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NOM billboards aimed at intimidating pro-gay marriage lawmakers

Sunday, October 2, 2011
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The National Organization for Marriage is erecting more billboards aimed at intimidating pro-marriage equality legislators, and gloating that it was their efforts that cost David Weprin a seat in the U.S. House.

The NOM, which spent about $50,000 on mailings and calls against Weprin’s bid for Congress in New York’s 9th Congressional district, said Friday it’s spending $40,000 on billboards targeting four state senators with the words “You’re Next.”

The NOM has been taking credit for Weprin’s defeat, saying the loss was due to voter dissatisfaction over his suppport for same-sex marriage:

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today announced that it has launched a billboard campaign in the districts of state Senators Mark Grisanti, Stephen Saland, James Alesi and Shirley Huntley to hold them accountable for their vote last June to redefine marriage in New York.

The new billboards say of the individual state Senator, “You’re Next” in reference to the defeat of David Weprin in the 9th Congressional District. NOM funded a major independent expenditure campaign in the Weprin race, making his vote to redefine marriage a decisive issue in his defeat in a district Democrats have held since the early 1920s.

“Just like David Weprin discovered earlier this month when he faced voters after redefining marriage, Mark Grisanti, Stephen Saland, James Alesi, Roy McDonald and Shirley Huntley will soon discover that the people of New York will not sit idly by while the institution of marriage is redefined without voters having any say in the matter,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM.

However, a poll conducted by the Siena Research Institute just days before the election indicated that the most important factors concerning voters was the candidate’s positions on Israel, the economy, and federal entitlement programs. Only 4 percent of respondents listed other issues.

Equality Matters pointed out that “this relative indifference towards same-sex marriage makes sense considering that, prior to this race, NY-9 consistently re-elected Anthony Weiner, a staunch and vocal proponent of marriage equality.”

The billboards are NOM’s latest attempt to turn back the clock and force a public vote in hopes of amending the New York state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Brown said the campaign is designed to “hold accountable the legislators who betrayed marriage and settle for nothing less than a vote of the people on marriage.”

But considering NOM’s strategy targets the New York state Senate only — while the State Assembly has been controlled by Democrats for more than 35 years and has voted in favor of gay marriage four times — it seems NOM’s real intent is to intimidate lawmakers in other states to prevent from a recurrence of what happened in New York state when the legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

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