Posted by: gowened | October 15, 2012

Preserve Marriage Washington: Same Tactics, Quieter Bigotry

Editor’s Note: This is another post from our fabulous guest writer, The Gender Junkie. You can find the rest of her posts here.

Preserve Marriage Washington’s first anti-gay marriage ad dropped this week, and Riley has briefly dissected it here.

It has all the elements that have proven so successful for Frank Schubert since Prop 8: people don’t believe that gay marriage will affect them? Let’s scare them into believing it will. Equality? No, gays already have more than enough of that. And when in doubt, shout But think of the children! 

The similarities are obvious, but it’s interesting to note the way things have changed in the past few years. This ad is positively muted compared to the slew of ads that ran in 2008 and 2009. Three years ago in Maine, Schubert was happy to use lurid scares like worried parents talking to the camera about how their child, as young as second grade, will be taught about gay marriage. Or a stoneyfaced teacher assuring us gay marriage has everything to do with what she can teach in schools.  Members of the community speaking authoritatively about how they will be turned into instruments of the gay agenda. This disembodied voice certainly doesn’t pack the emotional punch of those earlier ads.

It also doesn’t compare to the emotional punch of a Washington United for Marriage ad. Washington United shows straight couples sitting and talking about their journey towards marriage equality acceptance. They share their personal connections with gay friends and family, the importance of love and marriage in their own life, their conviction that it’s time. Somehow the side using straight couples most effectively is the gay marriage side. (It’s a smart move, since at this stage in the game, they’re clearly trying to reach out to the voters that need some coaxing.)

Further, it’s interesting how defensive its tagline is. “Rejecting 74 doesn’t mean you’re anti-gay.” Even the use of the word “gay” is a far cry from 2009, when “homosexual” was frequently the nomenclature.  Gone are the blanket dismissals of yesteryear of gay rights proponents as “special interest groups.” When you’ve come to an almost pleading insistence that “you can still vote for us and not be a bigot, pinky-swear,” a massive shift in societal attitudes has occurred.

One other story of minor note: Referendum 74 organized a rally in Seattle’s Westlake Park on Friday. It looked like this:

Courtesy of Chelsea Kellogg, The Stranger

Not too surprising, is it? It’s hard to imagine a more inhospitable rallying spot for an anti-gay marriage rally than right in the middle of of downtown Seattle. Was Capitol Hill closed? What were they thinking?

In light of anti-gay activists’ love of martyrdom, one almost wonders if they were hoping for a confrontation. Certainly the only thing that could have turned this sorry excuse for a rally into a news story would have been a gay marriage-supporter being mean to a gay marriage opponent. Luckily, Approve Referendum 74 held a vigil nearby that remained respectful, peaceful, and better attended than their opponent’s rally. Whatever Preserve Marriage Washington hoped to accomplish in Seattle, it doesn’t seem to have worked.



  1. REJECT R-74 and preserve Traditional Marriage.

    • John Galt! Since when were you an avatar of traditional values?

      P.S. Shouldn’t you be on strike?

  2. […] 74: Marriage Equality. I’ve written about it. My guest columnist has written about it. Time to make it happen. Vote […]

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