ACLU Starts $10 Million Campaign To Convince Republicans To Repeal Statewide Marriage Bans

Shortly after the Supreme Court released its rulings on same-sex marriage, the American Civil Liberties Union announced the start of a $10 million dollar nationwide campaign to bring marriage equality to more non-marriage states with the help of Republican leaders:

Schmidt_lasalviaWith the goal of working both with and within the Republican Party, the ACLU has hired Steve Schmidt (pictured left)…

Previously, he has worked on Capitol Hill as the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, served as one of the top strategists during President Bush's 2004 re-election and as a deputy assistant to President George W. Bush. Schmidt also directed strategic communications for the nomination of Chief Justice Roberts and led the nomination of Justice Alito…

Schmidt's role will be to help spearhead the campaign to strike down state-based laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. The campaign will, over the next four years, challenge legislative and constitutional provisions in states such as Illinois, Oregon, Hawaii, New Mexico, and others. The ACLU aims to spend roughly $10 million through 2016 and will officially announce the initiative with an ad in tomorrow's edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Most recently Schmidt told political satirist Bill Maher that the Republican party's anti-gay positions repel tech-savvy developers from working with the GOP. 

The ACLU will also hire Jimmy LaSalvia (pictured right) the former executive director of the gay Republican group GOProud to help with outreach efforts to gay conservatives and Tea Party members.


  1. Chris in Irvine says

    #fail – Why does ACLU have to hire LaSalvia? Don’t they realize he is not welcome with the gays, for his points of view?

  2. JONES says

    Loyalty for sale.
    Finding it hard to rejoice over hiring Steve Schmidt.
    He directed McCain’s campaign and championed Sarah Palin.
    Now he’s an ally?
    LaSalva, GoProud, Tea Partiers … no thank you.
    We got to this point despite these two and the GOP.
    Who they gonna hire next, Tony Perkins?
    The ACLU doesn’t have to answer to me but WTF were they thinking?
    No more donations for them.

  3. De La Cruz says

    I thank them. For those of you in NY and CA celebrating your marriages……those of us in Kansas, who have been together for 18 years would like to have the same 1,300 benefits you will now enjoy. Don’t forget about us as after your ceremony is over. For someof us in small town Kansas, Arkansas, and Mississippi….we have NO ONE standing up with multi million dollar resources fighting to ensure our ability to get married. Please still stay in engaged on this issue.

  4. says

    LaSalvia is a Brietbart style monster. He isn’t… a real person. He is just a greedy slimeball. He cares for nothing and is only used in tricking people. GOProud was just a scam.

  5. Alex Parrish says

    I think Schmidt is an OK guy from what I can tell. Yes, he is a republican, but not a tea-partier and more reasonable. My questions is why they would target Illinois, Oregon, Hawaii, and New Mexico — four states where marriage equality is likely going to happen even if they do nothing. Why not target states where real help is needed? This seems like they are going after the low-hanging fruit — then when marriage equality is successful, they will claim credit for it? I am not convinced…

  6. says

    I guess they’re going to go after the most likely states to make the change so they can use that in future court cases. While I would love for them to come to south carolina and work with the republicans here, I doubt it would do much good.

  7. says

    Steve Schmidt has a lesbian sister and has been gay supportive for a long time now. Aside from his support of the McCain/Palin ticket (he certainly came to regret the Palin part), he’s a reasonable person as Republicans go. Why the creep from GOProud was hired, with all his GOProud baggage, is beyond me. Can’t imagine many Tea Baggers thinking, love that Jimmy, let’s listen to him.

    It IS better to get nonpartisan groups to launch these campaigns aimed at Republicans. Unlike the completely ineffectual LCR’s and GOProud, they’re not trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes to insist that Republicans are gay-friendly and deserve our vote. They are simply targeting existing Republicans on this issue. It was effective in NH in helping to squash the right-wing equality-repeal effort.

  8. Rick says

    “We got to this point despite these two and the GOP”

    No, we did not. Every significant advance for gay rights at the Federal or state level was only possible because there was at least a degree of bipartisan support.

    Every single one, from DADT repeal to legalization of marriage in New York State.

    And all four of the landmark Supreme Court decisions on gay rights over the last 20 years were authored by a Republican Justice, Anthony Kennedy, without which we would still be in the political wilderness.

