Jul 29, 2014

Superstars Come Out for MN Marriage Amendment Battle

Brad Pitt, Billy Graham weigh in as campaigns shift to getting out the vote.

Superstars Come Out for MN Marriage Amendment Battle

Brad Pitt and the Rev. Billy Graham don't live anywhere near Minnesota. But in recent days, they both loudly declared their intense interest in the outcome of Tuesday's marriage amendment vote in emails from campaigns on either side of the issue.

With less than a week to go until voters go to the polls, both campaigns are coming to the home stretch, turning their focus to getting out the vote and building a small cash reserve to fund any last-minute ads responding to opponents' charges.

In an email LGBT rights group The Human Rights Campaign sent to supporters on Wednesday, Pitt challenged voters to match  his $100,000 donation  to campaigns in four states, including Minnesota, that are trying to defeat state constitutional amendments that would ban same-sex marriage. According to state campaign finance documents, Graham has not donated directly to the Minnesota campaign, but he urged amendment opponents to get to the polls on Tuesday.

"As a former resident with strong personal and ministry ties to the North Star State, I pray that the good people of Minnesota will show their support for God's definition of marriage, between a man and a woman," Graham wrote in a written statement amendment proponents Minnesota for Marriage sent to supporters on Wednesday.

The actor and the pastor join celebrities like Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Raven center Matt Birk in weighing in on the amendment. The celebrity endorsements have the potential to spur voter turnout on each side,  according to WCCO-TV

Getting supporters to turn out—or discouraging those on the other side—is now both campaigns' main focus. In an email to reporters on Wednesday, a spokesperson for amendment opponents Minnesotans United for All Families announced a statewide series of "get-out-the-vote" rallies that will run through the evening of Nov. 5.

In addition, amendment opponents have been bombarded with emails asking for donations with admonitions like "powerful, well-funded groups are flooding the airwaves with lies trying to take away those rights from certain people...and we can't stand for it."

According to state campaign finance documents, these and other pushes have netted over $140,000 in donations since Saturday. The money has come from Pitt, from Minnesotans, and a $14,000 ad buy made by the Human Rights Campaign. Southwest Minneapolis residents contributed over $1,000 to that tally.

On the amendment supporters' side,  campaign manager Frank Schubert's signature  last-minute  flurry of attack ads has already started  that they hope will raise questions in voters' minds about same-sex marriage. To fund these, Minnesota for Marriage and its allies have pulled in at least $463,000 since Saturday. Most of that money has come from the conservative National Organization for Marriage and the Minnesota Catholic Conference.


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