An organization of heterosexuals opposed to amending the Texas constitution to ban gay marriage is accused of using automated phone messages to mislead voters.
In tape recorded messages sent to a million homes in Texas a group called Save Texas Marriage says that amendment is so badly worded it would nullify common-law marriages.
Wednesday the conservative Liberty Legal Institute filed complaints with the Federal Communications Commission. Acting for the group supporting the amendment the institute claims the phone ads were designed to “confuse voters that favor the amendment using deceptive practices.” and argues the calls illegally went out to people who had registered for the National Do Not Call list.
Late Wednesday the FCC dismissed the complaint saying it does not regulate the content of political advertisements and the Do Not Call list does not apply to political campaigns.
Liberty Legal has also filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission, and The Federal Trade Commission.
Don’t forget the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, and FEMA, just in case. You know how sneaky those gays are.
I remain skeptical of the strategy that Save Texas Marriage is employing, but I cannot deny that it’s generated a lot of coverage. If local Happy Talk TV News around the state does teasers for it with one of the breathless blowdried anchorpeople saying something like “Could your marriage be outlawed in the next election?”, then I’d have to admit that they’ve hit the center of their target.
And two can play at the complaint-filing game. In response to a report that Rep. Warren Chisum sent out a pro-Prop 2 press release from his office in Austin, which could violate the statutory ban on the use of public funds for political advertising, BOR’s Karl-T filed a complaint and “request to investigate” these actions with a special prosecutor in the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s office. I’ll be very interested to see how that turns out.
Glen Maxey, who heads anti-proposition group No Nonsense in November, said it would be unfair to assume those who support the proposition also support the Klan.
“It just ticks me off that people like this purport to speak for anyone, including people on the other side of the debate,” said Maxey, an Austin Democrat who served several years in the Legislature as its only openly gay member.
“It’s certainly not helpful,” he added. “As a political consultant, I’d be drinking a stiff one right now if I had to deal with these people articulating my message.”
The next time one of our friends on the Right uses the actions of some isolated knucklehead to make a claim about “the Left”, show him this quote.
Finally, a little setting of expectations about the outcome:
State constitutional elections typically are low-key affairs, drawing fewer than 10 percent of voters to the polls. And because it is widely assumed the amendment will pass easily, apathy also could supress turnout, said state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, the author of the ban.
For Chisum, winning with less than 70 percent of the vote would be a disappointment.
Most states that have approved gay marriage bans have done so by overwhelming margins, including 86 percent in Mississippi. The closest outcome was in Oregon, where gay rights advocates outspent their opponents but still lost 57 percent to 43 percent.
Because turnout will be low, their superior grassroots organization favors amendment opponents, said Glen Maxey, director of the Austin-based No Nonsense In November.
“Whoever has the best ground game in this election wins,” Maxey said.
Even matching Oregon’s result would be a political triumph, Maxey added, creating what he called a “Paul Hacket moment.”
Hacket was an anti-war Democratic candidate in Ohio who stunned the political establishment earlier this year by nearly winning a staunchly Republican congressional district.
“If we even come close, that changes people’s perceptions about Texas,” Maxey said.
Seventy percent versus fifty-seven percent. Who’s going to come closer? Leave your guesses in the comments.