Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2010 PLAYBOOK: New York Activists Launched Campaign to DEFEAT Anti-Marriage Pols // Is It Time to Clean House in MD?

Two years ago, Maryland Juice flagged an interesting article in Campaign & Elections Magazine. The fascinating piece was a case study of direct mail and campaign tactics from the "Fight Back New York PAC" -- an effort to take down unhelpful legislators during campaign season:

It is time to dust off this case study and send it into the Free State consciousness. Are Maryland activists just as cowardly timid as Maryland's politicians? Hopefully, not anymore....
NY 2010 Campaign
Gays and Lesbians Fight Back - and Win

Since the 1950s, legislative strategists for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights have tried to squeeze their message into an “accomodationist” framework, suiting up in ties and pearls to tell the public, “We’re not scary or threatening. We’re just like you. So could you please give us our equal rights?” Over and over, this polite approach has failed to win us full equality under the law.

A group of gay and lesbian leaders in New York State realized that they had reached a strategic turning point after they suffered a shocking loss on a statewide marriage equality bill. Passing the bill was a leading LGBT legislative objective in New York, and activists had spent years building political relationships and poured millions of dollars into advocacy and lobbying. They were infuriated this past December when the state Senate voted the bill down, 38 to 24.

By early 2010, many donors and activists who had worked for the marriage equality bill decided to stop asking politely for equal treatment under the law. Emboldened both by their anger over the Senate vote and by new evidence that New Yorkers overwhelmingly supported full and equal rights for everyone, they drew support from Tim Gill of the national gay rights powerhouse Gill Action Fund and allies to pursue a more aggressive strategy. The result: Fight Back New York PAC was established to undertake an innovative—albeit risky and not so polite—new mission: reshape the state’s marriage equality battle by defeating Senators on Election Day who voted against the 2009 marriage bill.

P.S. Interestingly, the media has not covered this aspect of the New York campaign when talking about Governor Cuomo's success in pushing marriage equality last year.

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