Gay marriage opponents whine about being out-politicked

Scott Fish at the "Stand for Marriage Maine" campaign, which is working to overturn same-sex marriage - and has gone so far as to claim they have the signatures needed to put it on the ballot, but without anything formal like submitting signatures to actual public or official scrutiny - today has admitted a new problem with the opposition: they're focusing on their message, while Stand for Marriage Maine are left to react to their opponents.

Rule 1 of politics: If you're responding to their message, they're winning.

Rule 2 of politics: Keep your whining to your damn self, especially if it's whining about how worried you are that the opposition might be winning. (Also, see Rule 1.)

Fish wants the media to hold the pro-marriage folk to the same "standard" they're accusing marriage opponents of violating. (Is this the same media that just repeats what anyone says as truth? Might be - in which case Fish is about to get his wish.)

By the way, Fish mentions a story in Bay Windows, which I've added as a link here and where he refers to it below. He has also referred to gay-marriage supporters' financial filings, which are here and below. He has omitted his own group's financial filings, which are here (PDF), and which are interepreted on DirigoBlue as showing that "0.1% of contributions to people's veto come from ... individual people."


UPDATE: It is true, as Deirdre pointed out to me, that the pro-marriage folk were first to whine about out-of-state dollars coming to their opponents. And the scale is worth noting - two out-of-state donations to the anti-marriage team exceed the total raised by the pro-marriage side from in-state and out-of-state donors combined. And I still recommend the anti-marriage crew refer again to the two rules of politics.

We dare say there are more than four individuals - and more than four Mainers - who have given money to keep marriage equality. For Fish to make any sense with this complaint, his group will have to do better than that.

With that, here's Fish's plea. You'll have to supply your own Kleenex.


Note to Maine's Political Reporters/Editors

From: Stand for Marriage Maine

Contact: Scott K Fish
Communications Director
207-846-9052 or 207-458-7185

Not telling the whole story seems a favorite tactic of those who neither want Mainers to fully understand the so-called "same-sex marriage" law (LD 1020) nor have a vote on the matter. In the last Legislative Session alone our opponents said no to several amendments to have this issue discussed and then decided by Maine voters on Election Day 2009.

This month we've seen three fundraising emails [See below] from our opponents based on the illusion they are getting no campaign help from outside sources. One fundraiser actually tied Stand for Marriage Maine to an out-of-state group with whom we have no affiliation. 

If support from out of state groups is a campaign issue, then our opponents should heed concerns about stones and glass houses.  In truth, out-of-state sources are funneling significant money and manpower to our opponents' campaign. Out-of-state special interests were working with our opponents before and during the last Legislative Session to manipulate public opinion, to lobby Maine legislators to enact LD 1020, and they’re working with them still.

So after you’ve read our opponents’ spin, here are some of the facts you need to know.  And it’s all right there in our opponents' July campaign finance report, and also covered in Bay Windows, New England's Largest GLBT Newspaper (7/23/09) [See attached.]:

Washington, D.C.'s Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which calls itself the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, cut our opponents a $25,000 check - the second largest donation on their campaign finance report. HRC also provides our opponents staffing, consulting, phone bank volunteers, and promises of $100,000 more.

Massachusetts based MassEquality, another LGBT group, is bringing to Maine, on behalf of our opponents, campaign volunteers to knock on Maine doors and ring Maine phones.

Finally, there is this admission by our opponents' campaign manager, Jesse Connolly: "We're talking to the national groups about strategy and help with financial commitments, and we're very pleased with our effort, so we're going to continue to have those conversations with them." It leaves one wondering if Connolly is in fact managing their campaign, or merely serving as a local front for the national campaign that has descended on Maine to throw traditional marriage out the window.

Stand for Marriage Maine has no qualm with our opponents using outside help. We just think they should be a little more honest with their own supporters.  They should stop the façade of asking Mainers for money by pretending they're not getting manpower and money from out-of-state groups.


