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AP Notes Omission of Gay People in Marriage Equality Ads: VIDEO

Mnap

The Associated Press makes not of the omission of gay people in speaking roles in ads broadcast by pro-gay marriage advocacy campaigns in the four states — Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington — that have ballot measures dealing with the issue of marriage equality this November.

The AP:

The decision to keep gays in the background has been widely noticed in the gay community and debated on gay-oriented blogs, with some activists complaining that the move contradicts the central message of the gay rights movement for a number of years.

"If we don't show ourselves, people aren't going to get comfortable with who we are," said Wayne Besen, director of Vermont-based gay rights group "Truth Wins Out," one of many that presses gays to live openly with pride in who they are.

But others counsel deference for the complexities of public messaging, pointing out that the ads are designed to speak to the fears and values of the heterosexual majority, whose vote will decide the issue.

Watch their video report, AFTER THE JUMP...

What do you think? Are you bothered by the lack of gay people portrayed in these ads or do you agree with the advocacy groups, that is enough for people to see gay allies, friends and family, in featured roles?

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Comments

  1. Don't care, if that's what it takes to win. Mass political persuasion has nothing to do with appealing to rationality, but exploiting misperceptions, fears, ignorance, etc. Sad but true. In trying to win, it's important to get out the vote on supporters while not stoking up a furor in phobes that'll cancel out that effect.

    I am more concerned with the visibility that comes with recognition of our equal rights than that in political ads. I mean, really — let's be politically savvy about this. Once we have marriage equality, we really won't give a damn what the ads said.

    Posted by: Jason 2 | Sep 26, 2012 8:16:13 PM


  2. "But others counsel deference for the complexities of public messaging, pointing out that the ads are designed to speak to the fears and values of the heterosexual majority, whose vote will decide the issue."

    They have a point but that's the route they tried in CA with Prop8. It didn't work. It seems to me that refusing to show any gay people gives the impression that we're bowing to the notion that gay people should be hidden from the world because they're icky and scary. If we can't put gay people in ads promoting equal rights for gay people, how can we expect to sway people to vote for those rights?

    Posted by: Kira | Sep 26, 2012 8:21:51 PM


  3. I am bothered by the lack of gay people in the ads. We've tried the "hide the gays" approach and it never works, we never win. It's time for a new approach, one where gay people explain why marriage equality is important to them. Let's at least try being direct and honest about what we want, it might actually work.

    Posted by: Ken | Sep 26, 2012 8:33:41 PM


  4. But if you put actual gays in the ads then you'll be complaining that they shouldn't use any screaming queens or major dykes, just the "normal" acting gays.

    Posted by: e.c. | Sep 26, 2012 8:45:03 PM


  5. When straight people see that other straight people actively and vocally support marriage equality, then the concept isn't so alien. It will be highly visible people like Chris Kluwe, Jesse Ventura, President Obama and many more who change the hearts and minds of those who might otherwise vote against us.

    And while the idea of gay people promoting equal rights for gay people seems like a good one, the real issue is Marriage Equality for ALL who are not "straight". Besides, just what kind of "gay" people are most likely to change the most minds? This is also a battle about stereotypes. Let's keep the message simple.

    Posted by: Robert | Sep 26, 2012 8:46:05 PM


  6. Haha, I think E.C. is right. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    Posted by: Emmy | Sep 26, 2012 8:53:17 PM


  7. I think they should add in "normal" acting gays in the ads along with their hetero parents. If that's what it takes to win, then so be it. Maryland will be a nailbiter for sure, but I think we can pull it off if Obama makes a strong case for same sex marriage during the debates.

    Posted by: Anthony | Sep 26, 2012 9:29:32 PM


  8. There is one ad that is never tried, but would be very effective. In all my debates with marriage equatliy, there is one argument for which they have no rebuttal.

    If you think marriage is terrific for kids, even essential, then you must agree that every child needs and deserves parents who are married. So how can you say that any child MUST have unmarried parents merely because their parents are gay?

    Then you show a shot of a gay couple with kids. Don't their kids deserve the benefits of having married parents, just like your own kids?

    There is no rebuttal to this. In fact, it makes the argument that marriage is important to kids. We use their own arguments against them.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 26, 2012 10:05:25 PM


  9. Word to the wise: this is how Steve Smith, the straight campaign manager for the "No on 8" campaign in California, lost us our marriage rights in 2008. Seems like we've learned NOTHING.

    Posted by: Keppler | Sep 26, 2012 10:08:22 PM


  10. Look people- and I mean the people complaining about there not being enough gay people in the ads- be quiet!!! How stupid- and to talk about it like this? Don't you think this would p*ss off some our allies? We should be grateful for any help or votes we can get.

    And btw-who cares? If we have to trot out every single stereotype of a gay person to be approved by the straight masses- we'll never win. There are lots of different types of us- but we're mostly boring people with boring lives.And anyways, there are tons of ads with gay couples in them, especially web- based spots.


    Also, the reason we lost in California- a loss by a slim margin, a reassuring fact- is because the people running the No on * campaign were a bit too confidant and didn't reach out to some of the other minority communities, which can be heavily conservative on social issues. A lot of people who worked on the campaign admit that now.

    Posted by: scott | Sep 26, 2012 10:11:22 PM


  11. This is about winning not about making us feel good about ourselves. And keep the kids out of it. They tried that in Maine the last time around, and it didn't work. Sad but true, a lot of people are troubled by the thought of kids living in our homes, so it's best not to bring it up at all.

