message wars

Oh Look, Another Soft Ad From Maine’s Marriage Equality Camp

In the latest Maine marriage television ad wars, Protect Maine Equality releases the above spot, which counters Stand For Marriage Maine’s misleading spot. It points out S4MM’s lies (complete with dramatic music snippet), sure, but it’s still letting that group dictate the conversation about marriage equality.

Yup, we want to promote to voters a wholesome, “normalized” image of gay families, which the above ad does.

But where’s the chutzpah? Where are the demands? Where’s James Earl Jones intoning not saying No On 1 will bring God’s wrath down upon us?

Have we learned nothing from California’s Yes On 8 camp, which had the gall to go on the offensive when raping away our rights? Because these weak spots from Maine’s No On 1 group are letting that happen all over again. Don’t think Maine voters (than Californians) need a softer approach for this messaging to work. They don’t. And we need to grow a pair.

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  • Tarcash

    Why can’t they make it about what is fair and just for every American, rather than pander and focus on children?

  • Andrew

    “Outsiders” are are trying to harm our kids? Why not play the religious card Maine No on1? Why not say exactly what it is: Religion trying to stop homosexuals. Or will you wait until after you lose the vote and “blame” religion.

    Play the card. Equality is waiting.

  • Sean Chapin


    Tarcash, I think that the Protect Maine Equality campaign addresses your concern with their second ad “All Families” that was released in tandem with their response ad about children (see my above post), and the tandem release sends a message of defending their turf while at the same time bringing the message back to their theme of real Mainers, equality, fairness, respect and “live & let live”.

  • Andrew

    @Sean Chapin: Scott I watched the so-called “harder-hitting and much-better second ad” and your response. They were not powerful and they seemed to be “begging” as if we homos need to be “accepted” or “tolerated.” We don’t.

    Sooner or later you folks in Maine will have to encourage voters to “put equality before religion,” or you will lose. There are enough “liberal” religious people and non-religious for you to actually win, but you can’t be begging. Take a stand for equality and in doing so, marginalize the anti-gay, anti-equality religious vote.

  • Andrew

    @Andrew: Sorry, I should have said Sean.

  • Sean Chapin


    Andrew, thanks for your comment.

    You may see my video as begging for tolerance and acceptance. I see it as respectfully sharing my viewpoints based on analysis of the subject matter from various perspectives towards fostering enlightenment in a rational and non-sensationalist tone. I have learned over the past year that acting peacefully, openly and respectfully in communicating the messages more or less produces a disarming viewers, and that goes a long way towards significantly helping the soft-yes’s of the world open their minds and better understand us, with a number of them changing their minds towards accepting and voting for us.

    That said, my full position is that fundamental civil rights of a suspect minority class of people should never be put to a public vote of a potentially-tyrannical majority, meaning that Prop 8 should never have happened, and both Question 1 in Maine and Referendum 71 in Washington should not be happening. Under these types of elections and ballot measures, minorities are faced with a sometimes-insurmountable challenge for social acceptance via the public vote, and such battles inherently strip the dignity away from these minorities and undermine the essence of America and its core and fundamental values of equal rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness – rights which should never be compromised by the will of the people at any point in time in history. Accordingly, I support the fights currently being fought on a federal level, including passing the Respect for Marriage Act which would overturn DOMA, the court challenges to repeal DOMA, and the court challenge to repeal Proposition 8 in California.

  • Andrew

    @Sean Chapin: It is very telling that your lengthy comment did not use the word “religion.”

    Maine is going to lose. Begging isn’t inspirational.

  • Washington

    How supportive of you all saying that Maine is going to lose.

    Have you noticed the reoccurring theme in the ads? We don’t like outsiders telling us what to do. The state has a very distinct nature. The same type of aggressive ad that would have worked in California would NOT work in Maine. There is no universal way to solve this issue.

    We know what we’re doing here. If you want to help, send some money. If you don’t, fine, but shut up and quit acting like you actually understand how this state functions.

  • Sean Chapin


    Andrew, to me, what is inspirational is respect. Based on my understanding of your comment, I would like to ask you if I deserve the same amount of dignity and respect as you and every other straight and LGBT person. My respect for you was to treat your comment with care by putting a lot of thought into my response towards furthering this discussion we are having, and your response to me was that you describe my comment as “lengthy” and infer something about my comment not mentioning “religion”. Do you wish to have a conversation with me, or do you wish to tear me down?

    With respect to religion, which to me is by far the number one issue based on my conversations with those who oppose gay marriage in Maine (children being second), I have posted a number of videos covering this subject that you’re more than welcome to watch:

    Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, ME $100,000 Donation (July 18, 2009)

    Meaning of Marriage (Religious vs. Civil) (August 15, 2009)

    America vs. Christian Nation (August 23, 2009)

    Voting based on Religious Beliefs (August 22, 2009)

    I like hearing people’s view points so that I can better myself as an amateur videographer towards helping this cause, but that said, I would appreciate it if you would be able to be a little more constructive in your feedback.

  • Andrew

    @Washington: You didn’t mention religion either. Nobody needs to understand your State. The deal is religion is voting against you. Same way they did in California and will in Washington. You can ignore that fact and lose, or wake up and inspire your voters with the real “truth.”

    I do enjoy your lobsters. But, don’t tell those religious people.

  • Andrew

    @Sean Chapin: Good. I appreciate your efforts and I respect them, as well. Now, have the courage to take on religion or Maine will lose. If it’s important, then it is important to take a stand, not simply ask (please, please) for respect. Ask Maine to “put equality before religion.” They will.

  • Sean Chapin


    Washington, I think that Maine has a good chance at preserving marriage equality at the election, and I think that the Protect Marriage Equality campaign is doing a terrific job so far (which isn’t too surprising considering that campaign manager Jesse Connolly is smart and has great experience running Maine campaigns from what I understand).

    I understand your point about Mainers being averse to outside influence, but that said, I do believe that all of us no matter where we are in America can benefit and evolve from the sharing of ideas, and also, I don’t know what good can be achieved when someone else tells someone else to “shut up”, as I am not sure how that fosters respect.

  • Sean Chapin


    Andrew, if you were a videographer making an ad, what would be the message that you would deliver, and how would you deliver it? If you’re interested, take some time and let me know what you think would be a good 30sec spot, and shoot me your ideas on my YouTube acount “SeanChapin1”. I’m curious to see what you would come up with based on your perspective of this campaign.

  • Washington


    “The deal is religion is voting against you. ”

    The religious vote is split. There are various denominations present here, several with leaders who openly have supported same-sex marriage. Still, among roman catholics, there are many who have publicly spoken against the second collection that recently went on to support the Yes campaign. This can be seen throughout the opinion and editorial pages of our newspapers.

    We have many religious allies, to make a prickly ad against them would hurt our cause. We’d lose many adamant supporters.

  • Andrew

    @Washington: You don’t have to make a “prickly ad” against religion. Religion is dividing. 30% are very religious, 30% are non-religious and there is the “uncertain middle” at 40%. That’s the “movable” group. There is no reason to even be “anti-religion,” that’s not the point – the point is equality means everyone equal. The “very religious” (conservative) are not going to be persuaded, especially by your gay-friendly clergy. That group is fixed.

    You probably have many of the non-religious. The battle is really for the “uncertain middle.” I would respectfully suggest asking them to “put equality before religious belief” would inspire them.

    Plus I don’t think over-using the word “marriage” helps. It should be about equality. Appealing to the people of Maine to be fair and treat everyone (in Maine) “equal” seems more palatable.

    If you doubt that there is a huge division in most denominations, look up Lutherans and Episcopalians. They are splitting into two groups – Conservative (old) and Liberal (new). I’m simplifying, but the Liberal are mostly under 45 years of age and the Conservative are over 45.

    Finally, Maine is blessed that it is a State with one of the lowest percentages of voters who believe “religion is important” at only 48% – compared to a US average of 65%.

    I believe honest people understand the problem – religion has made homosexuality wrong for 2,000 years. Young people are going to force religion to end that belief – or go out of business.

    I can’t imagine a campaign that doesn’t very directly and honestly level with voters. We already know the other side is lying, exaggerating and using fear. The “truth” can win your fight. Maine people probably already “get it,” but asking them softly to “please” support us looks and feels weak.

    It’s an opportunity for the good people of Maine to put equality before religion. In the hearts and minds of Maine voters is this idea that “homosexuals are wrong.” If you prevail, you will be extinguishing that belief. America is watching.

