Via Dan Savage, we have this hilariously petulant, oblivious declaration of digging-in-heels by NOM. I knew there had to be a response by the anti-equality side to the fact that marriage equality is now winning on ballot initiatives. You see, when a state Supreme Court rules that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry, that doesn’t count because courts are undemocratic; it needs to be moved to the legislature. If the legislature passes a bill for civil marriage to be extended to same-sex couples, that doesn’t count because the legislature is ignoring the will of the people. It needs to be settled by voter referendum.
So…what happens when three states put same-sex marriage on the ballot, and all three states say YES?
It means NOM is going to move the goalposts back to the “because we said so” position. In Brian Brown’s own words:
Obviously we are very disappointed in losing four tough election battles by narrow margins. We knew long ago that we faced a difficult political landscape with the four marriage battles occurring in four of the deepest-blue states in America. As our opponents built a huge financial advantage, the odds became even steeper. We ran strong campaigns and nearly prevailed in a very difficult environment, significantly out-performing the GOP ticket in every state.
Despite the fact that NOM was able to contribute a record amount to the campaigns (over $5.5 million), we were still heavily outspent, by a margin of at least four-to-one. We were fighting the entirety of the political establishment in most of the states, including sitting governors in three of the states who campaigned heavily for gay marriage. Our opponents and some in the media will attempt to portray the election results as a changing point in how Americans view gay marriage, but that is not the case. Americans remain strongly in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The election results reflect the political and funding advantages our opponents enjoyed in these very liberal states.
Though we are disappointed over these losses, we remain faithful to our mission and committed to the cause of preserving marriage as God designed it. Marriage is a true and just cause, and we will never abandon the field of battle just because we experienced a setback. There is much work to do, and we begin that process now.
*blogger pours herself a cocktail* Where to begin?
If we’re going to make civil marriage rights a state-by-state deal, then the fight will sometimes land in the “deepest-blue” states with lots of us filthy liberals who seem to think same-sex relationships are worthy of equal recognition under the law, or something. We are not the people that NOM was trying to get to the polls, but we are tax-paying Americans and our votes do count. What happens in Maine, Maryland and Washington is a valid part of what happens in America.
If there’s a thesis to Mr. Brown’s crossed-arms-over-chest stance, it’s this sentence here:
The election results reflect the political and funding advantages our opponents enjoyed in these very liberal states.
He wants his supporters to understand that the breakthrough in ballot results has nothing to do with Americans changing their minds about same-sex marriage and everything to do with the proponents of the Homosexual Lifestyle getting the governors on their side and spending tons of money on ad campaigns.
You do realize, Mr. Brown, that the ballot initiatives won because of the number of individual voters who went to the polls and voted Yes on the initiatives?
When you spend money on campaigns for political issues, you do not buy the votes themselves. You buy the opportunity to send your message to the voters. The money doesn’t pay the voters. The purpose of a campaign is to influence the voters’ opinions and motivate them to show up at the polls. It cannot overwhelm the voters’ opinions or coerce opponents to stay home.
With the state political establishments, the governors can encourage the lawmakers to pass certain legislation, but civil marriage wasn’t allowed to stay with the legislature, was it? The governor is taking a risk with his career by pushing for marriage equality. The voters are not compelled to vote for equality because their governors want it.
Greater political funding can have better influence over elections in two ways: more convincing ads, more coverage. A more expensive ad is not necessarily a more persuasive one, but it helps to have some money to throw at production and talent. There are many ways that political ads can persuade, and they’re not required to be truthful. If you want to get people to vote a certain way by lying to them, you’ll probably get away with it. Your opponent can purchase air time to counter your lies, but they can’t make the viewers un-hear the lies.
Whether your campaign uses fact-based ads with convincing arguments, or lies and paranoia, the voters have to be convinced before they’ll vote your way. Emotional appeals may fall under the category of “convincing arguments,” though they can rely on compassion or prejudice.
The extent that political funding yields the desired result is a function of the extent to which the voters are convinced and motivated by the campaign. It is possible to out-spend your opponent and still lose.
Therefore, if the higher spending of the pro-equality side is responsible for the positive results, it is because those highly-funded campaigns successfully caused many voters to change their minds.
Now, perhaps NOM thinks that if they pour tons of money into more campaigns, they can get more states to entrench unequal marriage in 2014. There may be a few states that haven’t yet weighed in, but if NOM thinks they can get the states already on Team Gay Marriage to change their minds, I suspect they’ll be throwing their money away. Meanwhile, more and more people in the more conservative states will notice that gay marriage has been legal in an expanding portion of the country for years, and the sky isn’t falling.
Just for fun, here are Question 6 results by county.