dollars + nonsense

If Money Doesn’t Change Voters’ Minds on Marriage, Is It Time to Stop Fundraising?

No amount of money, even the $83 million spent by both sides of Prop 8 in California, changed voters mind on same-sex marriage, according to a study by Patrick Egan, a public policies professor at New York University, who looked at ballot decisions in 33 states since 1998. While that may be so, think about how much wealth it drained from the Mormon Church. So that sort of made it worth it, ya?

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  • Steve

    Actually, the study concluded that the last-minute advertising was largely a waste, and that the net effect was a wash. Few voters changed their minds, and the number who changed from yes to no was about the same as the number who change from no to yes.

    But the leap to the conclusion that minds cannot be changed is not supported by the study. That last-minute advertising is not effective does not imply that other methods cannot be effective.

    Personal relationships do change minds. Education does change minds. Steady, periodic, public relations campaigns do change minds. And, older people gradually die off, while younger people are forming their opinions based on the information and people who are around them.

    Relationship-building is a winning strategy. Frequent non-confrontational interaction over a period of time allows people to gradually realize that those other people are people, and that they are not a threat.

    Martin Luther King talked about non-violence. It worked because, at the time, many white people were afraid of violence by black people. As white people gradually became less afraid, they began to see black people as people.

    We need to be psychologically and sexually nonthreatening. When straight people get to know gay people, they gradually become less afraid of being sexually or emotionally assaulted, and they begin to see gay people as people.

    In-your-face confrontational advertising doesn’t work. Relationship-building, image-building, and non-confrontational information does.

  • AndrewW

    @Steve: “In-your-face confrontational advertising doesn’t work. Relationship-building, image-building, and non-confrontational information does.”

    This applies to GetEQUAL’s “in-your-face confrontational advertising.” It doesn’t work – in fact, it is counterproductive.

    I agree that most “advertising” to sway opinion on LGBT-issues is a total waste of resources. People are anti-gay as a personal, moral belief. Only people have any chance at changing those beliefs. People, not advertisements.

  • San Francisco Treat

    You know, EQCA took quite a bit of heat for the ad campaign they ran because it didn’t focus on telling OUR stories. Maybe next time around we can speak for ourselves on the airwaves and explain the hope we have that our broader community will finally recognize that legal inequality is a disgrace that must be ended instead of having people representing parents of LGBT folks talking about why they like the idea that their kids are treated as human beings.

    Narrative is an incredibly powerful tool and it CAN be conveyed over airwaves. While I tend to agree it’s less impactful than face-to-face conversations and that advertising on these types of issues is likely less effective than on other, more impulsive, issues – the fact remains that advertising moves voters on the margins. And our margin of defeat in 08 was really, really small.

  • AndrewW

    If we spent $30 million on Prop 8(I think we were outspent) we could have hired 400 GetEQUAL Activists (based on their Average salaries of $75,000 per year). Imagine the embarrassment.

    Paid activists. Brilliant.

  • jeffree

    @AndrewW:I agree with you. Surprized? Yes, so am I.

    i cant/ wont/ dont speak for other people but when i actually spend 16 minutes to explain to neighbors, friends, family, colleagues how afraid i am of losing my job because my boss “hates queers” people actually listen & often say
    “well that’s just wrong”.

    Our power as GLB people is speaking from the heart,, convincing others that we want similar things : pay rent, put food on the table, keep jobs, and maybe even not be schkrewed by taxes when we marry a person of the same gender, My hope is to adopt & raise a kid someday, once I am alittle more settled down.

    These stories, these dreams we tell others can change how they think, vote, and act.

    No big organization can do that because they don’t care about the poor, semirural, LBGs who just want no S/P/E/C/I/A/L rights, just equal rights.

  • AndrewW

    We CAN create the change you speak of. But, we will have to do it. It will be supported by incredible advertising campaigns that seek to re-brand what it means to be “gay.” But, it won’t be about lobbying politicians or marching around “demanding.” It will be about personal action to enroll people in our lives and our struggle.

    It’s coming soon.

  • jeffree

    Yes, AndrewW, you’re kinda smart, but unfortunately you are mistaken. In the process of creating your “master plans” you have killed off —on multiple blogs– any chance of anyone agreeing with you.

    You have never responded to the 126 responses of people in the last 75 days who may have agreed with your plans: BUT your own strategy [which to me sounds quite promising] has been discounted because of your unwillingness to answer your critics, and to give any hint as to possible solutions for the ineffectiveness of current strategies.

    Without supporters, without allies, your OWN tactics will gain no credence, You have created more enemies than friends

    On multiple occasions I have offered you help, but you declinedl

    You are **so alone** in launching your plans. No money, no friends, no supporters….so sad that you didn’t have a solid patent attorney filing the appropriate paperwork ??

    So, who who’s the Idiot here? Who owned whom?

