Minnesota for Marriage: They’re Coming After Our Children

Jim Burroway

October 25th, 2012

Minnesota for Marriage, the group fighting to deface that state’s constitution with the stain of discrimination, has released this ad today predicting that if Amendment 1 fails — which, if it did, nothing in Minnesota would change — but if Amendment 1 fails, next thing you know they will be teaching homosexuality in schools. Massachusetts’ David Parker is the face of this ad. He’s the guy who failed in his demands that he be given advance notice each and every time his son might be exposed to anything related to marriage and gay families — even if it was just a classmate reading an essay about her two mommies for Mother’s Day.

Minnesota for Marriage are running this ad because this message has proven to be very effect in past campaigns, particularly in Maine and California. This has become an essential campaign tactic for our opponents. They know two things: 1) they know that most voters are more motivated to on something according to how it affects them personally over how it affects other people abstractly (and anyone who is someone else is always an abstraction), and 2)  very few voters actually care personally about same-sex marriage, but they do care much more personally about what is happening in their schools. Those two reasons taken together are why these ads are so effective. It changes the topic from something very few people personally care about to another topic that they do personally care about.

I argued last year that because we knew this was coming — we did know it was coming, right? —  we needed to either come up with a response or go home. So I don’t know about you, but I’m on the edge of my seat to see what marriage equality proponents have come up with to blunt this. They’ve had four years to prepare, so I’m sure it’ll be good.

Ben In Oakland

October 25th, 2012

As I’ve often said, the refusal to talk about bigotry, religion, and children is the biggest fialure of these campaigns…

every signle goddam time.

tristram

October 25th, 2012

they’re not their – one of those things that spell check does not catch

David in Houston

October 25th, 2012

So children in public school might be taught that it’s legal in their state for same-sex couples to get married. Wow… how traumatic for them, being taught that all people have the right to marry the person they love. Such monsters!

Here’s a novel idea: If you’re a bigoted religious a-hole like this couple (that intentionally made themselves martyrs), why don’t you put your child in a private Christian school? Why don’t you admit that public schools are under no obligation to promote your chosen religious ideology. Why don’t you admit that the United States is not a Christian theocracy, and what you are promoting is exactly that.

Maybe a pro-gay ad should say, “Because some parents don’t want to tell their children that gay people exist, and that some of them want to get married, they want gay people to remain second-class citizens in our country. How is that fair? How is that the least bit American? Shouldn’t ALL Americans be treated equally under the law? Shouldn’t ALL adults have the right to marry the person that they love, and want to make a lifetime commitment with?”

Lord_Byron

October 25th, 2012

Wow, a fundamentalist-christian youtube video that blocks all comments and the rating system. Why am I not surprised?

Hyhybt

October 25th, 2012

The trouble is, what strong response *is* there that fits a campaign commercial format?

The biggest problem is how vague the accusation is. Getting them to specify precisely what they do (and harder, what they don’t) mean by “teaching homosexuality” is about the only way it would even be possible. Otherwise, you’d have to go through every possibility, explaining how some meanings would be technically true but harmless or beneficial and how others are not only nonsense, but impossible. And of course giving it that much depth of attention (requiring a whole series of ads, or else an informercial) not only makes the complaint seem more credible, but also leaves nothing left for putting out arguments in favor of marriage.

How would you do it, were you in charge of the campaign?

David Parker

October 25th, 2012

“but I’m on the edge of my seat to see what marriage equality proponents have come up with to blunt this. They’ve had four years to prepare, so I’m sure it’ll be good.”

I’ve had seven years to prepare and I’m ready to be indisputably truthful. I’ve already begun the interviews about this ad. More to come.

Cheers,

David Parker

Jim Burroway

October 25th, 2012

I see someone’s been googling their name again.

esurience

October 25th, 2012

The right message, imho, but I don’t know if it would poll right or be popular is:

—–
Every kid deserves to grow up knowing they have a future, and that future can include marriage. Gay and lesbian kids deserve to know they have a future too. Children of gay and lesbian parents deserve to know that their family is respected.
—–

Something like that. Because ultimately we do need to make the argument that there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality, and there’s nothing wrong with your kid hearing about it. In fact, a lot of *good* comes from kids hearing about it. (Less bullying, etc).

