So I've been keeping tabs on both Washington United for Marriage (pro-LGBT) and Preserve Marriage Washington (anti-LGBT) which included getting on mailing lists for both organizations. Sure they both have nice websites, but organizations such as these (read: PMW, based on my experience with the NYFRF) also disseminate materials to their supporters that can't be found online.
The other day I received a call about contacting people in regards to Washington's Same Sex Marriage Referendum, R74. I thought it was on behalf of WUM, but apparently I wasn't paying real close attention (I was at the dog park, sue me). Turns out it was PMW. They sent me a list of names and numbers to call on behalf of hating the gays. Not only did I see an opportunity to gather some information, but a few things jumped out at me:
Also please delete the list from your computer after returning the calling results. Just call me if you have any questions.
Well, that's kind of sketchy. I asked my contact about it, pointing out that PMW has already gotten in trouble for illegally soliciting donations through churches. Their response:
The list you were sent is part of a compilation of lists from organizations. Organizations generally want to keep their lists confidential; but we are blessed that they were willing to lend them to PMW. Thanks for your concern.
Okay..."organizations," is equally sketchy. I tried to get some more information on what kind of organizations, playing it as concern. The FRC's Tony Perkins, another anti-gay wingnut got himself into trouble while running a senate campaign by paying former KKK member David Duke $82,500 for a KKK mailing list. I have a feeling my contact just saw KKK and shit bricks, because I got another call a few minutes ago.
The (older) woman started right in on asking where I got off on asking such questions. I told her I was merely looking to gather information. She directed me to Preserve Marriage Washington's website, to which I replied that I think it's better to interface with someone directly, and that they apparently agree since they're sending out these calling lists.
She started in on me for my out of state telephone number (my cell phone was set up in New York), which I filed aside for a moment. She was weak enough to let me talk over her and get in every word I wanted (Bill O'Reilly style), and didn't possess the willpower to ignore the verbal volleys that pissed her off. I tried to press again for any more information as to what type of organizations they might have solicited these lists from, which apparently is "none of my business." She then asked whether or not I went to church in a nearby municipality (hey thanks for the unintentional answer lady.) I deflected that question, and was again pressed about my out of state number.
I informed her that I had just moved from New York, and then asked her how she thought that was any of her business. No answer. It then occurred to me that she obviously had a problem with me appearing to be from out of state. I asked her if she wanted to keep people from out of state out of the R74 issue. She obviously replied that she did. I then asked her why Preserve Marriage Washington had accepted money from the National Organization for Marriage, an out of state organization. She hesitated for a moment before saying that she worked in the communications area and had no idea where the money was coming from. I asked her if it bothered her that she didn't know that. No answer. I then informed her that I thought she was lying to me. (To be fair, she might have been telling the truth, or might have phrased her answer well enough to make it "technically true." It's also likely that such organizations like these keep as many people as possible out of the loop as NOM has lost several court cases related to their contributors.
Exasperated, she reverted to the PMW script and asked me if I supported R74. With little value left in the conversation, I told her, "of course, why wouldn't you?"
She then hung up.
I wonder how churchgoers feel knowing their church officers (assumption) are handing out their names to anti-LGBT groups.