Friday, August 21, 2009
"Gay Marriage" Ad Doesn't Mention "Gay."
GAY AND LESBIAN ADVOCATES AND DEFENDERS, EQUALITY MAINE, The MAINE CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION have beaten anti-gay marriage foes to the airwaves in that state by launching a sixty-second video. Is it a brilliant advertisement? Or an attempt to drive the real issue back out of sight and into the closet? I honestly can't make up my mind yet. The television spot does not mention the words "gay," "lesbian," or "homosexual" even once, nor does it mention "same-sex marriage." It does not even urge viewers to "Vote No on One."
If you watch closely, however, you'll see a selection of Maine families, some of which are apparently the families of gay-parent households. It's subtle. I had to watch it twice to pick up on the presence of the gay families. Will this subtlety prove effective? Will this ad in any way work to counter the inevitable outrageous charges that if gay marriage is allowed in the state homosexuality will be taught in the schools, Christian churches will be forced to perform ceremonies, and the bright blue sky above will fall down on everybody's heads? I don't know.
I do know that the anti-gay marriage group, STAND FOR MARRIAGE, with the help of the National Organization for Marriage, and various church groups, and the same forces that successfully passed Proposition 8 in California, has collected over 100,000 signatures -- more than twice the number necessary -- to put the issue on the ballot and repeal Maine's new gay marriage law. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has confirmed that the question will appear on petitions as follows:
"Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?"
Like it or not, gay marriage supporters in Maine have a major fight on their hands, and they are not going to win it by playing nice and failing to meet the core issues and questions with head-on directness. Perhaps this is just an opening salvo. I can guarantee that STAND FOR MARRIAGE and the National Organization for Marriage will respond to this advertisement in short time, and they will not respond with kid gloves.
We must not lose this fight. What happens in Maine will affect the progress of gay marriage and civil union laws all over the country. If our rights can be stripped away by a public vote in California and then stripped away again by a public vote in Maine, our cause will be damaged immeasurably.
Gay marriage supporters in Maine face implacable foes with deep pockets. They can expect to be outspent by huge margins. With that in mind, if you have not yet sent a donation to EQUALITY MAINE, I urge you to do so. Visit their website at http://mainefreedomtomarry.com/ and click on the "donate" button. Give what you can. And take a STAND FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY.