Money and the "Marriage Amendment"

Posted April 24, 2012

Supporters of NC's proposed constitutional ban on same-sex unions got an email appeal today from the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown. 

"My friend, for the first time, I'm truly concerned that we could lose this battle," Brown says in his message. "Tami Fitzgerald, head of Vote for Marriage NC, tells me that they have had to cut their advertising budget by two-thirds simply because they don't have the money."

Warnings of potential defeat are hardly an unusual tactic in political fundraising. But in this case, the numbers (so far) suggest Brown may have a point.

Opponents of the so-called "Marriage Amendment" unveiled two anti-amendment TV spots Monday. They say their ad buy is around $500,000 statewide.  You can see the spots here and here. 

Supporters of the amendment announced today their ad is on the air, too, but Vote4Marriage spokeswoman Rachel Lee declined to provide details about the size or location of the media buy. You can see that spot here.


In today's email to supporters, posted on NOM's blog, Brown blamed "Hollywood liberals" for financing an ad buy he says will outnumber the pro-Amendment spots "3 to 1." 

Organization# of Network Ads in Charlotte and RaleighGross Cost
Protect All NC Families615$462,390
Vote for Marriage312



Data compiled by WRAL's Mark Binker shows that ratio is overstated. But at this point, with election day just two weeks away, amendment opponents are clearly outspending supporters.

The opponents: $462.4K

  • The Charlotte and Triangle network TV media buy by amendment opponents Coalition to Protect NC Families is $462,390 as of April 24th. That total spending bought 615 spots, about 60 % of them in Charlotte.
  • The same group spent another $91,000 on cable spots so far on 9 networks in Charlotte, Greensboro, and the Triangle.

The supporters: $216.9K

  • Vote4MarriageNC, the main group backing the amendment, bought network TV time in Charlotte and Triangle worth $216,915 as of April 24th. That money bought 312 network TV spots, 65 percent of those in Charlotte. 
  • Vote4Marriage also spent $56,500 on cable buys on 13 networks in Charlotte, Greensboro, the Triangle, and Wilmington. 

We're still working on getting info from Greensboro/Triad area stations. Still, the trend from the state's two larges media markets shows opponents outspending amendment backers roughly 2-to-1 on television.

Note: Thanks to Stuart Watson of WCNC in Charlotte, who is working with us to gather television station public file information.


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  • sircache Apr 30, 2012

    The same Christian conservatives who Tea-partied themselves into smaller government, government getting out of our lives, etc... now demand that government get involved in what is clearly not a government role, nor fight. What next, a 'moral statute' against unwed mothers? Single mothers/fathers? Jail time for giving birth out of wedlock?

    They can call it whatever they wish, but ultimately it is about their innate fear of what does not equal their definition of family. Call it morals or morality if it makes you feel better, but it is unethical to demand a strict definition of family, or of marriage simply because of how someone else 'feels' at an arbitrary point in time. Vote no. No to keep the government out of our lives. No to people who use fear as a political agenda. No to any of us--ALL of us--who do not want to be told by law what constitutes love and family. The same Christians who sell us out now are the same ones who will beg to be spared from the government later.

  • josephlawrence43 Apr 27, 2012

    money should have no influence on this one--it is a simple matter of morals and morality--and no amount of money, spinning, twisting or turning will change that.

  • faperrigo Apr 25, 2012

    Vote FOR the marriage amendment! The amendment will not keep people from being treated fairly- or in any way they are treated now.

  • bbobbitt Apr 25, 2012

    I'm not personally for gay marriage, but I also don't believe the state has any right to tell anyone who they can marry in order to be treated fairly. What happened to separation of church and state? Sounds like to me the state is trying to weasel out of any additional tax breaks, or benefits that would be given out if same sex marriage was approved.

  • jwg3807 Apr 24, 2012

    They have Newt Gingrich working on behalf of the NOM group and what better example of the sanctity of marriage than a thrice married serial adulterer?