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Action: Help get out the vote against anti-gay Amendment 1 in North Carolina

Marriage equality

Get-out-the-vote tabling at Duke University

By Adam Bink

As you’ve noticed here at, we’ve been spending a lot of time lately writing about anti-gay Amendment 1 in North Carolina. There are reasons for that — one, because like Prop 8, it’s a constitutional amendment, only it goes further by banning all forms of partnership recognition including civil unions and domestic partnerships for people of any gender. Two, because there is so much interest in defeating it — evidenced by the hundreds of Courage and P8TT folks making phone calls against Amendment 1, the over 650 people who have donated on our ActBlue page to defeat Amendment 1 (a large percentage from this blog), and discussion in the comments. And last, because we have a real shot at an upset.

We’re going a step further today by launching the 2nd phase of our get-out-the-vote program in North Carolina for Election Day on May 8. Sign up here to head to North Carolina to get out the vote next weekend during the critical 72 hour period before the rest of North Carolina votes on May 8. We at Courage, in partnership with the Coalition to Protect All NC Families, will help take care of housing and travel arrangements, and travel reimbursement is available. Whether you’re coming from as far as Seattle or as close as Virginia, we can make it work.

Here’s why this is so important: as Scottie noted yesterday, early voting totals are ahead of where the Obama/Clinton primary totals were in 2008 (about 121,000 ballots have been cast in a week compared to 102,000 in the same period in 2008), and much of that is driven by opposition to Amendment 1. College campuses are turning out the vote — over half of registered students at Duke University have voted, and there is also a same-day registration program. But the majority of the rest of the state votes on Election Day, and the campaign needs people on the ground to put cards on voters’ doorknobs, drive people to the polls, and more. We wouldn’t be asking if we didn’t truly feel we could win this thing with all the momentum we’ve got. And none of us want to wake up the morning after Election Day if we lose narrowly and realize there is something more we could have done.

I’ll be in the Raleigh/Durham area along with Jacob Combs (Scottie will be holding down the fort here with all the latest), as well as other Courage staff, super volunteers and members. You can come next weekend or any other date that works for you, and there are four staging locations across the state, so you can pick what works for you. You can stay for the weekend, or all the way through Election Day. And again, we’ll help with supporter housing, travel and all the details to get out the vote.

So please, if you can come, sign up for more information, and a member of our staff will be in contact. If you have any other questions, you can drop me a line at adam at couragecampaign dot org. Help save families in North Carolina from this awful amendment, and leave it all on the field. And if you can’t, consider chipping in to help cover expenses for Courage members going to North Carolina to do this hard work. We really appreciate it.

Our e-mail that we just sent to members is below the fold.

Courage Campaign

Dear Adam:

On Tuesday, May 8, North Carolina will vote on anti-gay Amendment 1. The good news: Early voting is going on now and local news reports turnout is HIGHER than during the Obama/Clinton primary in 2008, and the “No” side is likely AHEAD among early voters! The bad news: our allies at the Campaign to Protect All NC Families just called to say they need more people on the ground to help get out the vote during the critical 72 hours before Election Day, when most of the state votes. We’ve come this far, and we need to ask one last thing to get us over the top.

Will you come to North Carolina to help get out the vote against Amendment 1 next weekend? Supporter housing and travel reimbursement is available, and we’ll take care of all the details. Sign up here for more information.

If you can’t, will you chip in to help get Courage members to North Carolina?

Adam, I wouldn’t ask unless we at Courage REALLY felt we can pull this out. We have incredible momentum because:

  • Yesterday, Talking Points Memo asked “Are Opponents to NC’s Marriage Amendment on the Verge of an Epic Comeback?” noting the latest polls showing Amendment 1 a near dead-heat.
  • Major figures from corporate America (the leaders of Bank of America and Duke Energy) to political leaders (Pres. Obama, Gov. Purdue, Sen. Hagan and Attorney General Cooper) to major medical groups (the NC Pediatric Society and NC Psychological Association) to even the legislative sponsor of Amendment 1 (in a change of heart) announced their opposition, all in the past few weeks.
  • Our third TV ad goes up statewide on Monday.
  • But none of that matters if we don’t get our supporters to the polls. That’s where we need YOU.

Sign up to come to North Carolina and get out the vote against Amendment 1! Myself and other Courage staff will be on the ground to meet up with you, and we’ll help you arrange travel and housing before your trip. The campaign has get-out-the-vote events planned all weekend.

If you can’t, please chip in to help fund our get-out-the-vote efforts.

