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miércoles, junio 15, 2011

Stop The Robo Calls, Please

A brief, unsolicited diatribe about repeated robo calls I am receiving from the nutcase and misleadingly named National Organization For Marriage on my home and office telephones. No, they are not crusading for marriage equality. They are campaigning instead for the defeat in New York of important, pending marriage equality legislation in the State Senate. They have a ton of money. They have spent their money on annoying, repeated robocalls that masquerade as a poll.

If the robocall isn’t initially answered, they leave a voicemail message that they called and may call back. Again. That can be heard as a threat. Or a promise. Whichever, it seems to me to be an idiotic maneuver. Why should I care if they called when I wasn’t home? They don’t leave a number to call back. The number that comes up on caller id isn’t answered. But the message is the starting bell for the series of calls, that’s right, a series of calls, all identical to each other, that is sure to follow.

The robocall, when answered, begins with a statement that they are polling about one of the most important questions in the history of human civilization or some similar hyperbole. Then they ask, “Are you a registered voter?” Yes. Next question: “Do you believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman?” F*ck no, I don’t f*cking believe that. You [string of expletives deleted.] “Thank you, good bye.” Click.

I suppose that if I said that I agreed with the proposition discriminating against same sex marriage, I would be told how to call my legislator or asked to give money or enlisted in some kind of Astroturf political organization that was all about denying marriage to people who are in love with each other.

The caller id says these calls are all coming from “FreeRsrch2011” and are being made from Washington, D.C., (202) 630-9908. Who are these people?

The New York Daily News tells the story:

A shadowy group run by religious fundamentalists is bankrolling a pitched crusade against same-sex marriage in New York.

Secretive and flush with cash, the National Organization for Marriage is igniting a culture war as it battles Gov. Cuomo and [New York City] Mayor Bloomberg in their campaign to legalize gay wedlock.

"If marriage is redefined, then New York schools will soon be teaching that it's just as good for Jimmy to grow up and marry Johnny as it is to marry Mary," says the group's $172,100-a-year president, Brian Brown….

Based in Princeton, N.J., and Washington D.C., the tax-exempt group was founded in 2007 to defend traditional heterosexual marriage.

Since then, its treasury has grown from $637,000 to $8.5 million in 2009 as it attacked same-sex unions across the country. In the last 18 months, donations have swollen to more than $13 million, sources say.

Where the cash comes from isn't clear. One backer is the Knights of Columbus… The Knights raised $1.9 million for the group in 2008-09.

The idea of “defending traditional heterosexual marriage” doesn’t withstand scrutiny. Look, if you want to defend marriage and make it permanent, repeal all of the divorce laws. Then everyone who marries will remain married. No matter what. And what, I want to know, does letting gay and lesbian people marry each other do to devalue “traditional heterosexual marriage?” What married people do within their marriages to evade or subvert their agreement does plenty devalue marriage, as does the number of divorces, but how does letting additional people marry devalue straight people’s marriages. I don’t get it. If anything, if you want to strengthen marriage, it makes sense to let everyone marry whomever they want. But I digress. And fulminate because my phone is ringing.

The National Organization For Marriage has tons and tons of money to put into defeating this important legislation. And it looks like it is quite willing to spend plenty of it in New York:

In New York, the group has tapped a $500,000 war chest to blitz the airwaves with a last-minute TV ad buy. It's also making hundreds of thousands of robo-calls as pols mull a possible vote before the Legislature goes home June 20.

With Cuomo and the state Assembly supporting gay marriage, the group has targeted the Senate, pledging $1 million to oust Republicans who break with their party to "defend traditional marriage."

The group spent $1.8 million in 2008 to back Proposition 8 in California, which outlawed same-sex marriage, and $1.9 million in 2009 to repeal Maine's gay marriage law.

If the New York bill passes, one of the group's TV ads says, New York could become like California, where a "teachable moment" means taking first-graders to a same-sex wedding.

Personally, I don't find anything the matter with same-sex weddings. I think the couple's adopted first grade children would like to see the wedding.

So that’s why my phones are ringing. Repeatedly. It’s annoying. It’s a stupid waste of funds. If I weren’t already a supporter of gay marriage before these calls started, the repeated calling would make me one. Nobody I know want’s to be continually called to the phone for this kind of bullshit. That’s why there is a (far too limited) no-call list.

Would you please tell these people to stop calling me? And my neighbors? And all of the people in Columbia County, New York? Please. And National Organization for Marriage, if you’re reading this, Please. Just stop it.

And if you’re one of the recipients of these ridiculous and annoying calls, maybe you’d like to strke back. Good. Spend a minute calling your state Senator. Tell him or her that you support marriage equality and that you’ve got your legislator’s back if s/he votes for the proposition, even if the fat cat nut cases threaten his/her reelection.

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