Two opposing Family groups on Referendum 71
"Protect the innocence of Washington's kids. Vote to reject referendum 71."
~Mailer sent out by Focus on the Family
About Referendum 71: Voting APPROVE on Ref. 71 is a vote to keep the domestic partnership law that provides legal protections for lesbian and gay couples and seniors who are in committed relationships. To be able to take unpaid leave to care for a critically ill loved one, without being fired. To be able to cover a partner in family health insurance. To make sure hard-earned pension and death benefits protect children when a parent dies. Approving Ref. 71 ensures that important protections are not taken away from committed couples, so that they are able to take care of each other, especially in times of crisis. Keep the domestic partnership law -Vote APPROVE on Ref. 71 by Nov 3. ~From Washington Families Standing Together
Focus on the Family is sending out mailers warning voters that if Referendum 71 is passed, school children from kindergarten up will be taught that gay partnerships are equal to marriage. The mailer asks, "Do you want your kids or grandkids taught about gay partnerships"?
Meanwhile, the group Washington Families Standing Together is continuing to voice their own belief that voting Yes on referendum 71 on November 3 is the only just and democratic thing to do : Keep the integrity of all Washington families.
These are two warring ideologies: Two swords have clashed. NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) is sending out an interview with an ex-Gay who wants to reach out and "heal others". This division seems and impasse which is nothing less than an unbridgeable gap.
A glossy mailer arrived at The Stranger offices with this message printed on one side: "Protect the innocence of Washington's kids. Vote to Reject Referendum 71." It says it's paid for by Focus on the Family Action, the Colorado-based conservative organization under the leadership of anti-gay James Dobson. The group has a educational nonprofit, but this is the PAC, which can donate to influence elections. Here's what the mailer says on the other side:
So what's an out-of-state organization doing campaigning—using disengenuous arguments, no less—on a measure in Washington? Focus on the Family Action hasn't registered to work on a specific ballot measure, according to the state's Public Disclosure Commission (PDC). Nor have any of the campaigns that are designated to advocate around R-71 reported a contribution from FOTFA. But, it turns out, state laws allow FOTFA to register as an independent expenditure campaign to spend money on any issue as it sees fit. The PDC records of the group—which I could only find by using an advanced search box and running a query for organizations located in "Colorado Springs"—show that between October 12 and October 20, the group spent $91,790 in Washington.
"If they already have money and they don’t have to go out and raise it and they want to spend it to share their message, there are no limits," says Lori Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.
FOTF made it's largest expenditure in Washington on October 20—a total of $80,000 to buy radio ads (.pdf). That could make a difference in a campaign where only 50 percent of voters say they will vote to approve the measure, thereby voting to uphold the state's domestic partnership law.
Let's look at the dates: October 20 is one week after the deadline for campaigns in Washington to accept donations over $5,000. It's also one day after theFamily PAC sued the state to accept donations over $5,000 and keep donation anonymous. And what is Family PAC? Its the campaigning wing of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, which is—wait for it—the Washington state affiliate of Focus on the Family.