But I do think in a short-run political campaign we’re always going to be at a disadvantage, it’s just easier to drum up these fears because of all the stigma and and stereotypes hanging in the background, than it is to dissipate these fears.

Lord_Byron

October 25th, 2012

Jim,

Just because I was bored and wanted to find out how Mr. Parker found this post so quick I decided to google random things using his name.

If you google “david parker minnesota for marriage” boxturtle comes up as link #6. Not that it adds to this conversation, but I thought I’d share that fact.

Honestly, who is so self-absorbed that they google themselves? It’s weird.

LostChoi

October 25th, 2012

Minnesota is already lost.

At last poll, Amendment 1 was tracking 46% in favor of and 49% against the amendment … but we have to factor in the “political correctness” factor (the gay version of the “Bradley Effect”) where a certain percentage of respondents will tell the pollster what they think is politically correct, not necessarily what they will actually do at the ballot box. Past history indicates about ~5% of respondents will switch at the ballot box.

That means that we’re already behind in Minnesota … and the “Yes On Amendment 1” is just now bringing out their big gun message of “Save the Children!” which is always effective.

And I can already answer your question Jim as to “what marriage equality proponents have come up with to blunt this.” The answer: more of the same. More of the usual “It’s not fair”, “It’s not needed”, and “It’s not nice” messaging. The same failed messaging used in nearly every single lost ballot measure in the last 15 years. Emotions drive elections, and this in particular is an emotional issue. Until our leaders use strong, emotional arguments (e.g. a little girl looking at the camera, pleading “Don’t destroy my mommies’ marriage?!”) we cannot win.

Yes, Minnesota is already lost. But take heart: Maryland is still looking good. (Washington state is close to a toss-up – they need some help.)

Timothy Kincaid

October 25th, 2012

I LOVE the message of Kluwe’s radio ad:

Kluwe: “this is America, you are entitled to life, liberty AND the pursuit of happiness”

The Government: “we know, that’s why we’re trying to change the constitution”

John Hughes

October 25th, 2012

Gay marriage is archaic and narrow-minded — archaic because it’s based on a 70’s idea that men and women are interchangeable when it comes to child-rearing, ignoring the latest brain science and social psych, and narrow-minded because it doesn’t see the whole social picture in which fatherless kids are filling up the prisons and rehab institutions.

LostChoi

October 25th, 2012

All: just ignore the “John Hughes” troll. It’s not worth it.

Eric in Oakland

October 25th, 2012

Wouldn’t the obvious rebuttal be to point out that the proposed amendment has nothing to do with schools or curriculums? And that the people attempting to make that connection are trying to deceive the public because they have no case otherwise?

Also, this type of disgusting message was not even new when Prop 8 was on the CA ballot. Since Anita Bryant the anti-gay crusaders have successfully been deceiving the ignorant with false claims about harm to children. With over 30 years of this tactic, our side should be better prepared.

Hunter

October 26th, 2012

I’m just surprised it took them this long.

Richard Rush

October 26th, 2012

The message, “They’re Coming After Our Children,” works because vast numbers of parents don’t want their kids to be gay. A significant percentage of that vast number are ignorant and/or stupid enough to worry that if their kid learns in school about gays in a non-negative context, the kid will decide that being gay is a cool choice, and will come home one day and say, “Hi mom. Hi dad. I’m gay now.” And because our side has not educated those parents on how full equality for gays benefits everyone, and how being gay is not a choice, the fear (even just a glimmer of fear) is enough for those parents to vote against us.

Ben in Oakland

October 26th, 2012

Choi, it’s what I keep saying and saying, to the continuing response of “but our focus groups say…”

I sent materials about this issue to the four states, plus NC. Only Washington even bothered to respond.

As much as I care deeply about this issue, I just decided to sit it out this time. When the various campaigns have contacted me for money, I’ve told them why I’m not bothering to waste either a stamp or my retirement monies.

LostChoi

October 26th, 2012

I don’t blame you Ben. It’s VERY frustrating.

As we’ve all heard the old saying: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Our leaders in these states keep proving this saying right. :-(

ebohlman

October 26th, 2012

The effective response needs to feature parents of gay kids (now grown up) essentially saying “wait a minute. What about our kids? We wanted them to grow up thinking they’d be able to marry someone they loved. Doesn’t everybody want that for their kids?”

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