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Daddy Dobson parachutes into Wisconsin amendment battle

Fair Wisconsin passed along the news that Dobson and his band of homohaters have dropped in to help with the push to pass a marriage amendment there. Because the state has a healthy chance of defeating it, it’s no surprise. The fundies want to ensure that all states that bring an amendment to a vote pass it, so everyone knew the big guns would show up in the home stretch. (The Capital Times):

Focus on the Family, the conservative Colorado Springs-based group led by James Dobson, filed papers with the state Elections Board last week to create a referendum committee. The group has spent more than $1 million passing anti-gay marriage legislation in other states and the stakes here are high: Wisconsin has been pegged by analysts as perhaps the first state that stands a chance of defeating a same-sex marriage ban.

Under Wisconsin law, there are no limits on how much groups seeking to influence the outcome of a referendum can spend. And, unlike other campaigns, referendum groups are allowed to accept unlimited amounts of cash from individuals and also from corporations.

…Mike Muscanero of Baraboo, listed as Focus on the Family’s committee treasurer, did not return phone calls left at his home and office this morning. A Focus on the Family official directed press calls to Julaine Appling, head of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin, which is associated with Focus on the Family and opposes same-sex marriage. But Appling did not return phone calls this morning either.

An August poll by WISC-TV of Madison and conducted by Research 2000 found that 48% percent of likely Wisconsin voters favor a state constitutional amendment, with 40% opposed (12 percent were not sure).

With those numbers, every dollar Daddy Dobson pours into the state to influence and miseducate voters must be countered.

Josh Freker, spokesman for Fair Wisconsin, the main referendum group fighting the ban, said Focus on the Family’s direct entry into the Wisconsin referendum battle is not entirely unexpected and will not change his group’s strategy at all.

He said his group has received some national support, but is relying more on grass-roots support and donations from individuals.

“On our side we have literally thousands of volunteers every week giving their time and money,” he said. “Apparently what our opposition has is James Dobson and his millions.”

The forces on the Right, including the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin and the Coalition for Traditional Marriage have sent out 5,000 “educational” DVDs to Badger State churches to promote the marriage amendment.

Last week anti-amendment forces received a boost when seventeen members of the Wisconsin Bar Association came forward to oppose the marriage amendment, outlining that the state constitution should not be amended, that it could have adverse consequences on the children of same-sex couples.

Fair Wisconsin’s tip jar is here.

* Wisconsin’s nail-biter marriage amendment battle
* Reading between the lines of upcoming state marriage amendments

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding