People are getting comfortable with [gay marriage in Iowa] and that’s a shame to tell you the truth.
Susan Geddes, Iowa Republican
Source: ABC News
Geddes worked as an organizer for Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign. Her statement is proof that the fight we’re having in Minnesota is unnecessary and based out of fear and/or hate. By allowing same-sex couples to marry in Iowa, “traditional” marriages have not stopped. In fact, over 4,500 same-sex couples have wed since 2009 when gay marriage became legal in the state and now nearly 60 percent of Iowans oppose an amendment that would ban gay marriage.
Why? Because recognizing the love of a committed same-sex couple is a wonderful thing that really doesn’t have any impact on other people. In fact, according to Geddes, folks even get comfortable with the idea. At the end of the day, love has won out in Iowa and support to take that love and recognition away continues to decline – and it upsets folks like Geddes who would prefer the rights of same-sex couples were limited.
If they want to come out and support one side or the other, we are going to let them know they got customers on each side.
Andy Parrish, Deputy Campaign Manager, Minnesota for Marriage
Source: Star Tribune
Parrish’s response to General Mills coming out against the mean-spirited marriage amendment on Minnesota ballots this fall. Expect to see Minnesota for Marriage to continue their strategy of intimidating companies from coming out against the amendment.
Interesting article from the Star Trib highlighting the fact that amendment supporters have launched a more aggressive campaign here in Minnesota than other states. The article makes reference to the Dump General Mills Ralliesthat took place last week to “spook” other Minnesota-based companies from coming out against the amendment.
From the article:
Minnesota law already forbids same-sex marriage, but amendments supporters want voters to cement it into the state Constitution to prevent judges or future legislators from changing it.
Minnesota for Marriage leaders are heading into the summer months with a dogged focus on keeping supporters energized and pushing back hard if other Minnesota businesses surface to oppose the amendment.
Minnesota for Marriage says it has identified 65,000 supporters to help with the campaign. Staffers reach out daily to new church groups, which are being counted on as core support. They plan to try to draw in union members, minority communities and the elderly — groups that tend to vote Democratic but who have often opposed same-sex marriage in other states.
The article goes on to talk about how both sides have been active in building a coalition of supporters. Amendment supporters continue to rely heavily on religious ties to pass this amendment:
Religious observers say church activity is likely to tick up by September. Supportive pastors are expected to preach on the issue, endorse the amendment, even raise money to support the measure.
Some good quotes from the other side; paints the picture of just how hard amendment supporters are going to work to pass this thing in the fall. More proof that we must continue to fight and tell our stories each and every day!
More Minnesotans voting yes this fall. This is the second video in a series put together by Minnesota for Marriage. As opponents of this amendment, we continue to say how we’re different in Minnesota because we’ve had so much time to prepare to defeat this thing, yet it’s the other side out at the State Fair and other locations throughout the state making videos in support of this mean-spirited amendment.
I’m beginning to wonder when our side will start to fight. We continue to raise money, but that’s all anyone seems to hear about from our side…
If we think it can’t happen here, we’re wrong. Minnesotans from every corner of the state are speaking out about why they will be voting yes on the amendment this fall. They have no problem speaking publicly about their support of this amendment. Young and old alike, spend a minute to watch countless people proclaim that they will be voting yes on this mean-spirited amendment.
The President’s announcement today shows how out of touch he is with the values of American families. The President continues to practice the politics of division and diversion. He’s tried to divide the country over gender, education, class, and now he’s attempting to divide families all as a diversion to his failed economic policies that have affected all Americans.
…I was proud to introduce the first Constitutional amendment proposal in Minnesota when I served as a Minnesota state senator. I’m pleased that this November Minnesotans will have an opportunity to vote to defend traditional marriage. I will continue to protect traditional marriage, despite our president’s decision to thumb his nose at the traditional institution of marriage.
Michele Bachmann, May 9, 2012
Bachmann’s response to President Obama announcing his support for gay marriage.
Well, on the opposite end of the spectrum of the Lutheran church are the Catholics. Several additional churches in Richfield will be urging members and non-members alike to vote yes on the marriage amendment this fall.
The linked article talks about how the Catholic Church will be organizing rallies in Minneapolis (and I would assume other cities) to garner support for the mean-spirited amendment. Also included in the article is some commentary around dissent in the church and how leadership has responded that “…the Catholic Church is abundantly clear that we’re not a democracy… the church has authority.”
Reminds one of the “agree with us or shut up” post I shared a couple months back. One thing is very clear: The Catholic Church of Minnesota will do everything in its power to ensure this amendment passes. Considering the size and the dollars in this organization, that’s a very scary thing.
The amendment makes no change in rights and benefits for gays and lesbians, nor does it limit the legislature’s ability to provide future benefits if those become needed… Gays and lesbians have the right to live as they choose, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for all society.
Chuck Darrell, Communications Director, Minnesota for Marriage
Source: The New American
Warning: Spin machine in action! Back in January, I wrote about the strategic approach amendment proponents would be taking, and the above highlights that strategy in action. Essentially, the message takes committed gay and lesbian couples out of the picture, and instead, turns it around to the right to vote. Darrell says that nothing will change – and he is right - nothing will change whether this amendment passes or doesn’t pass. But if it does pass, the only way that Minnesota could make a change in the future would be by another constitutional amendment. Another fight with more money and more time.
What Darrell isn’t saying should be as loud as what he is saying: Minnesota for Marriage wants to ensure that committed gay and lesbian couples are not able to benefit in recognizing their commitment in the future without a significant fight that would cost millions of dollars and require millions of Minnesotan’s to stand with them. He is also saying that he wants the majority to vote on the rights of a minority. Yikes. That’s a scary proposition.
Frankly, I think it’s unfortunate that the President of the United States is getting involved in a state issue, but that’s certainly his right.
State Representative Steve Gottwalt
Source: The New American
Gottwalt’s response to President Obama speaking out against the Minnesota Marriage Amendment.
Wow. The work that the Minnesota Archdiocese is doing to make sure this amendment passes this fall is just sad. Now they’re visiting school-aged children to talk about marriage and why same-sex marriage is so dangerous to society. The Catholic Church is apparently hitting up anyone that may be able to vote, or have the ability to influence parents, this fall.
Apparently, the talk at DeLaSalle did not go well. It ended with kids arguing with the presenters (a priest and married heterosexual couple) and providing them with some historical information on being gay. One student held up a sign saying that she loves her gay moms. Others were reduced to tears.
I’ve said it before (1, 2, 3, 4), I’ll say it again and again, this assault from the Catholic Church has to stop. From sending out DVDs to telling their own priests to shut up about the issue or face being dismissed, the hatred the Catholic Church is spreading is ridiculous. I just wish there was something to do about this… I feel so helpless in only using my words.
Interesting article that sheds light on a couple of states where the Catholic Church seems to be reversing their hard stand against gay marriage:
- Roman Catholic Church of New Hampshire endorsed civil unions bill on March 19, just two days prior to the state legislature’s vote
- Roman Catholic Church of Maine ceased all external opposition to this year’s marriage equality ballot campaign
Oh, but don’t you worry! That’s not the full story. If you wander over to CatholicNH.org, you’ll see the broader story:
The Diocese of Manchester consistently has opposed legislation that would establish civil unions. However, the [civil unions bill] falls into a category of legislation which the US Bishops have previously considered: bills in civil law which may not reflect the fullness of the Church’s teaching, but which nonetheless provide an “incremental improvement” in the current law and a “step toward full restoration of justice.”
So, essentially what the Catholic Church of New Hampshire is saying is this:
Providing a committed and loving gay couple a Civil Union is far better than allowing them to get married. And while it’s only an “incremental improvement” we’ll keep fighting until those gay people have no rights, just like it was before. That’s what it means to have a “full restoration of justice!”
Yeah, no dice.
I’ve said this before and I’ll reiterate now: I don’t mean to speak out against any one group on this blog, but the Catholic Church continues to come out against marriage equality time and time again and it almost feels like now they’re just being mean. With that said, I was raised Catholic and have many Catholic friends that love me and don’t hold these same views. That’s why I will not lump all Catholics (or any religion, for that matter) together in one bucket. But it is important that we all know how these religious organizations are attempting to influence the governing body of the land.
And remember, it’s liberty and justice for all.
This week, I’ve posted a variety of ads; some use fear to incite emotion while others use children. The above commercial, also from the supporters of Prop 8, creates the feeling of impending doom and starts with:
There’s a storm gathering
The clouds are dark and the winds are strong
And I am afraid…
This ad uses a different technique in that it leverages multiple adult characters each with a different line of dialogue (the disclaimer at the bottom of the screen tells us that these adult characters are all actors, however, they are supposedly telling stories based on real incidents).
The skies throughout the first part of the commercial are dark as each person speaks of the impending storm that is brewing and how rights have been taken away when marriage equality laws are passed.
I am a Massachusetts parent helplessly watching public schools teach my son that gay marriage is ok.
A California doctor and church group also share how they would supposedly be impacted if gay marriage were legal. The actors go on to say that same-sex marriage advocates are not content and they want to change the way Californians live and that people would have no choice.
The storm is coming.
A man appears with the text Damon Owens, National Organization for Marriage. As he begins to share that there is hope, the overcast skies open up and sun shines through. He shares how “a rainbow coalition of every creed and color coming together in love to protect marriage.” He concludes by putting a plug in for the organization’s website and then says “join us.”
I actually found the commercial to be a little creepy, almost cult-like with the last words Mr. Owens speaks. With that said, it is both memorable and effective as it paints a somber picture of how Californians may be impacted if gay marriage were legal.
