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Protect Maine Equality Won’t Score A Touchdown If They Keep Playing Defense

This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Jim Burroway

October 8th, 2009

Protect Maine Equality has just released another ad. It answers an ad put out by the yes side which criticizes the book, Who’s in a Family? and pushes the false idea that schools will be forced to teach about homosexuality to young children, and by implication, details about sex. Maine’s latest ad answers that charge:

YouTube Preview Image

It’s a good ad, but I’ve got to be honest. I’m worried about the direction this campaign is going. No good general would ever dream of allowing his enemy to choose the terrain of battle, but that is exactly what the Protect Maine Equality is doing. Frank Schubert, the campaign manager behind Maine’s Yes on 1 is still calling the shots, and the “No” side is dancing to his tune.

Karen Ocamb’s brilliant post “Swiftboating Same-Sex Marriage In Maine” should be required reading for everyone who runs a campaign like this. She lays out exactly how Schubert orchestrated the passage of Prop 8 in California, and he’s playing from the very same playbook in Maine. And Protect Maine Equality is following right along.

Frank Schubert knows that the average voter doesn’t care that much about same-sex marriage. Any given voter may be for or against it, but it’s not necessarily high enough of a priority for them to be motivated to take time out of their busy day in unpredictable weather to vote in an off-year election. Maine voters must believe that they have a personal stake in the outcome, and Schubert is giving them that personal stake by picking on education. He doesn’t care if they’re for or against marriage; he’s making them vote on education. He’s changing the subject and putting Protect Maine Equality on the defensive. Our challenge is to give Maine voters a personal stake in seeing Question 1 fail. So far, I haven’t seen that argument being made.

But that’s pretty much how every campaign to date has gone. There has been one team playing offense and one defense. The problem with that is the only way the defensive team can win is that it has to hope the offense fumbles. Otherwise, it’s the offense driving to the goal line every time.

I can think of only one campaign in which the “No” side took the offense and stuck with it. That was in Arizona in 2006. And guess what? The marriage amendment failed that year, and that still remains only time such an effort to legislate inequality has ever been defeated. And it failed precisely because the average Arizona voter was given a personal stake in the outcome (i.e. unmarried straight senior citizens losing partnership benefits). And in 2008, Arizona again provided the perfect textbook case because that’s when the “Yes” side grabbed the offense early and never look back. And you know what happened then. Same with California and Florida.

I hope very soon we’ll see some ads which does two things. It has to not only change the topic of the campaign, but it also has to put the Yes side on the defensive for a change and give Maine voters a personal stake in the outcome. The last thing we need is another ad that says, “Nu-uh, we’re not that bad.” And unfortunately as much as we’d like to believe otherwise, just taking about equality won’t do it either. It’s taking the offense that wins games, battles, and elections. We need to suit up and get our offensive game on.

Comments

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Alex Hammer
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Is Maine being used in the same sex marriage debate?
http://www.hammer2010.com/2009/07/alex-hammer-on-same-sex-marriage.html

Pender
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Well, certainly SOME measure of defense is required. I think the No on 8 campaign probably overplayed their defense to some extent, but they were also dealt a tremendous blow by the footage of an elementary school class going on a field trip to watch their teacher’s same-sex marriage, which Gavin Newsom officiated. Talk about a gift to the Yes campaign — it’s quite possible that Prop 8 would have failed if not for that well-intentioned but horribly misguided event.

In Maine, I think you have to protest the other side’s claims enough that viewers understand that the issue is in dispute — there’s nothing more you can do when the electorate knows it does not have the expertise to decide for itself who is telling the truth — but you’re right that you also have to go on the offensive yourself.

But they’re doing that — with the brilliant message that Yes on 1 is trying to make children feel ashamed of their families. Awesome twist and electoral gold because it turns the strongest message of the Yes campaign against them.

In fact, on something of a tangent, I think it would be interesting to see a marriage equality campaign that focused PRIMARILY on the children of gay couples, and framed the debate as not about the rights of the parents but about compassion for children who need stability and social acceptance and who are hurt by government-sanctioned discrimination (against THEM, the children).

Ben in Oakland
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Jim: I absolutely agree with you on this. I’m going to confess something here, and open up myself to an attack.

I have not donated any money to Maine or washington. I may still do it, but my inclination is not to throw good money after bad.

