Anyone who thinks that we learned from our mistakes with Prop 8 needs to take a look at this TV ad that just started airing in Maine. In case you hadn’t heard, the anti-gay people who took over marriage in California have packed up and headed east–literally, it is exactly the same company that pushed Prop 8 — to try to take over Maine’s equal marriage laws. And we’re starting to get scared that they will be successful!

Mainers, for their part, are fighting back. Well, trying to. Here’s their new ad:

Oh, that looks kind of familiar. Maybe that’s because it is like the fraternal twin of the first commercial that was aired in the No On 8 campaign about a year ago–the one that made everyone cringe, and is now recognized as a low point in the campaign’s messaging (Armistead Maupin called it “a parody of a tampon ad“):

Compare and contrast. Both ads are about “equality,” which is a very nice word that everyone likes to say that they would vote for. But here’s the problem with that: we’re not voting for equality. We’re voting against discrimination. We need a NO campaign, but what we’re getting in Maine is a YES campaign.

Equality, fairness, smiling families, coming together, standing united, upholding tradition … these are all lovely things! They make you feel good! Vote yes on them! Except, wait, don’t vote yes, because those are not what Maine is actually voting on.

Maine is voting on withholding rights from committed families, and on refusing to recognize loving parents, and on arbitrary segregation of its citizens. When are we going to see an ad about that, with couples in peril and standing together against the measure?

When will we see skeptical citizens, worried kids, teachers and clergy urging us to resist the lies, labor groups fretting about the millions of dollars and thousands of jobs lost to marriage bans, minority groups standing against discrimination–you know, stuff that makes you want to vote No?

Hopefully soon. In the mean time, you can get involved. Tell everyone know know about voting No on discrimination in Maine–those one-on-one conversation are the most important weapon we have. Nothing is more effective in converting voters. Donate money — an anonymous Mainer has pledged to match donations this week, so your money counts double if you give now. Donate time — Mainers have opened up their homes and offered to host volunteers who want to travel to the state to work on the campaign. If you live in Maine, vote early. Give, give, give give, because if marriage gets taken away in Maine, it could stall the whole national movement.

Also, at the time of writing, Maine’s ad has no tags on YouTube, which means that it’s unlikely to come up in searches. Come on Maine. Get it together.

Update: To clarify: this ad was produced by organizations other than the official campaign: Equality Maine Foundation, MCLU, and GLAD.

Editor’s note: Unlike many of our respected friends in the San Francisco news space, The San Francisco Appeal does not practice advocacy journalism. We have no dogs in fights, and do our best to report as objectively as we can without being totally boring and cheesy. However, we are, indeed “anti Prop-8 cheerleaders.” This is because we are not fucking bigots.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!
  • Greg Dewar

    This is very depressing to read. This means that the anti gay marriage people are likely to win again. They don’t fuck around, and they know how to get things done.

    What I don’t understand though, is why, every single time there’s one of these kinds of things on the ballot the pro-gay side is ALWAYS in disarray, can’t seem to figure out how to make an ad or organize volunteers (WTF? is it that hard to find people who know how to do this? no it is not) and in the end, we have a big ol’ FAIL with horrible ramifications.

    In the 1990s, there was an attempt to put a gay rights intiative on the ballot in Washington State, where I was living, and it seemed to fall victim to similar problems. I’m all for defending Maine’s law, but I’m not going to give money to a campaign that can’t seem to figure out Campaign 101.

    Then again, what do I know? I’ve only been doing campaigns since 1992…sigh.

    well let’s hope things improve. I can’t tell you how ill it made me to sit there at the AAPC and watch those Yes on 8 people gloat about how great they fucking were.

  • Greg Dewar

    This is very depressing to read. This means that the anti gay marriage people are likely to win again. They don’t fuck around, and they know how to get things done.

    What I don’t understand though, is why, every single time there’s one of these kinds of things on the ballot the pro-gay side is ALWAYS in disarray, can’t seem to figure out how to make an ad or organize volunteers (WTF? is it that hard to find people who know how to do this? no it is not) and in the end, we have a big ol’ FAIL with horrible ramifications.

    In the 1990s, there was an attempt to put a gay rights intiative on the ballot in Washington State, where I was living, and it seemed to fall victim to similar problems. I’m all for defending Maine’s law, but I’m not going to give money to a campaign that can’t seem to figure out Campaign 101.

    Then again, what do I know? I’ve only been doing campaigns since 1992…sigh.

    well let’s hope things improve. I can’t tell you how ill it made me to sit there at the AAPC and watch those Yes on 8 people gloat about how great they fucking were.

  • Carisa Cunningham

    There are so many differences between Maine and California – the fact that Maine’s polling is better than California’s ever was; the fact that this ballot campaign follows a four year education campaign which culminated in a victorious legislative campaign, the fact that the population in ME is so small that we can talk to every single voter in the state and do not have to rely as heavily on mass media as CA did, the fact that Maine’s elected officials are invested in defending this law. Remember, Maine was the first state to pass marriage equality legislatively and where a governor signed – a Catholic governor, no less. I think Maine’s got it together.

    As far as the ad itself, I can tell you that it is based not on intuition but on data; we know who we need to reach and what we need to say to them. And I would point out that these are not actors; and that the ad prominently features gay couples, young and old, including those with kids. The couple that gets the longest shot is the male couple with kids. We’ve put Maine’s gay couples front and center for the past four years, and we’ve found that it works. Having said all of that, an ad is not a strategy – it’s part of a strategy. I hope this context helps.

    Carisa Cunningham
    Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (www.glad.org)

  • Carisa Cunningham

    There are so many differences between Maine and California – the fact that Maine’s polling is better than California’s ever was; the fact that this ballot campaign follows a four year education campaign which culminated in a victorious legislative campaign, the fact that the population in ME is so small that we can talk to every single voter in the state and do not have to rely as heavily on mass media as CA did, the fact that Maine’s elected officials are invested in defending this law. Remember, Maine was the first state to pass marriage equality legislatively and where a governor signed – a Catholic governor, no less. I think Maine’s got it together.

    As far as the ad itself, I can tell you that it is based not on intuition but on data; we know who we need to reach and what we need to say to them. And I would point out that these are not actors; and that the ad prominently features gay couples, young and old, including those with kids. The couple that gets the longest shot is the male couple with kids. We’ve put Maine’s gay couples front and center for the past four years, and we’ve found that it works. Having said all of that, an ad is not a strategy – it’s part of a strategy. I hope this context helps.

    Carisa Cunningham
    Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (www.glad.org)

  • Xenu

    I don’t think the gay folks really care about gay marriage. They haven’t really done anything to fight for it.

    Believe me, if the African Americans had been as lazy as the gays are now, we’d still have whites-only bathrooms.

  • Xenu

    I don’t think the gay folks really care about gay marriage. They haven’t really done anything to fight for it.

    Believe me, if the African Americans had been as lazy as the gays are now, we’d still have whites-only bathrooms.