Major donors from NC pony up, ask for help in campaign against Amendment 1

There’s so much happening in the campaign to against Amendment 1 in North Carolina. So much.

Yesterday, a straight married couple from NC, Todd and Diana Stiefel, offered $100,000 as a match to get the campaign’s ads on the air. I just learned from the campaign, that wIthin 24 hours, via ActBlue and direct donations, over $50,000 has been raised. If you want to throw down and double your contribution, do it here.

There is momentum to defeat Amendment 1, which is on the May 8th ballot. Early voting starts on April 19th.

Pam Spaulding, who has been spearheading so much of the online opposition to Amendment 1, has an interview with Todd and Diana here. They are in this to win it. Definitely worth a read:

And, in fact, Stiefel noted that anyone with children, like himself, need to stop and think — what if one of your kids turns out to be gay? How in good conscience could someone vote for an amendment that would cause direct harm to your own child? He thinks this explains some of the surprising support to defeat the amendment by politicians and public officials across the political spectrum.

It has been a welcome surprise. People have a hard time admitting they were wrong, yet even those who favored Amendment One are turning against it now that they have learned the full scope of its harm. It directly hurts gay and lesbian couples, but there is also massive collateral damage to children and straight adults. That information has turned even social conservatives against this amendment. We need to be sure we fund an enormous media campaign so that as many North Carolinians as possible know of these consequences before the vote on May 8. More money means more informative ads that will change minds, much like the minds of many politicians have changed.

Yes, all of the momentum in the world — it seems almost every public official and major political figure from the past mayors of Charlotte to the current governor have made videos explaining why Amendment One needs to be voted down. But the battle cannot be one on these good fortunes alone. The war, in the end, is fought and won on radio and television, and the ads are in the can. ”Donors need to decide which strategies and tactics will bring the best return on investment for the issues they care about, he said. “No donor should be called out if they think something is not a good investment. I can empathize with donors that have sat out so far. There are messages that I think are more important in the long-run for gaining LGBT equality, such as the reality that nobody decides to be straight or gay. To win the war for equality, we need to get those messages out, but we have a battle on our hands right now regarding Amendment One.”

But buying air time in key markets is expensive, and that’s why Todd and Diana Stiefel are leading by example, urging others with the means to help fund the media campaign to dive in now.

Yes, they are urging other. In fact, the Stiefels, along with the other major donors, Bob Page and Martin Eakes, wrote a letter today asking national donors to help. FWIW, only Bob is gay. I’ve embedded the letter below. Here are some key paragraphs, that give a sense of what is happening in North Carolina:

Leading in-state conservatives are speaking in our favor. Former Charlotte Mayor and Republican gubernatorial nominee Richard Vinroot is publicly advocating defeat, in part by appearing in an ad for our side. Bob Orr, a respected former Supreme Court Justice and Republican candidate for Governor, also came out against Amendment One. John Hood, head of the John Locke Foundation and the most widely syndicated conservative in North Carolina, wrote an editorial against the amendment, calling it “unwise” and “unfair.” In addition, corporate leaders are stepping up against Amendment One — including Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers and Bank of America executive Cathy Bessant.

Public Policy Polling says that Santorum’s exit means, at minimum, a 10% decrease in conservative turnout. The Republican primary for Governor is not competitive, unlike the Democratic Party’s multi-candidate races for Governor and Lt. Governor. Those candidates are now purchasing millions of dollars of air time in areas that will boost our side’s target vote substantially.

The impact of a victory in the South cannot be overstated. Please be a part of this and help us make this happen. Please match our efforts. We have given in many of your states for many of your fights because we understand that we cannot win the war if we only fight the battle in the backyard. If you join us, the television campaign will be fully funded. We have a real opportunity to win.

The impact of a victory in the South cannot be overstated. And, for all of those people who want to get marriage in the DNC platform, defeating Amendment 1, in the state where the Democratic convention will be held, would be a tremendous boost.

A Call for National Donors to Join Us


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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