    Posted by: Jacques | Sep 26, 2012 10:19:07 PM


  12. My advice is to do whatever works to get same-sex marriage approved by the voters. Complete acceptance can come later. People are already accepting gay couples on TV shows and in movies, so it isn't really necessary for them to be in SSM ads to be visible. But I disagree that Obama should make gay marriage an issue. I don't completely believe these polls that say Obama is ahead in the swing states. When cultural issues come to the fore Democratic presidential candidates usually lose. No reason to test whether this is the election where that changes. Since he already came out publicly in support of SSM, he should lie low on the issue. November will tell us a lot about how long it will take before gay marriage is accepted by the whole nation.

    Posted by: Mary | Sep 26, 2012 10:37:57 PM


  13. Maine is very close, instead of complaining about not getting enough attention, how about supporting Maine this time around ?

    Last time we lost by just 6,000 votes.

    Having ONE state that approves marriage equality via popular vote would be real, tangible progress, for everyone.

    It's easy to complain when you don't DO anything, and leave it to everyone else. Honestly, my dogs are tired from all the walking door to door talking to folks. I don't think I can go through this again, last time we were pretty devastated.

    Not real big on the blame game here, but it's hard not to notice that relatively few of us actually DO a damn thing.

    Just sayin'.

    Posted by: MaineGuy | Sep 27, 2012 12:20:49 AM


  14. The best way to change minds is for people to see and know married same sex couples, so whatever within reason gets us there, the quicker the better. I would rather be able to marry the person I love, just like the rest of my family, tomorrow, by showing straight people other striaght people who they can relate to, than showing more LGBT people (who obviously already have trouble understanding) and not being able to marry for more and more years. I am a young man and feel so strongly about this, I can't imagine how much stronger I would feel if I was older, and I know I will feel stronger every year I get older and cannot marry.
    Just get us there.

    Posted by: Michael | Sep 27, 2012 12:33:18 AM


  15. Why is it either or? Some (Most) ads with allies, while the rest could include queer people.

    I understand the logic behind having allied straight people try to convince others to support equality, but it does not seem to be a full proof method.
    Considering no vote has been won yet.

    These ads with parents / grandparents talking about how they love their children / grandchildren would improve if they also include the children / grandchildren.

    Posted by: Blake | Sep 27, 2012 3:15:15 AM


  16. Ugh, look, the ads aren't for you people here, don't you get that ?

    Your opinions are entirely IRRELEVANT, we aren't trying to convince any of you, this is about motivating that very small margin of people that can't quite decide to vote in favor of marriage equality.

    That's who the ads are targeted for, that's who they reach in the focus groups and test runs.

    Look, I know there's a tendency to think that when a campaign fails it's because of the ads, but ads can't do it all, YOU have to get out there and burn up shoe leather, I wish I had a dollar for every queer that I've met that says they want marriage equality, but hasn't actually volunteered or donated to the cause. The ads don't make us more acceptable or worthy of respect or less invisible, YOU have to do that YOURSELVES.

    Every time I've gone out and campaigned I've been generally surprised at how well received I've been, there are a lot of people that have never met a gay person, or have weird ideas about how we all are, when you meet people face to face and talk and listen it makes a HUGE difference.

    You can sit around and complain or you can do something, this is happening NOW, and all the campaigns need your help NOW. If you can't volunteer, donate. But please, we aren't amateurs at this, we don't need armchair judgments about what you think we're doing wrong, especially when you've done NOTHING, OK ?!

    Posted by: MaineGuy | Sep 27, 2012 3:41:37 AM


  17. Well stated, MaineGuy. We know how gays will vote, it's the rest that need a talking to, which is what these ads will do.

    Posted by: Tim | Sep 27, 2012 3:49:19 AM


  18. This is an attempt to ban us from the larger society after all. What should we be expecting?

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 27, 2012 3:57:07 AM


  19. … also, no one has ever sought to be gay married.

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 27, 2012 4:53:40 AM


  20. Most gays are already on board. We need to appeal to the rest of the voters - the ones who are on the fence, or even on the other side of the fence - and I believe they are more likely to be swayed by people like themselves, than by people who are "different".

    Posted by: John | Sep 27, 2012 9:29:30 AM


  21. Bigots will not be swayed by facts, or emotional appeals. But I do feel that there does need to be some real gay folk in the adds, we need to show that many gays have stable long term relationships. That is why we need marriage equality. Also need to show the real injustices of not being able to visit ones significant other in the hospital or jail. And the injustices of having to pay more taxes and having greedy realatives swoop down and take 1/2 or more of what should have been common property when a death occurs. Equal treatment under the law for all. Showcase real stories of past injustices. Not just toute platitudes.

    Posted by: Tom in long beach | Sep 27, 2012 10:25:47 AM


  22. Bigots will not be swayed by facts, or emotional appeals. But I do feel that there does need to be some real gay folk in the adds, we need to show that many gays have stable long term relationships. That is why we need marriage equality. Also need to show the real injustices of not being able to visit ones significant other in the hospital or jail. And the injustices of having to pay more taxes and having greedy realatives swoop down and take 1/2 or more of what should have been common property when a death occurs. Equal treatment under the law for all. Showcase real stories of past injustices. Not just toute platitudes.

    Posted by: Tom in long beach | Sep 27, 2012 10:25:48 AM


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