  • PopSnap

    I agree- let’s go for a more agressive tone. “Would YOU like someone telling YOU who to marry?” also throw in some stuff about the Bible decrying sex before marriage, cheating, divorce, and ask if we should pass propositions banning that before. “Keep religion where it belongs: in Church” or something.

    Because this is about religion. And I honestly have a little more respect for people when they are up front about their oppositon to gay marriage because of RELIGION, not because of some bullshit “derrr chillin’s being taught there are gays in school and my church has to marry gays blah blah” lies.

    Oh, and I’d throw in some tapes of people speaking out against interracical marriage, too, for good measure. To show that it’s the same, single motif here: “They’re different. It’s unusual. I don’t like it.”

  • Jeff

    I completely agree that we all need to take a more aggressive stance, but I think that the Maine ads are outside of the box compared to what we saw in CA right before prop 8. There are actually gay people in these ads – a tactic not embraced in California. The reference to “outsiders” is something that Maine voters are likely to respond to. Honestly, I think that the forces fighting for marriage equality in Maine are doing the best they can do with the limited resources and attention they are getting from the greater community.

  • KK Bloom

    Jeff is right – the CA ads completely left gay people – the ONLY people affected by gay marriage – completely out of all ads.

    I love Maine…I spent my summers there growing up and have several cherished family members there. I sincerely hope the good people of the state (and there are many) do not fall for the bigot’s bullshit. As of right now the Maine equality ads and organizations are far superior than the mismangled, pathetic bunch in California.

  • Brian

    @Jeff: “The reference to “outsiders” is something that Maine voters are likely to respond to.”

    Yeah, but it’s not true.

    The problem isn’t “outsiders,” it is being lead and financed by Maine Churches. Sure NOM is there, but they’re everywhere. This isn’t about some “imported” idea that SSM is bad – half of the people in Maine think homosexuals are “morally wrong.” Religion did that. To blame the “bogey man” seems a little dishonest.

    I would take it to the Catholics (and other Christians) paying for the Campaign. Have the debate. Give people in Maine the very clear choice to choose equality over religion. People are letting go of religion’s grip – give them a chance to take a stand, not just be “nice.”

  • Steve

    There really is only one effective way to respond to the churches that are preaching against gay marriage. That is, for other churches to preach for gay marriage. On TV.

    Get a priest, perhaps an Episcopal, dressed in full high-church drag, standing in front of an altar. Have him teach a short sermon about, what did Jesus say about gay people, or, how the church should minister to gay people. A group of preachers from “welcoming” churches can produce the lessons without any difficulty.

    A 30-second sermon can be effective. While most people claim to be Christians, only a tiny percent actually go to church most weeks. The rest hardly ever hear a priest, but they pay attention when they do.

    The hard-line right wingers won’t be convinced, of course. But the many undecided need to know that the churches do not all agree on this subject.

  • jason

    I have also been shocked by the timid approach of the gay community to challenging the lies of the Catholic Church. It’s doomed to failure.

    What we need to do is develop a focus of logic. Here are my suggestions:

    a) the ads from the gay community need to point out that gay marriage is CIVIL marriage, not religious marriage. We need to assure people that gay people have no intentions of impinging on religious beliefs in this regard. Repeat, we need to point out that gay marriage is a civil contract, not a religious one.

    b)attack the credibility of the Catholic Church. We need to play hardball here. We need to point out that the Catholic Church has protected and harbored pedophiles. All we need to do is cite some news stories in recent years.

  • jason

    Overall, I think the gay community has done a very poor job of assuring the general community that gay marriage is gay civil marriage, and not gay religious marriage. We have failed to point out that religious organizations are not required to give their blessing to us.

  • Andrew W

    I think these ads show that we have learned a lot from the Prop 8 fight. I think these are smart, well targeted ads. And I think Queerty is getting kind of douchey.

  • Andrew

    @Andrew W: “Andrew Wheeler is a failed journalist and out-of-print author who desperately believes that blogging can provide the platform his unique voice clearly deserves. He intends to squander this bid for relevance by talking about American Idol, superhero comics, and his peculiar affection for Paul Walker movies.”

    Why are these Maine Equality “begging for acceptance” Ads good?

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