Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Miller: We'll Be Letting People Know Where Candidates Stand On Gay Marriage

Reacting to an announcement concerning Indiane Equality's fundraising campaign to fight legislative efforts to discriminate against gays and lesbians, Advance America, speaking through its founder Eric Miller, vowed to let voters know where the candidates stand on the issue of gay marriage. Miller, a losing Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2004, told the Star's Gavin Lesnick:

"We believe most Hoosiers support marriage being between a man and a woman," said Eric Miller, founder of Advance America. "One of the things that we'll be doing is letting people know where the candidates stand on the issue as they go to vote Nov. 7."

To accomplish that goal, Miller's group will be distributing 850,000 voters guides prior to this November's election, which score candidates on whether they are "pro family", "pro church" and "pro business" through the eyes of the purported non-partisan, tax-exempt Advance America organization. As a non-profit organization, federal tax laws prohibit organizations like Advance America from engaging in partisan politics by doing such things as endorsing candidates and political parties or otherwise engaging in political activities. Non-profits are also prohibited from engaging in excessive lobbying activities. Advance America , as detailed previously by AI, has systematically violated the law on both accounts to further a political agenda based upon its fundamentalist Christian beliefs.

Miller's most recent partisan activity comes in the face of Indiana Equality's announcement that Otis Vincent, a Ft. Wayne activist and founder of the Northeast Indiana AIDS Memorial in Ft. Wayne will donate $200,000 to IE's Fairness 200 Campaign. The group is seeking 200 matching donations of $1,000 each to match Vincent's donation to meet it goal of raising $400,000. The group says the money is needed to defeat a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriages and a legislative ban on gay parent adoptions. IE says the money will be used to pay staff (emphasis added) for the mostly volunteer group.

Otis Vincent's son died from AIDS 10 years ago at the age of 30. As a reward for his donation to the effort, IE has given him a seat on its board. We can only hope that: IE uses this gift wisely; starts doing a better job at providing a financial accounting of its actitivities to its supporters; figures out how to comply with Indiana's Lobby Law; and hires a lobbyist who doesn't make contributions to anti-gay bigots like Rep. Woody Burton (R).

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