June 8, 2012
By Jacob Combs
November may be months away, but the campaign for marriage equality in states around the country is heating up, with votes in Washington, Maryland, Maine and Minnesota looking almost certain to occur. I wrote yesterday about updates in Washington state, where opponents have filed the necessary signatures required to put Referendum 74 on the ballot (final certification of those signatures is expected next week) and where polling has showed good news for marriage equality advocates.
In Maryland, according to the Washington Post, a ballot initiative on marriage looks virtually certain, with an unofficial tally at the Maryland State Board of Elections website showing a count of 70,039 valid signatures, more than the 55,636 opponents of marriage equality needed to collect. Polling in the state has shown a remarkable shift in public opinion on the issue in the state, especially among African-Americans, moving the state from one which marriage looked certain to lose to one in which the vote will likely be a close contest.
In Minnesota, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and his sons, Eric and Andrew, have committed themselves to fight against a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban marriage equality. Minnesotans United for All Families, a pro-marriage equality group, announced earlier this week that through June 12, the Dayton brothers would match all donations to the campaign up to $200,000. In an email to supporters, the brothers wrote: ”It’s simple: Committed, same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry. Together, we can contribute $400,000 toward Minnesotans United’s efforts to protect that freedom.” Gov. Dayton will be holding his own fundraiser for the marriage quality campaign on June 19. As in Maryland, polling in Minnesota has shown a remarkable shift in opinion against the amendment, and our side is helped by a quirk of Minnesota law that counts ballots with constitutional amendment decisions left blank as no votes.
And finally, in Maine, today is the last day to participate in another matched donation campaign for marriage equality sponsored by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and his partner Sean Eldridge.
There will no doubt be many moneybombs and donation drives for marriage equality in the next few months, some of which Prop8TrialTracker.com will participate directly in. In the meantime, though, these matched donations are excellent opportunities to give our side a leg up going into what will likely be a series of difficult battles across the country. Marriage equality advocates have a good chance of making 2012 the year in which we turn the tide, but it takes all of us, working together, to make that happen.