September 21, 2012
By Jacob Combs
As Metro Weekly‘s Poliglot blog reports, two competing press conferences will take place today in Maryland at exactly the same time, with both supporters and opponents of marriage equality seeking to make their case to the public. From Poliglot:
The initial press conference, set for 11 a.m. Friday at the National Press Club in D.C. and featuring leading African-American pastors such as former presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton, has been called to show support for Maryland’s Question 6, a measure that would allow same-sex couples to obtain a marriage licenses in the state. The other event, also set for 11 a.m. Friday, but in Arlington, Va., will be announcing the “Swing State Tour” of African-American pastors – including Alveda King, niece of the late civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. – opposing President Obama and [the] Democratic Party’s support for marriage equality.
As I’ve noted before here on P8TT, African-Americans account for approximately one quarter of the voting electorate in Maryland’s elections, so as the African-American vote on Question 6 goes, so may the measure’s chances for success. ”This is the first time such prominent African-American clergy have come together in support of marriage equality,” Marylanders for Marriage Equality spokesman Kevin Nix said in a statement. “This shows the tide is turning in every community, and is another example of the momentum within the African-American community, both in Maryland and nationally, for marriage equality.
In Maine, two new polls released yesterday show a tightening race for Question 1, which would bring marriage equality back to the state. A PPP poll found 52 percent support and 44 percent opposition, while a poll conducted by the Maine People’s Resource Center found a 53 to 43 percent split. Both polls found four percent of respondents were undecided. In a statement, PPP’s president, Dean Debnam, said, “Our experience in polling gay marriage is that if people say they’re undecided, it usually means they’re opposed to it. Despite the 8-point lead for passage, this should be seen as a very close race.”
The numbers show a tightening race when compared with a Portland Press Herald poll from June that found 57 percent support and 35 percent opposition, with eight percent undecided. In addition, internal polling conducted by Protect Marriage Maine, who opposes marriage equality, showed a 48-44 split with eight percent undecided.
Not surprisingly, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is jumping into the fray in Maine, donating $250,000 yesterday to Protect Marriage Maine’s political action committee. Opponents of equal marriage rights in Maine are facing a significant funding gap: they’ve raised between $100,000 and $200,000, while equality advocates have said they expect to raise at least $5 million.