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Signorile interview w/Courage Campaign’s Adam Bink: NC is winnable

Last week Michelangelo Signorile had the Courage Campaign’s Adam Bink on to discuss the dust up over Freedom To Marry’s decision not to include North Carolina in its Win More States Fund. The effort was a pointed move to help some states battling marriage equality and marriage discrimination measures in 2012 (Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Washington), and not others — Maryland, along with NC was left off of the list.

Freedom To Marry’s Evan Wolfson was on not long after I also appeared on Mike’s Sirius XM show to defend the organization’s strategy and said this:

“This was not about abandoning [Maryland and North Carolina].And it was not about saying what people were doing on the ground [in those states] was not important. We have never said they’re not winnable or the money is not well spent. What we are saying is here are five battleground opportunities where we are putting our fight. Others are taking the lead in other places. We alone can’t do everything.”

Well, that’s one kind of revealing answer — of course the organization made a decision to leave off NC and MD for SOME reason, it wasn’t random, so he really didn’t answer the question. I’m weary of the political pussyfooting around stuff like this; thank god I’m not part of the professional LGBT food chain; I’d suck at it. If you’re going to give an answer, don’t act as if the audience is stupid. “Five battleground opportunities” means the others are not, in your opinion (despite NC being visited frequently by the Obama campaign and the President, and the Democratic National Convention being held here). It’s a disingenuous non-answer IMHO, but so be it; the organization looked petty in the wake of the launch of the Win More States campaign as NC began a fight to bring in funds to go on the air to fight Amendment One, and so this was the expected damage control.

In the end, people are free to form their own opinion about Freedom To Marry’s priorities and where they would like to spend their donor dollars. After all — we alone can’t do everything either. But the great success of the online Money Bomb last week shows a lot of people out there also believe the battle in NC is winnable – and we thank you.

The totals are in… we raised $173,342 including the matching donation and donations through our website. Yesterday a young lady called in who said she was so inspired that she was going to donate $12,000 (included in the total).

We have a reason to believe that this is the highest one week total for online fundraising in NC political history.

The opposition have purchased around $400,000 in air time beginning on April 23 indicating that they expect to have $1,000,000 to air on television, when combined with their faith outreach program we estimate that we are $750,000-$1,000,000 away from the money that we need to win.

It is good to see others outside of NC who get it, and Adam Bink outlined why he believes Freedom To Marry’s view is short-sighted, and biased.

“I have all the respect in the world for Evan, but I think some of the focus may be misplaced. In North Carolina, you know, Election Day is about a month away. It’s [about] discrimination against not just marriage, but civil unions are banned. Domestic partnerships are banned, for same-sex couples and opposite sex couples. It really relegates same-sex couples, especially, to second class citizenship in the most hurtful way possible. In Maryland, we have a battleground shaping up for November. So it’s a question of priorities and where the focus is.”

Bink attributed decisions to leave out Maryland and North Carolina to “conventional wisdom in DC and New York,” based on a snapshot in time.

“You look at a poll and a day on a calendar, you look on a map and say, ‘Oh that it’s not winnable,’” he said. “I think it’s wrong. The polling in North Carolina shows that while a majority supports Amendment One, an overwhelming majority doesn’t support it when you tell them what it does.

But the bottom line is that no organization has to fund every fight; the sad fact is too many individual LGBTs do little to support their own equality movement – only 3% give:

Less than 3% of LGBT adults give to national LGBT organizations—a troubling figure given that individual donors are organizations’ largest sources of revenue, providing 35% of organizations’ funding. Adding to the concern, the 10 largest anti-gay organizations spent almost three times as much as all 40 participating LGBT advocacy organizations in 2010 ($330.4 million versus $126.8 million).

So it is meaningful when individuals step up to fund specific fights like Amendment One.

You can hear the entire interview at Mike’s column at Huff Post Gay Voices.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding