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Same-Sex Marriage Campaigns Heat Up
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October 11, 2012
The fight over Question Six, the same sex marriage referendum on Maryland’s November ballot, began heating up this week as both sides unleashed television ads. WYPR’s Joel McCord reports.
Joel McCord: Maryland Marriage Alliance, the organization campaigning against same sex marriage, released its first television ad this week.
MMA AD: Children do best when raised by their married mom and dad. Everyone is entitled to love and respect, but nobody is entitled to redefine marriage. Vote against Question 6.
McCord: Alliance Director Derek McCoy says the organization had recruited clergy to preach against the referendum on Sundays and set up phone banks previously. But the television ads are part of a carefully planned strategy to reach voters.
Derek McCoy: “We kind of saved the best for last, we know gambling’s been going on, flood gating the whole issue, so we said, hey, let’s just do a real targeted effect in October.”
McCord: The ads came out the same day Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo played host to a Monday Night Football party at a tavern in Federal Hill. Ayanbadejo, who is biracial and has made headlines for a number of years with statements in favor of gay rights, said he has a passion for the cause.
Brendan Ayanbadejo: “I’m a 70s baby, but had my parents met in the 60s, then I wouldn’t be here today. So that’s the interracial marriage issue. And the government doesn’t have any right to tell us who we can marry and who we love and things of that sort. So, same sex couples should be given the same rights as everybody else.”
McCord: A day later Maryland Marriage Equality, advocates for same sex marriage, launched its first commercial, featuring Rev. Donte Hickman, pastor of Southern Baptist Church in Baltimore.
Donte Hickman: “As a pastor my support for question six is rooted in my belief that the government should treat everyone equally. I wouldn’t want someone denying my rights based upon their religious views, so I shouldn’t deny others based upon mine.”
McCord: Same sex marriage came to the ballot in Maryland after opponents gathered more than 13,000 signatures on a petition to bring the law passed during this year’s General Assembly session, to referendum. Governor Martin O’Malley, who signed the bill into law in March, appeared with Ayanbadejo Monday at Mother’s Federal Hill Grille. He said the million dollars advocates already have spent may not be enough.
Martin O’Malley: “We’re probably about $2 million away from securing the ad time that I believe is necessary to properly defend this on the air waves.”
McCord: He estimated the cost at $5 million to $7 million. McCoy, of Maryland Marriage Alliance, said his group won’t come close to that.
McCoy: “We’re really just trying to get a minimum word out, making sure we can get stuff out and I’m sure they’ve been around the country, Hollywood and everywhere else, trying to get money. So, we fully anticipate their ads to come out and we anticipate they will have a significant budget to do it.”
McCord: They’ve released an ad taped by Ayanbadejo’s teammate, center Matt Birk, on social media. However, it’s difficult to be sure how much the ballot committees have spent thus far. Their finance reports are due Friday. I’m Joel McCord, reporting in Annapolis and Baltimore for 88.1, WYPR.
You can reach the WYPR Newsroom at email@example.com.
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