blame game

Did Soccer Moms Cost Us Marriage In Maine?


Even Maggie Gallagher points out, “There are not very many Mormons in Maine, or black people, either, so they cannot blame this loss on either minority group. Maine is a deep blue state, socially liberal and relatively secular, and close to Massachusetts, where people have presumably learned ‘the sky doesn’t fall’ after gay marriage becomes law.” While conservative religious and black communities shouldered much of the blame for Prop 8 in California, who can take the heat for what happened in Maine?

Or, conversely, we could look at this as, Who do we need to especially reach out to moving forward?

After crunching the poll numbers, Matthew Gagnon thinks he has an idea: soccer moms.

No on 1 dramatically underperformed in urban areas, and got slaughtered in the rural parts of the state. […] While No on 1 performed very well in Portland, even in the cities where no did in fact win, the margins were not nearly as high as was needed. Consider that Bangor and Scarborough only saw “no” victories of about 9% overall. That same level of separation was also present in Westbrook, Waterville, Gorham, York, Kennebunk, Wells and Topsham.

[…] This was the real battlefield where No on 1 lost. These voters – and their cousins in other counties – are not “back country hicks” – even though some areas of those counties are remote. I myself am from Penobscot country (Hampden, specifically – which incidentally went for Yes 53%-47% for those of you keeping score), and a great deal of these people represent the typical “suburban swing voter”. In other words, many of them work white collar jobs, live in mostly nice neighborhoods within striking distance of a city, and are pliable for whichever side makes the better case. We are not talking about culturally conservative “Deliverance” type areas here – this is the home of Maine’s soccer moms.

The failure of No on 1 to make any inroads in these types of voters is what ultimately doomed them. The people who live in townships and in the shadows of mountains may have been decidedly against gay marriage, but they don’t represent anywhere near enough votes to offset what happened in Portland and other No on 1 cities. This fight was lost among the middle class voters of “middle Maine”, and it was lost badly.

If that’s true, maybe we should take a hint from huge marketers like General Mills and Nabisco: Knowing that moms make the decisions in heterosexual households, let’s cater our message to them. If the wife insists that one lesbian she knows at work should be able to get married, she’ll make sure her husband feels the same when it’s time to pull the lever.

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  • Brian

    Polls actually confirm that the majority of Mainers support same sex marriage. We lost because religion got the voters to the polls. Invoking God is very powerful. Turnout killed us.

  • Orpheus_lost

    All of this hindsight “told you so” bullshit is getting old – quick! What do we need to focus on? EVERYTHING!

    That means soccer moms, mormons, African-Americans, catholics, baptists, the blind, the mute, the deaf, etc…

    But it also means that we needs to focus on the legislature, the executive and the judicial branches of government.

    It means we need to work on TV, newspapers, radio, smoke signals, telegraphs and faxes.

    It means that, unlike the prognosticating by those who want to see us focus narrowly, we need to show that we’re everywhere and make sure people know that we’re already among them.

    It means that when, one day, we actually do obtain our rights that it won’t be because one strategy was more effective than another; it means that we all worked together in our common interests.

    E Pluribus Unum.

  • Steve

    Brian – If there is anything that we have learned since 2004 it is that people lie to pollsters. The only meaningful poll is the one that occurs on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

  • dsdrane

    I’m deeply disappointed, but not surprised.

    I grew up in Maine, went to college in Maine, and left Maine after I graduated. I continue to have a love-hate relationship with the place, with an annual pilgrimage enough to remind me what I love about the place and why I left.

    At the end of the day, the heavy lifting of one county — Cumberland Co., home to Portland, Maine’s largest city — wasn’t sufficient to offset the other 15 counties in the rest of the state. While a few southern, coastal counties teetered back and forth over the 50-50 line, the rest came down decidedly in the Yes column.

    To me, this is largely a class issue. Southern coastal areas are more cosmopolitan. They are wealthier, better educated, and host most of Maine’s huge tourism business. In short, they know gay people. The inland areas (where I’m from) are isolated geographically and culturally. They are poorer and more blue collar. Think depressed mill towns. If you grow up gay there, you make it through high school in one piece and you leave. In short, they really don’t know gay people.

    The good news is that this is also a generational battle, and the wind is at our backs. Check out this soothing balm of a post* at Daily Kos, written by their resident Mainer. It made me feel a helluva lot better today.