Once again, however, the ad is easily debunked. The claim from the California doctor that she must choose between her faith and her job doesn’t make sense. Is she saying that she would have to choose whether or not a same-sex couple would be allowed to see each other in the hospital? Or is she saying that she would have to choose whether or not a same-sex couple raising a child should be allowed to see their daughter in the emergency room? Hmmm. If these are the choices this doctor is making, find me someone else, please! Who else does she hold a grudge against and how does that impact her other decisions?
As for the mother who can do nothing to stop her child from learning about same-sex couples, well I’m sorry to say, that fight is a lost battle. Have you turned on the television recently? Even childrens’ comics feature same-sex couples these days. The reality is, social norms are changing (have changed) and children in every state will be exposed to different definitions of love.
As for the church group that is punished for not following the law? Well, I would ask what benefits that church is receiving from their government? Tax laws in their favor? Other non-exempt benefits? I don’t fully understand why these organizations feel that they should benefit from the government partnerships, but then not be held to any standards of accountability. It always brings me back to the concept of church and state and I’ve got to ask if we’ve got the separation that our founders intended?
The ad was effective and has been viewed over a million times. In fact, it was so popular that Stephen Colbert created his own funny version of this ad (I’ll post it a little later today or tomorrow). While effective, there are clearly ways to counter this type of ad. The most effective is talking about it and pointing out some of the logical gaps mentioned above.
Here’s another one of those yes on Prop 8 commercials… This ad features a little girl who is confused asking what appear to be her two gay dads where babies come from and marriage.
When the daughter shares how her friend “Megan says you have to have a mommy and a daddy to have a baby,” the solution one of the “dads” has is spending less time with Megan. The other “dad” tries to explain that you only need a man and a woman to make a baby, but that they don’t have to be married.
There’s a lot of camera work in this ad; the camera focus shifts from one “dad” to the next and back to the little girl again. There’s uncomfortable pauses, shifting on the couch and when the little girl asks (only after looking down at the floor to clearly highlight her discomfort and confusion), “Then, what’s marriage for?” it’s clear that no one in the room has an answer.
The ad pauses and the voiceover states:
Let’s not confuse our kids. Protect marriage by protecting the real meaning of marriage, only between a man and a woman.
Here are a couple of key observations:
- Use of children (key tactic; this girl is exceptionally “confused” and her sad sad eyes connect directly with the camera several times)
- Use of fear (the discomfort of having to explain to our children where babies come from, how it requires a man and a woman, how gay people can have children, etc.)
- Protecting marriage verbiage
I’m sure this ad connected well with voters in California. The little girl played her part to a T, and clearly, the two “dads” could not come up with any words to talk with their “daughter.”
In reality, the conversation would have most likely gone something like this:
Megan says you have to have a mommy and a daddy to have a baby.
Well, sweetie, a child can be raised by a mommy and a daddy or a daddy and a daddy like our family. (Note, most parents would not steer the conversation to talk about a man and woman having sex to produce a baby)
Then, what’s marriage for?
Marriage allows two people who love each other very much, like your daddy and me, to share with their family and friends their love and commitment for each other. Just like Megan’s mommy and daddy got married and love her very much, your daddy and me love each other and love you so very much. And that’s what makes a family, the love we all bring.
I don’t even have kids, and yet I could have had a better conversation than how this ad portrayed these dads! With that said, I certainly don’t want to downplay the effectiveness of this ad and the emotion that it was meant to elicit from straight parents with children. Clearly, amendment supporters know how to connect with an audience and I would fully expect we’ll see similar messages here in Minnesota.
Again, my goal in sharing these videos is to help arm each of us with tactics and information on how best to respond when we see these ads. If someone were to ask me my thoughts, I’d share something like the above with them and then I would tell them about my good friend Alexis and how she’s raising a beautiful daughter with her partner and how they love her very very much.
These ads are effective because they connect with the audience and use tried and true tactics. We’ve got to be just as effective at connecting with that audience and we need to do that by debunking some of the fear but then telling our own personal stories to match. It’s going to be a hard fight in Minnesota, that’s why it’s important to start now!
Continuing the trend of marriage amendment related commercials, here’s one from Arizona that even features John McCain. This commercial uses the most common tactic I’ve seen from amendment supporters: Fear.
The male announcer, with urgency in tone and drums beating in the background, begins:
Arizona is just one court case away from having a radically new definition of marriage
He then shares how judges in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Hawaii have ruled that gay marriage is ok.
At this point, the tone of the ad changes. The drums are gone, a piano begins to play and the announcer’s voice becomes less stern. He continues with the fact that Arizona voters “have a choice for something better” and that “marriage deserves to be protected.”
John McCain concludes the message asking voters to join him in voting yes on Arizona’s marriage amendment.
Even with John McCain, this ad falls short. While the message is strong on the fear front, it fails to address how the realization of that fear would impact Arizonans. Instead, the ad uses the same old tired argument that marriage needs to be protected. It may be this lack of connection with the audience that is partially to blame for the fact that Arizona was the first (and only) state in the nation that failed to pass such a measure (one has since passed).