Amendment One Opponents: Have Momentum, Need Money

Opponents of Amendment One, the constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in North Carolina, say their campaign is “winnable,” but they need people around the country to focus on the May 8 vote.



Kennedy said the campaign’s fund-raising had surpassed $1.5 million, more than half of that total raised in the last three weeks, although he declined to provide a more specific figure. He suggested that if previous campaigns in other states offered any indication, the campaign could raise hundreds of thousands more, but “the next week really is going to be critical” for money to arrive with enough time to spent strategically. Donors on both sides of the Proposition 8 battle spent $83 million in California, the most populous state with some of the country’s most expensive media markets, by comparison.

Griffin, the incoming president of the Human Rights Campaign, said that the presidential primary and Congressional contests had made it “really difficult to focus national donors outside the state” on the ballot measure, and the distraction extends to the national press corps. In addition to North Carolina, voters are being presented with ballot measures in Minnesota and Maine, and campaigns are likely in Maryland and Washington if opponents of new marriage equality laws can qualify their ballot initiatives as expected.

“I think it’s now time for all of us to take the next step and wake the country up,” said Griffin. “It’s time to sound the alarm bells around the country.”

Griffin praised the bipartisan coalition against Amendment One, which now includes David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, who testified in favor of Prop. 8 during the 2010 federal trial. Griffin is board president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which brought the case against Prop. 8, and he said the fact that he and Blankenhorn stand on the same side in North Carolina “says a lot.”

“I hope this will prove to be a model for many campaigns to come,” he said.

Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, also an AFER board member, agreed about the game-changing potential of the campaign, saying during the call that, “I actually think this is a winnable race. I do believe this will become the model of how we win.”

Black specifically challenged the thousands of donors and political insiders planning to attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, warning that “it will be their fault” if they fail to pay attention now and find themselves traveling to a state with a same-sex marriage ban in September. President Obama issued a statement against the amendment last month, as he did for Minnesota this month, but the coalition has also requested assistance in the form of robocalls from high-level party surrogates and a “sizable” financial contribution.

“Before they give another $100,000 for a VIP package, they need to contribute to this effort to defeat discrimination in North Carolina,” said Black.

His comments underscored the urgent message of the coalition. They believe that the campaign against Amendment One can be won, but more money is needed, in larger amounts and from a wider net of sources, as soon as possible.

“There’s a lot of gay and lesbian donors who are able to write six-figure checks,” said Black. “What I don’t think they know yet is what we’ve heard on this call, that this is winnable.”

Watch the new ads against Amendment One, now airing across North Carolina.