Our readers and yours truly are not the only people unhappy with the direction that “No on 8” campaign has taken. I had considered giving them money despite their troubling slogan, “Equality for All.” I did want them to have more money to put up more ads like the first one they had produced.
Others, more liberal than we, agree. Last night, I went out to dinner with several friends from my synagogue, including a recently married lesbian couple, both Democrats. The elder wife agreed the second “No” ad didn’t do enough to counter the apparently successful first ad from the “Yes” folks. Indeed, she thought it as confusing.
What the “No” folks need is a better narrative. I thought they had that in the first ad. But, that won’t be enough now. We need a narrative to counter the points made in the “Yes” ads.
Whatever they do, they need an ad which is less diffuse and more focused than the current ad. Maybe have a narrator start by saying, “Supporters of Proposition 8 have have tried to scare you, claiming it’s needed to protect churches from losing their tax-exempt status. Well, they’re wrong.” Then, go on to say all its defeat would do would be to allow churches the freedom to choose whether or not to marry same-sex couples. It wouldn’t require them to do so.
My friend thought perhaps having a commercial featuring a rabbi and pastor saying something to that effect. Perhaps, I suggested, just have one prominent minister address the camera, saying simply that defeating the initiative would not lead to the parade of horribles its proponents suggest.
That’s the best I can come up with. I’m not exactly sure how effectively that would counter the “Yes” ads. Whatever they “No” folks do, they need to construct a narrative. Their latest ad is just plain confusing and won’t serve to change any minds.
Even if my idea is not an appropriate narrative for a 30-second spot, I do think it addresses themes which should resonate. Opponents need to focus on freedom and choice, making clear that should Proposition 8 fail, churches and synagogues will still enjoy the freedom to determine whom they can marry in their sanctuaries.
This proposition is about state recognition of civil marriages, not about defining the marital standards for religious institutions. Should the proposition lose, those institutions will remain free to set such standards according to the articles of their faith.
That is, private institutions still have a choice in how they define marriage. If some churches believe marriage should be between one man and one woman, the failure of the initiative will not prevent them from holding that view and acting accordingly.