Friday, July 21, 2006

$$$ and the Marriage Ban

The two main groups on either side of the proposed marriage ban also filed their finance reports yesterday.

Here are the totals

Fair Wisconsin (anti-ban)
$1.3 million in 2006, $1.1 million in the bank

Vote Yes for Wisconsin (pro-ban)
$2,454 in 2006, $1,906 in the bank

Vote Yes for Wisconsin tried to spin the results by saying money won’t impact the results of the referendum, but the results of polling on the issue suggest otherwise.

I wrote the other day about how a recent Badger Poll paradoxically shows support for the ban and support for what the ban prohibits.

After taking a closer look, it becomes clear most respondents are likely casting their support for the ban based upon the first sentence alone, which is the one that states, “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.”

The second sentence, however, is much broader: “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.” This line would clearly prohibit civil unions in Wisconsin, yet a strong majority of respondents to the survey (60 percent) support civil unions.

The obvious solution to the disconnect is voter education.

And $1.1 million in the bank can go a long way toward showing Wisconsin voters that they support what this amendment bans.

UPDATE: I just did the math: Fair Wisconsin raised more money in 2006 than all four attorney general candidates combined ($1.3 million vs. $1.22 million). Now that's impressive.


Anonymous Todd said...

Did anyone else see this comment from the Yes on Marriage campaign:

"The pro-amendment Vote Yes for Marriage committee reported only $2,454 in donations and other contributions.

But that doesn't take into account the effort by another pro- amendment group, the Coalition for Traditional Marriage, which sent out thousands of DVDs critical of same-sex unions that were mailed out to churches around the state, said the Coalition's executive director, Julaine Appling. Those efforts were not reported 'because they were educational in nature' and aimed to inform voters about the issue but not expressly advocate a vote for the amendment, Appling said."

When does that campaign cross the line and start breaking the law? When does FRI or the so-called Coalition for Traditional Marriage start risking their nonprofit status? It seems we've heard an awful lot from the "yes" campaign, much more than they can account for with less than $2,500.

That, combined with Xoff's recent revelation that their new campaign manager is tied to corruption, is beginning to make their campaign smell more than a little rotten.

July 21, 2006  
Blogger Dave Diamond said...

Damn. I was expecting something in the $300-$400k range for our side, but over $1 million? That is really impressive—and hopeful.

July 21, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...


I actually didn't see that release from Vote Yes for Marriage -- thanks for pointing it out here. The videos are certainly questionable; after all, would they have sent them out to "educate" church-goers around the state if there wasn't a referendum on the subject this year?


I was impressed by the totals, too. It's interesting (although perhaps not too surprising) that one side of a single issue campaign has generated more in donations this year than all four AG candidates combined ($1.3 million vs. $1.2 million).

July 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But wait - gay marriage is just a waste of time and takes the legislature away from doing real work.

Why would such a waste of time spur so much energy from the opponents? Could it be that gay marriage actually is an issue that people are concerned about?

When do the "if you vote for this your a bigot" ads start?

July 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry - that should read "If you vote for this, you're a bigot." Poor grammar on my part...

July 21, 2006  
Anonymous Todd said...


As Seth noted previously on this blog, you can view the first "vote no" ad here.

Do you really think the message you suggest would be effective? If not, do you have reason to believe that Fair Wisconsin would use it regardless? Have you ever seen the "vote no" campaign refer to its opponents as "bigots"?

July 21, 2006  
Anonymous Todd said...

For more on how the Family Research Institute gets around the law, see this Capital Times article.

July 21, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...


In addition to the ad Todd points out, I also encourage you to read Fair Wisconsin's blog, which can be found here. They have been blogging since last October and not once do they call a proponent of this ban a "bigot" or anything even close to that.

Nice attempt to change the debate, though.

And, just for the record, the arguments that this amendment is a waste of time are based on the fact that Wisconsin already has a law barring same-sex marriage.

Now that the amendment is up for a vote, though, of course opponents are going to take the time and spend the money to mobilize against it. Fair Wisconsin wasn't around until it looked like this amendment was going to make it onto the ballot. On the other hand, the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin -- which is the front-group for the Vote Yes for Marriage campaign -- has been around since 1986.

July 21, 2006  

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