The Advocate on the campaign to save marriage equality in Maine

As the gay leaders in California continue the drama and debate among themselves how to proceed on the repeal of Prop. 8 (which wouldn’t be an issue now if many of those gay leaders had run a sophisticated campaign instead of whatever it is they did), there is an actual campaign underway to save marriage in Maine. Anyone who reads knows that, but unfortunately, not everyone does. But, that’s starting to change. Last night, Kerry Eleveld from the Advocate posted one of the first national articles on the Maine campaign. She talked to the leaders of the campaign, including the campaign manager, Jesse Connolly. And, she provided the financial situation:

Opponents of Maine’s same-sex marriage law have the upper hand financially thus far, raising more than $343,000 compared to No on 1’s $143,000, according to mid-July filings with the State Ethics Commission.

Four groups account for $341,000 of the $343,000 anti–gay marriage funds: the New Jersey–based National Organization for Marriage contributed $160,000; the Roman Catholic diocese of Portland anted up $100,000; the Knights of Columbus chipped in $50,000, and Focus on the Family Maine added $31,000. But the Stand for Marriage PAC has also spent a little over $293,000 to date, much of it on professional signature-gathering companies.

Marriage equality proponents had a total of 501 donors, according to a campaign spokesman, with the largest donation of $50,000 coming from Maine resident Diane Sammer, $25,000 from the Human Rights Campaign, $10,000 from the American Civil Liberties Union, and $10,000 from another state resident Jane Begert. An HRC spokesperson said the organization plans to chip in an additional $100,000 over the next couple months.

No on 1 finance director Andy Szekeres, who served as chief fund-raiser for Colorado representative Jared Polis, says people are a little fatigued coming on the heels of the Prop. 8 campaign.

“But all roads for marriage are running through Maine right now,” he says. “If we want to make a statement to advance the gay rights movement forward across the country, Maine is a good place to start.”

Andy Szekeres is right. All roads run through Maine right now. And, we can’t lose this one. There is an excellent team in place to manage the operation. They just need the resources now.

Contribute to No on 1/Protect Maine Equality via our ActBlue page. It’s easy. It’s safe and all the money goes to the campaign. ActBlue make it easy. And, Maine is a cheap state. A little goes a long, long way.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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