Published on
Common Dreams

Marriage Equality 2012

Ballot Issues We're Watching

Common Dreams staff

Four states will be voting on marriage equality on November 6th. In Maine, Maryland and Washington state, it's an up-or-down vote on legalizing same-sex marriage. In Minnesota, there's a measure to place a ban on gay marriage in the state constitution, as 30 other states have done previously.

Dating back to 1998, 32 states have held votes on same-sex marriage, and all 32 have opposed it.

But times they-are-a-changing and 2012 may be the year that marriage equality starts winning.

Frank Schubert, the political director for the rightwing National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the campaign manager for the four state campaigns opposed to marriage equality, expressed his concern with how effective this year's marriage equality campaigns have been:  “I am worried."

* * *

Maine: Marriage Equality - Question 1

"Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?"




The Basics

Maine's ballot measure marks the first time that gay-rights supporters - rather than opponents - have chosen to put same-sex marriage before voters. A gay-marriage law passed by the Maine legislature in 2009 was reversed by voters that fall after opponents gathered enough signatures for a referendum; this year, gay-marriage supporters are on offense and they collected enough signatures to give voters a chance to reconsider.

Yes on 1

  • Mainers United is the campaign to win the freedom to marry for all loving, committed couples in Maine.
  • Supporters collected over 100,000 signatures to get the question on the ballot, well over the 57,277 required.
  • Supporters include: the Maine Education Association, the Maine ACLU, the Maine BAR Association, Maine Democratic Party, Maine Veterans for Peace
  • Mainers United for Marriage has raised over $3.7 million. The Freedom to Marry Maine group has pitched in more than $1 million and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders has raised $218,000.

No on 1

  • Protect Marriage Maine leads the No on 1 campaign.
  • Tony Perkins of the national Family Research Council has distributed a video aimed specifically at pastors, giving them a five-point action plan to implement in their church to defeat Question 1. The five steps are: Recruit a leader, hold a voter registration event by October 14, deliver a “Vote No on 1 Sunday” sermon, collect an offering for Protect Marriage Maine, and push to get congregants to the polls to vote No on November 6.
  • LGBT activists suspect that the National Organization for Marriage is pouring a lot more into the contest than they are indicating on state campaign reports.
  • The Protect Marriage Maine PAC has reported raising about $450,000. The National Organization for Marriage Maine PAC has reported raising about $260,000. One major partner Protect Marriage Maine does not have this time around is the Catholic Diocese of Portland, which sat on the executive committee of the repeal campaign in 2009 and contributed $500,000.

Public polling on Maine Question 1:

9/24-9/28 Pan Atlantic SMS Group 55% 39% 4.5%
9/17-9/18 Public Policy Polling 52% 44% 4%
9/15-9/17 Maine People's Resource Center 53% 43% 4%
6/13-6/14 MassINC Polling Group 55% 36% 9%
3/31-4/2 Maine People's Resource Center 58% 40% 2%
3/2-3/4 Public Policy Polling 47% 32% 31%

* * *

Maryland Question 6

"Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs."

  For the Referred Law
  Against the Referred Law


The Basics

The Civil Marriage Protection Act, approved by the Legislature in 2012, would allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, protect clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs, and affirm that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith, effective January 1, 2013. Opponents of same-sex marriage submitted signatures in support of the referendum in June and subsequently, the State Board of Elections announced that enough were validated. The referendum will ask voters in the state to vote "For" or "Against" the law.

Yes on 6

  • Marylanders for Marriage Equality is the campaign working to defend marriage equality at the ballot box this November.
  • Hedge-fund guru Paul Singer, who runs the New York City-based Elliott Management and is a frequent donor to Republican campaigns gave the campaign $250,000 in October, joining New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has also contributed a quarter-million dollars to the Maryland campaign.
  • Supporters include: NAACP, Maryland Green Party, NARAL, Maryland NOW, Maryland State Education Association, MoveOn, SEIU 1199
  • Marylanders for Marriage Equality has raised over $3 million.

No on 6

  • Maryland Marriage Alliance is the local front group for the National Organization for Marriage.
  • The Maryland Marriage Alliance held a rally in Baltimore on October 20 that featured many homophobic diatribes. Speakers went so far as to label gay men “predators” and “perverted spirits."
  • Opponents have raised less than $900,000.

Public polling on Maryland Question 6:

10/11-10/15 Washington Post 50% 44% 6%
9/25-9/27 Baltimore Sun 49% 39% 12%
5/14-5/21 Public Policy Polling 57% 37% 6%
3/5-3/7 Public Policy Polling 52% 44% 6%
1/23-1/26 Washington Post 50% 44% 6%
9/2011 Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies 48% 49% 3%

* * *

Minnesota Marriage Equality: No to the Constitutional Amendment

“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in Minnesota?”



The Basics

In May 2011, the Minnesota State Legislature voted to put a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballots in Minnesota to ban same-sex marriage in the state. Minnesota is the only state where voters will be asked to outlaw, not approve, gay marriage in 2012.

No on Constitutional Amendment

  • Minnesotans United for All Families is a broad coalition founded on "a strong belief in the power of marriage. We believe marriage and family are about love and commitment, working together, bettering the community, raising children, and growing old together."
  • Gay marriage supporters have organized more than 1,000 house parties and built a donor base of more than 40,000 names
  • Supporters include: AFL-CIO, Minnesota DFL Party, Wellstone Action, YWCA, Libertarian Party, SEIU
  • Minnesotans United for All Families has raised more than $1.4 million.

Yes on Constitutional Amendment

  • Minnesota for Marriage is the campaign group trying to pass the constitutional gay marriage ban.
  • The director of church outreach for Minnesota for Marriage said that supporters of gay marriage were using techniques similar to Adolf Hitler.
  • The Knights of Columbus, the nation's largest Catholic fraternal organization, has contributed more than $130,000 to Minnesota's effort.
  • The anti-equality campaign has raised over $1.2 million.

Public polling on the Minnesota Constitutional Amendment:

10/12-10/14 SurveyUSA 46% 47% 7%
10/5-10/8 Public Policy Polling 49% 46% 5%
9/10-9/11 Public Policy Polling 47% 48% 5%
7/17-7/19 SurveyUSA 37% 52% 6%
5/31-6/3 Public Policy Polling 49% 43% 8%
1/31-2/2 SurveyUSA 39% 47% 4%

* * *

Washington State Marriage Equality: Referendum 74

"The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.

This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony."

Should this bill be:



The Basics

In February, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a gay-marriage bill, which immediately became the topic of a Referendum 74. Opponents launched a petition drive to try to overturn the bill by a veto referendum.

Yes on Referendum 74

  • Washington United for Marriage
  • Bill and Melinda Gates have donated $500,000 in October after donating $100,000 earlier in the year.
  • Washington United for Marriage has raised about $11 million.

No on Referendum 74

  • Preserve Marriage Washington is the vote no campaign.
  • Seattle Catholic Archbishop J. Peter Sartain stated, “Our vote on Referendum 74 is about what we believe God has been doing from the creation of the world and how he invites us to be partners in continuing his work until the end of time."
  • Preserve Marriage Washington has raised over $2 million.

Public polling on Washington State Referendum 74:

10/12-10/14 SurveyUSA 54% 41% 5%
10/1-10/16 Univ of Washington 56% 36% 8%
9/28-9/30 SurveyUSA 55% 40% 6%
9/6-9/12 Elway Poll 51% 37% 12%
9/7-9/9 SurveyUSA/KING-TV 56% 38% 6%
7/16-7/17 Public Policy Polling 50% 43% 7%


# # #

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Share This Article

More in: