On November 6, four states voted in favor of “gay marriage.” Up until now, “gay marriage” had been defeated in 32 statewide elections. But this time in all four states the homosexual lobby won, though in all four the margins were slim:
The homosexual victories were won as follows:
Maryland: 53% – 48%
Washington: 52% – 48%
Minnesota: 51% – 48% (1% were blanks – counted as “no” & added to 51%)
Maryland and Washington were both voting to overturn “gay marriage” laws recently passed by their state legislatures. Maine‘s legislature had passed a gay marriage law in 2009 which was overturned by statewide vote in November that year. The homosexual lobby re-introduced that referendum this year to reinstate the earlier law. Minnesota was voting on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, to protect against future actions by their legislature or courts.
These results were unfortunately not unexpected. After observing these four races since last summer and talking to many pro-family activists on the ground, we sensed this would happen. This is not meant to demean the energy and efforts of the various pro-family forces. Our people worked hard. But this time too many factors weighed against them.
How the pro-family side was organized
Nationally, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) tirelessly raised several million dollars — the major share of all the money on our side — which was distributed to all four races. They also worked out strategy, produced commercials, and much more. NOM did an impressive job. Without their efforts and leadership things would have turned out infinitely worse.
As in past gay marriage votes, NOM coordinated its efforts in each of the four states through an established statewide pro-family group. Each state group set up a special “marriage” PAC with its own website and volunteer activist organization distributing signs, doing outreach to churches, etc.
Other organizations helped, also. Family Research Council (FRC) provided valuable aid. In Minnesota, the Catholic Church raised enormous sums and did a lot of work.
MassResistance also sent out thousands of copies of our booklet, “What Same-sex ‘marriage’ has done to Massachusetts.” Many people copied and distributed them locally. And much of our “gay marriage” research was used by local groups and activists.
Our side worked much the same as we had in previous gay marriage races. But this time the combination of homosexual lobby’s enormous funding, sophisticated propaganda campaign, intimidation tactics, and support by the mainstream media–along with a flawed pro-family strategy–could not be overcome.
The top ten reasons the homosexual lobby was able to win:
(1) Huge money
The homosexual movement raised enormous amounts of money. Corporations and individual millionaires (and billionaires) poured endless resources into their coffers. NOM did its best to keep up, but it was impossible. Overall, it’s estimated that our side was outspent by at least 5-1.
NOM said that they put $5.5 million into the four states, and were outspent by at least $20 million. However, the homosexual group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) claimed they raised $32 million for the gay marriage races, giving them a very big advantage.
(2) Sophisticated campaign tactics
The homosexual groups put their money to use through extremely sophisticated campaign tactics and an array of well-crafted psychological techniques, weaving emotion with flawed reasoning, to persuade people who had opposed gay marriage, to support it. In addition, throughout the four states, they able to bring thousands of pro-homosexual volunteers into critical areas for their “ground game.”
The day after the election, a very revealing article, “How gay marriage finally won at the polls” was posted on various websites describing what they did in Maine:
The gay rights movement succeeded by using one of the most sophisticated issue campaign operations ever deployed — and by making it stick with old-fashioned commitment, hard work and face-to-face conversations.
Within weeks of the Maine loss [in 2009], Freedom To Marry helped assemble a coalition of state-based gay groups, polling experts and academic researchers to centralize and share information so that each campaign didn’t have to start from scratch for each new battle.
Third Way, a centrist think tank working in the coalition with Freedom To Marry, began to unpack exactly how straight people reacted to such tactics [advertisements showing kids being given books on homosexual relationships in school]. The group found that when straight people were asked what marriage meant to them, they spoke of love, commitment and responsibility. But when asked why they thought gay people wanted to marry, they cited rights and benefits. Tapping into anti-gay stereotypes, they suggested gay people wanted marriage for selfish reasons while they themselves wanted to express love and commitment.
Thalia Zapatos of Freedom To Marry, who oversees the coalition’s messaging research, describes another revelation from the data. [NOM's ad person Frank] Schubert’s misleading “princess” ads [describing homosexual books for kids] implied that schools could usurp the role of parents in teaching pro-gay values, but that was wrong. As Zapatos and her team pored over the research, they watched conversations in which voters spoke among themselves and kept circling back to the same insight: Parents are the parents, and they teach their kids values at home.
The first step to combating that fear were ads that showed (among other story lines) a mom who was also a teacher speaking at home with her husband. “What we do in a school is no substitute for what happens at home,” she says. Her husband chimes in: “No law is going to change the core values we teach our kids here at home.” The takeaway: No one would force parents into uncomfortable conversations when their own child returned home from school.
But advertising is a one-way conversation. Zapatos began to find that once voters became engaged (either by pro- or anti-forces), new concerns arose. The next step was to turn the messaging into a conversation.
In the end, the Maine campaign spoke to 250,000 people, nearly one-fifth of the state’s population — and that was likely the fifth that mattered most. This sort of effort is ongoing in more states beyond this week’s election, such as Oregon, which may be next up for an initiative.
Research shows that knowing a gay person makes you 65 percent more likely to support same-sex marriage – and having a conversation with that gay person about marriage raises the figure to 80 percent. Third Way recently released a report showing that 75 percent of positive movement in support for same-sex marriage comes from people of every age group changing their minds. It’s about having the right message and imparting it with patience and labor.
And that’s not all. Since older people tend to be more conservative, the homosexual lobby specifically targeted them with their emotional outreach. One of their most successful ads, “The Gardner Family” of Maine was written up in the New York Times. It is a masterpiece of emotional propaganda. The ad conjures references to discrimination, cruelty to other people, having a relative who’s gay, and more.
Their campaign tactics also targeted Christians by emotionally portraying “true” Christianity as being “compassionate” and not “cruel” regarding people loving each other and letting them marry.
Finally, unlike in previous years, the homosexual lobby’s TV commercials contained almost no actual gay characters. Their research found that it was more effective to use straight characters who would talk about their friends and relatives who were homosexual.
As described above, these tactics worked so well that the homosexual lobby has already indicated that they will re-use them the country in future races.
(3) Flawed pro-family strategy
In sharp contrast to the homosexual lobby’s slick, sophisticated propaganda machine, the pro-family overall approach was largely the same moderate, inoffensive, often logically incoherent approach that they’ve coasted on until now. A number of activists made it a point to complain to us about that.
For example, most of the pro-family message was some variation of: Every child needs a father and a mother; the word “marriage” is special; marriage is about procreation; marriage is a timeless institution; gays already have all the rights marriage brings; etc. These arguments are not emotional, fairly general, and not very compelling. In contrast, the homosexual lobby made the arguments in their ads emotional and personal.
At its root, “gay marriage” is really about the forced acceptance of homosexuality as a normal part of society. But both NOM and the state pro-family groups went to great lengths not to criticize homosexual behavior. They were very fearful of being perceived as “anti-gay” or “homophobic” especially in the liberal press. So they insisted on moderating everyone’s messages. In Minnesota, for instance, activists were specifically told, “Don’t make this a gay issue.”
Those who deviated from this and took a more direct approach were shunned and even publicly criticized by the pro-family establishment. This included some of the vocal black churches in Maryland who wanted to quote the Bible, and activists in Maine and Minnesota who felt compelled to discuss the negative aspects homosexual behavior.
Except for some material posted on websites of the local pro-family groups, there were no attempts at all that we know of to persuade the public through advertising that homosexual behavior was perverse, dysfunctional, and unhealthy. Our side basically conceded that argument completely, and even went to lengths to state that “we’re not anti-gay.” The homosexual lobby took full advantage of that by aggressively portraying homosexuality as just another facet of normal human behavior.
This tactic is not sustainable, as it soon became clear. It certainly does not effectively counter the emotional strategies put forth by the homosexual lobby. At some point you have to engage in the real battle at hand.
(4) Hard-hitting pro-family commercials came too late
In the final few weeks when they finally hit the airwaves with a “red meat” anti-gay marriage commercial, it was too little, too late.
This mirrored a disturbing pattern we noticed in past gay marriage races. Our side would use the “soft” message until it became clear that the race was in trouble of losing. Then at the last minute bring in the hard-hitting David and Tonia Parker / Robb and Robin Wirthlin TV ads. They were first used in the California Prop 8 reverendum in 2008, and have been used in several since then.
These ads are emotional and direct. The Massachusetts parents describe how their elementary school children were read children’s books describing homosexual relationships. The schools refused to let parents opt out their kids or even be notified. When the Parkers and Wirthlins took it to court, a federal judge ruled against them — because “gay marriage” in Massachusetts obliges schools to portray homosexual relationships as equivalent to real marriage. The ads are very effective.
But in all four states, the Parker / Wirthlin ads were held back until about two weeks before the election, then finally unleashed. But that was too late, according to activists we talked to. These — and similar ads — should have been on the air for months.
It’s clear that the gay lobby hates and fears these ads, and anticipated them. In Maryland, the homosexual groups ran TV ads all summer saying that homosexual issues would NOT be taught in the schools. Nevertheless, as soon as the Parker ads showed up they seemed to panic, and their only defense was to claim that the Parkers were lying, which their allies in the media ran with.
These ads really exploited the homosexual lobby’s weakness. As one Maryland activist told us, “Our side should have been running the David Parker ads early and often.”
(5) Obama and the targeting of the black community
This past summer Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage. In Maryland, where blacks have been a large anti-gay marriage constituency, this had a terrible effect on many black churches. Almost immediately many either stopped dealing with the issue and some even switched to supporting it.
The homosexual lobby used that crisis to its full advantage by directing huge efforts and money into a full-court press to target blacks to support homosexual marriage. Not long after the White House announcement, they created very slick pro-gay marriage flyer featuring Michelle Obama which was widely distributed in the black community. It was even brought to the polls by some voters.
But their biggest target was the black churches, which they started working on even before the Obama announcement. Back in January, Maryland’s pro-gay Governor helped persuade two of the most prominent black ministers in the state — who had already started to go soft on the issue — to take an active role in persuading their community to abandon their support for traditional marriage.
The two pastors, Rev. Donte Hickman Sr., pastor of Southern Baptist Church in East Baltimore and Rev. Delman Coates, who leads a megachurch in Prince George’s County, were ultimately a major part of the homosexual lobby’s propaganda campaign.
As the Baltimore Sun later described, things progressed considerably since their January meeting with the Governor:
Ten months later, the two had become the highest-profile pitchmen for Question 6, appearing in nearly identical commercials that played on television for three-quarters of the campaign. In Baltimore — during some stretches — the average person saw the commercials 10 times a week.
Voters’ approval of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law last week can be traced in part to the decision by Hickman, 41, and Coates, 39, to lend their names, faces and reputations to a campaign on an issue that remains highly controversial in their community.
. . . The group [Marylanders for Marriage Equality] spent about $800,000 a week on television time, and Hickman and Coates remained on the air for most of the campaign.
(6) Intimidation tactics
Probably the most vile aspect of these races was how homosexual activists and their allies turned their intimidation machine into high gear. It started out with everyone on the pro-family side of the issue being loudly labeled a “bigot” and “hater” at every opportunity. Many people became afraid to discuss the issue or even put up signs, we were told, because of this.
Before long it escalated into vandalism. A church in Maine was vandalized with swastikas painted on it to send a strong message to the congregation.
