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Announcement: Vote for Marriage Ballot


By Adam Bink

Hey P8TT, it’s been a long while. I haven’t found as much time to write in the past few weeks as I’ve been immersed more in organizing projects this year (Courage is co-sponsoring State Sen. Lieu’s bill to ban ex-gay “therapy” for minors in California, for example). We’ve had great success getting several bills through the California State Legislature on both LGBT and non-LGBT fronts in the past few months (specifically, Homeowner Bill of Rights, Election Day Registration, and a bill to translate signature-collecting petitions for ballot measures into all languages covered by the Voting Rights Act, with others still pending in session). But unfortunately it’s taken quite a bit of time away from here. I’ve had fun reading and commenting occasionally, though and hope to write more when the occasion strikes.

There is one project on which I did want to update everyone here. Earlier this week, Courage Campaign launched the Vote for Marriage Ballot. It’s a survey of where Courage should spend its greatest commitment on ballot measures concerning marriage equality this fall.

As many of you saw earlier this year with Amendment 1, and in 2009 with Question 1 in Maine, and in 2008 with Proposition 8, we and our members like to put our nose to the grindstone to win these votes. We go all in blogging, raising money, helping volunteers travel, getting out the vote, and more. However, that was the case with one measure at a time, and this year, there are four. Because we are member-driven and almost entirely member-funded, we continually poll our members on the direction we should take. And because we are an organization with limited resources, that means we need to know on which state we should place our biggest commitment — Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, or Washington.

Because everyone here is part of the Courage family and you all help drive a lot of our activism on these ballot measures, your input is needed. Please take a second to vote in the Vote for Marriage Ballot and tell us where we should place our biggest commitment. You can vote once per day through August 28th at 11:59 PM PST.

The campaign with the most support will receive a number of things including a commitment to raise at least $25,000, drive 50,000 voter contacts, and I’ll be loaned out to help the campaign win. Because we don’t believe in leaving any state behind, we’ll help every other state too, mobilizing in other ways. But we’re going all in for the campaign with the most support. We just are looking for your input on who that should be. Then we’ll go and help get it done.

Thanks for voting. Next week, we’ll have a survey up and running on how things are going generally here, and in late September, we’ll have some news about improvements to the site we’ve been working on over the past few weeks. Stay tuned!


  • 1. _BK_  |  August 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Always good to hear from you, Adam! Thanks for all your hard work.

  • 2. Ian  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I would reccomend Minnesota as it instill liberals with a sense of urgency and could get out the vote in a potential swing state for the Obama campaign (which, as we all know, is a vital ally to to the civil rights movement).

  • 3. Rich  |  August 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    As I'm from Maine and Maine looks good right now (Maryland and Washington, too), I'd support Minnesota. I do have to say I'm somewhat uncomfortable with turning this into a competition among friends, however. I just trust Adam, that you and others have thought this through.

  • 4. Sagesse  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm


  • 5. Seth from Maryland  |  August 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    im divvied between maryland and minnesota, on one hand Maryland poll numbers so show it passing ,however, freedom to marry chose not to help in maryland, while in minnesota they did however in minneosta its going harder fight so they are going much help as possible, so its tough for me ,but i think the Courage Campaign should back minnesota

  • 6. Mike in Baltimore  |  August 24, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    I agree with Seth. I'd love to see the money go to Maryland, but I think it will be needed more in Minnesota.

  • 7. Mike in Baltimore  |  August 25, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    And it appears that the 'New York Times' agrees with Seth and me. From the Times, by way of the NBCNews,com web site:

  • 8. Theo McKinney  |  August 25, 2012 at 4:16 am

    I would recommend stacking any lower Circuit that has a geographic majority of marriage equality states in it (I believe the 2nd circuit rules states that are all marriage equality states. Is one of these state in contention, in a circuit that has amore equality momentum than might be happening with the others? that could be clinched with the addition of a new marriage state.__If Washington joins CA after flop 8 disintegrates this fall/winter, that would only beef up the 9th circuits' list of equality states, letting the other 9th circuits states know that the precedent of Bans being prosecuted away, and voted away, lives here in the ninth circuit. all that Flop 8 precedent, free to be consulted to eviscerate any other "constitutional" marriage bans that might be lurking in the 9th circuit's dockets. Including DOMA.

  • 9. Mike in Baltimore  |  August 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

    "stacking any lower Circuit that has a geographic majority of marriage equality states in it"

    Maine is in the First. Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico.

    Maryland is in the Fourth. Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina.

    Minnesota is in the Eighth. Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska.

    Washington state is in the Ninth. Washington state, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, California, Hawai'i, Alaska, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Nevada, Airy-Zona.

    (Which state is in which Circuit courtesy of the web site 'United States Courts' courts locator page (

    I think the above should answer your question, "Is one of these state in contention, in a circuit that has amore [sic] equality momentum than might be happening with the others?"

