The National Organization for Marriage appears to be making automated telephone calls today in support of U.S. Senate candidate and Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) and attacking his opponent, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (D), for her strong pro-marriage equality position. Coakley is running an unexpectedly close race for the seat held by the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D), the election for which will be held Tuesday.
Longtime LGBT activist Mary Breslauer, a volunteer member of Coakley for Senate cabinet, this afternoon relayed a report received by the campaign:
"Our household just got an automated call from the 'National Organization for Marriage,' with a 202 area code. The auto call features a male voice, which is clearly a recording, asking if you support marriage as being only between a man and a woman. If you say 'yes,' then the voice urges you to vote for Scott Brown as the only candidate with a proven record of supporting marriage as between a man and a woman. The call says that his opponent is a 'radical' supporter of same-sex marriage who has opposed letting the people decide and has used taxpayer dollars to support the agenda of same-sex marriage. The call ends by asking if 'we can count on you to vote for Scott Brown.' The quality of the recording is mediocre at best."
Although a call seeking comment from NOM this afternoon was not returned, NOM referenced the race in the group's most recent marriage news update, which focused mainly on the Proposition 8 trial. As to the Massachusetts race, NOM's executive director, Brian Brown, wrote on Friday that he was "excited by the Senate race in Massachusetts."
In the letter, he wrote that Scott Brown "was one of the stalwart legislators who resisted efforts to bribe and intimidate them, and supported the people's right to vote for marriage in Massachusetts." He went on to note that Coakley, as Attorney General, "spearheaded a lawsuit that is asking the Supreme Court to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act" and urged NOM supporters to "be sure to get out and vote."
Sara Whitman, the board chair for Mass Equality, said in a statement, "I'm not surprised NOM is making calls for Scott Brown. The race is very tight and both campaigns are calling out their greatest supporters -- for Coakley, it's President Obama. For Brown? It's the National Organization for Marriage."
Whitman added, "Brown has always been an extreme social conservative, although he has not said much about that in his campaign. I believe it will be a wake up call to Massachusetts voters."
Attempts for comment from the Coakley and Brown campaigns were unsuccessful.