Social media may be key factor to passage of Amendment One

Social media may be key factor to passage of Amendment One

Date: 

Apr 25 2012

Location: 

North Carolina

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From The Seattle Times

By Elizabeth Wiley

RALEIGH, N.C. —Foes of the North Carolina amendment to limit marriage to one man and
one woman have two paths to victory: Persuade lots of people or mobilize
supporters far beyond expectations. To try to make it happen, they have
gone all-in with social media.

Nearly all the data suggest Amendment One should pass. If it doesn't, social media may make the difference.

Voting on the amendment began April 19 and runs through May 8. Data points that suggest it should pass easily:

• North Carolina is a relatively moderate part of the South, but it's
still in the most conservative region of America. Of 11 states south of
the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River, eight have
constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, including all the
ones adjacent to North Carolina.

• Turnout in off-November elections skews older, the voting bloc most opposed to same-sex marriage.

• Amendment One proponents have at least a 6-to-1 fundraising
advantage, according to financial reports and information provided by
the campaigns.

With these kinds of challenges, the amendment's opponents, known as
the Coalition to Protect All North Carolina Families, have two paths to
victory: Persuade lots of people or mobilize supporters far beyond
expectations. To try to make it happen, the coalition has gone all-in
with social media.

Their profiles can be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and
Pinterest, and there's a clear difference in online presence between
proponents and opponents of Amendment One.

Ian O'Keefe is a college freshman who has taken off a term of school
to work against Amendment One by reaching out to college voters.

"We can't use traditional means of communication to contact them," he
said. "We can't phone bank for them. We can't do canvassing a lot of
time for them. So we have to reach out to them through their friends."

Proponents are not ignoring social-media engagement. On the
pro-Amendment One website, one can find tool kits, media and a how-to
guide available to every supporter. This approach, however, has not been
a central focus. Instead, proponents are going Old School: They are
making a big push through churches.

They have named April 29 "Marriage Sunday," and are asking churches
to preach sermons on traditional marriage, show a video and encourage
members to participate in a phone bank. Congregants also will be
encouraged to vote early, ideally after Sunday service.

Turnout will be the key, said Jen Jones, communications director for
Equality North Carolina, one of the coalition groups that oppose
Amendment One.

"Early voting will be absolutely pivotal for getting out the people,
like we talk about on Twitter, like we talk about on Facebook, who are
really moved to do so because they see this as a badge of honor," she
said. "If we win, it will be in the next two weeks," not on Election
Day.

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