Freedom to Marry pours $3M into marriage fights
The group Freedom to Marry says a campaign to win a marriage equality victory in a state ballot referendum this November met its three million dollar fundraising goal in just five months.
Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson tells OutQ News that some people believed the Win More States campaign to raise three million dollars in new funding to fight for marriage equality this year was “strongly, maybe even hopelessly ambitious.” But he says his group took its case to the grassroots—and to wealthy donors like Republican philanthropist Paul Singer, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and medical products heir Jon Stryker.
Wolfson: “We were successful in underscoring the value of early investment, and getting the money into the hands of the campaigns, so that they in turn could lock in TV time, set up strategies, and gear up the conversations to persuade voters, and not wait until the last minute.”
The original plan was to spread the money among five states: Washington, Minnesota, and Maine—where marriage equality goes before voters in November; New Hampshire—where Republicans wanted to repeal same-sex marriage; and New Jersey—where LGBT advocates are pushing to upgrade civil unions to full marriage. The New Hampshire bill failed the same day the Win More States campaign was announced. And Wolfson says New Jersey, while important, is not on the same short timetable as the three ballot referendum states.
Marriage has also been on the ballot this year in two more states: Maryland and North Carolina. But Wolfson says Freedom to Marry wanted to use its resources strategically, to work where it “could make the biggest difference.” He says a victory in November would “take away our opponents’ last desperate talking-point” by proving marriage equality can win at the ballot box.