When we lost Prop 8, many people in California and across the country woke up the next morning and realized, “I could have done more.” Don’t get that sinking feeling in your gut the day after Election Day. Help us knock on our supporters’ doors and make sure they get to the polls. We’re ahead in this contest — now we just need to haul over the finish line.

Hope to see you next weekend!

Adam Bink

Director of Online Programs, Courage Campaign


  • 1. Str8Grandmother  |  April 28, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I can't do this but I just sent an e-mail with this link to somebody who possibly can. Fingers crossed.

  • 2. Seth from Maryland  |  April 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

    African American Church Leaders speak out against Amendment One in a very nice newspaper ad

  • 3. Bob  |  April 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    thanks for sharing that Seth,,, excellent statement from African American Churches,,,,,,,,, hope that gets some air time!!!!!!!

  • 4. Bob  |  April 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    way to go Adam,,, and Courage Campaign,,,, get out the vote,,,,, really great effort,,,, watching from Canada

  • 5. Sarah  |  April 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    This is awesome to see here on P8TT, as my church in Raleigh is part of the Coalition to Protect All Families here in NC! Although I have not been able to participate, they have been phone-banking and some of our members may be hosting those who come our way to help GOTV. Thank you so much to all who have put in their support in any way!! I am cautiously hopeful that we will have a positive outcome.

  • 6. Adam Bink  |  April 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I spent about an hour with Courage members phone-banking people in Wilmington this afternoon, reminding them to vote and asking when. It was fun.

  • 7. Bob  |  April 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    awesome Sarah,,,, thank the members of your church,,, for all their efforts,,, hosting what an amazing way to express Christian values,,, opening your home to those travlers from GOTV,,,

  • 8. truthspew  |  April 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Damn it, I'm going to be in northeastern NC in late May. Wish I had the means right now though.

  • 9. Seth from Maryland  |  April 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    really great video against amendment by Sean Chaplin1

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  • 10. Seth from Maryland  |  April 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    ugh did not work,
    heres the link

  • 11. Gregory in SLC  |  April 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    tx Seth. enjoyed this video : )
    [youtube pzANkRmCQ_s& youtube]

  • 12. johan  |  April 28, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    "And none of us want to wake up the morning after Election Day if we lose narrowly and realize there is something more we could have done."

    Devil's advocate: and what if we wake up the morning after Election Day if we do not lose narrowly, but lose with 52% or more?

    I still think this is the most likely scenario. History shows that even if polls are close wrt anti gay marriage amendments, the eventual outcome usually isn't. The polls in NC are 'closing in' – in our favour – but they are nowhere near close, let alone 'within reach'. That's a real stretch of words.

    But even if we win, it will not matter much. Nothing will change, marriage equality will be far away in NC. And we will have won over an amendment with slogans that it just went too far, that straight people were hurt as well. Hardly any mention of gay couples. Nice signal, not! The message more or less will be: it might be good to go after the gays, but not if there is any collateral straight damage. So do better, and try again.

    But what if we loose? Than we lost EVEN THOUGH there was a lot of collateral damage to straights. Message: going after gays is still so successful that it doesn't even matter if there is collateral straight damage.

    In short: I don't think a win will be seen as a major achievement in favor of the march to marriage equality. Most people don't remember the Arizona win for that very same reason. And gay rights organisations don't like to bring it up, because a more selective anti gay amendment did pass later on.

    However, I think the symbolism and real effects will be that much greater if we win in Washington, Maryland, or Maine. Imo, winning only one of those states will be a real game changer, nationally speaking. But there is so much invested in this fight in NC already, by the Courage Campaign et al, and the fight has gotten quite a high profile, nationally, we now must go on and try our best. Even if (imo) a victory will be somewhat Pyrrhic.

  • 13. Reformed  |  April 29, 2012 at 1:28 am

    The fight may be won based on a narrow margin of voters concerned about collateral damage, but the victory will be a strong message that marriage equality is the future. This will be seen as a victory for marriage equality, not a victory for limiting collateral damage. The collateral damage is serious, but not the intent of the ammendment, so while limiting the collateral damage is a concern in favor of defeating the ammendment, it wont be the focus of the victory. The headline will be "anti-gay ammendment defeated in North Carolina" not, "domestic violence protections for unmarried woman and childrens health insurance preserved in North Carolina".

  • 14. johan  |  April 29, 2012 at 3:39 am

    (sorry, posted this at the wrong comment level the first time)

    We disagree on our expectations of what will happen, both on the result of the vote as on how a win for our side will be viewed. I explained my reasons for being skeptical. Let's just say that I hope to be proven wrong on both accounts.