And why? Because the campaign seems to be doing almost exactly what the no on 8 people did– refusing to talk aobut children, prejudice, and religion. I saw one of the maine ads, where a father talks aobut his son, his husband, and their children. yet another straight man speaking for us, instead of the couple themselves explaining why their marriage is important to themselves, their children, and possibly their faith.

I also saw an ad from washington, about people walking against a walk signal. Not a word about religion, prejudice, or children, not a word calling the right wing on their lies, not a wrod about WHAT THE INITIATIVE IS ABOUT. Just another vague political message about tolerance.

Crap, crap, and more crap.

As i wrote to the chronicle;

However one parses the numbers and voter trends that led to the passage of Prop. 8, the reality lies, ironically enough, in one simple truth: hypocrisy from both sides.

From Yes on 8, the guardians of family and faith had no moral qualms about using any number of lies and distortions to support their fear-mongering attacks on gay people and marriage equality. After all, if a law professor from a prestigious school tells you that freedom of speech and religion are threatened by gay marriage, despite the guarantees of our Constitution, it must be true. Likewise, the protectors of The Children had no issue with publicly exploiting the young children of parents adamantly opposed to Prop. 8, while effectively declaring that the well-being of the known 70,000 children of gay parents in California was of no consequence.

From No on 8, while loudly proclaiming that Gay Is Good, they official strategy came from the dark recesses of the closet, where hypocrisy is queen, and Gay Is Not So Good. Thus, in a campaign about gay marriage, we gay people, our lives, our families, and yes, our kids and our faiths, were completely invisible– by design, lest we scare some undecided voter. We could not discuss anti-gay prejudice, either, because by calling attention to a reality in our lives, we might offend the very people who call us a threat to family, faith, and country.

Here’s the result: more people thought that the standard of living of California chickens was more important than the families of their fellow Americans.

Emily K
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

I haven’t donated either. Throwing money down a hole isn’t going to do any good. And I’m having enough trouble affording food as it is.

Priya Lynn
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Pender said

In fact, on something of a tangent, I think it would be interesting to see a marriage equality campaign that focused PRIMARILY on the children of gay couples, and framed the debate as not about the rights of the parents but about compassion for children who need stability and social acceptance and who are hurt by government-sanctioned discrimination (against THEM, the children).

That’s not on a tangent, its directly relevant – an excellent idea. I’m so sick of people whining about how the campaign is bad but failing to offer any concrete suggestions on how to make it better – i.e. “don’t do this, don’t do that” but no “do this”.

John
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

As distasteful as it may seem, I think that the No on 1 campaign in Maine and the future attempts in California to overturn Prop 8 should pose the battle as one against the Mormon Church.

Outside of Utah and maybe Idaho, the Mormons represent a minority that is often regarded suspiciously by non-Mormons. Pointing out the large amounts of money that Mormons are pouring into these campaigns, the various ways the Mormons have tried to hide their involvement and launder their money, and asking the larger question of just what are Mormons after. Also, regular large protests outside of Mormon temples and ward houses would provide lots of local coverage of the Mormon angle.

While exploiting latent (or not so latent) anti-Mormon bias in the electorate may be something that people don’t want to stoop to, I would not hesitate to do it. I think that it would be very effective, and based on the Mormon track record thus far, they deserve it.

I would use past campaign information and not worry about whether I could really prove it in this campaign (after all, political speech doesn’t have to be absolutely true).

Ben in Oakland
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

“I’m so sick of people whining about how the campaign is bad but failing to offer any concrete suggestions on how to make it better – i.e. “don’t do this, don’t do that” but no “do this”.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I tried repeatedly to get the no on 8 people to listen to me. They didn’t. After the election, I tried repeatedly to reach ANYONE in any position of power or influence– Andrew sullivan, bruce Bastian, Evan wolfson, Mark Leno, you name it– and never got even the courtesy of a response. A few weeks ago, i called the Maine people and tried to talk aobut my concerns. I sent them everything i had written on the subject.

Guess what response i got?

Christopher Waldrop
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Ben, rather than attack, I’m going to praise your insight into the fact that the No On 8 campaign’s strategy made
“our lives, our families, and yes, our kids and our faiths, were completely invisible– by design, lest we scare some undecided voter.” The fear of scaring an undecided voter has, I think, sunk several campaigns. In the case of No On 8, as with others, the intention was good but the strategy was bad.

Thank you for emphasizing that the Yes On 8 campaign “had no issue with publicly exploiting the young children of parents adamantly opposed to Prop. 8″–parents, it should be noted, whose lives were not affected in any way by legalized same-sex marriage.

