Maine Families Denied Protections in Marriage Vote

For Immediate Release

Contact: 
Brad Luna | Phone: 202/216.1514
Trevor Thomas | Phone: 202/216.1547

Maine Families Denied Protections in Marriage Vote

Voters in WA Likely to Approve Ref 71; NY-23 Rejects Extremism

WASHINGTON - Today
the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender civil rights organization, expressed profound sadness
and anger at the passage of Question 1 in Maine.  Question 1 was a
referendum vetoing the state’s law recognizing same-sex marriages. Also
in last night’s election results, voters in Washington are headed for
approval of Referendum 71, an initiative to approve the state’s
domestic partnership law.  And in New York’s 23rd Congressional
District, voters rejected the anti-gay extremist positions of
Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, instead electing Democrat
Bill Owens. 

 “Although
we lost our battle in Maine, we will not allow the lies and hate—the
foundation on which our opponents built their campaign—to break our
spirits. We are on the right side of history and we will continue this
fight,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “I am
angry. But more importantly, I am determined that with the anger I feel
today from this outcome in Maine, we’ll rise ever stronger to demand
equal treatment under the law and equal respect for our relationships
in Maine, California, New Jersey, and every state of the Union.”
 
Maine
was poised to become the fifth state in the United States to recognize
same-sex marriage in May 2009, after the measure was passed by the
state Senate and House of Representatives and signed into law by
Governor John Baldacci. The issue was placed on the statewide ballot
after opponents to marriage equality submitted sufficient signatures
for a people’s veto referendum.
 
"This
law did not threaten families; rather it was an historic step that
strengthened Maine families. For enacting this law, we owe a debt of
gratitude to Maine legislators and Governor Baldacci.  And for giving
their best to protect it at the ballot, we thank the incredibly
talented and dedicated staff and volunteers who brought life to the No
on 1 campaign.”
 
In the
state of Washington, a bill to expand domestic partner benefits was
passed in May 2009 and signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire. 
The measure was placed on the ballot after opponents collected enough
signatures to qualify for a referendum.  The law provides
state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners with the same
state-level benefits that married couples enjoy. Voters in Washington
appear to have approved the new law by passing the initiative.
 
“Although
we are bitterly disappointed at the loss in Maine, we are also able to
see what appears to be a silver lining in Washington where the people
of that state joined together and have likely voiced a ‘yes’ for
equality. Their votes will ensure that state-registered domestic
partners will be fully protected under the law,” said Solmonese. 
 
In New
York, Democrat Bill Owens was elected to represent the 23rd
Congressional District of that state.  The race took a dramatic turn
when the Republican candidate state assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, a
supporter of marriage equality endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign
PAC, withdrew from the race in the face of blistering attacks by
Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, his backers in the Club for
Growth and many within the conservative wing of the Republican Party. 
The National Organization for Marriage endorsed Hoffman and conducted
an independent expenditure campaign on his behalf: http://www.nationformarriage.org/site/c.omL2KeN0LzH/b.5556129/k.279A/NOM_Endorses_Doug_Hoffman_for_Congress.htm.
 
After
the withdrawal of Scozzafava, and her subsequent endorsement of Owens,
HRC worked to mobilize support for Owens through e-mail and phone calls
to its more than 1,000 members and supporters in the 23rd Congressional
District.
 
“The
voters in New York’s 23rd Congressional District stood up and rejected
bigotry,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.  “Voters
sent a clear signal of who they want to represent them and defeated the
extreme positions held by Doug Hoffman.  We salute tonight’s victory in
New York.”
 
The
Human Rights Campaign contributed significant resources to these three
campaigns, in addition to other targeted races across the country.
 
MAINE:  HRC played a key role in efforts to defeat Question 1:
 
·         Made more than $280,000 in monetary and in-kind contributions to the efforts to defeat Question 1.
 
o   $145,400
in monetary contributions to the No on 1 campaign, including nearly
$54,000 raised from hundreds of individual donors to the HRC Maine
Marriage PAC.
 
o   More
than $135,000 in in-kind contributions to the No on 1 campaign and
Equality Maine PAC, including staff time, consultants and phone banks.
 
·         Provided
senior-level campaign support by contributing the services of a
nationally-known communications consultant and a respected Maine
field-organizing and political strategist, as well as facilitating the
hiring of a campaign fundraiser.
 
·         Deployed
a regional field organizer to work full time with Equality Maine and
the No on 1 campaign from the earliest days of the legislative campaign
to pass marriage equality through the subsequent referendum efforts.
 
·         Sent 11 additional staff to Maine to assist with get-out-the-vote efforts through the final month of the campaign.
 
·         Coordinated
volunteer phone banks – for months – several evenings per week at HRC
headquarters to call Maine voters, generating more than 20,000
telephone calls and nearly 4,000 conversations.
 
·         Mobilized
more than 5,000 HRC members and supporters via special online action
alerts and telephone calls to get them involved in the referendum
efforts.
 
·         Increased the visibility of the referendum issue by making it the cover story in HRC’s hard-copy magazine Equality
– which is sent to hundreds of thousands of households nationwide – and
by providing timely news updates on HRC’s Back Story blog.
 
WASHINGTON:  HRC played an important role in the passage of Referendum 71:
 
·         Made
more than $90,000 in monetary and in-kind contributions to the efforts
to approve Referendum 71 and protect domestic partnership benefits.
 
o   $78,500
in monetary contributions to the Approve 71 campaign, including more
than $67,000 raised from hundreds of individual donors to the HRC
Approve 71 PAC;
 
o   More than $15,000 in in-kind contributions to the Approve 71 campaign.
 
·         Deployed
a field organizer to work full time with Washington Families Standing
Together Approve Referendum 71 from early September through Election
Day.
 
·         Coordinated
phone banks several evenings per week in Seattle, staffed by HRC
volunteers, to call Washington voters, generating thousands of
telephone calls and conversations.
 
·         Organized nearly 100 HRC local steering committee members and other HRC volunteers to assist with get-out-the-vote efforts.
 
·         Mobilized
more than 30,000 HRC members and supporters via special online action
alerts and telephone calls to get them involved in the referendum
efforts.
###

The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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