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Posts for October, 2009

NOM and Catholic Diocese Provide Almost 2/3rds of “Yes on Q1″ Budget

Jim Burroway

October 14th, 2009

As we reported earlier, the October financial statements are in for the Maine campaigns for Question 1, and the “No” side to preserve marriage equality is doing quite well in fundraising. They’ve raised about $2.7 million as of the first of October. Meanwhile, the “yes” side who is trying to overturn Maine’s same-sex law had raised only $1.1 million. But because opinion polls show that Maine voters are evenly split on Question 1, Stand for Marriage Maine brags that “Mainers won’t be bought.”

But who’s trying to do the buying? The Associated Press buried that answer in the last two paragraphs of this article:

Most of the NO on 1 contributions ranged from $25 to $500. The group reported nearly $42,000 in in-kind contributions from Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

Stand for Marriage’s report listed numerous contributions in the $100 to $500 range. Among its biggest contributors were the National Organization for Marriage of Princeton, N.J., which accounted for about $425,000, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, which gave more than $270,000.

That makes $695,000 of Stand for Marriage Maine’s $1.1 million — almost two-thirds — coming from just two powerful groups: The National Organization for Marriage and the Diocese of Portland. You can bet that now that everyone knows that Stand for Marriage Maine is behind in the fundraising sweepstakes, more groups like Focus On the Family and others will throw their weight into the battle. That’s why your donations are more important now than ever. Please, donate today.

Financial Statements Filed for Maine’s Question 1

Jim Burroway

October 13th, 2009

Today was a filing deadline for Maine’s campaign financial statements. Protect Maine Equality has announced that they have collected $2.7 million to defeat Question 1. Thanks to everyone who donated.

Despite the special collections in Catholic parishes throughout the state, the “Yes” side represented by Stand for Marriage Maine has raised only $1.1 million. They’re not happy. You can count on the campaign getting uglier with more national anti-gay groups putting their muscle into their fundraising efforts.

These numbers are as of Oct 1, so they are already two weeks old.  And while there was a significant funding disparity, the p0lling data shows Maine voters to be evenly split. Question 1 can still very easily go against us. This is not time to be complacent.

Donate today, and don’t wait until tomorrow. Most campaigns lock in their final spending plans based on what they have by mid-October. As a practical matter, it becomes increasingly difficult to spend whatever money they collect after mid-October because of the lead time needed to develop new messages, shoot commercials, buy airtime, and purchase other campaign materials for the election. That’s why money today is more important to Protect Maine EQuality than money next week or two weeks from now. So please, donate today.

Catholic Group Demands Maine Ad’s Withdrawal

Jim Burroway

October 13th, 2009

Remember the ad featuring the Catholic Grandma advocating for marriage equalityon behalf of her son and grandson? Apparently Catholics aren’t allowed to express an opinion. CatholicVoteAction.org, a conservative group out of Chicago, is demanding that the ad be taken down, claiming that it distorts Catholic teaching. It doesn’t, of course. It represents one woman’s ability to integrate her faith with her family, which we all know is a very dangerous thing for people who fight against families like hers. To these people, standing up for your own grandson cannot be tolerated. After all, that would be anti-family.

New Protect Maine Equality Ad: Mom

Jim Burroway

October 12th, 2009

“I’ve been a Catholic all my life. My faith means a lot to me. Marriage, to me, is a great institution that works, and it’s what I want for my children, too.”

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What do you think? Will it sway any voters? If so, who? If no, why not?

Critiques (positive and negative) welcome, but complaints will get rasberried  –  unless you’re a donor or a  volunteer.

Either Donate for Maine or Stop Complaining

Jim Burroway

October 9th, 2009

Some commenters have taken my criticism of Protect Maine Equality’s marching to the opposition’s tune as justification for not donating to the cause. Let me disabuse you of that logic now. While there’s reason to be concerned about the No on 1 effort following along a similar path as California’s failed effort to defeat Prop 8, there are many things they’re doing right in Maine. For example, they are putting together a very impressive grassroots effort, which the California campaign lacked. And as many other commenters have noticed, LGBT Mainers have been very visible in the media and in the ads. Both of these are sharp departures from California’s No on 8 campaign.

