The issues surrounding Amendment #1 are complex. The Alliance for Full Acceptance's goal is to tip the "movable-middle" voter by appealing to their compassion and sense of fairness.
Many people believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. But many also believe that GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) families deserve some legal protections. The amendment eliminates both marriage and all legal protections, and therein lies the rub. It's really not a fair question to ask voters – many will have to compromise their principles when they cast their vote. And that's a clear sign that this constitutional amendment is bad for South Carolina.
Many believe the amendment will eliminate just marriage or that if the amendment fails, GLBT people will be able to marry. None of this is true.
AFFA is using traditional media, personal stories, and coalition building to help explain the issues and spread the message. Our media campaign includes the "trademark" billboard on I-26, which we put up every year with an empowering message about the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender community. In addition, we have produced television commercials, radio commercials, and will be sending out direct mail. One week before the election, AFFA will be putting voter education inserts in five major newspapers across the state, reaching a readership of 570,000.
In addition to our media campaign, the folks at AFFA (both gay and straight) are sharing their real-life stories in personal letters which are being mailed out to voters. These letters share all kinds of true-life experiences – a lesbian sharing how she met and adores her committed partner, a mom sharing relief and joy in her daughter's coming out, and a gay man sharing the ache of having to choose the love for his partner over the love of his family. The letters are both joyous and painful to read. Nothing will move the GLBT civil rights movement forward with more integrity than the true stories of our lives and our families.
Finally, we have been coalition building with organizations like the AFL-CIO, ACLU, and the NAACP. We are working with other social justice organizations to support all human rights, not just GLBT rights. Recently, AFFA partnered with the ACLU to send amendment information to its 2,300 South Carolina members and will be airing the ACLU Freedom Files "Gay and Lesbian Rights" on cable stations in Charleston and Columbia.
To learn more about AFFA and its fight, visit www.affa-sc.org. –Susie Prueter, AFFA President
Several different groups have been leading efforts to raise awareness about the amendment and its impact. Here's a list of active groups and contact information:
South Carolina Equality Coalition
Who: Statewide political action group on gay issues
What: TV commercials, touring rally opposing the amendment, lawn signs, brochures, buttons, bumper stickers, mailings, website (dumbamendment.com), election day phone banks and voter rides
South Carolina Log Cabin Republicans
Who: Republican gay and lesbian organization
What: Radio campaign opposing the amendment targeting Republican voters
South Carolina Progressive Network
Who: Education and action network of human, civil and worker rights and environmental groups
What: Successfully lobbied to have the state Democratic Party oppose the amendment. Campaigned against the amendment in the black community, including mailing 50,000 postcards to NAACP members
Who: Statewide advocacy group for minority gays and lesbians
What: Organized first black and Latino Pride event in 2006, collaborating with SCEC on "All Families Matter" tour, providing speakers, resources, and volunteers
The Charleston Social Club
Who: A nonprofit organization for lesbians and all women who are accepting of lesbians
What: The club put on a Gay Prom in August, raising $1,700 to fight the amendment. Partners with the SCEC and AFFA, with members volunteering for both groups
Unitarian Universalist Church of Charleston
Who: A liberal religious community
What: Approved a resolution by the congregation opposing the amendment: "...The Unitarian Church in Charleston cannot condone the legalization of discrimination built into this Amendment, which denies certain rights and privileges to a portion of our community."
Who: Civil rights leaders focused on equality for minority Americans
What: Led forums on the amendment and get out the vote campaigns
Other groups active on the amendment:
Lowcountry Gay and Lesbian Alliance (www.lgla.org)
South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement (www.scglpm.org)
South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Business Guild (www.scglbg.org)
We Are Family (www.waf.org)
Metropolitan Community Church of Charleston (www.mcccharleston.org)
South Carolina AFL-CIO (www.unionvoice.org/sclabor)