It was very widespread regarding pro-marriage signs. As one activist in Minnesota told us, “Everybody had signs vandalized, stolen, ripped apart.” He added that he even had to go back to his church every few days with a new sign. In Maine it became so blatant that a video of pro-marriage signs being stolen and destroyed was posted on YouTube. Activists in Minnesota also posted a video of a sign being stolen.
(7) Confusing ballot language
There was a lot of confusion even when you got into the voting booth. In Maryland and Washington, people were voting whether to overturn their legislatures’ passage of a gay marriage law. But in both cases it was worded so that a “no” vote would overturn it and a “yes” vote would keep it. Moreover, wording on the ballot in Maryland referred to issuing “marriage licenses” to any two people and talked about religious protections, rather than the actual text of the law, which clouded the issue. Some people told us that the wording looked pro-family, and almost didn’t realize it wasn’t.
(8) Ballot fraud
During early voting in Maryland, in many cases the touch-screen machines which created paper ballots did not register the “no” votes on the marriage ballot question; instead it come out blank. One woman told us that she noticed hers came out blank, and she had to go back and re-vote on it. She said that this happened to many others she knew of, and that one person had to go back three times to get his “no” vote properly registered. This is outrageous.
At least one relatively conservative area in Maryland surprisingly voted “yes” for gay marriage. There is suspicion that some kind of voter fraud was behind that. “It was really startling that we lost there,” one local activist told us.
We have been informed that pro-family attorneys are getting involved in the continuing counting of absentee ballots in some of the key areas where the vote was close.
(9) The Democrat machine vs GOP non-help
The Democratic Party machine and its various allies were actively helping the homosexual lobby. In Maryland, teachers’ union people were handing out their pro-gay ballot sheets at the polls. But as far as we could tell, the GOP played a very minor role, if any. In Maryland, the GOP did robo-calls supporting candidates and one ballot question, but didn’t mention this one. In Maine the GOP also avoided this issue. Some GOP politicians came out for marriage in Minnesota, but were very moderate in their approach. On the national level, the Romney people had stated that marriage was not an issue in their campaign and they offered no support.
(10) The media
The news media continued its overwhelmingly biased coverage of the gay marriage issue and the homosexual issue in general. This was particularly noticable in the simultaneous attacks on the David and Tonia Parker ads by media in all four states.
But also, television’s general embrace and normalization of homosexuality in its prime-time programming has had its intended effect of softening up many people on this issue. And conversely, the media routinely portray the pro-family side as bigoted, hateful, and dysfunctional.
All four of these races were lost for basically the same reasons: Our side was enormously outspent and out-organized, along with a phalanx of other forces enumerated above.
Furthermore, the groups running the campaign opposing gay marriage had an arsenal of weapons about homosexuality, homosexual behavior, and the destructive nature of homosexual relationships that they didn’t use because it would not be “politically correct” and would likely anger the liberal media — and because it wouldn’t be seen as “nice.” And when they finally were willing to use the very effective issue of schools forcing homosexuality on kids, it was too late.
Voters are now so dumbed down and are constantly fed a twisted view of church and religion by the media and academia. They don’t examine issues but follow emotional and often illogical propaganda. So the verdict often comes out: “Everybody should be happy. Leave it up to God. My nephew’s gay, so it should be legal.”
It’s not surprising that, as mentioned above, they are already talking about using these campaigns as a template for “turning over” other states one by one. And of course, they are also focused on overturning DOMA (the federal Defense of Marriage Act, allowing states to stand by their own laws banning same-sex marriage).
Nevertheless, we are still confident of the future.
Looking at everything they had to do, it’s still very clear that the ONLY way the homosexual lobby can win a gay marriage referendum – even in these four very blue states, and by those relatively small margins — is through the extraordinary measures and expenditures listed above, along with our acquiescence on moderating our opposing message.
If our side can get its ideological act together, toss out our milquetoast rhetoric, get some political courage, and be aggressive rather than reactive, we would be pretty unstoppable. But right now, that’s a big “if.”