Wednesday, August 11, 2010
En route to explaining why she regards the recent judicial reversal of Proposition 8 (aka the California Marriage Protection Act) as a Pyrrhic victory for gay rights, Helen Searles brings up the following interesting point at Spiked.
As David Fleischer has argued in the Huffington Post: "[A] comprehensive analysis of the Prop 8 campaign... shows that the only two TV ads created by the 'No to Prop 8' campaign that made voters more likely to support same-sex marriage were the only two that used the word 'gay' (none of the other 14 breathed a word about whose lives would be most affected by Prop 8) and that made clear, direct arguments on the merits. All of the rest were de-gayed, and had no impact as they offered platitudes, vagueness, unexplained endorsements, and abstract analogies." Fleischer concluded: "Same-sex marriage can't win when we don't make the case for it." [minor format edits]Apparently, fiscal conservatives "defending" capitalism don't have a monopoly on making a good cause look like an attempt to put something over on everyone...
I can think of many specific reasons (and Searles names a few) the anti-Proposition 8 folks might have feared just going out and naming their cause, but they all boil down to a presumption that the voting public is largely closed to reason or can't be reached by what the Abolitionists called "moral suasion."
Is this because of a cynical presumption that likely pro-Proposition 8 voters are irrational bumpkins? Or is it because too many Proposition 8 opponents -- like too many fiscal conservatives -- don't really understand the philosophical basis for their cause, and therefore don't even have a cogent message?
Whatever the reason, the end result was the same: They lost a ton of the good will that their cause deserved.