Priya Lynn
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Ben, I think if you offered a few concise ideas on how to make the campaign better as Pender did rather than a long list of complaints you’d have gotten more interest.

Richard Rush
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

First, I have little or no evidence-based knowledge of what strategy/tactics works in these campaigns, BUT:

I question the overuse of words such as equality and fairness. While those words may motivate some sympathetic people to get out and vote, our opponents consider us fundamentally inferior and unequal to straights. So, legislation that makes us equal is exactly what they oppose.

I do think it’s productive for ads to show actual gay families, particularly along with supportive extended family members. Gay families are not separate entities, they are part of extended families.

Most importantly, I think we need to be able to show how our full social acceptance benefits straights as well as gays:

One of our opponent’s most absurd arguments is, “Gays already have equal rights. Like everyone, they have the right to marry a person of the opposite sex” The first question I would ask is: How would you feel about your daughter marrying a homosexual who is desperately trying to believe he is straight, or marrying a “former homosexual” (exgay)? And if not okay for your daughter, would it be okay for someone else’s daughter? It’s a fact that, to avoid being social outcasts, homosexuals have been trying to pass as heterosexuals for eons. How does society benefit by promoting the conditions that produce dysfunctional marriages?

I have personally seen the results of these dysfunctional marriages, and they are not pretty (my experience involves gay men, not women). The most common result I see is divorce after many years of marriage. One divorced friend was married for about 24 years and produced six children. That example may be the most extreme, but not by much. Surely, there are more of these divorces nowadays than in the past due to increased social acceptance of gayness. But, to those who long for the good old days, I would ask, how did society benefit from people suffering through these pathetic marriages?

Another common situation is gay spouses secretly having regular same-sex encounters while being married. Gay people who cruise places other than gay bars know that there are lots of married men out looking for homosex on the side. While society may be inclined to label and dismiss these people as immoral adulterous lowlifes, society is culpable for creating the conditions whereby homosexuals have been virtually forced into inappropriate marriages in order to gain social acceptance and avoid persecution.

A vote to deny full social acceptance of gays is, in fact, a vote to produce more dysfunctional marriages.

Ben in Oakland
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Priya: I did exactly that. I would be happy to provide a copy of the main article i wrote to anyone who wants it. Believe me, I was quite specific.

For example: “I also pointed out that this strategy has been tried repeatedly, and possibly except for Arizona in 2006, it has yet to work. It failed miserably against Prop. 22. Now, I am not immersed in political culture. And I know that there is far more to politics than merely presenting issues and people voting. The politico may well be right, and I, quite wrong. Though his approach has merit, it is very troubling to me. It smells uncomfortably of the closet, which I have long maintained is the real enemy, not the Radical Right. It tells us to be invisible, not to talk about our lives and the REAL issues we face, lest we offend some undecided voter who needs to be manipulated into doing the right thing.

It avoids the larger issue of anti-gay prejudice, an apparently invisible 800 pound lavender gorilla. Research and experience show that people who know gay people tend not to vote against them. If we do not show gay people, we remain a faceless, menacing other, instead of friend, neighbor, or family. It is easy to vote against someone who is invisible. This was the lesson of Briggs and Prop.22.

I can see producing commercials featuring pretty straight girls. But why are we not also showing the couple who have been together for forty years, and who, because they cannot marry, are not eligible for each other’s pensions, guaranteeing one of them an old age of poverty? Why not show the two women who are raising their children, children who deserve the same protections that marriage would bring their family as it does their hetero counterparts? Why are we not showing the minister marrying two men in their church, surrounded by their happy, cheering families? Why are we not showing indignant Rabbis and Episcopal, UCC, and other ministers who don’t want a few denominations telling them what to do? Why are we not showing the man who nursed his partner through a heart attack? Why are we showing anything but us?”

sammyseattle
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Where are the ads to say “If we vote down the rights of same sex couples will you be next?” Cue scary music.

Priya Lynn
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Ben, that’s more along the lines of suggestions I’d like to see. Its not enough to say “show gay people in an ad”. Say you have an ad that shows gay people – so what? It needs to be along the lines of showing, as you said, an old unmarried gay couple with one of them suffering in poverty when the other dies because they couldn’t get married and receive their partner’s pension, or as pender said, a commercial emphasizing how the anti-gays want the children of gay couples to be denied the benefits of married parents, perhaps including the examples of the child that was taken away from the only parents he’d ever known, his gay foster parents because they weren’t allowed to marry, or the children of the the couple going on the cruise in Florida who were prevented from seeing one of their parents in the hospital after she became ill and was dying, all because they weren’t allowed to marry.

