With less than one month until Election Day, the haters at Preserve Marriage Washington have released their first ad opposing marriage equality and Referendum 74. The 30-second spot, believed to be the first in a coming advertising blitz, recycles tired, discredited tropes about the dangers of "redefining marriage" and features outright lies, according to Washington United for Marriage campaign manager Zach Silk.
"They are busted," said Silk, who heads up the broad coalition fighting to maintain marriage equality in the northwestern state. "There is nothing new here, nothing that they haven't dredged up before, and nothing that's held up to the light of day. This is about one thing only — misleading and scaring voters. We believe people have wised up to these lies and understand that extending marriage to all loving couples is about fundamental fairness."
That's a claim the ad counters right off the bat, alleging that the freedom to marry is "not about equality," against an ominous backdrop of a rainbow flag. The ad then launches into an outright falsehood, claiming that "gays and lesbians already have the same legal rights as married couples," while the screen displays a list of rights and benefits that include "hospital visitation, adoption, health insurance, child custody, and inheritance."
While Washington's existing domestic-partnership law does provide many of the same legal rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples, courts around the country have found that domestic partnerships and civil unions are fundamentally unequal to marriage, according to Washington United for Marriage-sponsored MarriageFactCheck.com.
This ad comes on the heels of Rick Santorum's tour of anti-R74 gatherings, and a $400,000 contribution from the National Organization for Marriage to oppose marriage equality in Washington, according to Washington United for Marriage.
Silk says his organization is prepared to defend the bipartisan marriage equality law from partisan, unfounded attacks by out-of-state interests. In a press release today, Silk announced a quarter-million-dollar matching challenge from the Human Rights Campaign, which will double every donation made by next Wednesday to protect the marriage equality law signed into law in February by Gov. Christine Gregoire.
Watch the ad here.