Protect Maine Equality deserves our support. They are facing a formidable opposition. And as far as I’m concerned, unless you donate or volunteer, you don’t have room to complain about the results if Question 1 passes. It’s like not voting and complaining about who won. It’s that simple.

gallagherI donated. So should you. Either donate to support Protect Maine Equality’s effort to defeat those lying anti-gay activists behind Question 1, or donate to purchase your right to complain. Or, my favorite reason, donate to see what Maggie Gallagher looks like when she’s actually frowning. But whatever reason fills your sails, just donate.

Protect Maine Equality Won’t Score A Touchdown If They Keep Playing Defense

This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Jim Burroway

October 8th, 2009

Protect Maine Equality has just released another ad. It answers an ad put out by the yes side which criticizes the book, Who’s in a Family? and pushes the false idea that schools will be forced to teach about homosexuality to young children, and by implication, details about sex. Maine’s latest ad answers that charge:

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It’s a good ad, but I’ve got to be honest. I’m worried about the direction this campaign is going. No good general would ever dream of allowing his enemy to choose the terrain of battle, but that is exactly what the Protect Maine Equality is doing. Frank Schubert, the campaign manager behind Maine’s Yes on 1 is still calling the shots, and the “No” side is dancing to his tune.

Karen Ocamb’s brilliant post “Swiftboating Same-Sex Marriage In Maine” should be required reading for everyone who runs a campaign like this. She lays out exactly how Schubert orchestrated the passage of Prop 8 in California, and he’s playing from the very same playbook in Maine. And Protect Maine Equality is following right along.

Frank Schubert knows that the average voter doesn’t care that much about same-sex marriage. Any given voter may be for or against it, but it’s not necessarily high enough of a priority for them to be motivated to take time out of their busy day in unpredictable weather to vote in an off-year election. Maine voters must believe that they have a personal stake in the outcome, and Schubert is giving them that personal stake by picking on education. He doesn’t care if they’re for or against marriage; he’s making them vote on education. He’s changing the subject and putting Protect Maine Equality on the defensive. Our challenge is to give Maine voters a personal stake in seeing Question 1 fail. So far, I haven’t seen that argument being made.

But that’s pretty much how every campaign to date has gone. There has been one team playing offense and one defense. The problem with that is the only way the defensive team can win is that it has to hope the offense fumbles. Otherwise, it’s the offense driving to the goal line every time.

I can think of only one campaign in which the “No” side took the offense and stuck with it. That was in Arizona in 2006. And guess what? The marriage amendment failed that year, and that still remains only time such an effort to legislate inequality has ever been defeated. And it failed precisely because the average Arizona voter was given a personal stake in the outcome (i.e. unmarried straight senior citizens losing partnership benefits). And in 2008, Arizona again provided the perfect textbook case because that’s when the “Yes” side grabbed the offense early and never look back. And you know what happened then. Same with California and Florida.

I hope very soon we’ll see some ads which does two things. It has to not only change the topic of the campaign, but it also has to put the Yes side on the defensive for a change and give Maine voters a personal stake in the outcome. The last thing we need is another ad that says, “Nu-uh, we’re not that bad.” And unfortunately as much as we’d like to believe otherwise, just taking about equality won’t do it either. It’s taking the offense that wins games, battles, and elections. We need to suit up and get our offensive game on.

Maggie’s Money to be Investigated

Timothy Kincaid

October 1st, 2009

Fred Karger stands as an example of what you can do if you have determination, a moral cause, and the confidence to act on it.

It is Fred who has been leading the boycott against Doug Manchester’s Grand Hyatt in San Diego. Manchester undoubtedly regrets funding the signature collection process for Proposition 8 and he serves as a warning to those who may wish to contribute heavily against efforts to overturn the marriage ban.