* The three fundraising emails

Date: Thu, 02 Jul 2009 14:10:23 GMT
From: "Jesse Connolly, Maine Freedom to Marry"
Subject: Protect Marriage Equality In Maine


We have launched our campaign to protect marriage equality in Maine, and we're off to a great start already.

Our goal is to reach $55,087 online during the first two weeks of the campaign, and we are already at almost $20,000.

Right now, the opposition is working to collect 55,087 signatures to take away the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry and force the measure to the ballot in November. We are presenting a different option - the opportunity to pledge to protect marriage equality in Maine.

As you may know, we have the opportunity for Maine to be the first state in history to protect marriage equality at the ballot box. The opposition knows this too, and they are throwing everything they have into making sure that marriage equality in Maine is taken away.

With our opposition already receiving funding from national groups that want to turn back the clock in Maine, it is important that we kick this campaign off right. Our goal is to raise $55,087 online during the first two weeks of the campaign.

Your contribution of $25, $50, $100 or anything you can afford will help us reach the goal of $55,087.

Together, we can protect marriage for all Maine families.


Jesse Connolly
Campaign Manager
Maine Freedom to Marry


Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2009
From: "Betsy Smith, EqualityMaine"
Subject: To Secret


In a recent Portland Press Herald story, we learned that the offices of Stand for Marriage Maine are being hidden from the public. A*secret memo* that was sent around amongst the* anti-equality staff* said, "For security reasons, please do not give the physical location of the office to anyone. It's imperative that no one else know the location."

So I wondered, if the office location is secret then how did* large out of state anti-equality groups* know where to mail the*$242,000 they are funneling into Maine* to try to take away the rights of same-sex couples?

Here's where some of the anti-equality money came from:

National Organization for Marriage, Princeton, NJ - $160,000
Knights of Columbus, Washington, DC - $50,000
Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO - $31,000

*Instead of practicing backroom politics, we are a people-powered campaign*, where the majority of our donors have come from here in Maine. We are asking you to join in this effort and help us compete against the influence out-of-state anti-equality groups.

As I write this, we have 501 individuals who have already contributed to our campaign to keep Maine's marriage equality law on the books.* Can you pitch in $100, $50, or even just $35 so we can fight against backroom politics?*

With your support today, we can make it happen!

Betsy Smith
Executive Director


Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 12:08:57 GMT
From: "Jesse Connolly, Maine Freedom to Marry"
Subject: What we're up against - Watch the video


Last week, we learned that our opposition has funneled more than $240,000 into Maine from out-of-state anti-equality groups.
Now, we're learning that a Pennsylvania group has come to Maine to spread their anti-equality message in public.

Local NBC affiliate WCSH6 is reporting that a Pennsylvania organization called the "American Society for the Defense of Family, Tradition, and Property" is touring around the state trying to gain public support for taking away marriage equality.

So I'm wondering why the anti-equality groups in Maine have to rely out-of-state organizations not only to fund their efforts, but now to stand on street corners with signs?

The out-of-state anti-equality groups are descending upon Maine, just like they did upon California during Prop 8. But the people of Maine are heading in a different direction.

Can you spare $100, $50, or even just $35 to help us fight these out-of-state anti-equality groups?

Jesse Connolly
Protect Maine Equality


| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Strange Maine - winner, The Best Blog, Portland Phoenix, 2008
Black Bird Legal Collective - A Portland-based legal-activist group
DowneastBlog - You tell us what they think
Local Foodie - Portland-based local-foods blog
Media Nation - A media-watch column by journalism professor and Phoenix contributor Dan Kennedy
Organizing Notes - Comments from Maine peace-and-justice activist Bruce Gagnon
Portland Greens - Updates from Portland's Green Party
Portland on Wikipedia - See what the crowdsourcing crowd is saying
Where There's Wil, There's Always A Way - winner, The Best Blog, Portland Phoenix, 2007
Portland Museum of Art blog -
Have Faith In Worthless Knowledge - The SPACE Gallery blog
Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition - Activists for prisoners' rights
About Town Archives