    Who has “polling” on their side? Quick clue…. It’s not you. P.S. Say hi to Jason_Activist and Justin_Activist for me. I miss them…………….

  • AndrewW

    @jeffree: No need to get angry Jeffree. Our Movement is important – I’m not going to risk decades of work. I’ve spent a lot of money (my own) and it is still being developed.

    Accountability is finally being embraced in our community and that is the first step. I’m glad you agree with that.

    Campaigns are being developed based on very important research and polling. You seem to understand how we actually “win.” That’s great. It’s also where the focus of our community needs to go next.

    We’ll be there soon.

    Then, all “winning” will break loose.

    I appreciate your comment. Jason and Justin went camping.

  • B

    QUEERTY claimed, “While that may be so, think about how much wealth it drained from the Mormon Church. So that sort of made it worth it, ya?”

    It isn’t worth draining a million dollars from the Mormon Church if doing that itself costs a million dollars. The Mormons have deep pockets – you’ll go bankrupt first.

  • Bernie

    It’s all about publicity for ourselves and more publicity.

    I hundred percent agree and will do this to as many people I feel safe coming out to as possible.

  • B

    As to the notion (hinted at in some of the comments) that people who personally know gays and lesbians are less likely to vote against them, that idea was originally promulgated by Harvey Milk and it seemed to work well in defeating the Briggs initiative (a homophobic initiative that would have ban gays from working as teachers). Defeating it in California put an end to a spate of anti-gay legislation being passed around the U.S., pushed by people like Anita Bryant.

    Milk’s observation may no longer be true: according to it seems that knowing gays and lesbians made little difference in the vote on Proposition Eight. Possibly the difference between the 1970s and today is that there are so many gay characters in the media (film, TV, etc.) that personally knowing that someone is gay doesn’t cause a sudden change in perception to nearly the extend that it would have when the mass media, including the film industry, treated gays as non entities or villains.

    The importance of various factors on the Prop 8 vote (from the URL above) can be rank-ordered as follows (most important first): party identification, ideology, religiosity, age, race/ethnicity, gender, and knowledge of gays/lesbians.

  • AndrewW

    @B: You claim: “The importance of various factors on the Prop 8 vote (from the URL above) can be rank-ordered as follows (most important first): party identification, ideology, religiosity, age, race/ethnicity, gender, and knowledge of gays/lesbians.”

    You are misrepresenting the conclusions of the study. Religiosity is the number one factor and always has been.

    This shows up in “party identification – ideology” (Republicans are 78% “religious,” while Democrats are less than 60% “religious.”)

    It also shows up in “age” because people over the age of 45 are twice as likely as under 25 to be “religious.”

    The point is not “knowledge of gays/lesbians” which is largely a reflection of the cultural conversation it is direct personal communication with a gay/lesbian person. That’s what Harvey meant and Egan’s study does not address that.

    The only way to change anyones mind is to engage in conversation. Knowing, not simply “knowledge of,” coupled with a request for support, changes the minds of two-out-of-three people. It is the only effective way to change minds and enroll people in our struggle for equality.

  • B

    No. 11 · AndrewW wrote, “You are misrepresenting the conclusions of the study. Religiosity is the number one factor and always has been.” AndrewW simply does not know what he is talking about.

    The rank-ordered list of factors I gave was precisely what is shown in Figure 1 on page 8 of the report ( ). It lists the factors in the order I gave.

    What the report also states is that “Much of the difference among racial and ethnic groups in support for Proposition 8 is explained by varying levels of religiosity,” and that is consistent with what is in Figure 1 and with the comment I made. If you look at Table IV on Page 13, you’ll see that the vote in favor of Proposition Eight was 66% for Protestants, 55% for Catholics, and 17% for Jews. Meanwhile it was 82% for conservatives, 51% for moderates, and 22% for liberals. For political party affiliation, it was 80% for Republicans, 58% for independents, and 43% for Democrats. Given those numbers, ideology and party affiliation were more important than religion.

    Keep in mind that religiosity had the most dramatic effect only for those who attended religious services weekly, but only a minority of the population does that. Weekly attendance, however, is highest among African Americans and Latinos and lowest among Whites and Asians (see Figure 4 on Page 12). People who attended services weekly were highly in favor of Prop 8 regardless of the racial/ethnic group they were in but that is a minority of the voters, so when you put it all together, it turns out that party affiliation and ideology were more important overall.

    Finally, if you look at Table 4 (Page 13), you’ll see the change by each category between the vote for Proposition 22 and Proposition Eight (same wording, with the latter put in the state constitution). The only category that showed an increase in an anti-gay vote was “Republican” (a 1% increase). The support from religious people for anti-gay legislation dropped during those 8 years.

  • AndrewW

    @B: You made my point:

    Republican = the majority are religious.
    Conservative = the majority are religious.
    Older Age = the majority religious.