  • 10. Theo McKinney  |  August 25, 2012 at 4:29 am

    Otherwise a win in Maryland, would prove NoM's attempt to drive a wedge between blacks and gays was truly as embarrassing a superdud as it seems to be turning out to be, ( to the point of prodding the NAACP to stick with their mission statement, seeking equality for ALL americans before the election…)

    a win in MD would be the biggest blow to NoM supporters…Or the reversal in Maine, at the same time they get a reversal in CA….? Proving their efforts will end up in vain, because they invariably will, even when if they've "won" at the ballot box one tiny little time, in each of 32 states…? (they never mention the other 28+ states that have no "constitutional" bans…wonder why…

  • 11. Theo McKinney  |  August 25, 2012 at 4:32 am

    Now, I don't know. The moment any of the four goes in favor of equality, the Antigay war cry of "we always win when it's put to a vote" is suddenly gutted. And think if they lose all 4!

    Then what? lol

    Poor antigays. Their trainweeck is coming; do they even see it coming…?

  • 12. Johan  |  August 26, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I don't think that will be seen as such. If only Minnesota goes our way, we will have staved off the worsening of an already existing ban, but the other three actually had marriage equality on the ballot.

    I do not know which state has the best chances of winning. But I think we need to focus on one of the three states where actual marriage equality will be a reality if we win. Minnesota is nice to win, but it won't do us much good if we loose most or all the others.

    Being on the other side of the Atlantic, I do not have a clear view on the circumstances, but here's my two cents anyway. I think Washington will be a real game changer, then Maryland, then Maine. In that order of magnitude. All for slightly different reasons. Washington for size and speed (it's the first time on the ballot, and only a few years after anything but marriage). Maryland coming in close second for being a fairly religious state and it will kill the "African Americans tilt the vote against marriage-equality"-meme. Maine is the smallest and it is a second chance state.

  • 13. Theo McKinney  |  August 25, 2012 at 4:41 am

    I'll bet SCOTUS does decline to hear anymore of the pummelled and dying Flop 8. It has not won a single case so far, and has been ruled illegal on every possible count known.

    A conservative court would call Flop 8 DOA…


  • 14. Sagesse  |  August 25, 2012 at 6:24 am

    I believe the choice should consider which states are already well funded and well supported, which states have the strongest chance of winning based on voter preference, and where the opposition is well funded/strongest/most active. I don't have a solid feel for what that analysis would show, and NOM has yet to really show their hand (or their wallet, assuming they still have one).

    My sense is that the money and effort would be best spent in Minnesota (where an unchecked ballot counts as a no), but am also worried about Maryland where the voter demographics are… unstable.

    All four states are deserving of support, but ballots are won on the margin. What is the best chance of turning a 'no' into a 'yes'? The best possibility of a tide still to be turned is Minnesota, followed by Maryland (because they may or may not get there on their own). The local business and national support in Washington has been exceptional, and hearts of the voters in Washington and Maine are in the right place.

    Just my read.

  • 15. Larry  |  August 25, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Personally, I'd argue against Minnesota, purely from a practical standpoint. In the other 3 states, a positive vote would enact marriage inequality, while in Minnesota a positive vote would just maintain the status quo of inequality.

  • 16. Sagesse  |  August 25, 2012 at 7:10 am

    True. But it sends a message as to what the voters are thinking. It could open the door to repeal of the legislative DOMA. If the amendment passes, that door is closed. And it puts an end to 'every time it's been put to a vote…'.

    It could be argued that winning Minnesota could be more powerful, as a symbol, than winning Washington or Maine or Maryland, where the voters would agree with their legislators.

    Just like NC, every time rights are put on a ballot, there is a debate that needs to be engaged and a fight that needs to be fought.

    Want all four, dang it.

  • 17. Mike in Baltimore  |  August 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    In Maryland (and I'm almost certain it is the same in Washington state and Maine), a 'positive vote' (aka a 'Yes' vote) is a vote FOR marriage equality, whereas a 'negative vote' (aka a 'No' vote) is a vote AGAINST marriage equality. In Minnesota, a 'Yes' vote means making a discriminatory constitutional amendment (banning marriage equality) part of the state constitution. Therefore, Minnesotans should vote 'No' on the question.

    Maybe you are honestly not sure of how the voters should cast their votes to express their support for marriage equality, but since I live in Maryland, and I know the history of the bill, the history of the campaigns for and against it, and support marriage equality, I know what a 'Yes' vote and a 'No' vote means for Prop 6 in the state of Maryland.

    Then again, you could just be posting mis-information to make people wonder how they should cast their vote in all four states.

  • 18. Seth from Maryland  |  August 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    HUGE Fundraiser for Maryland Marriage Equality Law Set for Sep 13th:
    Marylanders for Marriage Equality announced an almost impossibly star-studded fundraising banquet to be held on September 13th. The guest list: Susan Sarandon, Sean Avery, Barbara Bush, Josh Charles, Thom Browne, Andy Cohen, Tom Colicchio, Julianne Moore, Edward Norton, Hilary Rhoda, Russell Simmons, John Waters, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianna Margulies, Keith Lieberthall, Cornelia Guest, Kathleen Keener, Paul Boskind, Tonio Burgos, Brian Ellner, Ryan Greenwalt, Charles Myers, Ken Mehlman, Charles John O'Byrne, Larry Poston, David Rabin, Johnny Swet, and Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley
    The banquet's venue isn't in Maryland, probably because it's easier to move the banquet to its various VIPs than to move all the VIPs to Maryland. It's in SoHo, in Manhattan: the extraordinary James Hotel. Tix run from $250 a head to $25,000 for a top-shelf sponsorship package.

    Read more:

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