The latest ad from Protectmarriage.com throws the legal right for same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts as an example of the disaster that awaits the Golden State unless Prop 8 is passed.
Little Girl: “Mom, guess what I learned in school today?”
Mother: “What, sweetie?”
Mother: “I learned how a prince married a prince and I can marry a princess.”
Professor Richard Peterson, Pepperdine University School of Law: “Think it can’t happen? It’s already happened. When Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, schools began teaching second graders that boys can marry boys. The courts ruled that parents had no legal right to object.
Voiceover: “Under California law, public schools instruct kids about marriage. Teaching children about gay marriage will happen here unless we pass Proposition 8. Vote Yes on 8.
OK, there are several problems with this ad…
Just a few obvious ones:
* Bringing up Massachusetts, where equality hasn’t resulted in a rise in the destruction of the family, an increase in the incidence of homosexuality in children or rampant sexual lawlessness is absurd and undermines their argument.
* The ad is correct in asserting that parents have lost in the courts when attempting to use a personal objection to extending civil rights to gay and lesbian couples, but that objection shouldn’t hold water in a court of law. Are the pro-8 people saying that if parents don’t like seeing an interracial couple in a textbook, they should be able to ban that as well?
* If it’s all about the children, then what is the fallback position of the pro-8 people in regards to the already strong domestic partnership laws in the state, which, if Prop 8 passed, would merely mean that inclusive teaching about DPs would receive equivalence in the classroom to marriage. We already know they object to that as well.
So this is really about the revoking the civil right of a group of Californians for no other reason except personal objections to the use of the word marriage to describe it? Please.
Come on No On 8 people — this ad deserves a smackdown. Its posturing is ludicrous.
Now, all that said — the framing of the ad is well-executed, and for the folks on the fence, it’s benign enough to have an impact. That’s what we’re fighting against — inertia, and the fact that the last high-profile public statement by either presidential ticket was Joe Biden and Sarah Palin agreeing that they are against same-sex marriage.
This makes it hard to create a 30-second commercial that can peel back the gulf of differences between the tickets on equality matters, and what the negative impact of the long-term strategy (marriage will be decided in SCOTUS and they all know it) on the shorter-term strategy of extending rights in states where it is politically feasible. This is extremely tough to do in an election year. I have no idea what the perfect pitch needs to be to break through to the average voter out there.
Do you have suggestions as to how to frame a response?
* No On 8’s web site.