OK. My head is spinning. So much is happening in Maine, it's hard to keep up. So I'll keep my own words concise (hard for me, I know) and let the news read for itself.
On Wednesday, the pro-marriage equality NO on 1 campaign responded within 24 hours to the anti-LGBT Yes on 1's first ad with a counter ad of their own. Not to be outdone, the Yes on 1 issued a press release in response on Thursday.
In a misguided attempt to avoid discussion of legitimate issues raised by the proposed legalization of homosexual marriage, the No on Question 1 campaign has misfired, accusing legal scholars – including a prominent supporter of same-sex marriage – of engaging in “fear-mongering, lies and distortions.” The scholars are on record of pointing out the inherent legal conflicts between the rights of people who sincerely oppose homosexual marriage and the rights of same-sex ‘married’ couples if homosexual marriage is legalized.Unfortunately for the Yes on 1 campaign, the People of the American Way issued its report that same day, "Outside Religious Right Groups Targeting Marriage Equality in Maine With a Prop 8-Style Campaign Based on Lies and Big Money."
“Unfortunately for Jesse Connolly and the No on 1 campaign, the shot they thought was aimed at us instead has ricocheted and is now squarely lodged in their own foot,” said Marc Mutty, Chairman of Stand For Marriage Maine, the official Yes on Question 1 campaign. “One of the legal scholars they dismiss as ‘liars’ includes Professor Douglas Laycock, a prominent scholar who supports homosexual marriage. In their desperation to avoid the legitimate discussion of serious issues raised by the legalization of homosexual marriage, the No on 1 campaign has wounded itself and done a great disservice to the people of Maine.”
“The conflicts that LD 1020 creates for people of faith are real and serious concerns. Respected legal experts on both sides of the issue agree on this. It’s time for the No on 1 campaign to acknowledge these concerns and address them, rather than simply dismiss them with vitriolic campaign rhetoric. The legal scholars, including those who support same-sex marriage, are not part of our campaign. They have raised important issues that the people of Maine are entitled to know about. We intend to make sure that they do,” said Mutty.
Part of their press release on the report states:
People For the American Way issued a report today that documents how the Religious Right is targeting marriage equality in Maine with big money and false attacks, virtually identical to the fearmongering strategies in 2008's Proposition 8 campaign in California.In the press release, they state that national anti-gay leaders and veterans of last year's Prop 8 battle in California descended on Maine; that the right-wing is not interested in running a "fact-filled" and "honest, civil and respectful campaign," and are instead choosing the low road of fearmongering and false attacks; and the money has poured into the campaign against marriage equality in Maine, with more than 99 percent of the early money coming from four organizations, and less than 1 percent coming from Maine voters.
"The fight to protect marriage equality in Maine hasn't gotten the same national attention that Prop 8 did in California, but national Religious Right organizations are pouring resources into their anti-equality effort," said Peter Montgomery, Senior Fellow at People For the American Way. "The far right is determined to deny equality to same-sex couples in Maine, no matter what it takes. Fortunately, a smart Mainer-led campaign is mobilizing support for the state's marriage equality law and the families it will protect."
Here is the full four-page report:
PFAW Report on Religious Right Wing Campaign in Maine
To make matters worse for the Yes on 1 campaign, today actual Maine leaders, unlike the out-of-towners used by the opposition, have responded with their own full rebuttal to the campaign's attack ads. The nine page response details the fallacies claimed by the Yes on 1 campaign in their tv and radio ads and then proceeds to point out the lies.
Maine Legal Rebuttal to Yes on 1 Ads
Polls released today from Maine show marriage equality opponents with a two point lead, but this lead falls within the margin of error, thus indicating both campaigns are in a dead heat.
Markos from the Daily Kos, which issued the polls, reports:
The forces of bigotry have a 2-point lead, but it's within the margin of error. This thing is statistically tied. It's a toss-up. It's a battle between the side who can best bring out its supporters to the polls. And it's a battle to persuade that tiny percent of undecideds to vote for equality. In fact, millions will be spent by both sides to bring that 6 percent home. You can help the "no" side protect marriage equality by contributing here.Joe Sudbay of America Blog responded to Markos:
The demographics are a mixed bag -- men aren't with us, but women are. Democrats are obviously a strong demo for us, and with 9 percent of the undecided coming from their ranks, that's a positive sign. Independents lean our way, but it'd be nice to grow our margin there, since Republicans will be motivated to turn out, and they'll provide the bulk of the bigot vote.
Young people are strongly with us, older folk aren't. Who are the more dependable voters? We can't take anything for granted on that front. Getting out the youth vote will be imperative for the "No on 1" campaign.
We always knew going in that this was going to be a battle til the end and getting out our vote will be critical. In Maine, that will determine the winner. I've done Get-out-the vote in Maine many times. The people working on our side really know how to do it. And, I mean really know how to do it . . . we're going to make history there.Jesse Connolly, the NO on 1 campaign's manager also responded to the polls, saying "To take the lead, it's going to take money, volunteers, an effective media strategy, and an unparalleled get-out-the-vote operation."
ACTION: So what are you waiting for? Help win marriage equality!