Thursday, October 16, 2008

Help me believe

I wanna believe, really I do, that the consultants for Equality California/No On (Prop) 8 know what they're doing in this TV-ad war over amending the California Constitution to re-ban same-sex marriage. Bloggers and others have called the gay side's ads "tepid," "lame" and "underwhelming." Folks on my mailing list have called them uninspiring, unclever, uncreative and groan-inducing. But now, EQCA/No on 8 says they've decided to be "hard-hitting." This is what they came up with:

"Our New ad Fights Back," says the headline on EQCA's Web site. "The opposition has raised over $25 million to 'swiftboat' and smear us with television ads that tell lies -- that we are attacking children and churches. That is why we've launched a hard-hitting ad that refutes the lies the other side is broadcasting 24/7."

If I were king, I'm not sure what I would do adwise. I might do an ad that showed 40 married same-sex couples, rapid-fire, one couple at a time, in 30 seconds, ending with: "Don't un-marry us. Vote no on Prop 8."

I might have Republican San Diego Mayor (and former police chief) Jerry Sanders and his lesbian daughter and her girlfriend do one. Sanders made national news last year when he switched his position to support same-sex marriage. He could say something like: "Hi, I'm San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, this is my daughter, Lisa, and this is her partner, Meaghan. If and when Lisa and Meaghan decide to get married, I'd like them to be able to. That's why I oppose Proposition 8, which would take away their right to marry and write discrimination in to our constitution..."

I think I'd pay to run the this one, where the California Constitution is portrayed as a hot babe.

That'd get the attention of straight dudes in Barstow and Fresno.

And I might ask Gov. Schwarzenegger, who opposes Prop 8, to do an ad against it, if that's kosher. Any ideas of your own?

EQCA/No on 8 says their current ads have been tested on undecided voters, that the ads "work," and that if more money is donated to continue blasting away on TV, "we will win." The money has indeed been flowing in recent days (and they say more is needed). So, I guess we're gonna see in 19 days...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Groan and write a check?

Here's a conundrum for you. Everybody on my big e-mail list who has bothered to hit reply thinks the No On Prop 8 TV ads are lame. That they are uninspiring, unclever, uncreative and, in spots, groan-inducing. (Ad #1 -- Ad #2 -- Ad #3)

The moment in ad #2 when the housewife pauses dramatically, cocks her head, and says, "No" was the moment I let out a sigh.
So I kvetched to (shared my opinion with) the top of the No On Prop 8 campaign. Their answer was pretty simple and goes like this: "Those ads are not for you. They've been extensively tested on undecided voters -- and they work. We are really behind in fundraising compared to the anti-gay side. We need more money right now to get these ads on the air. Go to and donate now. If we get the money to run these ads, we will win. If we don't, we will lose."

I guess I need to get out more. Meanwhile, these viral ads from clever boys in Hollywood make me happy. If I wasn't a journalist, and I saw these ads on TV, I'd be inspired to walk to my checkbook quickly. Watch.
So, the conundrum: No On Prop 8 wants gay people to write checks to run ads that gay people find uninspiring. Their argument: Trust us, we paid big money to prove that these ads work.

At this juncture, I guess you best trust in the expensive consultants and pony up if you want the California Supreme Court decision to stick.

Meanwhile, for comparison, here are a couple of the effective ads from the folks who want to re-ban same-sex marriage in California: Ad #1 -- Ad #2.

No on Prop 8's law firm has asked TV stations to stop airing these ads because they "are full of lies."

"There is nothing in Prop 8 about teaching children in our schools, nothing that would affect religion or religious institutions in any way, " said No on 8 Campaign Manager Steve Smith.

And this just in: Ellen DeGeneres has released a No on Prop 8 PSA. You can watch it here.

And, I just learned, so has Margaret Cho. Here.

Wockner blog front page

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Polls flip: Gays now losing marriage in Calif.

A TV ad showing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom saying California is going to have same-sex marriage "whether you like it or not" is being credited with flipping poll numbers to favor the Nov. 4 ballot proposition to amend the state constitution to undo the state Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage.
"This door's wide open now. It's gonna happen. Whether you like it or not!" Newsom says in a clip included in the ad paid for by forces supporting passage of Proposition 8.

The ad continues: "Four judges ignored 4 million voters and imposed same-sex marriage on California. It's no longer about tolerance. Acceptance of gay marriage is now mandatory.

"That changes a lot of things: People sued over personal beliefs. Churches could lose their tax exemption. Gay marriage taught in public schools.

"We don't have to accept this. ('Whether you like it or not!') Yes on 8."
George Takei (right), who played Sulu on the original Star Trek TV series, married his longtime partner, Brad Altman, Sept. 14 in Los Angeles. Mario G. Reyes photo from GLAAD

Gay activists admit the ad is good, even though it contains "lies." But equally important, they say, the pro-8 side has raised nearly $10 million more than the anti-8 side, allowing the forces that want to re-ban same-sex marriage greater access to the television airwaves.

The gay side's current ad shows the parents of a lesbian pleading with voters not to "eliminate" marriage for anyone.

"Our worst nightmares are coming true," Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors said in an urgent fundraising appeal Oct. 7.
"Today we learned of the massive $25.4 million our opponents have raised so far. They are using this war chest to broadcast lies: 24/7 and up and down the state of California. And the polls show the lies are working. We need your donation now."
Robin Tyler, center, and Diane Olson, right, were married June 16 in Beverly Hills. Also pictured: Gloria Allred, their pro bono lawyer. Karen Ocamb photo

Although other recent polls have shown opposition to Prop 8 (which means one supports same-sex marriage) running as high as 55 percent, and support for Prop 8 (which means one opposes same-sex marriage) running as low as 38 percent, two polls released Oct. 6 and 7 show voters now have flipped.

Equality California said its internal polling shows 47 percent of likely California voters want to re-ban same-sex marriage and 43 percent want to keep it legal. Likewise, a CBS 5/SurveyUSA poll found 47 percent support for a ban and 42 percent opposition to it.
Tom Felkner, center, and Bob Lehman, left, were the first gay couple married in San Diego County when same-sex marriages got under way statewide June 17. Photo by Rex Wockner

"People change their minds about Proposition 8 when they hear the lie that churches will lose their tax-free status if they won't marry same-sex couples," said Kors. "Even though this is not true.

"So this is crunch time. With less than a month before the election, we must get on the air now to answer these lies and swing votes back to our side. And the only way to do that is to raise more money. The generous $15.8 million that our supporters have given isn't enough."

The new EQCA polling, a compilation of the group's daily tracking polls, was conducted by Lake Research Partners. It questioned 1,051 randomly dialed likely voters between Sept. 29 and Oct. 2 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.
Lyle Ratcliff, center, and Terry Tyll as same-sex marriages began June 17 in San Diego. Also pictured: ring girls Natyllie, left, and Madelyn. Photo by Rex Wockner
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