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Freedom to Marry leaves North Carolina out of its Win More States Fund

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.

Seeing the press release (below) in my inbox was not only disappointing but offensive, given NC is a battleground state, is hosting the DNC in Charlotte, and the President last Friday specifically came out against Amendment One. Freedom To Marry has chosen to omit North Carolinain its plea for cash to fight not only marriage equality fights, but to turn back a similar amendment that will be on the fall ballot in Minnesota. I’m glad Minnesotans fighting the good fight have been included, but for FTM to turn its back on North Carolinians is pitiful.

New York – Today Freedom to Marry announced the Win More States Fund to raise at least $3 million dollars, every penny of which will be spent directly on the work of winning in five 2012 marriage battleground states: Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Washington.

“Winning marriage at the ballot in even one state will take away the last desperate talking-point our opponents use to disparage the gains we are making across the country,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide. “In each of our battleground states, Freedom to Marry is taking a lead role alongside local families and leaders, adding talent and resources on the frontlines to do the critical work necessary to win.”

Donations to the Win More States Fund will be channeled strategically into targeted campaigns where and when most needed, supporting grassroots organizing, television and radio spots, new media programs, and more, aimed at winning in these five states. Yesterday saw the first victory in a Win More States Fund battleground when the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down legislation that would have repealed the state’s two year-old freedom to marry law. Freedom to Marry was the largest financial investor in the campaign with staff deeply involved, and will continue its work to preserve the freedom to marry in the Granite State.

“There are many challenges and opportunities tapping donors this election year, and by maximizing donations strategically through the Win More States Fund, contributors and state campaigns will get the added bang for the buck of Freedom to Marry’s team and the lessons learned from prior battles,” Wolfson added. “Our bipartisan victory in New Hampshire shows we know the winning recipe.”

Freedom to Marry has already raised $700,000 toward its initial $3 million goal – including a kick-off donation of $250,000 from Freedom to Marry supporters Sean Eldridge and Chris Hughes – and, in turn, has already invested $350,000 into ongoing campaigns to defend marriage in New Hampshire and win the freedom to marry in New Jersey. “With numerous marriage cases heading to the Supreme Court, there is nothing more important than growing momentum and winning the freedom to marry in more states. Freedom to Marry is leading the charge to win marriage in more states in 2012, which is why Chris and I are proud to contribute to the Win More States Fund,” said Sean Eldridge, president of Hudson River Ventures.

Richard Carlbom, Campaign Manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, the campaign to defeat an anti-gay amendment at the MN ballot in November said of the fund, “Freedom to Marry has been a key partner in paving the way for a victory in Minnesota at the ballot box in November. They’ve rolled up their sleeves, built bridges for our campaign, and are committed to fighting to win. I am thrilled that Freedom to Marry is adding this powerful way to encourage more donors to contribute more urgently needed resources into the work we’re doing together.”

In addition to these battleground efforts, Freedom to Marry has long invested in public education that creates the climate for changing hearts and minds, as well as the law. In 2011 Freedom to Marry launched its national persuasion campaign, Why Marriage Matters, raising and spending an initial one million dollars on message development and delivery, including the creation of television spots and videos and deployment of powerful messengers and personal stories. Freedom to Marry also seeks to triple that level of investment to continue making the case for why marriage matters across the country, growing the national majority for marriage that creates a climate for elected officials and judges to rise to fairness.

This North Carolinian gave to fight for equality in Maine and in California, for instance; because it benefits us all to show support for all states in the struggle for civil equality and social justice — and that includes fighting discriminatory measures that will hurt families and children. We may not agree with all tactics and strategies, but the money poured into other states through asks like this Win More States Fund is important because it matters – getting on the air is key to winning. It’s sad to see politics and pettiness enter the picture.

What I can say is the often-derided Human Rights Campaign, for instance, has been a key player by providing support and funds in NC to fight the amendment. That was a strategic decision it made to support the work needed to win votes here on May 8. I should also note that there are LGBT-owned and non-LGBT-owned businesses here in NC who are all-in because it’s the right thing to do for our state’s future.

At some point soon it will be necessary for me to blog about just who has given to help us win here — and notably who is absent from that list. Organizations and individuals who worked for equality in other states, but refuse to put any $kin in the game here.

Money bomb blogswarm next week

But right now, I’m moving on to the positive — the Blend is going to be part of a blogswarm next week to 1) raise awareness about the progress being made here in NC, 2) show why a campaign on the air to educate NC residents about the harms of A1 is key to getting our base of voters out to win, and 3) how you can help.


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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding