Wedded to Victory
Campaigning for marriage.


Marriage won a 31st victory last week with Maine’s Question 1, a referendum to repeal the state’s same-sex-marriage legalization law. Brian S. Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, talked about the win with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.

How did gay marriage get repealed in Maine?

BRIAN BROWN: It got repealed because the people of Maine, and the people of the country, for that matter, fundamentally do not support same-sex marriage. We ran a strong campaign in Maine to show voters that redefining marriage has profound consequences for people of faith, families, spouses, and most especially children. Our message resonated with voters, and they had the courage to vote what was in their heart — that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.

LOPEZ: Why did voters vote the way they did? Out of conviction? Fear?

BROWN: Most people know in their own heart that marriage is between a man and a woman. Marriage has served Maine — and the nation — very well since our founding. In the privacy of the polling place, voters expressed their support for marriage being between a man and a woman. They did this in a state that is recognized as a fairly liberal, blue New England state. Marriage is not simply a “conservative” or “Republican” issue — it is a unifying issue across party, racial, and ideological lines.

LOPEZ: Did you expect the victory?

BROWN: We expected the race to be close, but our polling showed us taking a small lead in the days leading up to the election. We went into Election Day being cautiously optimistic.

Early returns had us down 48–52. But we were pretty confident already at that point that we had won. Those returns were from precincts that were our least favorable, in the cities. Sure enough, once more favorable districts started reporting, it was clear we had won. We actually called the race before anyone else on our Twitter feed at That was a pretty effective way to get the word out. I had people all night calling me from throughout the country, a few of whom seemed to think we had lost. I said, “Watch, we’re going to win this.”

LOPEZ: What is the significance of the relative closeness of the results? It wasn’t exactly a landslide.

BROWN: It was a very solid win — 53 percent of the vote. This was a bigger margin than in California against a much better funded (given the size of the state) and organized opponent. We ran the type of campaign in Maine that everyone said the “No on Prop 8” movement should have run in California.



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