The Arlington Group (AG) is the newest coalition of the leaders of Religious Right groups brought together by right-wing strategist Paul Weyrich and Don Wildmon, head of the American Family Association, to coordinate activities. The group is widely credited with being the driving force behind the effort to put marriage protection amendments on the ballot in 11 states in the 2004 election.
The Arlington Group
801 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Founded/Place: 2002 in Arlington, Virginia
Executive Director: Shannon Royce
Membership: Members include the heads of 75 (as of September 2006) Religious Right groups such as Paul Weyrich, Don Wildmon, James Dobson, and Gary Bauer. The complete list of members and their affiliations is located here.
Read the latest news on the Arlington Group on the group's Right Wing Watch index page
The Arlington Group describes itself as a "powerful coalition of leaders from the pro-family community, [that] develops and executes national and grassroots strategies to: protect the traditional institution of marriage, increase respect for every human life, limit judicial activism, and act on other moral issues of concern."
- The group is credited with much of the effort to put marriage protection amendments on the ballot in 11 states in the 2004 election. According to member Paul Weyrich, the resources to go "full-tilt" in Ohio were raised by group members. Arlington Group members contributed $1,989,545 million in 2004 to pass ballot measures nationwide. In Ohio their contributions totaled $1.18 million, 98% of the total expenditures for the Ohio ballot.
- AG works to organize support in the African-American community for a federal marriage amendment. In 2004, the Rev. William Owens, head of the Coalition of African-American Pastors in Memphis organized a meeting of his organization with the executive board of the Arlington Group. Owens is now a member of the AG Executive Committee.
- In 2005, the Group threatened to withhold support for the President's proposed Social Security reforms if Bush did not actively work to pass a federal marriage amendment banning same-sex marriage. A letter sent to White House political adviser Karl Rove said, "We couldn't help but notice the contrast between how the president is approaching the difficult issue of Social Security privatization, where the public is deeply divided, and the marriage issue, where public opinion is overwhelmingly on his side."
- When Justice Sandra Day O'Connor first resigned from the Supreme Court, The Arlington Group quickly announced plans to run a multimillion-dollar campaign to pressure the administration to select a right-wing successor. The group planned to target 20,000 pastors and congregations and use Christian talk radio and television, direct mail, and grassroots organizing.
- The group offers voting recommendations on 2006 ballot initiatives across the country.
"People who voted for (Bush) voted for him to put in conservative judges," Tim Wildmon said. "We'll have to see what he does. We've been disappointed before by presidents who said they were going to do that ... and then appointed judges who voted to uphold Roe vs. Wade and have been liberal on other social issues.
"I feel this time, with the strength of our groups, hopefully President Bush will do the right thing. If he wavers, we're here to let people know."
–Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association describing the Arlington Group's influence
"For the first time, virtually all of the social issues groups are singing off the same sheet of music, this has never happened before. From the beginning of the pro-life movement through the development of the pro-family movement, everybody did their own thing. But working together we have helped to reelect the President and added a number of conservative senators."
–Religious Right strategist Paul Weyrich speaking about the Arlington Group
Updated: September 2006
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