A national same-sex marriage rights group has launched an effort across several states in the South to campaign for marriage equality.
Southerns for Freedom to Marry, a branch of the New York-based group Freedom to Marry, has mounted a $1 million campaign across nine states including Texas.
Chuck Smith, the executive director for Equality Texas, is heading up Freedom to Marry’s efforts in Texas and said recent polling shows Republican attitudes toward same-sex marriage have changed in recent years.
"The concept of respecting the Golden Rule and not treating someone the way you would want to be treated, that those concepts don’t sit well with Republican principals of limited government," Smith said.
That effort includes support from Congressman Joaquín Castro, D-San Antonio, and former George W. Bush Press Secretary Mark Mckinnon, a Republican who wrote:
“As a conservative, I don't believe you or I or the government can tell people who they can love or marry."
But Jonathan Saenz with the group Texas Values doesn’t see it that way, and said he doesn’t believe the recent polling of Texas Republicans on the issue of same-sex marriage.
"The homosexual advocates always come up with polls that they think support their side," Saenz said. "I mean this is really a fundraising effort of theirs for election purposes."
The ad campaign featuring same-sex couples across southern states are airing amidst several federal decisions blocking conservative state bans on same-sex marriage, and a federal lawsuit heard in San Antonio awaiting a ruling.
Freedom to Marry has set up efforts in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia and Texas.