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The Night of the Living Robo-Calls


Published April 1, 2009 at 9:45 p.m.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) based out of New Jersey has rolled out what appears to be a statewide robo-call effort urging Vermonters to call their local reps and urge them to support Gov. Jim Douglas' veto of the same-sex marriage bill.

I didn't record the call because I answered the phone and just listened to the recording. I'm surprised for a couple of reasons. First, my state rep was one of the original sponsors of the legislation (Democratic Rep. Mark Larson), and second I'm a journalist. Thirdly, it not only had my rep's name, but his number, too.

This leads me to believe that the call list was probably not a political list, but one that contains most, if not all, households. And this has to be expensive.

Not sure that having an out-of-state group lobbying for their cause is going to help the in-state opponents of same-sex marriage. They are also behind an e-mail campaign to Vermont lawmakers. I've placed calls and emails to the organization to get more details about their efforts in Vermont and will post any responses I receive. They claim to have an ad running as part of their Northeast Action Plan to stamp out same-sex marriage efforts in New England. I haven't heard one yet in Vermont.

Several readers who alerted me to the calls they received had this same question: The ad specifically mentions that lawmakers should support Gov. Douglas. Did he give his blessing to this group to use his name? Probably not. His name also appeared on a rather hate-filled rant that landed on people's fax machines this week from a Utah-based group America Forever. This group also robo-faxed Vermont businesses before a public hearing on same-sex marriage last month.

As for tomorrow's House debate, I'll provide play-by-play coverage on Twitter. You can follow me by clicking here. I'll also be intermittently posting to Blurt. It promises to be a very busy, and very long day.

The House convenes at 9:30 a.m., but according to the official calendar they will be taking up the budget bill before they get to marriage equality. Download your copy of the calendar by clicking here and then clicking on the Thursday House calendar link (a PDF will then download).