Rebecca
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

sammyseattle, I saw one on Youtube that was about the elderly, but I don’t know if it was an actual TV ad or just an attempt at viral.

SharonB
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

I think that showing gay couples is fine, even mandatory, but the narrator in each should be an off-scene third person. That person introduces the couple (and their children), the dilemma that they would face by lack of access to equal marriage, and its impact on that family. The scene should then cut to the narrator, who states, “the person(s) I just told you about is (are) my friend/son/daughter/mother/father, etc. Because I am married to my wife/husband I will never have to face this dilemma. Why should my friend/son/daughter/mother/father have to go thru this? How is this fair? This is not a Maine value! Vote against Question 1 – the law should not discriminate against my son/daughter/ mother/father, etc.

I think that having the narrator being the person the non-GLBT can identify with provides a bridge to understanding.

Richard W. Fitch
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

SharonB: An excellent suggestion!!

Vancity
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

OK folks, before you continue your criticism of the No on 1 campaign, first look at all the ads that they have produced so far:

“Sam Putnam” – kid with two moms
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8YYJKIbSJE

“Bill Whitten” – man with two daughters, one straight, one gay
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZfEfN1ifdA&feature=channel

“Cleaning up Distortions” – rebuttal ad re: claim that gay marriage will be taught in schools (this was withdrawn and replaced with “Proud”)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gm7HvaCW2k&feature=channel

“Proud” – better rebuttal ad re: claim that gay marriage will be taught in school
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s3FURNG2wA&feature=channel

“All Families” – appeal to the moderate middle to support marriage equality
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QLirv1-vBY&feature=channel

“Book” – rebuttal ad re: “Who’s in a Family?” book. Infers that Yes on 1 is against *all* non-traditional families (which is true).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoqcpfJ-09M&feature=channel

All in all, this appears to be an extremely well-produced, balanced set of advertisements. Coupled with earned media and a fantastic get-out-the-vote effort, “No on 1″ is conducting a campaign that *vastly* exceeds other campaigns thus far.

Willem van Oranje
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

I’m Dutch, I might not fully perceive the sensibilities of the Maine population at large, but would this idea be an option?

The Yes-campaign believes homosexuality is a choice. Attack them on the consequences of that belief.
Our opponents think your sexuality is a choice. That you were born bisexual and that at some point in your life you chose to be heterosexual; others to be gay or lesbian, and a few presumably didn’t chose at all and remained bisexual.

What’s next? Do they want our kids to learn their position that sexuality is a choice? Do they want our kids to have the ability to make an informed decision and learn about the pros and cons of each choice? What about having a ‘testdrive’ first?

Such an ad should ofcourse end with something like Love isn’t a box of chocolates where you can pick and choose.

I would love to see the fundies debate that in public (So you want to lie to children and not tell them that sexuality is a choice?). It also forces the whole ‘dirty sexuality stuff’ in their camp and enables you to talk about love and relationships and commitment and responsibilities etc.

----
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

I these campaigns were run by the LGBT blogosphere (including BTB), we could have won by a landslide on most occasions.

SharonB
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

I think another offensive ad should be called “Trojan Horse.” It should recite the story of states and jurisdictions where at first the anti-marriage side said, ‘We are just protecting marriage…’ [Ex. :"In Illinois, James Dobson's Alliance Defense Fund said they were in favor of a marriage amendment in order to defend marriage..."] Then show the facts that they then use the proposition’s passage in order to go after any protection for our fellow GLBT Mainers: [ As soon as it passed they went after all protections for GLBT people in that state, attacking civil unions, domestic partnerships, attempting to roll back employment protections, hate crime and anti bullying measures."] The ad should scroll black and white images of spittle flecking RR leaders, and expose the groups backing the proposition. “These outside groups aren’t pro Marriage, they are anti gay. They are extremists! Some of these groups are so extreme that they want take to [insert example of extreme nutty belief: EX: take contraceptives away from heterosexual couples.] Question 1 isn’t about protecting marriage; it’s about attacking the protections for Maine families. It’s about imposing extreme beliefs on all of us. Vote against Question 1. Hatred and extremism are not Maine values!”

palerobber
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

i agree and disagree, but the maine campaign will most likely be won on the ground not on the air.

so for all those so disappointed in the advertising, Maine Freedom to Marry is doing distributed phonebanking in the coming week to remind sympathetic Mainers to early vote. why not volunteer?

