Jeremy Kennedy -- the campaign manager for the Coalition to Protect All North Carolina Families, the effort to defeat the marriage amendment that will be on North Carolina's primary ballot on May 8 -- is having a good day.
With the launch today by several prominent pro-LGBT equality blogs of a "blogswarm" to defeat Amendment One, Kennedy is sounding hopeful. With posts from Pam's House Blend, Daily Kos, AmericaBlog, Towleroad, Joe.My.God., Good As You and even the Human Rights Campaign, the effort is giving momentum to a campaign that has taken hits since its inception by skeptics.
Asked how the effort came about, Kennedy tells Metro Weekly today, "We've been working with Pam Spaulding [of Pam's House Blend] and Joe Sudbay [at AmericaBlog] and Scott [Wooledge] at Daily Kos for several weeks now. I took the model from what we did in Maine. I worked on the Maine [marriage referendum] campaign in '09, and we had put together a national blog team to really help draw some national visibility to the campaign. So we started doing that here."
Kennedy sees the fight in North Carolina as an essential step in advancing marriage equality this year.
"We're the first fight in the country this year," he says. "We're gonna go up on May 8, and the momentum that we can build going out of this campaign and especially if we can pull off a win here in North Carolina is definitely gonna set us up to have some good momentum for the five or more states that are going to be on the ballot in November."
Not everyone is as focused on North Carolina as Kennedy would hope. Just this past week, when Freedom to Marry announced its "Win More States Fund" project, North Carolina was not on the list. Several of the blogs presenting the strongest criticism of the Freedom to Marry fund -- including Pam's House Blend and AmericaBlog -- are among the biggest supporters of the blogswarm effort launched today.
Kennedy, however, says the timing is chance, noting, "We picked this date about three weeks ago in order to coincide with when we thought we would be getting close to the $1 million mark."
To skeptics of the North Carolina campaign, Kennedy tells Metro Weekly, "I think, from the very beginning, a lot of people had written off North Carolina as a lost cause -- a long time ago. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that it was a southern state and all the other states around us already have constitutional amendments like this on the books."
Adding that it also was an issue of the allocation of resources across the states that are addressing marriage equality issues this year, he said, "I think they underestimated the team that we've put together in this state. ... We can defeat this amendment.
"That's the one thing our pollster said in our messaging memo. With a fully funded campaign, you can defeat this. ... When people know what this amendment actually does, a majority people oppose it," he says. "That means that we're going to need to have significant resources to be up on TV and to do other paid communications like mail."
Of today's effort and ongoing fundraising efforts, Kennedy says, "We've raised a good amount of money so far, but in these final six weeks we really need to double what we've done so far."
To aid in that end, Kennedy will be answering questions about the campaign in a livechat at 3 p.m. today that will be up at Daily Kos, The Bilerico Project, Pam's House Blend and AmericaBlog, per Kennedy.