  • 15. Scott Wooledge  |  April 29, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Wow that was kind of a lot of words to just make a defeatist point of "Why try? It's sounds like it will be hard work. I don't want to miss American Idol."

  • 16. Sheryl_Carver  |  April 29, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I don't know johan, but that's NOT how his post sounded to me at all. I took it to mean that even if we win, don't be fooled into thinking that NC as a whole has changed its mind about supporting marriage equality. Sort of like, just because someone takes you to the prom, doesn't mean they did it because they love or even like you. They may just want to piss off the person who just dumped them.

  • 17. Kate  |  April 29, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Yay, Shery! What a terrific analogy.

  • 18. johan  |  April 29, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Thanks Sheryl, if only I could be so to the point as you are. You boiled it down to the essence. It's good if we win, and that we have some big names as allies is bound to break some barriers. But the stronger the opposition to the amendment grows, the less it seems to be about (our) marriage rights. In a way, the fight isn't even about us anymore. That feels deflating.

  • 19. Sheryl_Carver  |  April 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I know what you mean, johan. Most of us would like people to do the "right" things for the "right" reasons. We'd like people to refrain from violence because it's the right thing to do, not just because they'll (hopefully) go to prison if they injure or kill someone.

    However, many years ago I began to realize that if something is important, sometimes the best you can do is to figure out what will motivate others to do it, regardless if they do it for the "right" reasons. Yes, some folks take this to mean the ends justify the means. That's not what I mean at all. More like the analogy about violence above – if it takes the threat of prison to make someone think twice about hurting me, that's OK with me.

    Same with defeating this amendment – it seems important NOT to have it become part of NC's Constitution. If it takes using the "it'll hurt straight folks, too" argument, well, that's what it takes. Unlike NOM et al, we aren't lying or using racism or other nasty tactics, we are just doing all we can ethically & morally to achieve an important goal.

    (Haven't had a lot of sleep lately, so hope this all makes some sort of sense.)

  • 20. Reformed  |  April 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    How does one who gay bashes in the morning, vote on an anti-gay ammendment in the afternoon? Presumably for it, unless their is colateral damage that hits home for them or someone they know. With prop 8 being passed by such a slim margin, if those motivated by pure animus could be identified and their votes invalidated, would the propisition still have passed? My point is that the anti equality side naturally co opts the animus side and the gay bashers. Fred Phelps could have cast the deciding vote and yes on 8 people would have celrated a great victory.

    Collateral damage is the result of poorly written and poorly considered legislation, this is good for the equality side as long as they work hard to defeat it. Especially in this example of ammend 1, where the opposition is all about collateral damage for everyone else (marriage equality is illegal no matter the outcome of the ammendment).

    I get the feeling that NC is overshaddowing Washington and Maryland, which Johan pointed out. Does anyone else feel this is happenung?

  • 21. johan  |  April 30, 2012 at 12:47 am

    You made perfect sense. The amendment has real and dire consequenses, and it should be kept out of the constitution no matter who it will hurt (straight or gay).

  • 22. MightyAcorn  |  April 30, 2012 at 9:28 am

    The fact is, you have to deal with people where they are, and American voters are disaffected and politically lazy. Keeping a ban on same-sex marriage out of the state constitution just isn't going to motivate voters who don't have LGBT rights on their radar. If generalizing the message to appeal to straight, cohabiting voters is what works, then you have to do it. We need to buy time to educate before the next election as we have in California (and polls show that seems to be working.) Oddly, a high-profile loss can help advance the cause, though the immediate result is disheartening.

    I worked briefly in fundraising for nonprofits, and one of the first things they teach you when approaching potential donors with big money is to find out *why* they want to give. Is it a memorial gift for a beloved (and is there guilt or grief involved?) is it a person with a passion for the particular cause because someone they know is suffering? Is it a social climber trying to build status (and does this person want to join the board so their name appears on the letterhead?) i think it's the same strategy here.

    Though we'd love it if everyone voted purely for LGBT protections, we have to be clever and play to whatever will get the largest portion of the electorate's collective butt into the polling booth to vote the way we want them to, and then do our best to spin whatever the results are into political and educational gold later.

  • 23. johan  |  April 29, 2012 at 3:38 am

    We disagree on our expectations of what will happen, both on the result of the vote as on how a win for our side will be viewed. I explained my reasons for being skeptical. Let's just say that I hope to be proven wrong on both accounts.

