to “preempt, stop, delay, and overcome anti-LGBT ballot measures.”

His analysis examined more than 10,000 pages of data and related documents and included more than 40 hours of interviews with No on 8 officials. Fleischer also analyzed the use and penetration of every television ad aired by both the pro- and anti-gay campaigns in Proposition 8.

Fleischer says data shows that the initiative, approved by a margin of about 600,000 votes, secured 687,000 votes in the last six weeks of the campaign. More than 500,000 of these crucial last-minute shifters were parents with children under 18 living at home.

Parents, noted Fleischer, comprised about 30 percent of the 13.7 million voters in California in November 2008. While Yes on 8 initially had only a two-point lead over No on 8 in this 4 million-strong demographic group, it had a 24-point lead on election day.

“Overall, parents with kids under 18 at home began the campaign evenly divided on same-sex marriage,” said Fleischer, “but ended up against us by a lopsided margin.”

But they weren’t the only groups to shift away from a pro-gay position.

“Other groups that moved significantly in favor of the ban on same-sex marriage included white Democrats (by 24 points), voters in the greater Bay Area (31 points), voters age 30-39 (29 points), and Independent voters (26 points).”

Fleischer criticized the No on 8 campaign for delegating “too much of the thinking and therefore too much of the de facto decision-making” to consultants. And he said its message to voters was “vague, inconsistent, and too often de-gayed, reducing its power to persuade.”

No on 8 took too long to respond to the “Princes” ad, said Fleischer, because its decision-makers “did not choose to directly respond to the attack.”

There had been a change in leadership in the No on 8 campaign just a week before “Princes” began airing, and the new decisions-makers also hired a new media firm to create their ads. But their failure to act quickly and directly was hardly anything new.

“The LGBT community has historically avoided responding directly to the issue of kids,” said Fleischer, “in part out of the belief that no response will defuse the issue, and in part out of a wish not to have to face this unfair, untrue defamation.”

But that failure to respond, said Fleischer, amounts to a “decision not to defend LGBT people as trustworthy.”

Ballot measures over gay civil rights issues have been taking place throughout the United States since 1974, but pro-gay ballot campaigns didn’t even use the word “gay” until 2002 and didn’t use an openly gay spokesperson until 2004.

Although acknowledging that he had not studied Maine as thoroughly as California, Fleischer also criticized the No on 1 campaign there that fought an initiative to repeal the state’s marriage equality law.

He said the  No on 1 campaign also avoided responding directly to the “kids are in danger” ads and even avoided using the word “gay” in all but one of their own ads.

Rather than respond to the Yes on 1’s claim that marriage equality would put the kids of voters in danger, noted Fleischer, No on 1 talked about the need to protect gay kids and children with gay parents.

Post-election data from Maine’s campaign — which repealed its marriage equality law in 2009 — suggested the parents’ concerns there were not that kids would experiment with being gay. Instead, said Fleischer, parents were concerned their kids would accept gay couples and that other kids would be raised by gay parents.

Fleischer strongly recommended that the LGBT community not return to the ballot box “until we are prepared to vitiate this [child-related fear-mongering] attack.”

He also urges future campaigns to adopt a more modern approach to campaigning — one that calls for quick, direct and forceful responses to attacks.

Fleischer’s analysis was not entirely critical of the No on 8 campaign. He credited the campaign with enlisting a “record-breaking” number of volunteers and dollars, and making “a series of smart choices that maximized the number of dollars raised and volunteers involved.”

Kate Kendell, one of the best known No on 8 leaders, said of Fleischer’s report, “I think we need to learn all we can about how to win these campaigns and we need to digest all the info we get to do that.”

Meanwhile, Equality California, which was a key component of the No on 8 campaign in 2008, issued a press release July 20 indicating it plans to organize for a ballot measure to repeal Proposition 8 in 2012.