----
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

To: Willem van Oranje

No, they don’t believe in such a thing as bisexuality. They think we are all heterosexuals but due to a choice or environmental causes we deviate from nature and begin to feel attracted to our own sex.

Phil
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

I’d like to see/hear a very clear message on billboards and radio spots:

“No church or religious group should be forced to perform a marriage that is against its beliefs.

Protect Religious Freedom. Vote ‘No’ on 1.”

Whether you’re gay or straight, _everyone_ can agree that churches shouldn’t be forced to perform marriages. As the text of ballot measure explains, a “yes” vote on 1 will reject a law that explicitly protects the rights of churches and religious organizations to refrain from performing same-sex marriages.

It’s hard to get people riled up about inequality when they don’t feel unequal. Religious freedom is a concept that most Americans can relate to.

CB
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

This may be over the top, but I would put the opposition on defense asking the people if they want a DEMOCRACY or a THEOCRACY.

Arguments should be made that the constitution provides that we are all created equal and the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Show the hypocrisy of the Theocrats, by cherry-picking the bible back at them.

If they use the procreate excuse, show a married couple who are unable to have children and ask if they shouldn’t be married due that they are unable to procreate.

There seem to be many angles, but softballs is all anyone wants to launch back, mainly in fear of losing what spiritual support we have.

RR
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

like others I did not donate for the exact same reasons. I wrote the campaign and explained my reasons for not donating and the need to be more hard hitting in the ads

Mike
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

The anti-gay forces are WAY better funded than the pro-gay forces. If they spend their money producing ads and getting out there first, the unfortunate reality is that towards the end the opposition with swing around with new attacks and we’ll be helpless and broke.

The ads that counter the lies are good. What needs to happen is there has to be grassroots activism on the ground.

Mike
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

I just went through the replies. Ummm, folks, you do realize, all you “I’m not donating” people, the reason they CAN’T make ads that get out there 1st is because they are SO underfunded. They HAVE to hang onto their money to counter the attack ads. It was learned during Prop 8 that the attack ads that went unanswered had the most impact.

But by all means, hang onto your money.

Timothy Kincaid
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Phil, if I can offer an adjustment

“No church or religious group should be forced to perform a marriage that is against its beliefs. Nor should any church be denied the right to perform marriages that they believe in.

Protect Religious Freedom. Vote ‘No’ on 1.”

Timothy Kincaid
October 8th, 2009 | LINK

Mike,

I believe the most recent reports in Washington show that the pro-gay side had significantly more money contributed than did the anti-gay side.

Phil
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

I actually disagree, Timothy. I think there are some religions out there which _ought_ to be denied the right to perform marriages that they believe in. Child marriages are the best example of this, although there are also churches that advocate polygamous marriages. (I don’t support criminalizing polygamy, but I don’t think it’s feasible to have the state issue licenses for multiple-partner-marriages. And I find that to be an entirely separate issue from same-sex marriage.)

However, I don’t think it’s the case that religions have an absolute right to perform whatever marriages they want. On the other hand, I do believe that religions have an absolute right not to be _forced_ to perform a ceremony or sacrament.

Mike
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, no. That is not the case. The Vote Yes campaign has huge donations from the Catholic Church, AFA, NOM, Knights and we are no learning from the Mormons.

For the most part the No campaign has been relying on individual donors. The last two weeks of this campaign will be flooded with anti-gay material. We are well advised to be fund heavy toward the end.

Duncan
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

Suggested slogans:
“We believe in the traditional conception of marriage as two spouses united by love committing for life and raising children together, and we wish to see the end of arbitrary gender-based restrictions.”
“These couples wish to marry because they love each other. But organizations like NOM say they can’t because their genitals won’t fit.”
“NOM wants to reduce your marriage to a matter of social control and a tool for procreation.”

Bring the focus on marriage itself, and what our society wants it to mean. And bring in children; this might cost support in the short-term because it reminds people that adoptions are a sequitur to marriage; but making them accept this is the only hope for long-term support.

Above all, make it clear that gay marriage will not lead to polygamy, in the same terms that Lincoln made clear that abolition would not lead to equality. (“I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife.”)

