Is It Possible This Ad Will Make Republicans Love Gays?

Scene: Two grandparents, one male and one female, hold their newborn baby grandchildren. Grandfather narrates a story about fatherhood, and watching his son raise his kids. With his male partner. You may have seen the ad before, but its creators now say that when they showed it to a group of Republicans, they branded it effective.

Truth and Hope, originally founded to support Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, is now all about progressive causes. And that includes gay rights. So they produced the above spot and showed it to 851 self-described Democrats, Republicans, and independents, and then asked them what they thought about the ad.

The Dems provided predictable responses, saying the emotions they felt most after watching the ad were “happiness” and “inspiration.” Republicans? “Happiness” and, uh, “disturbed; “anger” and “embarrassment” didn’t show up too often. And 58 percent of Republicans also said the ad was either “extremely” or “somewhat” effective in hitting at the heartstrings and pushing the message of equality.

Indeed, this “normalization” ads can be very effective in changing attitudes. But they’re also the soft sell, a strategy that has its critics in places like Maine, where these ads may make or break the marriage fight.