I just received yet another mass e-mail from Lorri L. Jean of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, whining about the “reprehensible role that the [Mormon] Church hierarchy played in directing members to fund the campaign of lies and deceit promoted by the Yes on 8 leaders.”
In her missive, she spent more time blaming her opponents’ campaign for its success than she did looking at her own team’s failures. Perhaps, she should take a gander at some of the sensible conservative blogs as we look with admiration on the Obama team’s amazing organization and take stock of the mistakes the McCain campaign made. Yeah, we’re bummed about the election, but we’re trying to figure out where our side went wrong.
That’s what Ms. Jean and other opponents should be doing now instead of venting at Mormons. Since they’re not going to look inward, let me try to do so for them.
First, their slogans just didn’t work. “Equality for All” doesn’t resonate with people outside social and political activist circles of the left. A later slogan, “Unfair and Wrong,” did little more than express anger at the initiative. It didn’t do anything to convince voters opposed to discrimination yet favoring the traditional understanding of marriage. If anything, it suggested people were wrong to believe that sexual difference is a defining aspect of marriage.
Indeed, I believe, the “No on 8” campaign failed primarily because its leaders did not appreciate those who favor that traditional understanding not out of anti-gay animus but due to their belief that sexual difference is essential to marriage. Opponents of the initiative needed explain why we should expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples and acknowledge that this expansion would indeed promote a social change.
Social change can be a good thing, but is frightening to some. You need to reassure those who might fear such change by showing how it is good for society and do so in a manner which shows respect for those who espouse the traditional understanding of marriage.