National anti-gay marriage group commits $1 million
The National Organization for Marriage today pledged at least $1 million to help defeat Republicans who favor same-sex marriage and assist the campaigns of Democrats who oppose it.
The announcement came as the Maryland House of Delegates today moved the legislation a step closer to a final vote. More debate is planned for Friday, and it is unclear whether the marriage bill has the 71 votes needed for passage.
"We know where the people of Maryland stand, and legislators need to listen to their constituents," said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. "If they don't, we're here to help hold them accountable."
The national group says it will form a political action committee in Maryland with the aim of ousting Republicans who "abandon the party position," Brown said. Money also will flow to Democrats who vote against the same-sex marriage bill, he said.
The only legislator specifically in NOM's crosshairs so far is Sen. Allan H. Kittleman of Howard County. He was the lone Republican senator to vote in favor of the bill.
Brown said NOM will be closely watching how Republican delegates vote.
House Republicans decided as a group to take a caucus position againts same-sex marriage, and leaders of the minority party say they believe each of their 43 members will vote against the bill.
Brown said NOM has a perfect record when it comes to defeating Republicans who support gay marriage.
"Every Republican we've ever targeted, we've defeated," he said. The group helped oust four Republicans, in California, Minnesota and New Hampshire, he said.
Brown said the National Organization for Marriage has been working behind the scenes in Maryland, contacting more than 500,000 voters through the mail or phone calls. The group urges those voters to call their legislators.
According to lawmakers, they've been doing so in large numbers. Several delegates said during today's floor debate that they had never heard from so many people on a single issue.