LOS ANGELES -- The Courage Campaign and Grindr for Equality have teamed up to petition the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to help fund efforts to support marriage equality in various ballot initiative fights this election year.
“We're the ones putting Democrats in office all the time so why shouldn’t the DNC support the rights of same-sex couples?” said Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the Courage Campaign. “It's time for the DNC to have our backs. After all, Democrats are supposed to fight for equal opportunities and justice for all Americans.”
Voters in as many as five states are set to face ballot questions on same-sex marriage this year.
In North Carolina and Minnesota, voters will face constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage in June and November, respectively.
In Maine, voters will face a ballot question on whether to permit same-sex marriage.
In Washington state, opponents of marriage equality announced plans to file for a ballot referendum on the marriage equality law signed Feb. 13 by Gov. Gregoire.
If, as expected, the Maryland Legislature and Gov. O'Malley enact marriage equality in Maryland, opponents are also likely to qualify a ballot referendum in November.
Given longtime LGBT voter support for Democrats and the array of fights this year, that makes the DNC's support critical.
In 2008, the DNC chipped in $25,000 to help defeat Prop 8 in California. Nationwide, a whopping 80% of self-identified LGBT voters say they voted for the Democrat in their local race for the U.S. House that year, according to CNN's exit poll.
In October, DNC Chairwoman and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a supporter of marriage equality for same-sex couples, told reporters at a fundraiser she would "certainly consider" funding efforts to support the rights of same-sex couples. On Friday, February 17, the DNC and Obama campaign reported raising $29.1 million in the month of January alone.
"The United States holds our largest number of users and we seek to mobilize them to make sure we are all treated equally under the law," said Joel Simkhai, Grindr's founder and CEO. "During this all-important election year we must remind those in power that we are not fighting for special rights: we're fighting for equal rights."
Courage and Grindr for Equality are joined by three state-based activists working to support marriage equality in their respective states: Darcy Burner, a Democratic candidate running to represent Washington's First District in Congress; Pam Spaulding, founder of the popular Pam's House Blend blog in North Carolina; and Bill Harnsberger, the longtime DailyKos front-page writer known as Bill in Portland Maine.
The three activists authored e-mails on behalf of Courage Campaign to Courage's members in their three states. Courage Campaign's petition also went out to members in Minnesota, which is facing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, as well as other members nationwide, while Grindr for Equality sent a broadcast asking its members who use the popular app to sign.
The Courage Campaign and Grindr for Equality petition will be delivered to DNC Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz. The text can be found HERE.