Anti-gay marriage pitch falls flat in D.C.

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Last December, shortly after the D.C. City Council passed a bill extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in Washington, D.C., Bishop Harry Jackson, the Maryland-based religious leader fighting marriage equality in the District, promised a “bloodletting.”

“In future races, religious people are going to start going after people’s political careers,” Jackson, the head of Stand4MarriageDC, told U.S. News and World Report. “You’re going to see a bloodletting that is going to mark a new style of engagement for people who are against same-sex marriage.”

Jackson’s was no idle threat. Stand4MarriageDC is backed by the National Organization for Marriage. NOM’s president, Brian Brown, serves as Stand4MarriageDC’s treasurer. In the past two years, NOM has successfully exploited local backlashes against advances in gay rights. In Maine, NOM worked to secure a ballot initiative to outlaw same-sex marriage. In New York, it helped torpedo the nomination of moderate, marriage-equality-supporting Republican Dede Scozzafava, which left the contest to two candidates who both opposed same-sex-marriage rights. It aided in the passage of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the same election that sent Barack Obama to the White House. The California victory was initially pinned on the increased turnout of black voters, so on paper, it’s easy to see why NOM might have seen Washington, D.C. — which is more than 50 percent African American — as the site of another potential victory.

Last night’s primary election was the time to make good on Jackson’s threat. But in the nine months since, there’s been a lot of cash spent with little blood spilled. According to filings with D.C.’s Office of Campaign Finance, NOM has spent around $140,000 opposing pro-equality candidates in Washington, D.C., all of whom won last night or were defeated by other pro-equality candidates.

Full story: Love or Money | The American Prospect