The Corner

Frustration and Funding in Maine

Ben Smith accurately points out the “pre-criminations” coming out of Maine today, where gay bloggers are already blaming a possible re-establishment of traditional marriage on, well, take a look:

I have heard complaints from some friends and contacts within the gay community that national level gay rights organizations have not done nearly enough to lock Maine down.

David Mixner focuses on one national figure in particular:

President Obama and his team were zero help in this critical battle and in the last week might actually have hurt us. That is a fact.

Despite repeated pleas for assistance from this community from the start of the campaign, he chose to ignore every opportunity to grant us such relief. At the recent Human Rights Campaign dinner he never said the word “Maine” once. The most we were able to get out of the White House office of communications was that he was opposed to such efforts. Try weaving that into a powerful ad or robo-calling!

Emma Ruby-Sachs, meanwhile, pens an impassioned plea to Huffington Post readers that they should be giving more money to LGBT efforts.

With all the cards seemingly stacked against gay-marriage supporters, where do the numbers actually stand in Maine?

Surprise, surprise: having raised over $4 million dollars – almost twice as much as traditional-marriage supporters — proponents of gay marriage seem to be in pretty good shape:

Protect Maine Equality has used [their] funding to create a sophisticated grassroots campaign, with over 8,000 volunteers, five regional offices and several major phone banks. They have already made hundreds of thousands of phone calls, and expect to make 300,000 more in the final six days of the campaign — all in a state whose population, at 1.3 million, is roughly the same as that of San Diego.

So let’s review: Having outspent the opposition 2–1, and with impressive on-the-ground infrastructure, today’s contest over marriage remains within the margin of error, and even tilting towards traditional marriage.

And yet the failure of gay marriage in Maine is already being preemptively blamed on lack of resources, lack of national attention, and lack of White House advocacy?

Maybe the citizens of Maine just don’t want gay marriage. Consider this Maine voter, quoted by the Associated Press:

Jeannette Saucier, 71, of Topsham, telephoned potential voters in hopes of stopping same-sex marriage.

“It’s not that I feel bigoted to gay people. We have gay people in my own family, but I don’t see them having to be married to prove a point,” she said.

– Thomas Peters is the communications director for the American Principles Project, where he also blogs