    More Democrats that Republicans support gay rights, for sure, but that does not mean that we can ever succeed with the support of only Democrats and history has demonstrated that beyond any doubt at all.

  9. Randy says

    I support the intiative, and I don’t know much about Schmidt. But LaSalvia is toxic – they guy isn’t interested in working towards a goal. He’s just interested in throwing bombs at liberals.

    Maybe those are the creds you need in GOP circles nowadays, but in the long run I really don’t see how it will help.

  10. selrahC says

    @ Alex

    Quote: “My questions is why they would target Illinois, Oregon, Hawaii, and New Mexico”

    They’re targeting those states so that they can appear as if they had something to do with it. It’s all for public relations, if they get involved in those states where it’s probably going to pass anyway, they can say, “Look, we were working for marriage equality to.”

    The Republican party is not about actual change, just the appearance of it.

  11. Gim says

    I do think we need to try to work with the republicans if only on this issue…other issues, I want to leave them isolated, but this issue to further advance…we do need to get them to vote for our rights and concerns. All they see is money though and all they care about is money…so hey, why not be real about that ad start investing some money to get them to stop enabling discrimination

  12. says

    @Rick, I agree with you that bipartisan support is a good thing, but let’s state the facts plainly: No gay rights legislation has every passed with a Republican majority, and if President McCain had been appointing Supreme Court Justices instead of President Obama, it’s highly unlikely that Section 3 of DOMA would be dead today. In reality, we did get to this point today because of the Democratic party and despite the Republican party.

    That doesn’t diminish Justice Kennedy’s decision, which–along with his 4 colleagues–was laudable nor does it mean that groups like the ACLU shouldn’t find ways to reach out to moderate Republicans. The problem is the blatant dishonesty of LCR/GOProud mentality that attempts to pretend that the major obstacle to gay rights progress is something other than the Republican party.

  13. says

    @selrahC: It’s the ACLU spearheading this, not the Republican party. They’re not doing it to appear as if they had something to do with it, because they’ve had something to do with marriage equality all along. More likely, they’re working first in the most realistic states, and where moderate Republican support is more feasible than in, say, wingnut states like Oklahoma, since making as many dominoes as possible fall for equality in the short term is the best way to capitalize on the Supreme Court momentum.

    I’m sure, however, that if this effort manages to get a handful of Republicans on board (which is good), the puppet boys at LCR and GOProud will make their usual idiotic claims that the Republican party is pro-gay.

  14. anon says

    The ACLU should return to it’s original mission of defending the defenseless rather than becoming another advocacy group. This is a lot of money that could be used to fight wireless wiretaps and e-mail surveillance, etc. They seem to have abandoned the first and fourth amendment fights they were founded on. This is really a job for lambda legal, etc.

  15. JONES says

    ‘No, we did not. Every significant advance for gay rights at the Federal or state level was only possible because there was at least a degree of bipartisan support.’

    You don’t even know the meaning of bipartisan.
    A few Republicans bucking party platform to vote for equality doesn’t qualify as ‘bipartisan’. Bipartisan means that it’s an issue that both Parties can find common ground to support.

    The GOP party platform has been rabidly anti gay ever since they adopted smarmy Ralph Reed’s Southern Christian Coalition stance.

    They have run on anti gay animus up to and including Romney’s backing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

    Steve Schmidt not only ran McCain’s campaign which included backing anti gay Prop 8 but was majorly responsible for promoting the political embarrassment of a lifetime and rabidly anti gay conversion therapy supporting Sarah Palin.

    Labeling Justice Kennedy as a Republican shows that you know nothing about him. He is an Independent that was nominated by a compromise committee between Republicans and Democrats after the failed nomination of Bork. The Justices that do identify as Republican; Scalia, Thomas, Alito, & Roberts, what was their vote again? That’s the ‘degree’ of support you flaunt.

    You are a lot like Lasalva; a GOP apologist like any LCR or GOProuder grasping at anything to validate an affiliation to a political party that repeatedly tells you how worthless you are to society.

    Your BS stinks. The GOP has had nothing to do with what we’ve gained so far. They are not and have never been bipartisan supporters of LGBT equality.