Even before the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling this morning mandating gay marriage, I had begun to think that the prospects for defeating Proposition 8 were becoming increasingly bleak. The ad that I once though was so bad it would cause swing voters to oppose the initiative seems to have had the opposite effect.
A big reason [for new poll numbers favoring 8] appears to be a promotional effort by the National Organization for Marriage that reminds voters that a previous 2000 ballot initiative had been supported by 61% of voters but was overturned by “four activist judges” last May. The ad campaign also emphasizes the heavy-handed approach used by same-sex marriage supporters. One ad features San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom saying same-sex marriage is here “whether you like it or not.”
Referendums are notoriously difficult to poll, and the numbers are likely to remain volatile. But the “take it or leave it” attitude of the State Supreme Court, as well as Attorney General Brown and Mayor Newsom, seems to have handed Prop. 8’s supporters a powerful rhetoric weapon. Mr. Brown wanted voters to interpret the proposition as taking something away. NOM’s new campaign argues that what was really taken away is Californians’ right to vote for policies they support.
Having watched the ad repeatedly, I have come to agree with his assessment. As I rarely watch TV at home, I first saw the ad while doing cardio at the gym. Without sound, it looks like a late-night television commercial hawking something some lonely man invented in his basement. That’s why I thought it wouldn’t help the “Yes” campaign.
But, most people who watch TV heard those words. The repetition of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s exclamation that gay marriage would happen “whether you like it or not” combined with the inclusion of the line that “four judges ignored four million voters” makes it appear that the initiative merely restrains an overzealous judiciary and restores sovereignty to the people.
People don’t like courts resolving controversial social issues.
The task now for the “No” force is to come up with ads which focus on the choice this initiative offers us.Â Proposition 8 gives us, the voters of California, the choice to determine the state’s standard for civil marriage. By voting “no,” we get to have our say.
They need to junk this “equality” talk (as it assumes state mandates equality of result) and focus on freedom.
I don’t think the new “No on 8” ad which takes on the “Yes” ad will accomplish those goals:
If I didn’t know who had proposed the ad, I wouldn’t know who the ad’s producers were referencing when they referenced “their attacks” and the “they” behind those attacks. They need to be more specific from the outset.Â I’m not quite sure how I would do the ad, but I would focus on the issue of choice.
I might begin by addressing the “Yes” ad, then say, “Well, they’re wrong. Voting “No” on 8 won’t effect church status or teaching in schools, instead it will allow all couples the choice to seek state recognition of their civil marriages. Of course, you’d need wording a little more catchy.
The one thing I do like about the ad is its tag at the end, “Keep government out of all of our lives.” Wish we could tell that to the folks in Sacramento as well as Washington.