  • hyhybt

    Has anyone looked at the absentee ballots yet?

  • PopSnap

    At this point Im done caring who supports gay marriage and who doesn’t. We need to support a “repeal proof” bill like there is currently promising to be passed in new Jersey. We need to do this in as many states as possible, so that it will be difficult to put to a popular vote, until the supreme court case wins and/or at least to stall time until we can WIN by popular vote, probably anytime after 2012-13.

  • Attmay

    There’s no such thing as a “repeal-proof” bill. Even the First Amendment could be repealed if enough states voted to ratify a repeal.

  • jason

    Soccer moms are vile. They’re big hypocrites. They put on their smiling faces while watching Oprah but vote against us at the polls.

  • InExile

    First we had soccer moms, then we had security moms, and now we have bigot moms. This demographic group is always trouble!

  • PK

    When heterosexual internet dating services advertise, they normally show a wholesome neatly dressed couple. When gay match making sites advertise, they always show naked or partially naked men. Why is that? Just look to the right of this blog.

    It strongly communicates to me that there must be a huge difference between gay and strait relationships. I would rather not have marriage represented by sleeze.

  • coonin

    Not to be swayed by headlines, but I believe this headline. Straight women with families in the suburbs are for the most part – not our allies. Sure they don’t mind letting us cut their hair, or going with them shopping, but their power card is control baby…and they secretly think we’re inferior.

  • jason

    Yes, I agree that gay male dating services are body-obsessed. We’re like the equivalent of sleazy straight guys who obsess over women with big boobs.

  • Swarm

    #10 No, hon. Do you actually want to know the truth? They don’t want to have to explain the sexual mechanics to their kids. I’m not kidding one bit. Figure out a solution to the “ick factor” (not my words). Coach soccer, go on the PTA, be a big brother, be a drama coach (whatever) in other words …be whatever you are in their world. As you know religious objections are easily overcome when they are rationalized. I’m also with the camp that says go for civil first but I know that’s a lightening rod. OH, and stop hating your own when they falter in your eyes ie Adam Lambert bashing. FOCUS. I’m not trolling, I’m a straight 45 yr old sister of a gay man. Been at this a LONG time. Alot of women are bullied by husbands or at their economic mercy so I’m not so sure that “winning over” the husbands is gonna come quickly. Until their child comes out. Then the moms may have to leave the dad. #4 is correct.

  • hyhybt

    #9: Partially, it makes sense: gay dating sites seem to be oriented mostly towards men. Men are big on the visuals; if straight dating sites didn’t have to attract women as well, you’d see mostly underdressed, large-breasted women in their ads.

    Which I guess is fine if you just want to pick up someone for the night, but where do you go for the keepers?

  • reason

    I think what post 10 is trying to convey, although to me it seems like he is being condescending, is the gay community has an image problem. A lot of people that don’t know gays intimately only see the lewd side of the community, and literally believe that is what being gay is. Networks like Fox News play into this: if you watch Bill O’Reilly every time he talks about gays he drudges up images from the 60’s drug culture with half naked men acting crazy. People in rural communities, religious, and others that don’t have exposure to gay’s believe the worst because that is all they are exposed to. The images often times give me pause, can’t imagine how it impacts others that are already cynical about the worlds morality. I really don’t know how you go about changing that. The African American community experienced something similar with the media only presenting coverage that cast AA in a negative light back in the days leading even decent people to believe an organization as disgusting as the KKK was actually trying to protect society. With even less numbers than the African American community it is going to be difficult to counteract the stigma through personal interactions.

  • jimmy

    First, know that my wife an I are the typical white collar couple, living in Maine and both from Maine. I have to say I am teriblly embarrassed with Maine voters, Yes to drugs, no to marriage equallity. At least I can say that in my own town we voted for gay marriage. I have read the above comments and some of you are living in fantasy land. I only really agree with #4, who hit the nail on the head. Maine is still a “behind the times, old school state,” even with the internet. Many people are still highly religious, bigoted and lving on a high school education or worse no education at all. Many of these same people have actually never even set foot out of the state, so they are living in their own world. So I am not surprised by the vote, but I was saddened by the outcome. But don’t blame the soccer moms or whatever you want to call them, it goes far beyond that. Just my heterosexual two cents..

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