Monday, July 2, 2012

Marriage Equality Battle: Fox News Baltimore's Anti-LGBT Robocall, Del. Parrott's $74K Bill for Marriage Repeal & More

A few interesting reports surrounding Maryland marriage equality have recently emerged. Below, Maryland Juice discusses a few of the notable developments, including fundraising updates and more details on Fox News Baltimore's campaign against LGBT rights. We begin with a video from members of SEIU's 1199 pledging to defend marriage equality:


UPDATE #2: DETAILS ON FOX NEWS BALTIMORE'S ANTI-LGBT ROBOCALL - Several weeks ago, Maryland Juice wrote about a push-poll that Fox News Baltimore was conducting against Governor O'Malley and marriage equality. WBFF Fox 45 attempted to disguise their hit-piece as an opinion poll, but the call was obviously intending to promote a rightwing agenda. This is consistent with Fox News Baltimore's previous controversy where they placed a petition link on their homepage encouraging readers to help repeal marriage equality.

The Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik recently managed to dig up additional details about the source of their recent robocall, and it appears to be part of a national campaign against marriage equality (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: In May, I reported on Baltimore-area homes receiving mysterious robocalls voiced by WBFF anchorman Jeff Barnd asking residents a series of questions about Lyme disease, same-sex marriage and the alleged agenda of Gov. Martin O'Malley....

I have since been able to confirm that the name of the company is ccAdvertising, of Centreville, Va. And from its website, the firm appears to be heavily engaged in right-wing politics, including push polling in at least one state against same-sex ballot initiatives like the one Maryland is expected to have in the fall.

The firm's website lists among its clients Grover Norquist's American's for Tax Reform, the Alaska Republican Party and Answers in Genesis....

UPDATE #3: MARRIAGE EQUALITY SUPPORTERS RAISE FAR MORE IN-STATE MONEY THAN ANTI-LGBT GROUP - A source within the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign is highlighting the fact that they appear to be raising far more money from actual Marylanders than the anti-LGBT campaigners. Maryland Juice previously noted that almost all of the so-called "Maryland Marriage Alliance" money came from outside of Maryland, while 7 in 10 donors were non-Marylanders. The marriage equality proponents provide a quick update:
MARYLANDERS FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY: In just one day, we've raised more from Maryland citizens than our opponents did in the last month. We've seen a lot of energy and excitement around this, and could use help pushing this effort far and wide. MD's LGBT Caucus matched donations made this week. Join us to defend equality for all loving, committed families in Maryland.

UPDATE #4: IS MARYLAND DEL. NEIL PARROTT PROFITING FROM ANTI-CIVIL RIGHTS EFFORT? - A couple of Maryland Juice readers pointed us to another story related to the finances of the anti-LGBT rights campaigners. In particular, they note that The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey reported that the so-called "Maryland Marriage Alliance" -- which is running the marriage equality repeal effort - is thousands of dollars in debt. Moreover, they owe over $74,000 to, the website run by Republican State Legislator Neil Parrott. See an excerpt from The Sun article below:
BALTIMORE SUN: ...The Maryland Marriage Alliance raised a mere $5,000 in the past month -- and owes $88,000 to various vendors. The biggest unpaid bill, $74,000, is to, the outfit run by Del. Neil Parrott. The group also owes about $5,000 in legal fees.

Dereck McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, said he expects to clear up the bills shortly....

This article prompted some of our readers to wonder whether Delegate Parrott was profiting from his rightwing advocacy. Indeed, we will be curious to see whether spends the funds it raises on its campaigns, or whether those involved will enrich themselves by trying to gut civil rights protections in Maryland.

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