In the first part of our three part series, talking about how we can win on marriage equality, we discussed the struggle Minnesota has ahead. We focused on areas they could focus in order to win. Today, we do the same in discussing Maryland.
This year, the Maryland state legislature legalized same-sex marriage, but no gay marriages have been granted thanks to a court ordered stay on the law, pending a vote this November. If they want to win, they need to learn from California’s prop. 8 mistakes, and work hard, with Obama for America, President Obama’s reelection organization.
Focus On the Black Vote
A couple months ago, President Obama endorsed marriage equality. He is the first sitting President, ever, to take such a bold political stand on an issue important to millions of Americans.
During the 2008 election, President Obama was asked what he thought about the proposed California law known as prop. 8. He drafted a letter in response, saying that he did not support it, but still (then) supported one man/one woman unions. He said it was unnecessary. Since then, he has evolved on his believes about gay marriage, that fact, though incredibly well known to the gays needs to be spread through things like mailers to black voters.
In Maryland, the President is still very popular. In 2011, Maryland was the third most supportive state of the President, and this will matter in Maryland for gay marriage. Post the 2008 election, some said that the black vote cost the gays the election. This could be true, as the black community is torn on the issue of marriage equality, but with the first black President endorsing gay marriage, now is the time to change hearts and minds. President Obama can do it.
Additionally, Maryland has a good size black population, some 13% are black. And in 2008, President Obama won 95% of the black vote. That means that if the folks working hard on passing gay marriage in Maryland want to ensure they win a good portion of the vote, focus on the blacks. There is gold to be struck with them on the issue of gay marriage, especially with the President’s endorsement. Make sure they vote, as the President will be, and make sure they vote for you.
If gay marriage is finally legalized in Maryland, it will be on the curtails of the President.
Use Your Money Wisely
A ton of money from right wing groups will be dumped into the anti-gay marriage political group opposing the law. Most of it will come from out of state donors. And most of those donors will be wealthy Republicans taking a moral stand.
But considering that the President is incredibly popular in this state, and the fact that he does have an established grassroots campaign, and is doing some marketing in the state, it would be smart for the yes side to team up with the President, to double their efforts. Because of this, and because of who their target is (the President will want to turn out the same black vote, who we want to get to vote for marriage equality), the actual yes for gay marriage side does not need to raise as much as the no side. Instead, they need to be incredibly smart with every dollar they spend. Figure out what works for your target audience, and use it, wise. They need to also set up some smart coordinated campaign events with the Obama team, and make sure they spend as little on the things that matter least (for instance, do postcards on doors matter to you target audience – don’t waste money on things like that if you don’t have to).
Get God On Your Side
One area that is often overlooked when it comes to same-sex marriage is the faith community. Well, with Maryland just a mile away, I can tell you, they love their God. We need these folks, at least some of them, to win. The smartest thing that could happen is to gather religious leaders to speak on the issue. Bring them together, have them talk about the importance of accepting everyone, talk about loving thy neighbor, and respect.
Then have them go back to their churches, and talk about it. Run commercials with these same religious leaders talking about how God loves the gays, because he does.