    You cannot reach the conclusion you suggest because of the reality of what you claim are the most important factors. It is and will always be “religious.” That is were the belief comes from.

    Anti-gay is based on “morality” 92% of the time. Morality comes from religion.

    I know you are about to apologize for “Christians,” but don’t bother. They ALL still teach that we are “wrong, sinful and deviant.” If “religion” never taught that, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Science doesn’t teach it. The “arts” don’t teach it. None of the professions teach it. Only religion teaches it.

    There is no Republican “ideology” that teaches it. There is no Conservative “ideology” that teaches it. People who believe we are “wrong” got that belief from religion, or their parents… who go it from religion. It is the single source of the belief.

    If you want to stop anti-gay discrimination, get your Christians to renounce the belief and to stop teaching it. Plus, an apology would be appropriate.

  • B

    No. 13 · AndrewW wrote, “@B: You made my point:”

    No I didn’t. Read the paper and look at the damn numbers. For that matter, read the authors’ conclusions. I’ll quote the start of that section for you from ( ):


    “This study shows that the characteristics that shape Americans’ views on many important political issues—including party identification, ideology, and religiosity—played their expected strong roles in determining the choices of individual votes on
    Proposition 8 as well as the final statewide result.”

    Note the order: party identification, ideology, and religiosity. It’s the same order as in Figure 1, which indicates that party identification affected 15.1% of the votes, ideology 14.6%, and religiosity 11.8%.

    In addition, there was a significant drop in opposition to same-sex marriages between 2000 (when Proposition 22 was passed) and 2008 (when Proposition Eight was passed). It wasn’t due to the wording of these initiatives as the wording was identical (one made it an ordinary law and the other made it part of the state constitution). Support for these anti-gay laws by religious people dropped significantly while support for them by Republicans increased.

    It doesn’t mean that particular religious beliefs are not a problem, but those are not the only problem and other problems seem to be if anything more significant.

    Whether you like it or not, only a fool would ignore such data – it is critical if we have to run another initiative campaign to overturn Proposition Eight.

    Then you get some other things wrong as well. First you claim that religion is “the single source of the belief.” What you don’t know is that Christians believe that God believes what they believe. Read for an explanation based on physical evidence (MRI scans). That’s why anti-gay opinions among religious people are dropping at rates comparable to other categories.

    Your claim that religion is “the single source of the belief.” looks even more idiotic when you look at other countries. Spain, for example, is 94% Roman Catholic, whereas 10% of the U.S. has no religion at all. We have more atheists (or agnostics) than Spain ( ) yet Spain legalized same-sex marriages in 2005. Your claim is simply false: if it were true, there is no way that Spain would have legalized same-sex marriage given the opinion of the Catholic church – other factors have obviously counted far more than religious beliefs or dogma.

    Second, you claim there is no “Republican” ideology that has anything to do with gays. What you ignore is that the main goal of Republicans is to get elected. So, to appeal to the “religious right wing”, they put out all sorts of anti-gay garbage (e.g., Bush’s attempt to hardwire DOMA into the U.S. constitution, which was dropped once he got elected to his second term). That anti-gay garbage, of course, is picked up by the non-religious/less-religious Republicans as well and influences their opinions.

    Finally, multivariate statistical analyses do not lie. That’s why such statistical techniques are used in medical research (e.g., to sort out what is happening when multiple factors may contribute to some medical condition). It works here as well and quite frankly I’ll trust the numbers far more than your personal opinion.

  • AndrewW

    @B: Spain is 94% Catholic? Do your homework. Spain is nor religious or really Catholic.

    According to a July 2009 study by the Spanish Center of Sociological Research about 73% of Spaniards self-identify as Catholics, 2% other faith, and about 22% identify with no religion. Most Spaniards do not participate regularly in religious services. This same study shows that of the Spaniards who identify themselves as religious, 58% hardly ever or never go to church, 17% go to church some times a year, 9% some time per month and 15% every Sunday or multiple times per week.

    While Roman Catholicism is still the largest nominal religion in Spain, most Spaniards —and especially the younger— choose to ignore the Catholic teachings in morals, politics or sexuality, and don’t attend Mass regularly. Agnosticism and Atheism enjoy social prestige, accordingly to the general Western European secularization.

    According to the Eurobarometer 69 (2008), only 3% of Spaniards consider religion as one of their three most important values, even lower than the 7% European average.

    Evidence of the secular nature of contemporary Spain can be seen in the widespread support for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Spain — over 70% of Spaniards supported gay marriage according to a 2004 study by the Centre of Sociological Research.

    Indeed, in June 2005 a bill was passed by 187 votes to 147 (56% to 44%) to allow gay marriage, making Spain the third country in the European Union to allow same-sex couples to marry.

    Spain is not “religious.” Try again.

