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Promoters of
same-sex marriage ban try to "scare" voters

Promoters of
same-sex marriage ban try to "scare" voters


Promoters of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that will appear on Tennessee's November 7 ballot are trying to "scare" voters into giving them money, says an opponent of the measure.

Promoters of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that will appear on Tennessee's November 7 ballot are trying to scare voters into giving them money, an opponent of the measure said. A fund-raising letter sent by Republican state senator David Fowler of Signal Mountain, as director of Family Action of Tennessee, predicts that "pro-homosexual individuals and organizations" opposing the state constitutional amendment will spend between $4 million and $6 million to defeat it.

Randy Tarkington, manager of a group campaigning to defeat the proposed amendment, said Fowler's prediction is "ridiculous." The amendment would restrict marriage to unions between a man and a woman. "It's so typical of their tactics," said Tarkington, manager of Vote No on One. "Basically, they're saying, 'Let's scare people so they'll give us money.'"

Fowler wrote the fund-raising letter for, a campaign initiative of Family Action of Tennessee. The letter seeks donations "to battle homosexual activist groups from Hollywood, New York, and Washington, D.C., who have chosen Tennessee as their Southern battleground." The "radical homosexual activists" have chosen Tennessee as a key battleground in an effort to have marriage legally recognized for gays and lesbians, Fowler wrote.

Fowler's letter also cites Tennessee's law on constitutional amendments, requiring approval by a margin of at least more than half the total votes cast for governor. Because the amendment requires votes exceeding 50% of those cast in the governor's race, Fowler said voters who skip the amendment are voting no.

"What we're doing is making sure that we meet the burden that's upon us to get a certain minimum number of votes and making sure we don't get caught unprepared by someone with a lot of money," Fowler said.

Records at the state Registry of Election Finance shows that Fairness Committee, a campaign organization created by Vote No on One late last year, has spent about $25,000. Most of the money has been spent on printed materials and newspaper ads. The group had a cash balance of $9,480 on July 1, based on the quarterly report.

Tarkington said he did not know the amount raised since July 1, but "if we've raised $50,000 to date, that would probably be good.... If Mr. Fowler would tell me who is going to give us $4 million to $6 million, I'd really appreciate it. I'd like to get in touch with them."

Fowler said his $4 million to $6 million estimate is based on "a number that we heard from some individuals within the community supporting homosexual marriage."

Tennessee is among seven states voting on bans on same-sex marriage this year. The others are Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin. (AP)

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