By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
Nearly a month ago, the Vote FOR Marriage NC campaign began distributing its first yard signs urging voters to approve an amendment to the State Constitution inserting the one man/one woman definition of marriage. Two days later, they began hearing reports of the signs being stolen and within a week had received Twitter images from opponents showing them swiping the signs and bragging about it.
Just last week, the National Organization for Marriage had its online properties hacked by militant same-sex marriage activists who temporarily high-jacked NOM’s Facebook, Twitter and blog accounts and beginning sending out pro-gay tweets.
“These are the kind of tactics that supporters of traditional marriage are dealing with as we speak out to defend this institution. Apparently all the tolerance that the other side talks about simply doesn’t extend to anyone who doesn’t share their worldview,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “People need to understand that this is what we’re up against.”
As the May 8 vote nears, Leonard Goenaga, one of two grassroots directors of the Vote FOR Marriage NC campaign, expects the sign theft and vandalism will only worsen. He said recent incidents include at least one pro-marriage billboard being set fire and another being spray painted. The campaign announced Tuesday that more than $10,000 worth of yard signs and billboards has been destroyed.
“I saw a tweet about someone trying to burn a billboard in Brunswick County that a group of pastors had put up and while they were trying to get photos of that damage from where opponents tried to light it on fire, they found their second billboard had graffiti on it,” Goenaga said. The incident didn’t surprise him.
“You’ll see people having conversations on Twitter about how many signs they are stealing. In California, they would put videos on YouTube of them stealing Prop. 8 signs,” he added.
Similarly just a week after the Vote FOR Marriage NC signs began going out, the campaign’s Twitter account received an interesting message.
“Our opponents had apparently stolen a yard sign from a church in Orange County and sought to gloat with pictures and comments,” Goenaga wrote in an e-mail to supporters.
They went so far as to cover one sign with cat feces.
“Pro-marriage yard signs are notorious for being stolen by those ‘tolerant’ enough to steal them,” he said.
His hope is that the attacks will lead to a steely resolve among marriage supporters, who will respond like one south Raleigh woman who had a sign stolen from her lawn.
“She and her church friends have gathered a donation to buy 100 yard signs to replace the one that was stolen,” he wrote in the e-mail blast.
“They can keep taking them, and I’ll keep putting them up,” the woman told him.
Goenaga said more signs are scheduled to be available via 34 distribution locations across the state this week. Campaign supporters who log into the Vote FOR Marriage NC Web site and sign up can check a box to get a yard sign. County coordinators are also working to get the signs out.
He urged those who get the signs to place them in their yards, not along roadsides, and to take them in at night to help avoid having them stolen.
“We also want people to know that it is a level three misdemeanor to steal a yard sign, so they should report it to law enforcement if it happens,” he said.
UPDATE: Vote FOR Marriage NC sent out an e-mail April 13 and today informing supporters about the damaged billboards, stolen yard signs, as well as church signs, and asking folks to help raise $10,000 via a “Billboard Money Bomb” to help replace many of the stolen signs. Vote for Marriage NC announced today it had received $7,644 in response to its requests, it also reported that opponents to marriage had been mocking the fund drive via Twitter.
“Instead of stealing and defacing signs or mocking opponents, we can fight back by proving them wrong!,” Goenaga said. Further, he announced the good news that a generous donor has agreed to match dollar-for-dollar every contribution.
“Now’s the time to donate to double the impact,” said Dr. Creech. “There is no time to waste. Vote FOR Marriage NC needs signs restored and advertisements in order to spread the word.”
Here are some of the most recent pictures to come in.
Give now at www.voteFORmarriagenc.com