BTW, I read on http://www.traditionalvalues.org that the claim about seniors in Arizona was false. I don’t trust them, but can you clarify things?

Naked Straight
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

[...] post is from here. Visit the link to read more.Another common situation is gay spouses secretly having regular [...]

Dan L
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

Jim, a simple question: how does No on One get on offense? You point to the Arizona experience, but they won that by “de-gaying” their opposition–which they could do only because the amendment tried to include a ban on any arrangement similar to marriage. You can’t de-gay a gay marriage bill.

I think they’ve been doing a reasonably good job thus far. The “ashamed” route is brilliant, and it’s the best route to retaking the offense I’ve seen yet. Perhaps another ad building on that theme would help them do it. I think it would be more helpful, though, if you gave them suggestions other than just pointing at the Arizona experience, which really is not very helpful.

Timothy Kincaid
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

Phil

You are quite correct on a technical level and indeed I don’t support those churches’ weddings either.

But I think we need to get people to realize that there are a lot of churches – mainstream “real” Christian churches – that support marriage equality and do so as a matter of faith.

So, while I recognize the merits of your issue, for a billboard I’d still go with my language. It introduces the idea and starts the conversation.

Timothy Kincaid
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

Mike,

From the Seattle Times article on Microsoft’s $100,000 contribution to support domestic partnerships:

Microsoft’s donation is the largest the campaign has received to date, according to reports filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

It brings to nearly $780,000 the total amount raised so far by Washington Families – an amount that dwarfs the $60,000 raised to date by the law’s opponents, Protect Marriage Washington.

But you are quite right that we cannot assume that they aren’t holding back the big dollar contributions so as to hide behind reporting dates. We should contribute and volunteer.

And, as we saw in California, many anti-gay “Christians” are a bunch of liars and cheaters and feel no moral obligation whatsoever to be honest. We have no reason to assume that the reports are accurate. Remember when the Mormon Church said that they gave nothing to Prop 8?

Timothy Kincaid
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

How about:

We believe that the most important parts about marriage are love and commitment; the assurance that when times are tough or problems arise that we are one; raising children to be good citizens and neighbors. We believe that the most important thing about marriage is that it takes two separate people and unites them in front of their families, their community and their faith and makes them one.

Those who support Referendum 1 believe that none of this matters. They dont think that marriage is about love and commitment and family. They think the very most important thing about marriage is a few body parts.

Please support real marriage of love, commitment, and family. Please reject Referendum 1.

Chris McCoy
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

As a resident of Arizona, I point out that, the 2006 ballot attempt failed because the opposition successfully pointed out that the text of the measure would cause the State to not be able to recognize heterosexual domestic partnerships, and the health benefits it was providing to them. Once the measure was re-written to specify homosexual relationships only (2008) it passed by a wide margin.

I think we need to frame this debate for the religious issue that it is in reality. The anti-gay-marriage movement has no non-religious rational arguments. We need to call them on their religious bias and be utterly frank about it.

I am tired of trying to appease the undecideds. Equality cannot be won in brownie points for being nice and playing fair.

I am not interested in winning converts from their side. I am interested in shutting down their lying propaganda machine and exposing them for the hypocrites and the bigots that they are. If they cannot face the truth of their hypocrisy, that’s not my problem.

Richard Rush
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

Chris McCoy wrote…

As a resident of Arizona, I point out that, the 2006 ballot attempt failed because the opposition successfully pointed out that the text of the measure would cause the State to not be able to recognize heterosexual domestic partnerships, and the health benefits it was providing to them.

If that is accurate, then it is more evidence of people voting to benefit their own best interests. Can we really blame them?

While appeals to fairness and equality will tug at the conscience of many voters, others will be looking for how same-sex marriage could possibly benefit them. And if they can’t find any benefits, it may be very easy for them to vote against us.

We need to educate them on how full acceptance and equality for gays benefits all of society, both gay and straight. I outlined one area of those benefits earlier in these comments. Although it may involve aspects of some homosexual lives that are uncomfortable to discuss, they are facts that grown up people need to understand.

Ben in Oakland
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

A positive message on religious freedom is certainly a good way to go. Two approaches I would take:

A commercial featuring named ministers, rabbis, and imams, saying that their churches and denominations support quality, with a further message that enshrining marriage inequality and thus enforcing conservative rewligions prejudices on others who do not share them,compromises everyone’s freedom of religion. Maybe a cutaway shot from a few talking heads to a large gorup of ministers.

