There’s been quite a bit of controversy this week after Freedom to Marry, the nation’s leading marriage equality organization, announced its “Win More States Fund” but excluded North Carolina (and Maryland), which faces an anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on May 8, 2012.
Durham, N.C.-native and blogger Pam Spaulding wrote about the Freedom to Marry decision, saying:
I’ll definitely remember this when I’m hit up for cash, promotion or Tweets by Freedom To Marry, an organization I supported because of its work fighting for marriage equality. Apparently the feeling is not mutual. Only certain battles are willing to be fought, and it’s willing to leave LGBTs here behind.
Bil Browning of Bilerico.com added:
Bluntly put, this is a big “Fuck you” out of the usually respectful Freedom to Marry gang that’s straight out of the HRC handbook. They don’t think they can win in those states, so they’re only attaching their names to the battles they think will win.
Marc Solomon, Freedom to Marry’s national campaign director, appeared this weekend at the third annual National LGBT Editor/Blogger Convening in Houston, Texas, and spoke briefly about North Carolina and their decision not to get involved. His answer was substantively no different than that given to Bilerico.com by Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson: The group is focusing their limited funds in states and in campaigns where they can win.
It’s a line that’s been repeated too often, and one that leaves North Carolinians like me and Pam Spaulding wondering, “Does Freedom to Marry believe that a loss in North Carolina is a foregone conclusion?” And, if that’s true, why haven’t they just said so directly?
I asked Solomon that question today, and followed up: Does Freedom to Marry believe losing in North Carolina is a foregone conclusion, and if that is the case why, considering that North Carolina has been far more progressive than any other southern state in its entire history?
I would never say that losing in North Carolina is a foregone conclusion. Never. And, I want us to win badly in North Carolina, so I would never ever say that. I’m just saying that as a capacity matter for Freedom to Marry, we feel like we need to really, really focus when we get in — if we’re really going to go in and invest in a state we’re going to be there. On the Maine campaign, for example, i’m talking to their campaign manager five time a day now, getting text mesages. We’re a relatively small organization we can’t take on everything. If we do, we will dilute ourselves too much and won’t be as effective an organization as we want to be. We want North Carolina to win badly. I would never rule out a win in North Carolina. Never. That doesn’t mean that it’s not okay for others to take the lead in other places.
Audio below, with follow-up question from Browning and answer from Solomon.
As the oldest brother to four siblings — three brothers and a little sister — I find this ad very touching. I paused several times as I read it.
It’s running today in the Union-Leader, New Hampshire’s widely read (and conservative) newspaper.
An Open Letter to the New Hampshire Legislature
As a former Marine, I take freedom and liberty very seriously. And as a conservative, I find the effort to take away marriage from loving gay and lesbian couples not only to be wrong, but completely off task.
This is not why we sent you to Concord. There’s a lot of work to do to fix our economy, create jobs and manage the state budget.
After completing my tour of duty in Iraq, I came home to New Hampshire to marry the woman of my dreams. Family means everything to us – as you can see from this picture of my brothers and me. I’m on the far left; the tall guy is my brother and best man, Calvin. He is gay. I hope he will one day ask me to be his best man when he decides to marry.
Limited government is not one that takes rights away from our family members, neighbors and co-workers. No real conservative believes government should be managing the personal lives of any decent law- abiding citizen of New Hampshire.
My brother is finally happy and comfortable with who he is. I am so proud of the man he has become, and no one has the right to take away his freedom to marry.
Freedom to Marry, a national advocacy and education organization on marriage equality issues, is saluting North Carolina’s Triad Equality Alliance for their media advocacy efforts. The organization has funded several LGBT awareness building billboards in Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
Freedom to Marry writes:
Freedom to Marry salutes the Triad Equality Alliance for their brilliant work in delivering effective messages to their North Carolina community that have put a face and personal spin on the marriage equality debate!
[Disclosure: I’ve appeared on two billboards for the organization.]