The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT civil-rights organization, announced today that it would contribute $1 million to assist pro-equality groups in four states facing marriage-related ballot measures in November: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.
Similar to a previous cash infusion given to the four campaigns in early August, the $1 million will be split evenly among the four states. In total, HRC has contributed more than $4.4 million toward the ballot-measure campaigns in those four states, and $7.3 million overall during the 2012 election cycle.
"There’s no doubt that 2012 is the year of marriage equality," HRC President Chad Griffin said in a prepared statement. "When you have momentum on your side, you don’t slow down, you double down, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Our movement is about loving and committed families who deserve nothing less than full equality under the law."
Griffin also acknowledged the many volunteers and donors who have helped raise additional funds for marriage equality.
In Maine, voters will decide whether to approve a grassroots-fueled, citizen-based initiative that would reverse a 2009 ballot measure and allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain marriage licenses. In Maryland and Washington state, voters will be asked to uphold or approve marriage-equality laws that were previously passed by the legislatures and signed into law by a pair of Democratic governors, Martin O'Malley of Maryland and Christine Gregoire of Washington.
In Minnesota, pro-equality forces are fighting against an amendment that would alter the state's constitution to ban gay and lesbian couples from marrying, even though same-sex marriage is already outlawed by statute.
Recent polling is looking rosier for pro-equality advocates in each state. A trio of polls in Maryland showed that voters hold a significant edge over opponents, with support ranging from 49 percent to 54 percent, and opposition ranging from 39 percent to 44 percent. Two polls in Maine taken by the Maine People's Resource Center and Public Policy Polling in September show supporters of marriage equality leading 53-43 and 52-44, respectively.
Three September polls in Washington state show marriage equality leading by margins of 56-38, 51-37 and 55-40. And Minnesota, where opponents of the constitutional ban have trailed, has seen a small shift from a 48-47 lead for the ban in September to a 49-46 margin against the ban in October.
"Our adversaries have bragged that marriage equality has never won at the ballot box," Griffin said. "This November, we will take that talking point away once and for all. In 2012, fair-minded Americans – and particularly residents of Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington – will support their LGBT friends, family members and co-workers."
[Photo: Chad Griffin, of the Human Rights Campaign.]