Fight? You Bet! (A Message From the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on November Ballot Initiatives)
Matt Foreman, Executive Director
the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
On November 2, voters in 11 states - or one out of every five voters nationwide - will be casting a ballot on a state constitutional amendment which seeks to forbid the recognition of same-sex marriages. In 8 of these states, the measures would also ban any form of partner recognition whatsoever. This is only round one of our new reality, where our lives and relationships are fodder in American politics. We will face more of these ugly, divisive assaults next year and the year after that.
We need to face the obvious: we are huge underdogs in every one of these battles. Not because marriage equality is simply a losing issue. It is not. Not because we don't have talented and courageous leaders and organizations on our side throughout this country. We do. Instead, it's because -- with only a handful of exceptions -- our side simply does not have the time, the resources, or the infrastructure to beat back the forces being unleashed against us in this election year.
What are the forces working so hard against our allies in these embattled states? Nothing less than the combined forces of the evangelical right, with their vast network of congregations and radio and television stations, and the might and money of the Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist churches, and a carefully orchestrated effort by the Republican machine to exploit 'gay marriage' in order to re-elect George Bush and his ilk, and literally hundreds of years anti-gay venom and hatred that's been inbred in our culture.
And what does our side have to stand up against these evil forces? Again, with only a handful of exceptions, our brave leaders and organizations are quite literally fighting unarmed. The statewide LGBT organizations in three-quarters of the states now under siege operate on less than $200,000 a year; none has an annual budget over $600,000. Is it realistic to expect these valiant souls to now suddenly be able to raise the millions it takes to wage a full-scale campaign? Of course it isn't.