In November, three US states are going to vote on whether to allow marriage equality, and a fourth is going to vote on whether to amend their constitution to ban it. That election is now less than two months away. If you'd like to help out with any of these campaigns, now would be a great time to do it.
In all of these cases, you can donate even if you don't live in the state in question. (If you're hesitant about the ethics of doing that, remember that most of the funding on the opposing sides of this kind of ballot issue generally comes from the National Organization for Marriage—which is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on fearmongering ads in various states—rather than from local sources.)
Down below, I've written up a little about what's going on in each state; but in case you don't have time to read the details and you just want to go donate, here are donation links:
I've donated to most of those before, and I've just now gone and donated to all of them. Won't you join me?
(I feel compelled to mention that when you donate, your name will go on a publicly accessible list of donors. (In some cases, that happens only if you donate more than some threshold amount.) I know that's scary, but it's the way the system works—it promotes transparency in the political-funding process. And despite my usual privacy advocacy, I believe that it's worth the small loss of privacy to support a cause like this. My name has appeared on several such public lists over the years.)
I'm listing Washington first here because it's the most personal for me; the state is going to vote on whether my uncle can get married.
Would you like to help my uncle get married? The best wedding present you can give him is to support Washington United for Marriage. You can donate money, you can volunteer, you can buy stuff from their shop. They'll even help you set up your own fundraising page if you're so inclined.
If you live in Washington, the other best present you can give my uncle is to vote, in November, to Approve Referendum 74.
If you can't afford money, consider volunteering. That page says: “We have opportunities for every kind of volunteer: from stuffing envelopes to knocking on doors. If you are willing to give us your time, we will find something helpful for you to do.”
The polls in Washington are looking promising, but as we saw with Prop 8 in California, we absolutely cannot count on pre-election polling to be accurate. Don't get complacent about this. There's a good chance we can win in Washington, but it's going to take work to make it happen.
And if you know anyone who's being swayed by the Catholic bishops' recent statement in Washington, point them to Marriage Fact Check. (They'll have to scroll down a bit.)
In Maryland, too, the polls are tentatively looking good. But despite support from the governor and the legislature, the marriage equality measure is by no means a sure thing.
As in all of the states I'm mentioning here, there's sure to be a barrage of negative advertising between now and the election, filled with vicious lies and misleading innuendo about things like the safety of children. I say “sure to be” because that's the strategy that's been successful for the antis in so many other states in the past.
To help push back against those kinds of ads in Maryland, please support the Marylanders for Marriage Equality coalition. Here, too, they'd be grateful for monetary contributions and/or for your volunteer time. And in November, if you live in Maryland, please vote yes on Question 6.
The situation in Maine is fairly similar to Washington and Maryland. Maine, unfortunately, previously voted against equality (a couple years ago, after the legislature and governor approved it); but volunteers have been working steadily ever since to change minds by going out and talking with people (an approach I really like), and the latest polling suggests that it's working.
The organization to support in Maine is Mainers United for Marriage, a coalition that includes various local and national groups.
By the way, one of those groups, Equality Maine, is having an annual meeting in two weeks, in Augusta; admission is free, refreshments will be provided, and they'll give out lawn signs and bumper stickers and such.
But don't wait until then to support equality in Maine. Go to the Mainers United website and donate or volunteer. And, come November, if you live in the state, vote yes on Question 1.
Unfortunately, the situation is different in Minnesota.
Same-sex marriage has been banned by law there since 1997. This year, what's on the ballot is a constitutional amendment to ban it further, because apparently the legislature feels that it hasn't been sufficiently banned yet.
This makes me sad. This is the fifth time that members of the MN state legislature have tried to pass such an amendment in the past few years, but it's the first time that they've succeeded in getting it onto the ballot. What's worse, although the polling I've seen has been a little inconsistent, my impression is that the amendment has a good chance of passing, which will enshrine inequality in the state constitution.
If it does pass, I'm sure that it'll only be temporary. It seems clear to me that in the long run, marriage equality will happen. But banning it in the state constitution means it'll take longer to happen.
The coalition fighting the amendment is Minnesotans United for All Families, which is unfortunately not easy to find online.
I imagine it's been disheartening to be working on this in Minnesota, given the strength of the anti-equality forces. But remember that it takes time to change people's minds. Even if the vote goes against us in MN, the work is still valuable and important.
So donate money and/or time if you can. Minnesotans will thank you. And in November, if you're a Minnesotan, vote against the amendment.