Gay Marriage Opponents Running on Empty

What would happen if you planned an elaborate bus tour through 20 cities over the summer in an effort to stop the legalization of gay marriage, and no one showed up? Ask the folks at the National Organization for Marriage—because they know. So far, the group’s “One Man, One Woman” Summer for Marriage Tour 2010 has drawn tens of people at each stop, including one in Indianapolis today.

Courage Campaign staffers who attended today’s rally reported: “I have hand-counted 29 non-NOM staffers attending the rally—about the same number that have attended every other event on this tour.”

They were outnumbered by those who came in support of marriage equality.

… about 95 marriage equality supporters marched in to the event to counter-protest NOM on a sidewalk across from the event. Impressive. Once again, NOM has been embarrassed on this tour, drawing significantly fewer supporters to their event than local marriage equality groups and organizations have assembled in response (and often on short notice).

NOM wasn’t embarrassed by the low turnout of its previous rally in Lima, Ohio, touting on its blog, “Another successful rally in Lima, Ohio,” where it noted that “about 30 Ohioans braved the blistering sun to stand for marriage.” There was no mention, however, of crowd size in Indianapolis.

Freedom to Marry is shadowing the NOM bus tour with a tour of its own, but instead of organizing the protest rallies, the group is using its time to organize activists. During a stop in Maryland last week FtM’s managing director, Scott Davenport, met with Equality Maryland to help it raise money to introduce a marriage equality bill in the next legislative session.

I attended two events at Equality Maryland’s offices in Baltimore. At the first, about a dozen volunteers spent the night making almost 300 phone calls and collecting pledges of volunteer support and contributions from 50 new supporters. Add that to the five other locations holding similar phone banks or collecting post cards of support, and I’m sure we easily got our 300 today.

In addition, Equality Maryland hosted an interfaith meeting to mobilize supportive faith leaders.

It was so great to see such a wonderfully diverse group of religious folks. We had Unitarian’s and Episcopalians and Presbyterians and Baptists, and we even had a Catholic priest and some interfaith organizers. We had African American faith leaders from 4 different counties in the state along with Latinos and Anglos. This really is a big tent movement.

The poll released last week from Public Religion Research Institute showing growing acceptance among people of faith for marriage equality in California along with national polls that have shown at least 65 percent of Americans support civil unions or full marriage equality would seem to spell trouble for NOM’s summer tour. Even in Indianapolis there was evidence of that expanding tent of religious supporters for marriage equality.

Is the anti-marriage equality bus finally out of gas?

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