Fred also was a significant player in the effort to identify the contributers to Proposition 8, a project that revealed the extent to which the Mormon Church organized, funded, staffed, and controlled the anti-gay marriage campaign. You can be sure that religious institution considers Karger as one of their least favorite people.

And now Fred is taking on Maggie Gallagher and her National Organization for Marriage.

Earlier this year Fred accused NOM of being a front group for the Mormon Church. He provided secret documents illustrating how the church set up other front groups in the past and drew comparisons to NOM. While NOM has denied such a connection, they have illegally refused to provide their tax filings and have retaliated by deposing Fred and demanding every document relating to his efforts.

But Fred is undaunted. He is challenging the way in which anti-gay activists are funding their efforts to block marriage equality in Maine. And, in a hearing today, it is working (Portland Press Herald)

The state ethics commission voted 3-2 today to order an investigation of the fundraising efforts by the National Organization of Marriage, a Washington, D.C.,-based organization that has given money to fight same-sex marriage in Maine.

Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate filed a complaint with the commission saying the group should be required to disclose the names of donors. In response, Brian Brown, executive director of NOM, said they have not raised money specifically for Maine and therefore are not required to report individual donors.

Fred provided solicitations from NOM that seem to clearly illustrate that Brown is lying.

Another New “No on 1″ Ad

Timothy Kincaid

September 25th, 2009

The No on 1 Campaign has another new ad out and rather than being in response to the anti-gay campaign, this one takes the issue on directly.

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“People have a right to live how they want to live”

Protect Maine Equality Responds Again: Outsiders Trying To Harm Our Kids

Jim Burroway

September 25th, 2009

It’s good to see a pro-equality campaign taking the offensive — and not taking lies lying down. Now go here and help them blanket the airwaves.

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No On 1′s Response: “Outsiders Are Trying to Harm Our Kids”

Jim Burroway

September 24th, 2009

This is how Mainers deal with outsiders who try to lie to them. Protect Maine Equality calls them out:

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How about showing those folks fighting for equality in Maine some love?

Maine’s Fear-Mongering Echo Chamber

Jim Burroway

September 23rd, 2009
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That “Maine Teacher” Is No Stranger To Anti-Gay Lies

Jim Burroway

September 23rd, 2009

Charla BansleyAs Jeremy Hooper pointed out yesterday, that teacher in Stand for Marriage Maine’s latest TV ad is no ordinary run-of-the-mill concerned teacher.  She’s actually Charla Bansley, state director for Concerned Women for America for Maine. In 2005, she was a signatory of a letter to the Southern Baptist Convention demanding that they act on a proposed “Resolution on Homosexuality In Public Schools.” That resolution calls on Southern Baptists to remove their children from public schools and send them either to conservative Christian schools or home-school their children. This resolution, of course, would have the effect of drumming up more business for her own school, Calvary Chapel Christian School, which is near Bangor, Maine.

A look at fellow signatories give you an idea of what kind of crowd Bansley runs in. They include such ardent anti-gay extremists as Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, Peter LaBarbera, Michael Heath (who resigned this weekas director of the Christian Civic League of Maine after 15 years at the helm), and Exodus International Board member Phil Burris. Many other signatories have also been heavily involved with their respective state’s bans on marriage quality, including Burris (Ohio), Gary Glenn (Michigan), Len Munsil (Arizona), John Stemberger (Florida) among many others.

Charla Bansley was also a guest speaker at last Sunday’s Stand for Marriage Maine closed-door rally at the Augusta Civic Center, where she described homosexuality as “a public display of psychosis.” In a partial transcript provided to BTB, she also repeated a popular distortion of scientific research by anti-gay activists when she told that crowd:

A study in the Netherlands found that the average duration of a homosexual marriage was just one and a half years certainly nothing to build a society upon. The same study found that committed homosexual couples were also intimate with an average of eight extra marital partners per year this is not anti-gay rhetoric this are statistics published in Journal of the International Aids Society.

