August 29, 2012
By Jacob Combs
The Seattle Times reported this week that Washington United for Marriage has reserved $5 million in television time after Labor Day in which it plans to run statewide ads leading up to a November ballot vote on marriage equality. ”We’ve always believed that we had to have a direct conversation with voters about the issue and this is the beginning of that dialogue,” Washington United’s Zach Silk said. “We’re excited to begin this next phase of the campaign.”
The funding numbers for the two sides in Washington couldn’t look starker: Washington United for Marriage has raised over $6 million, while Preserve Marriage Washington, which led the push to get the referendum on the ballot, has raised only around $471,000. Christopher Plante, Preserve Marriage’s deputy campaign manager (and a NOM employee donated to the Wahsington campaign), says that he expects the group to raise $4 million. ”We’re convinced that if we have enough money to get our message out, we will be victorious,” he said.
The first pro-marriage equality ad in Washington ran last month during the Olympics and was financed by the Seattle-based Pride Foundation. Former Republican Senator Cheryl Pflug, who voted for the marriage equality bill early this year, was featured in the ad.
A SurveyUSA poll released in late July showed 50 percent support for marriage equality, with opposition at 43 percent. Those numbers are positive, but close, and Washington United’s ad buy is no doubt part of a strategy to open a wider gap of support in the state before November.