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NOM Exposed is a campaign-style operation that tracks and challenges the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage as it tries to influence elections and legislative campaigns across the country.

NOM Tour Tracker: Day 1, Part 1 — Equality Maine steals NOM’s thunder

July 14, 2010

By Eden James

Hey everyone — on the heels of an overnight flight from California, our intrepid staffers on the ground in Maine have done a bang-up job compiling everything they could from today’s NOM “Summer of Marriage” tour stop kickoff in Augusta, including photos, video and their personal thoughts.

Unfortunately, we also encountered some tech snafus that delayed our first report. A great deal of footage was taken by Robert and Danny, and we’re still working through it, but we’re going to save some of that video footage for a subsequent post or two. Some really good stuff. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here’s a rundown of what happened today, from a few traditional media reports. In a separate post, we will bring you on-the-ground analysis from Danny Segura and Robert Oliver, plus some good pics from the event.

The big headline: Equality Maine stole NOM’s thunder today, holding a great event that may have — though there are varying estimates — attracted a larger attendance. Danny and Robert did a hand-count from the video footage and estimated that there were 102 people at the Equality Maine press conference and 76 people at the NOM rally. That is an amazing accomplishment for Equality Maine, given that NOM has been hyping this tour for weeks now and Equality Maine organized their event in response.

First, an AP report in the Bangor Daily News kicks off the the coverage from the heart of Maine:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gay-marriage opponents who put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the successful effort to keep the practice out of Maine are taking their show on the road. The National Organization for Marriage kicked off its 23-city “One Man, One Woman” bus tour Wednesday in Maine, where voters last fall rejected a law that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed. About 100 people showed up at a rally at noon at Capitol Park, at which speakers said it’s important to defend traditional marriage. Earlier, about 80 people showed up at a separate rally in the nearby State House in support of legalizing gay marriage.

So, the Bangor Daily News flipped the crowd estimates between NOM and Equality Maine. But yet another source (Maine Watchdog) reported that there were 150 people at the Equality Maine event. Again, Danny and Robert’s 102-to-76 count was taken directly from video, so take that for what you will.

Meanwhile, Maine Watchdog focused a bit more on Equality Maine’s event, highlighting Governor John Baldacci’s appearance:

Governor Baldacci spoke approvingly of their efforts: “I’m so impressed with all of you. I know we came up a little bit short in the last election. But I think you did change a lot of minds and hearts.”

He galvanized the red sea of supporters: “I know what the future looks like, and I know that we’re going to have an opportunity to make sure that everybody will be able to enjoy marriage equally and without discrimination.”

Danny and Robert were able to capture Gov. Baldacci’s brief speech (excuse the baby crying in the background):

You can also see a brief clip of Gov. Baldacci’s speech as well as some comments from NOM Executive Director Brian Brown in this TV news report from WCSH6 in Portland, Maine.

More to come from Danny and Robert on the NOM rally and Equality Maine’s even more impressive rally in the next post…