Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson responded to charges that the group has abandoned efforts to fight constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall banning gays and lesbians from marrying in North Carolina and Maryland by defending his group’s focusing on battles in five other states. He also weighed in on the confidential documents from the antigay National Organization for Marriage unsealed by a federal judge this week, calling them “shocking.”
“I don’t think North Carolina is being abandoned, certainly by Freedom to Marry or others,” Wolfson said, appearing on my radio show on SiriusXM OutQ, discussing the group’s recently announced Win More States Fund, an effort to raise $3 million for fights in Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Washington. In recent days FTM has come under intense criticism from some prominent activists, including well-known North Carolina blogger Pam Spaulding, who said it was “pitiful” for FTM to “turn its back” on North Carolinians, who will be voting on a ballot measure this May.
“We have put money into North Carolina," Wolfson said. "We put $35,000 or so, at the request of Equality North Carolina, into the effort to to block the constitutional amendment in the legislature last year. We’ve offered message advice, counsel and resources. I was down there for 3 days stumping through the state at the request of the campaign to try to help light a fire and encourage people to donate. And we did an email to our North Carolina list a few days ago urging people to donate to the campaign.
"So this was not about abandoning [Maryland and North Carolina]," he continued. "And it was not about saying what people were doing on the ground [in those states] was not important. We have never said they’re not winnable or the money is not well spent. What we are saying is here are five battleground opportunities where we are putting our fight. Others are taking the lead in other places. We alone can’t do everything."
On the release of the NOM documents, which FTM has urged the GOP presidential candidates to respond to by renouncing having signed on to NOM's pledge against marriage equality, Wolfson said:
"Shocking is the perfect word because on some level it’s not surprising, we’ve know they ‘ve been doing this. We’ve known they’ve been pitting communities against each other using these toxic tactics of dividsion and race-bating. We’ve known that. But it is shocking to see it in print, and with the most extreme, cynical language, Talking about deliberatly fanning hostitlity, talking about deliberigately trying to pit family members against each other."
Listen to the full interview with Wolfson: