34 posts tagged gay marriage
The inside strategy behind victory in Maryland and Maine.
By Nathaniel Frank, Slate
Four years ago, LGBT advocates were devastated by the voter approval of Proposition 8 in California, which reversed a state court ruling allowing same-sex marriage. In that fight, the political consultant Frank Schubert, who led the anti-gay forces there and in the four states that voted on marriage this week, created a deadly ad campaign that played on lingering fears that gay equality threatens kids. In his advertisement, a schoolgirl returns home and cheerfully announces what she learned in school—that a prince can marry a prince, and she can marry a princess! In 2009, Schubert used the identical playbook to win a ballot measure in Maine invalidating the legislature’s decision to let gays wed.
Just three years later, the people of Maine did an about face, and along with Maryland voted Tuesday to let gay couples marry. (We’ll update about Washington and Minnesota when results are in.) Until this election, every state that had held a popular vote on the question—32 in a row—had rejected same-sex marriage. Maine and Maryland not only ended the losing streak but may have turned the war, depriving defenders of straight-only marriage of their latest talking point: that the people don’t want gays to marry. (And let’s not forget that Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin, the nation’s first openly gay senator!)
How same-sex marriage ballot initiatives turned around is all about the long game. The gay rights movement succeeded using one of the most sophisticated issue campaign operations ever deployed—and by making it stick with old-fashioned commitment, hard work, and face-to-face conversations.
(More after the jump)