Tuesday, November 3, 2009
A Year Ago This Election
But then the evening turned somber as it became clearer and clearer that Proposition 8, the referendum question to overturn the California Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage, would pass. And even as I asked myself how such a thing could happen in our country, I also wasn't surprised. The anti-equality ads were vicious and dehumanizing, and they were effective. Millions and millions of dollars were spent to take away a court-declared right. I'm not one to call any person who opposes gay marriage "a hater," but I must admit to thinking just that when I heard the euphoria in some of the voices of those responsible for the passage of the amendment. Even if you really wanted to win, what does it say about you if you are elated at making a group of people feel like second class citizens?
I've written a great deal about the Maine referendum this Election Day. I keep telling myself that Maine is a different state from California. I keep hoping that we have learned from that experience. But I also know that some of the same tactics used in California are being used in Maine. Depicting a minority group as not trustworthy with children is not a new strategy. It's been used forever. And it is being used again in Maine. Many of the ads lead you to believe that this is a referendum about teaching gay sex in the public schools rather than making families stronger. Opponents of same-sex marriage have stepped up their TV advertising the last few days. It's a typical tactic: try to persuade with some untruthful attack at the last minute so that a response is almost impossible. Unfortunately, it may be shifting some undecided voters to support the repeal. The latest poll has marriage equality supports falling behind, although still within the margin of error.
It's going to be very, very close.