In Pro-Gay Marriage Spots, Gays Are Missing

Primetime has “Modern Family,” “Glee” and “The New Normal,” but according to the Associated Press, same-sex couples are missing from campaigns fighting for gay nuptials in four states with November ballot initiatives.

Even as straight supporters — conservatives like Paul Singer and corporate chieftans like Jeff Bezos — have poured money into campaigns, the strategy has been to feature straight people talking about the issue. It’s already generated consternation among bloggers and other activists who fear that the tactic resembles many of the commercials designed to defeat Proposition 8 in 2008.

“If we don’t show ourselves, people aren’t going to get comfortable with who we are,” Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out, a Vermont gay rights group, told the AP.

Critics of the way that the No on 8 campaign was run — and there were many — even cited the movie “Milk,” released just after the election in which Prop 8 passed, for historical perspective. In the scene, Harvey Milk attends a planning meeting to defeat an initiative on the California ballot to force schools to fire gay teachers. Milk
looks at a campaign flyer, which casts the battle as a “human-rights
issue” but kept gays invisible.
“This is shit,” Milk says. “It’s just a coward’s response to a dangerous threat.”

Initiatives are on four state ballots this November: Washington, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota.

One org, TheFour, has been using celebrities to try to call attention to the campaigns, which also face the challenge of breaking through the clutter of election spots hitting the airwaves through the election. Gay marriage has been on the ballot 32 times, and supporters have lost each time. That’s why gay rights leaders are saying that even a victory in one of the states will be significant, as it will go a long way toward reversing the narrative that gay marriage is not the will of the people.

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