 Three years ago we examined this “Netherlands Study” claim in our report, “What the ‘Dutch Study’ Really Says About Gay Couples,” and found anti-gay claims about it it to be a wholesale misrepresntation of what the study actually found. We also examined how that study has been distorted through the years by anti-gay extremists like Bansley. So her statement at the rally combined with their first television ad, which those associated with Stand for Marriage Maine have already admitted to be a lie and not to be taken seriously, tells us everything we need to know about Stand for Marriage Maine’s moral fiber and Bansley’s credibility. She calls herself a teacher. God help her students.

Update: Charla Bansley also spoke at a tea-party rally in Augusta on July 4, and repeated the same “Dutch Study” falsehood there.

Maine “Yes On 1″ Ad Recycles California Ads, Casts Activist As “Teacher”

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2009

We alerted you earlier today that the folks at Stand for Marriage Maine were about to reveal a new television ad, and that they promised to repeat talking points that they had already acknowledged as lies. Well, here it is:

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It’s an almost word-for-word copy of this 2008 commercial for California’s Prop 8. The only difference is a that Charla Bansley was cast in the role of “teacher, Ellsworth, Maine.” And who is Charla Bansley? She’s no ordinary run-of-the-mill school teacher. Sharp-eyed Jeremy Hooper has the scoop:

In truth, Ms. Bansley is the state director of the Concerned Women For America of Maine, and has appeared onstage at many Stand For Marriage Maine rallies. She has made her interest clear time and time again.

And while she is a teacher, she doesn’t teach at a public institution. She teaches at Calvary Chapel Christian School. A Christian school where she is already freely stifling pro-gay speech, at least according to one of her very own students.

Stand For Marriage Maine Announces Second TV Ad; Self-Confessed Lies Will Continue

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2009

Stand for Marriage Maine has issued a press release announcing a teleconference tomorrow to reveal their second television ad, which they’ve titled, “Everything To Do With Schools.”  Based on that title, it appears that the group supporting Maine’s Question 1 to rescind that state’s marriage equality law is hell-bent on pressing the line that they’ve already admitted was false. Here’s the description of their second ad from their press release:

Stand for Marriage Maine will launch its second statewide television ad on September 23, 2009, directly depicting the impact on children’s education should LD 1020 become law.

Maine Marriage Equality Opponents: Yeah, We’re Lying

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2009

Maine voters are being alerted to several blatant falsehoods put forward by supporters of Question 1, the ballot measure to rescind Maine’s recently enacted Marriage Equality bill. The Bangor Daily News editorial staff last week denounced those falsehoods:

Opponents of the law are bringing children into the fray, suggesting their innocence would be sullied if the repeal fails. It’s a ploy that has been used effectively before; any candidate for elected office who supports sex education is said to favor handing out condoms to kindergarten children. This time, the claim by repeal proponents is that schools would be forced to teach “gay sex education.” It is baseless and betrays an ignorance about education.

…So, the question that remains about the repeal proponents is: Are they knowingly misleading people by claiming schools will be forced to teach the details of gay sex, or are they genuinely ignorant that same-sex couples are among us, and that their children are in our schools?

The Daily News editors asked a very important question, which Portland television station WMTW answered yesterday: Marriage Maine is knowingly misleading Maine voters:

Part of the TV commercial includes a line, “Homosexual marriage taught in public schools whether parents like it. Vote yes on question one.”

…According to the Department of Education, no specific curriculum language exists or would exist that instructs schools to teach about marriage. There are guidelines for students to discuss their own health in context of family life, but nothing explicit. The exact lesson plans are created by an individual school system, some of which already talk about heterosexuality and homosexuality.

Those who made the commercial said the line in the advertisement is not meant to be taken literally. Instead, it’s meant to imply that, in their opinion, if schools currently teach about family life and marriage, discussions about same-sex marriage would likely be included.

…In terms of teaching about marriage in schools, if the issue of same-sex marriage is part of the lesson plan for sex education classes in older grades, parents can opt out of the classes now, according to Maine law — and that would not change. [Emphasis mine]

So get this: those who are act out of their narrow and literall interpretation of the Bible (well, sort of, anyway) don’t want anyone to take their statements literally. The Swiftboating has begun.

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