Are the Anti-Prop. 8 Ads Too Evasive?
For months, Professor Postrel and I have been griping privately about the anti-Prop. 8 ads. We don't have the campaign's focus groups or other polling info, but it seems suspicious and unpersuasive to talk about "equality" without ever showing a gay couple. It's nice to show older parents talking about how they don't want their gay daughter to "lose the right to marry," but it would be better to know that the right isn't as theoretical as my right to own a gun (I don't). Does she have someone she wants to marry? Is her partner part of the family? And that's the relatively overt ad. Call us crazy--and we may be biased by personal experience--but it seems like the logical approach would be to show a lesbian couple with their kids and extended family, their house and their bills, and all the other indicators that this is a pretty boring family like yours, not some Threat to Civilization.
Now it appears the Postrels are not alone in our doubts about the anti-Prop. 8 campaign. The campaign is still a dead-heat, which is impressive in historical context but depressing in a Democratic state in a Democratic year. I only hope that if the proposition passes it won't nullify the marriages that have already taken place.
We recently had dinner with a college friend, in town from the Bay Area for his 30th high school reunion, and his partner, whom we've met at Princeton reunions. (You know it's true love when you can get someone to wear tacky orange and black regalia not just once but every five years.) David and Bob aren't getting married--not because they don't want to but because they don't want to rush wedding plans to beat an election deadline and because, as David put it, "We only want to do it once."
UPDATE: My sister-in-law Pam emails:
Don't get me started on those No on 8 ads. I want to throw something at the television every time I see one of them. For starters, the tag line: "DON'T ELIMINATE MARRIAGE FOR ANYONE." What???? Isn't that exactly what the anti-gay marriage people are afraid of? That it will start with the gays, then the polygamists, then brothers and sisters. It's the stupidest line I've ever heard. I know their focus groups have told them that people tend not to want to eliminate rights, but "DON'T ELIMINATE MARRIAGE FOR ANYONE?" I think the scared people hear "LET'S LET ANYONE GET MARRIED!"
Her South Pasadena neighbors are taking a more family-oriented approach.