  • AndrewW

    @B: As fat as your contention that there is a Republican ideology that is anti-gay it is just plain goofy. Their anti-gay rhetoric is simply the result of the majority of Republicans/Conservatives being serious “religious” people. Democrats are less religious and more secular. Google it.

    Religion and religious intensity determine a persons beliefs and position on LGBT issues. Thankfully in America people are abandoning religion, especially the nut-case “literalists.”

  • B

    In No 15, AndrewW simply tried to deny the data. clearly states that Spain is 94% Catholic. They simply don’t let their religion control the rest of their lives, but that is true of the vast majority of Americans who go to church as well. The numbers you get can depend on how you ask the question: “Are you a member of the Roman Catholic Church” will get a different answer than “do you take what they preach seriously enough to change your behavior.” If you think Americans in general take religious preaching all that seriously, you better be prepared to explain the above average teen pregnancy rate for the Bible Belt. Maybe they think they are going to Hell, but that doesn’t stop them from doing you know what like rabbits.

    So blaming the problem on religion is bogus – religion is just an excuse for existing prejudices (American hangups on sexual orientation are probably just a symptom of the country’s cultural hangups about sex in general), and it is interesting that you completely ignored the New Scientist article I pointed you to – the one that showed that what religious people (Christians in the study) believe God believes is typically a
    reflection of what the Christians believe.

    And if you follow some of the links, you’ll find even more of interest. For example, which points out that “THAT a complex mind is required for religion may explain why faith is unique to humans. Now brain scans support this idea, revealing that the parts of the brain that process religious belief are those that evolved most recently and give us sophisticated cognition. These regions include ones involved in our theory of mind. We share this ability to recognise that other people have intentions and thoughts independent of our own with only a few other species, including chimpanzees. Other regions involved in religious thought are ones used for language and metaphor.”

    So, it seems that to get rid of religion, we’d end up having to throw out the areas of the brain that make us human.

    No. 16 · AndrewW wrote, “@B: As fat as your contention that there is a Republican ideology that is anti-gay it is just plain goofy.”

    What’s “goofy” is your incredibly poor reading comprehension.
    What I wrote was, “What you ignore is that the main goal of Republicans is to get elected. So, to appeal to the “religious right wing”, they put out all sorts of anti-gay garbage (e.g., Bush’s attempt to hardwire DOMA into the U.S. constitution, which was dropped once he got elected to his second term). That anti-gay garbage, of course, is picked up by the non-religious/less-religious Republicans as well and influences their opinions.”

  • AndrewW

    @B: With all your childish Christian moaning you forget to realize what most of the world knows – religion made homosexuality wrong. Nothing else. Just religion.

    If something else did that, please share. Religion is the only institution that teaches homosexuality is wrong and it is the only institution that ever has. It is the source of anti-gay beliefs. Understand that simple fact and reread the study. You can’t blame groups that have never taught that belief (or invented it), but are infected with it and therefore promote it.

    Religion is the source of all anti-gay bigotry and the resulting discrimination. If you have another “source,” please provide it.

  • B

    No. 18 · AndrewW wrote, “With all your childish Christian moaning you forget to realize what most of the world knows – religion made homosexuality wrong. Nothing else. Just religion.”

    Hey moron, there was no “Christian moaning”, much less “childish Christian moaning” but rather a simple statement about statistics.

    What’s more interesting is your phrase, “religion made homosexuality wrong”. Some dubious character under a different user name used that rather odd phrase too, suggesting that you are the same nut.

    Your attempt to “blame religion” is just plain silly given physiological data (MRI scans) that indicate that religious beliefs about what “God” believes track the “believer’s” own prejudices. I provided you with that link and what it implies is not exactly what religious people would want to hear. Are you really so pigheaded as to not understand that?

    “If something else did that, please share.” Simple – American culture is full of sexual hangups. That’s the root cause – they simply attribute their prejudices to the will of their deity to give their prejudices more credence. What “God” wants shifts with what people believe. That’s what the MRI results suggest.

  • Jonathan

    @B: You have really lost this argument. Andrew simply said religion invented the idea that homosexuality is wrong and that the continue to “teach” it. That is a 100% true statement.

    You were asked numerous times to define who did it, if not religion and you failed. Take it from a former Christian, doctrine and dogma from religion has created our problems. Even now teenagers take their own lives because they have been fucked up by Christian beliefs.

    You are delusional and one of those irritating Christians that refuses to take responsibility for the negative aspects of religion.

    I’m not going to reply to you because you don’t provide any proof of anything and you just seek to promote religion. If something else did this to gay people, what was it?

  • Kevin Wright

    @B: Asa foremr Christian I know that religion has caused almost all of the GLBT problems we experience. It is folly to suggest otherwise. It’s also why I quit being a Christian and I am just spiritual.

    Are you a priest or something? Is religion your business?

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