Randall Reynolds from West Hollywood talks to voters in North Carolina where they have early voting. Reynolds is among a number of Courage Campaign members who are volunteering with the Protect All North Carolina Families campaign (Photo courtesy the Courage Campaign)
This is crunch time in North Carolina in the battle over Tuesday's vote on the antigay Amendment One - an insidious initiative that would not only put a ban on same sex marriage in the state constitution but also outlaw recognition of any other unmarried relationship such as civil unions or domestic partnerships. A new poll by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) indicates that the measure will win: in a survey of likely voters, 55% said they intended to vote yes, while only 39% said they'd vote no. As pollster Celinda Lake predicted, the battle comes down to education. This is from PPP, via Talking Points Memo:
In some sense North Carolinians are voting against their own beliefs. 53% of voters in the state support either gay marriage or civil unions, yet a majority also support the amendment that would ban both. The reason for that disconnect is even with just 24 hours until election day only 46% of voters realize the proposal bans both gay marriage and civil unions. Those informed voters oppose the amendment by a 61-37 margin but there may not be enough time left to get the rest of the electorate up to speed.
But Jeremy Kennedy, campaign director from the Coalition to Protect All North Carolina Families, told reporters and bloggers Sunday night that there was also a good chance for an upset – especially if everyone continues to chip in (see how you can help below). Many thought that the "Personhood" ballot initiative (declaring that life begins at fertilization) would pass easily in Mississippi, Kennedy said, but was instead overwhelmingly defeated:
We believe that we have an opportunity for an upset along the lines of "personhood" in Mississippi. Going into election night, they believed that they were going to lose miserably. Based off of strategists we have spoken with, we now believe that we can achieve similar results. The turnout number is historic through early voting and we believe that this campaign is 50/50 going into Election Day.
The campaign released a final web-based video to illustrate how deep their support runs:
Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, is also counting on heavy voter turn out. On Monday, he sent an email to fans asking them to help pass Amendment One:
NOM has already donated over $425,000 to the amendment campaign, and our supporters have given another $125,000 directly to the campaign. But that amount pales in comparison to the millions the other side has poured into this effort. They know just how much is at stake--not just for North Carolina, but for the nation (and Supreme Court) that is watching.
In fact, Kennedy told reporters, the Protect All North Carolina Families campaign “raised more than $2.5 million over the course of this race, which many people doubted that we could ever achieve” – $910,000 of that was raised online from over 7,000 donors.
Courage Campaign's Adam Bink speaking; Christopher Norbury (Las Vegas) bottom right (with beard), Kerry Ferguson (Los Angeles) LA to his right in the Raleigh field office (Photo courtesy Courage Campaign)
The Courage Campaign‘s Adam Bink is on the ground in North Carolina, along with scores of other Courage volunteers, including from WeHo and Los Angeles. Bink was on the call with reporters, as well. "What I've seen on the ground here is remarkable,” Bink said. “I've been around a lot of these kinds of campaigns and rarely do I feel this level of palpable momentum. The energy here is fantastic."