The National Organization for Marriage has vowed to “hold every legislator” who voted to move their states toward marriage equality “accountable for his or her vote.” But a ThinkProgress analysis of state legislative votes since the start of 2012 finds that to make good on these its threat, NOM will need to target more than 625 representatives.
Since the start of 2012, the number of states with marriage equality has more than doubled; with enactment of same-sex marriage bills Hawaii and Illinois all-but-assured, the number has risen from six to 16. Colorado and Nevada, two states with constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, have also taken major steps toward equality.
Last year, the legislatures in Maryland and Washington enacted marriage equality. Both bills were brought to public referendum by NOM’s anti-LGBT allies and both were approved by the voters of those states. The vast majority of the legislators in both states are still there and will be up for re-election in 2014 or 2016. In both states, NOM vowed to defeat the legislators who passed the bills, pledging to spend $1.25 million for vengeance.
This year, the Rhode Island, Minnesota, Delaware, Hawaii, and Illinois state legislatures have all passed marriage equality bills. Nevada’s state legislature took the first step toward repeal of their marriage inequality constitutional amendment and Colorado enacted a civil unions la. NOM issued press release after press release vowing to defeat the pro-equality legislators in those states. The group promised a $500,000 campaign in Minnesota, and $100,000 effort in Rhode Island, and unspecified amounts elsewhere. Now the group is asking for donations to “to hold as many of these legislators who have sold out their constituents accountable as possible.”
As NOM’s losses continue to pile up around the country, so does its target list. To punish the the state legislators in those states — largely re-litigating lost fights — they will need to focus on more than 625 incumbents. These include:
- Colorado: 39 Representatives and 19 Senators.
- Delaware: 23 Representatives and 12 Senators.
- Hawaii: 30 Representatives and at least 20 Senators (out of 25 total).
- Illinois: 61 Representatives and 32 Senators.
- Maryland: 68 Delegates and 25 Senators.
- Minnesota: 75 Representatives and 37 Senators.
- Nevada: 27 Assemblymembers and 12 Senators.
- Rhode Island: 56 Representatives and 26 Senators (including the entire Senate GOP caucus).
- Washington: 42 Representatives and 23 Senators.
These totals do not include Colorado, Maryland, and Washington state legislators who have already left the legislature. It also does not include the hundreds of state legislators in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont who voted to enact and/or preserve their states marriage equality laws.
To actively campaign against 625 incumbents would be a massive undertaking for any organization. If they are really going to make that a focus, they will likely have few resources to “defend marriage as God ordained” in the 34 states without marriage equality.
(HT: Laurel Ramseyer)
Map updated by Adam Peck.