© 2010 Keen News Service

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Gallagher steps down from NOM

Maggie Gallagher
Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher, president and chief bigot of the National Organization for Marriage, announced her resignation. She has headed the hate group for three years.

The group is directly responsible for the misleading advertising and scare tactics that defeated same-sex marriage passed by the legislatures in Maine and California.

Her latest target is New Hampshire. Marriage equality became law this year after a battle with their Republican governor, John Lynch, last summer. The law passed after the governor insisted on “protections” for religions and the threat of passing despite a veto.

Now NOM has set their sites on the governor for not stopping equality altogether. The campaign against Lynch, who is up for reelection this year, is  based on the idea that Lynch lied on same -sex marriage.

—  David Taffet

What does marriage equality cost?

Finance reports were released. Supporters of same-sex marriage outspent anti-gay bigots in Maine, according to the Nashua Telegraph in neighboring New Hampshire.

The pro-marriage side wasted $5.8 million trying to achieve equality. The anti-marriage side spent only $3.8 million to preserve discrimination against gays and lesbians.

In New Hampshire, marriage equality, which was signed into law last summer, goes into effect on Jan. 1.

In Washington, D.C., marriage equality was voted into law by an 11-2 majority by the city council.

Note: No one reading this can accuse me of being the biased, liberal media.

—  David Taffet

NY Senate facing vote on gay marriage

New York Gov. David Paterson has called for a special session of the New York State Senate for a vote on a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in that state.

The bill passed the New York House earlier this summer.

According to NBCNewYork.com, Paterson believes he has enough votes in the Senate to pass the bill, but other sources said negotiations are likely to last late into the evening, and it still isn’t clear if marriage supporters have the 32 votes necessary to pass the legislation.

Democrats hold a “shaky 32-30″ majority in the Senate right now, and all 212 seats in the Legislature and the governor’s office up for re-election next year.

Coming a week after Maine voters exercised their “citizens veto” option to reject a same-sex marriage law there, the vote in New York could be either a fantastic boost to marriage rights supporters, or yet another crushing blow.

—  admin

Updates from Maine and Washington

According to the Washington Secretary of State Web site, the vote there on approving the “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law stands at 51.13 percent in favor, and 48.87 percent against. The Web site does not say what percentage of votes have been counted.

In Maine, according to the Bangor Daily News, the votes to repeal the same-sex marriage law stands at 52.34 percent in favor of repeal and 47.66 percent against repeal, with 78 percent of the precincts having reported. Note that the 78 percent figure reflects precincts reporting, not actual votes cast. Amond the 22 percent of precincts yet to be tallied are several large urban precincts with large numbers of votes, including several precincts in Portland and the surrounding suburbs.

—  admin

Marriage opponents ahead in Maine

In Maine, the effort to repeal that state’s same-sex marriage law is now ahead by 8,832 votes with 58 percent of the ballots counted, according to the Bangor Daily News.

—  admin

Maine, Houston update

Okay. At 9:23 p.m. our time, The Bangor Daily News site is not responding. Probably overloaded. But the Web site for WMTW Channel 8 (ABC) in Portland, Maine, says that with 24 percent of the vote counted, the vote on gay marriage is a dead heat at 50 percent each.

And Harris County’s elections site says that Annise Parker has 30.06 percent of the vote, with 39.24 percent of the vote counted. Gene Locke is next with 26.09 percent.

Results from Washington state where they are voting on possible repealing the state’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law will be posted at the state elections site at 10 p.m. our time.

—  admin

Too close to call in Maine

According to the Web site for the Bangor Daily News in Maine, as of 9:54 p.m. (EST), the effort to repeal the law giving legal recognition to same-sex marriage, passed earlier this year by the state Legislature but never put into effect due to the move to repeal it, was losing, but by a hair-thin margin.

The vote, at about 20 minutes ago, stood at 50.62 percent to 49.38 percent, with 22 percent of precints having been reported.

—  admin