Welcome to Jesse, who is managing the No On 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign.-Adam
Thanks for the opportunity to post at OpenLeft and thanks to everyone who contributed to send Adam Bink to Maine to help us fight the right wing effort to repeal our state's new marriage equality law.
Adam made an important point in his post, An Interconnected Movement. It's easy to silo issues and to view the Maine campaign solely as an LGBT campaign. But, it's more than that. It is about generating momentum for the progressive movement.
I am managing the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign in Maine, but I don't come from the world of LGBT activism. I'm a straight ally who believes strongly in equality for all. This is the fourth time I've run a state-wide campaign, including Kerry-Edwards in 2004 and the re-election of our Governor in 2006. Those were both very important, but I think this campaign has the most potential for national significance.
Maine was the first state to have its same-sex marriage law pass the legislature and it was a huge moment when Governor John Baldacci signed the bill into law. In Maine, we have a process called the "people's veto," which allows citizens to challenge legislative enactments through referendum. The anti-gay forces, funded by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), Focus on the Family, the Catholic Diocese of Portland and the Knights of Columbus formed a campaign to overturn the new law at the ballot box this November 3rd.
Our opponents hired Schubert Flint Public Affairs, the same firm that ran the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign in California last fall. They are running the same campaign they ran in California -- literally. This week, the Yes on 1 campaign began running an ad that was virtually identical to an ad from the Prop. 8 campaign. You can see both ads here. The one difference is that the Mainer, Charla Bansley, in their ad is actually a well-known anti-gay activist who is the local leader of Concerned Women of America. This summer, she delivered her anti-gay message at a teabagging event, which showed one more time, as Adam noted, "The conservative movement is very interconnected."
The same cast of characters is running the same campaign in Maine that succeeded in California. But, we're not letting them get away with it this time. We've got an aggressive paid media campaign underway - and we're rebutting their message of lies with paid and earned media. One of our state's more conservative newspapers called one of their ads "baseless."
More importantly, we've been developing a very strong field component. As most politicos know, referendum campaigns, especially those in off-year elections, are won or lost in the field. And, the people working on our campaign know how to get-out-the-vote. In Maine, no one does it better than the folks who are working with us.
In Maine, the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign has to win - and we need help.
We have to win in Maine not only to secure full equality for Maine's same-sex couples, but to help shut down the conservative agenda.
In addition to sending Adam to Maine, you can donate to our campaign via OpenLeft's very own ActBlue page. Help us make sure we have the resources to keep our ads on the air. In a small state like Maine, every little bit helps. I call it a "cheap-date" state.
Also, you can join Adam in Maine through our Volunteer Vacation Program, which begins the first week of October. People from all over the country are coming to Maine to be full-time volunteers on the ground in targeted towns for one week. We'll provide the housing for anyone who can get to Maine. Our friends over at Travel For Change are helping arrange travel and are more than willing to help you sponsor another volunteer if you can't make it yourself, including taking your donated airline miles.
At the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign, we've been very appreciative of the support from progressives around the country. This is about marriage equality in Maine, but it's about much more, too.