Group fighting to uphold gay marriage reserves $5M in TV ad time
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The group fighting to uphold the state's gay marriage law has reserved $5 million in television time, and statewide ads are expected to start running next month.
Zach Silk, a spokesman for Washington United for Marriage, said Monday that the group has reserved TV time "sometime after Labor Day," though he wouldn't specify an exact start date or how long the ad buy was for.
"We've always believed that we had to have a direct conversation with voters about the issue and this is the beginning of that dialogue," Silk said. "We're excited to begin this next phase of the campaign."
Referendum 74 asks voters to either approve or reject the law passed earlier this year that allows same-sex marriage in the state. That law is on hold pending the November vote.
Preserve Marriage Washington, which pushed to get the referendum on the ballot, has raised more than $471,000 in opposition to the law. Washington United for Marriage has raised more than $6 million.
Christopher Plante, the deputy campaign manager for Preserve Marriage, said that they are in the process of working on reserving television advertising time, but said he didn't yet have details on it.
"We're convinced that if we have enough money to get our message out, we will be victorious," he said.
Plante, who is on loan to the campaign from the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage, said that they are projecting they will raise about $4 million. The National Organization for Marriage was involved in ballot measures that overturned same-sex marriage in California and Maine.
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C.
Maryland legalized gay marriage this year as well, but that state will also have a public vote this fall. In Maine, voters will decide on an initiative to approve same-sex marriage three years after a referendum overturned a law passed by the Maine Legislature. And in Minnesota, voters will decide whether or not to pass a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage there.
The first television ad supporting gay marriage in Washington state ran during the Olympics in July, and was paid for by the Seattle-based Pride Foundation. That ad featured former Republican Sen. Cheryl Pflug, who voted for the gay marriage bill passed by the Legislature this year.
Also in July, Washington United for Marriage received its largest single donation to date: $2.5 million by Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie. Amazon.com Inc. publicly supported the law earlier this year, along with other prominent Pacific Northwest businesses, including Microsoft Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Nike Inc.
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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.