Blogging the Amendment

Offering a Forum to Discuss the Pros and Cons of the Marshall/Newman Amendment

Campaign Finances: Reported and Unreported

Posted below is the press release issued by The Commonwealth Coalition today regarding our campaign finance report.  The bottom line is that, although we don’t have unlimited funds or all that we can use, we are in a strong position going into the last weeks of the campaign.

Now, before you all go thinking The Coalition has a fat wallet or doesn’t need your continued support, however, ask yourselves how it is that the Catholic Conference can send literature from the Bishops advocating for the amendment to over 130,000 homes without reporting a large contribution from the Catholic Conference to its referendum committee for the printing and mailing of literature that clearly advocated for the referendum.

And, ask yourself how the Family Foundation spends money on over 2 million phone calls to registered voters and sends ?? thousands ?? of letters to voters telling them that they might not be registered without their referendum committee spending a dime. 

What did the letters say?

“Our records indicate” that you might not be registered to vote, and it’s important that you are because you will be making “several significant decisions” this fall …. “First, each voter will be asked if he or she would like to define marriage as a union only between one man and one woman in the Commonwealth.  By amending our constitution this way, Virginians can be sure that our state law banning same-sex marriage is not overturned by an activist judge, leaving/forcing our Commonwealth to uphold/recognize Vermont values.”

Now if that letter is advocating “for” the amendment on the ballot, it’s clearly an expense that must be reported if the Family Foundation spent more than $10,000 to print and mail the letters that went to voters in:

Fairfax County, Winchester, Stafford, Fairfax City, Montgomery County, Botetourt, Richmond, Hanover, Campbell, Augusta County, Shenandoah, Williamsburg, Petersburg, Franklin, Pulaski, Arlington, Poquoson, Culpeper, Page County.

According to the Secretary of the State Board of Elections,  “every person who got the letter and called to check on their status was already registered to vote.”  The Registrar in Culpeper who is 95 and has been registered since 1955 was among those who received the letter. 

Don’t you wonder who was chosen to get the letter and why?

The bottom line here is that the proponents of the amendment seem to have unlimited funds to spend on advocating for the amendment … but they aren’t funds the source or use of which they are reporting.

Press Release:

The Commonwealth Coalition Files Second Campaign Finance Report;

Enters Final Weeks of the Campaign in Strong Position


For Immediate Release


(Richmond, Virginia) The Commonwealth Coalition reported today having raised $445,43.33 in total contributions (cash and in-kind) during the reporting period (September 1, 2006 through September 30, 2006) and showed an ending balance after expenditures of $370,772.65.


Since the referendum committee was registered in July, 1031 Virginians have contributed an average of $189 each to the campaign against the Marshall/Newman amendment, Ballot Question #1. 97% of all donors during the period were individuals of which 91% are Virginians.


“We are particularly grateful that individual Virginians continue to show their confidence in our campaign by voting with their wallets. We are going into the last weeks of the campaign in a strong position with significant cash on hand, and money is continuing to come in every day,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, campaign manager for The Commonwealth Coalition.


“We received a lot of positive feedback on our ad buy last week, and it has energized our supporters to dig deep and make additional contributions that will help us expand our media campaign and other voter outreach,” Gastañaga continued. “Our supporters know that an informed voter is a NO voter, and I know that they will continue to do all that they can to help us ensure that every Virginia voter is an informed voter!” Gastañaga concluded.


Large contribution reports filed since the reporting period ended on September 30th show that in the last two weeks The Coalition has received $25,000 each from Mark Warner’s One Virginia PAC and the Human Rights Campaign and $10,000 from Richmond businessman Ivor Massey.


The Commonwealth Coalition is a diverse group of individuals, businesses, and civic, community and religious organizations that have joined together to oppose the Marshall/Newman amendment to the Virginia bill of rights that will be Ballot Question #1 on November 7, 2006. For more information see The Coalition’s website,


The Marshall/Newman amendment would write discriminatory language into Virginia’s Bill of Rights that would have far-reaching, unknown and unintended consequences for all unmarried Virginians, including straight couples, young and old.


October 16, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Irreconcilable Differences: Defining Marriage in Virginia” explores the controversial Marshall-Newman amendment

This just out today from PBS…. from a press release on program to air .. October 26, 2006:

October 2006, Richmond, VA—This November, Virginians will have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment that states: “That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions. This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.”

Gay marriage has become one of the most contentious issues facing voters. Twenty states have already amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage; six more will vote on amendments in November.

In Virginia, many opponents of the amendment see it as a distraction from more important issues, and also as a wedge issue designed to bring out more conservative voters to advance a socially conservative agenda.

Many proponents of the amendment believe that there is no more important issue facing Virginians and the nation, and that society will eventually collapse if traditional marriage is weakened.

“Irreconcilable Differences: Defining Marriage in Virginia” will reveal the compelling personal stories of two Virginia families, one gay and one straight, who believe that they will be affected by this amendment.

A Community Idea Stations production from Award-winning producer/director David Vinson, this program will also explore the underlying principles and beliefs of select Virginians on each side of the issue, including legislators, clergy and activists.

Some questions the documentary will attempt to answer include: How will gay families be affected by this amendment? How will straight families be affected? What role does religious faith play in this debate? What role does the government play in defining marriage and family?

This documentary, which will premiere on October 26, 2006 at 8 p.m. on WCVE Richmond PBS and WHTJ Charlottesville PBS, will provide a forum for Virginians on each side to express their thoughts about this controversial subject.

Information: Lynne McCarthy-Jones


October 12, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Commonwealth Coalition Shows Strength

The Commonwealth Coalition published the list of its Advisory Council members and current organizational partners yesterday.  Read more on 750 Volts.

July 21, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Banner


Art from our own Vivian Paige for those who want to show their support …..

[Edit by Kenton] Add this to your own blog:

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July 11, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Amendment in the Blogosphere II

Some more folks out there blogging the amendment:

Out of the Mountains Kentuckian urges us on

Equality Loudoun on “judicial activists”

Tully on Live Journal

Big Queer Blog

The Daily Whackjob

Too Conservative by NOVA Scout with 52 comments

From on High

TS Policy Review

Simcoe Blog

Erin on MySpace

Virginia Conservative Analysis

 And, you can find The Coalition on myspace.

Keep up the commentary …

July 10, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Other Bloggers Blogging the Amendment

You can find commentary on the amendment over at Ambivalent Musings, Vivian J. Paige, and James Atticus Bowden on Bearing Drift

July 5, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Welcome to Blogging the Marshall/Newman Amendment.  Our intention is for this blog to serve as a forum on the proposed amendment to Virginia's bill of rights that will be on the ballot.  Constructive comments from proponents and opponents are invited.  Thanks for stopping by!

Claire Guthrie Gastanaga

Campaign Manager

The Commonwealth Coalition

June 20, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment