Main | Wednesday, November 12, 2008

LA Times: Prop 8's Lessons

Wondering where all those protesters were before the election, the Los Angeles Times doles out some blame.
Same-sex marriage advocates produced only one hard-hitting commercial, depicting a pair of Mormon missionaries ripping up the wedding license of a married gay couple, but didn't air it until election day. The campaign made little effort to reach out to the African American community, whose large turnout and overwhelming support of Proposition 8 were enough to put it over the top. And while it's nice that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger now says he hopes that the courts will overturn the initiative, he was all but invisible before Nov. 4.

The failure of leadership extends beyond the governor. If there was a public face to the No on 8 campaign, it was San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who is (notoriously) heterosexual. Where were the gay leaders? It's hard to imagine the civil rights movement of the 1960s succeeding without Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X, or to imagine the women's suffrage movement without the likes of Susan B. Anthony.

Wresting equal rights from a society reluctant to grant them isn't easy. It can take years of nonviolent resistance, passionate speeches and even in-your-face radicalism. If people who voted yes on Proposition 8 say they didn't see it as a civil rights matter, that's because until now there has been nothing resembling a civil rights crusade by the gay community. Courts can assist downtrodden groups, but they never have and never will be enough to guarantee equality on their own.
As I said here many times, the commercials were crap. They were timid, cloying and completely free of the actual faces of ACTUAL gay people. We snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with those pussy-footing messages. The one good ad mentioned above, which only aired on election day, wasn't even done by No On 8.

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