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The Gay Marriage Message

Last month, I wrote a cover story for the Phoenix suggesting it might be time for Rhode Island's gay marriage advocates to consider putting the question on the ballot.

Supporters had long resisted the idea - and for understandable reasons. Prior to the November election, same-sex nuptials advocates around the country were 0 for 32 at the ballot box. And the campaigns surrounding these ballot fights were often quite nasty.

But as I wrote in the cover story, gay marriage advocates - waging ballot fights in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington this year - were increasingly confident of game-changing victories. That confidence, of course, was borne out on election day, with marriage equality forces sweeping all four contests.

My story noted, at the end, that same-sex nuptials advocates had grown increasingly sophisticated in their messaging

In Maine, advocates are running an ad featuring three firefighters endorsing the right of a fourth — a gay man sitting alongside them in the firehouse — to marry whomever he wants. Another stars a Republican voter, who opposed gay marriage in 2009, explaining why he switched sides.

Solomon, of Freedom to Marry, adds that advocates across the country are moving away from messages focused on the rights conferred by marriage and toward ads focused on the fundamental reason people get hitched — love.



Read more: http://providence.thephoenix.com/news/146011-gay-marriage-yes-or-no/#ixzz2CniQg0AU

 In Maine, advocates are running an ad featuring three firefighters endorsing the right of a fourth — a gay man sitting alongside them in the firehouse — to marry whomever he wants. Another stars a Republican voter, who opposed gay marriage in 2009, explaining why he switched sides.

[Marc] Solomon, of [advocacy group] Freedom to Marry, adds that advocates across the country are moving away from messages focused on the rights conferred by marriage and toward ads focused on the fundamental reason people get hitched — love.

Well, Buzzfeed has a great behind-the-scenes look at how advocates developed that winning message. It all started with extensive psychological research and focus group testing by centrist Democratic group Third Way designed to counteract the opposition's most potent message: that passage of a gay marriage law would mean elementary schools teachers instructing kids that men can marry men and women can marry women.

It's a message that got wide play in the earliest gay marriage battles and continued up through this fall's contests.

Third Way's findings, as reported by Buzzfeed:

• Commitment trumps rights, a point made in prior research by Freedom to Marry as well: “Leading with commitment will show the middle that gay people want to join the institution of marriage, not change it.”

• Kids move voters: “In our past qualitative research, we found that underlying these concerns about children are deeply emotional fears about loss of parental control. These fears were also evident in the poll data.”

• The home is our turf; schools are their turf: “When compared directly to other possible responses to attacks around children, parents teaching core values ranks highest in persuasiveness.”

• On kids — turn down the heat: “One effective way to do that is to remind those in the middle of something they already believe to be true — that 'kids will be kids,' and in reality, they are much more interested in other things than they are in whether gay couples are allowed to marry.”

• Give people permission to change their minds about why gay couple[s] marry: “Using a messenger who could describe changing his own opinion on why gay couples want to marry modeled this positive evolution on the very issue that is most crucial to gaining support.”

• Religion is a hurdle, not a wall: “[E]ven among those groups in the middle who were more concerned about religion, overwhelming majorities said ‘It is not for me to judge.’ … [I]t is crucial to include reaffirmation of religious liberty protections as a significant part of supporters’ message framework."

Hence, some of the top ads wielded by gay marriage advocates.


In Maine, advocates are running an ad featuring three firefighters endorsing the right of a fourth — a gay man sitting alongside them in the firehouse — to marry whomever he wants. Another stars a Republican voter, who opposed gay marriage in 2009, explaining why he switched sides.

Solomon, of Freedom to Marry, adds that advocates across the country are moving away from messages focused on the rights conferred by marriage and toward ads focused on the fundamental reason people get hitched — love.



Read more: http://providence.thephoenix.com/news/146011-gay-marriage-yes-or-no/#ixzz2CniQg0AU

 

In Maine, advocates are running an ad featuring three firefighters endorsing the right of a fourth — a gay man sitting alongside them in the firehouse — to marry whomever he wants. Another stars a Republican voter, who opposed gay marriage in 2009, explaining why he switched sides.

Solomon, of Freedom to Marry, adds that advocates across the country are moving away from messages focused on the rights conferred by marriage and toward ads focused on the fundamental reason people get hitched — love.



Read more: http://providence.thephoenix.com/news/146011-gay-marriage-yes-or-no/#ixzz2CniQg0AU

 

 

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