  • 24. grod  |  April 30, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Johan. Is seeking a ‘real game changer’ the Civil Marriage Equality 2012 goal? You seem to think so. Others have thought that incremental change in the court of public opinion is what counts. Successes of variety of fronts contribute. The 'real game changer' in civil marriage equality will be the decision(s of the US Supreme Court. In the meantime, the next success is built on prior successes – courts, legislative, executive etc. And lessons gained from non-successes. You do acknowledge that the NC fight ‘has gotten quite a high profile nationally’. ‘Pyrrhic’ to you in the context of NC may also pay dividends in influencing the outcome of Maine, Maryland and/or Washington. CC's increased pledge of $5000 to the cause of NC Amendment 1’s defeat must heightens your skepticism.

  • 25. johan  |  April 30, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Hi grod, I'm not arguing we should be seeking game changers, but I am tentatively arguing that it might be better to prevent damage to our chances for these already available game changers by not making NC a high stakes, high profile fight.

    Imo Washington, or Maryland will be enormous game changers, because a win in one of those states would be the very first time marriage equality will be upheld at the ballot box.

    A win in NC would not actually change anything marriage-wise, but I fear that even a tiny loss might hurt our chances later this year more, than a big win would boost them. I think that all our fights this year are part of the same election cycle and narrative. I fear that a negative narrative coming out of NC will be a drag for our side in Washington and Maryland. It all depends on the specific narrative, and I do not like the way the narrative is developing. It doesn't leave us much time for changing it in case of a painful loss in NC.

    Then again, maybe I am completely wrong, maybe we really have passed a tipping point, maybe a loss in NC doesn't really matter for or chances in Washington etc, maybe we win in NC which helps us enormously, and maybe the Washington referendum drive misses the target of 150,000 signatures. I do not know, I am just worried about what I see, from an uncomfortable distance ;). And I had similar worries about narrative and strategy in 2008 (California) and 2009 (Maine), which unfortunately proved to be correct.

  • 26. Rich  |  April 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    A poster named Alex has absolutely nailed a Randy on the NON website. I wish I could recreate his comments but my response (which will never be posted) is as the following: Alex, thank you. What you accomplished, in calling out…indeed naming Randy is what needs to be said about Resist SSA (oh, I forgot…now he has overcome SSA) and Barb Chamberlin. The hatred is palpable and the ignorance is worse. And yet, they will never understand that this is their legacy, their "Christian" identity. Thank God for reason in this world.

  • 27. Reformed  |  April 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Just read that. Very good. Nom endorses these people as evidenced by the way they ban anyone who can effectively challenge them. Alex won't last long.

    Says resist, your immorality resides in trying to call your relationship something it isn't. Yeah, that's it!
    Goes on to say, if you truly felt your relationships were moral, you would not trying so hard to get them recognized for something they are not. Yikes! Can someone diagram that logic for me?

    Randy is evidently elderly, and weeps over this. If there is one thing that I have no defense against, it is old people weeping. But he just has a flair for the dramatic. Considering that he "holds truths to be self evident" and all.

  • 28. KAK1958  |  May 4, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    You guys – you have to wake up and smell the coffee. Gay marriage is not going to succeed in NC. It's down 16 points today, a mere 4 days before the election. C'mon. This is a state where the pastors advocate beating the gay out of your child. What do you expect from such an electorate?

    I'm sure someone will challenge it in the courts, but other than that, I would suggest turning your attention to the saner states – Maryland, Washington and Maine. A win in one of those could help embolden efforts in other northern and western states. The south is a lost cause when it comes to progressive issues, so I wouldn't be too despondent when the NOM folks triumph. Got to wait for the old folks to die off. Then it will get better.

  • 29. BBB1973  |  May 5, 2012 at 12:49 am

    I agree, it would be like getting Utah to accept civil marriages or vote for O'bama.
    Ain't gonna happen. On the other hand, as long as we have nothing but money flowing in from everywhere, we can practice with our tactical strategies and see which ones work best for use in other states.

  • 30. Walter  |  May 5, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I agree. I think North Carolina is a lost cause. I tried to put up non-offensive comments on the two leading North Carolina newspaper sites which merely point out that all the leading medical/mental health organizations support marriage equality. The first time my comment stayed up some hours and seemed to be positively received by readers. After about five hours, it was removed and I was blocked from the site. I moved to the second newspaper and was blocked almost immediately. Both newspapers are owned by the McClatchy Company which owns the Sacramento Bee. I think the issue is economic for McClatchy. They received pressure from right-wing groups about my comments and cut me off to protect their circulation. I was able to make comments on a black newspaper site. However, they too removed my comment pointing out the science on the issue.

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