Tuesday, October 27, 2009

VIDEO: New Yes on 1 Ad in Maine Reframes the Debate. Again.

This new ad from Yes on 1 airing today now uses civil rights against us and gives voters a conscionable excuse to vote Yes without feeling guilty.

Without going for the jugular on the surface, this ad actually does go for the jugular. They're actually telling the voter that voting Yes doesn't violate the civil rights of gays and lesbians and actually protects the civil rights of heterosexuals by "protecting" traditional marriage. It's an aggressive "we're the victims" argument.

Of course, they say Maine's domestic partnerships provide "substantial protections" for gay and lesbian couples and highlight the state's registry site that says "legal status similar to that of a married person."

Full text on Maine's domestic partnership registration website:
P.L. 2003, c. 672, enacted by the Legislature and signed into law on April 28, 2004, establishes the concept of domestic partners in Maine law. Under the law, registered domestic partners are accorded a legal status similar to that of a married person with respect to matters of probate, guardianships, conservatorships, inheritance, protection from abuse, and related matters. The legislation establishes a Domestic Partner Registry housed within the Office of Health Data and Program Management, Bureau of Health of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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UHM, NOT THE SAME AS MARRIAGE! Hospital visitation rights? Spousal retirement benefits? Need I list more? Though in the past, opponents claimed that it was the same as marriage. So what is it? (Note: When this passed in 2004, so few rights were attached that anti-LGBT forces didn't bother to try and get a People's Veto to overturn it.)

I think we know.

"It's possible to protect the civil rights of all citizens and protect traditional marriage at the same time," the sweet lady says.

Who can't hear the contradiction in that one sentence? It's like they WANT people to hear the oxymoron. How is denying a group of minorities access to tax-funded benefits protecting civil rights?

This is damaging because they are now using our argument against us. Anyone who felt guilty about denying people civil rights and were thinking of voting NO now have a way out, faulty logic aside. Undecided voters will hear what they want to hear.

So Frank Schubert, the mastermind of Prop 8, realized he wasn't going to win with the school argument in Maine. He may just win with this one.


ACTION: Call marriage equality supporters and remind them to vote!
  1. If you live far from Maine but are eager to make a difference, you can phone bank from home. Sign up at Call for Equality.
  2. If you do live near Maine, go to Drive for Equality, where you can look for carpools in your area headed up to the Pine Tree State so you can volunteer and help Get Out the Vote!
  3. If you actually live in Maine, VOTE EARLY! Not only will the NO on 1 campaign see a record of your vote, it will free you up on election day to help get supporters to the polls.
  4. DONATE! You can do this no matter where you live.


  1. Yes, I am afraid that this diabolical ad is effective in that it allows bigots not to feel like bigots. I hope that the people of Maine (or at least enough of Maine's voters) will see through this. We need an ad that says equal rights mean equal rights.

  2. Oh please. Every time the opposition does anything, you can count on this blog to predict the apocalypse.

    This ad is not diabolical. It is not even effective in its use of text and voiceover.

    This ad actually shows weakness on the Yes side, because they obviously have felt it necessary to significantly alter their message in the last week. As I recall, that is what we were doing in the final weeks last year in CA. It is much better to have them in that position.

    The ad itself is contradictory in that it says DP is fine, but that marriage leads to kids being taught about homosexuality in schools. I think No on 1 could easily and quickly point out that DP has not impacted education one iota and thus exposes the whole curriculum argument as a deception.

    Unlike other potential rebuttals, this one would not require any lengthy or complicated explanation and they could do it in 30 seconds easily. I hope they do.

  3. Steven - really? The apocalypse? Have you read the other blogs?

    I don't think UTF is being over dramatic, just pointing out the potential damage this shift in tone from the opposition can bring. And they're also trying to get our supporters off their asses and volunteer, but to do that, you have to motivate them. This post does that.

    And this is also what Yes on 8 did. Do you remember how that turned out? Everything else you say in your comment is repeating UTF.

  4. "And this is also what Yes on 8 did. Do you remember how that turned out?"

    If you are referring to last minute changes to the campaign message, then Yes on 8 did no such thing. No on 8 was in a state of panic, and was casting about for a message that would click. In the last week, they put on the ad with a Samuel Jackson voiceover comparing Prop 8 to racial segregation and the internment of Japanese Americans in WWII, something that had never been discussed in any ads prior to that. Since the message came out of nowhere and since the public had been hearing nothing but curriculum ads for the past month, the new ad was a disaster. Yes on 8 just stayed with the theme of "consequences," implemented a vastly superior GOTV plan, and won.

    I could be wrong, but this time it seems the roles have reversed somewhat. And this ad, far from being a reason to quake in fear, is a good sign that we are doing well. You don't change your message if you are winning.