Another freedom of religion commercial: perhaps a couple getting married in their church. The dialog: our church blesses our marriage, and believes God does as well. Somepeople don’t want us to get married becauase they believe that God does not bless us, and intends marriage to be only for people hwo believe is they do. They are rfree tro believe what they want. In fact, the marriage equality law guarantees them this freedom, as does the first amendement to the constitution. But what aobut OUR religious freedom. is not
OUR religious freedom every bit as important as theirs?

Final voice over: Support religious freedom. Approve marriage equality.

Mike
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, perhaps our wires got crossed but we are talking about Maine, no? I’m not sure what Microsoft’s donation has to do with Maine…or your original post.

I guarantee that the Maine anti-gay forces are gonna flood that state in the last two weeks and we’ll need as much money and as many volunteers as possible. My partner and I are spending the week prior to the vote in the state.

The people behind the vote no Campaign are doing the best they can with the resources available to them. It’s easy to armchair quarterback…but I’m throughly aggravated with people who are saying they won’t donate because they don’t like the campaign. THAT is the reason Maine is being run like it is.

Timothy Kincaid
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

Mike,

Yes it is crossed wires. Here’s how it happened:

Ben in Oakland: “I have not donated any money to Maine or washington.”

Mike: “The anti-gay forces are WAY better funded than the pro-gay forces.”

Timothy: “I believe the most recent reports in Washington show that the pro-gay side had significantly more money contributed than did the anti-gay side.”

Mike: “Timothy, no. That is not the case.”

Timothy quotes Seattle Times article.

Mike: “Timothy, perhaps our wires got crossed but we are talking about Maine, no? I’m not sure what Microsoft’s donation has to do with Maine…or your original post.”

But I completely agree with you that we need as much money and as many volunteers as possible. For both Maine and Washington.

Chris McCoy
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

Throwing money blindly at an issue, hoping for the best, won’t help.

What I would like to see is assurance from the PME camp that future donations will be used to launch a pro-active campaign, and not the re-active campaign they have been resorting to.

For myself, I want to feel like my money will be going toward a campaign that has a better chance of success, and not a repeat of the failed strategy from California.

So far I see More Of The Same ™, which is why I, too, have not contributed.

Several suggestions here are more along the lines of aggressive campaigns I would support financially. The 3 response ads I have seen so far are not.

However, I am not a Mainer, and I don’t know how Mainers tick, but I know that similar tactics here in AZ failed miserably.

Painting pretty pictures of wholesome families smiling on porches isn’t enough. Attacking the opposition’s house of cards is.

Stop trying to please everyone and offend no one. If the bigots are offended when we call them bigots, tough. They don’t spare the harsh language when they attack us, why can’t we. If the truth really is on our side, what have we got to lose? Or are secretly afraid that we might not be on the right side?

Dave Hughes
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy’s latest ad suggestion is a winner!

We believe that the most important parts about marriage are love and commitment; …

Those who support Referendum 1 believe that none of this matters. They dont think that marriage is about love and commitment and family. They think the very most important thing about marriage is a few body parts.

Please support real marriage of love, commitment, and family. Please reject Referendum 1.

Here’s the problem: the vast majority of people in the middle will react to appeals to equality and fairness with a huge yawn. It doesn’t impact them.

We need to attack. Yes, we would like to ride the noble white horse and stay above that, but that approach doesn’t win.

Maybe they should release an ad that says something to the effect of “The Catholic Church is closing (insert number) churches in Maine due to lack of funds. But after spending millions to pay off victims of priests’ sexual abuses, they are now spending millions to harm Maine families they don’t approve of. And they have to resort to deceptive, lying ads to do it.”

Or, “Who’s really behind the National Organization for Marriage, the out-of-state organization who is funding these attacks on some Maine families?”

Bash ‘em. They have no scruples about lying and villifying us to take our rights away.

This is an off-year election. Voter turnout will ultimately decide the issue. The fact that there is so much grass-roots support in Maine for opposing Referendum 1, and the other side is relying heavily on dollars from the outside bodes well for our side. Gotta get the people out to vote!

Ben in Oakland
October 10th, 2009 | LINK

Here’s another suggested ad– oned directed to gay people and their families.

Talk to your friends, families, and neighbors about how this impacts you. come out if you haven’t. Do something.

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