The dilemma: How to convince people to vote for same-sex marriage when they believe “gays are gross.”
In the battle to legalize gender segregation in marriage, some gay rights activists question the effectiveness of TV ads that highlight gender-integrated couples speaking on behalf of same-sex couples.
"If we don't show ourselves, people aren't going to get comfortable with who we are," said Wayne Besen, director of Vermont-based gay rights group "Truth Wins Out," one of many that presses gays to live openly with pride in who they are.
Bil Browning, a Washington, D.C., gay activist and writer, recently called a straights-only ad that ran in Washington state "a heterosexual snoozefest" on his blog. He pointed out that gay activists seem to be using the strategy even though they've yet to win a campaign. In the 32 states where the issue has been on a statewide ballot, gay marriage advocates have lost every time.
"Maybe it's time to reevaluate these strategies and include our families, actual LGBT people," Browning said. "We're never going to win if we can't show our faces. It looks like we have something to hide, and we don't."
However, other advocates for SSM claim the ads are more palatable to Americans than filming same-sex couples.
"The moderate tough guys we need to flip to win a couple of these races are still the ones who say that gays are gross," said Andy Szekeres, a Denver-based fundraising consultant who has worked on several state campaigns and had access to focus group data. "Pushing people to an uncomfortable place, it's something you can't do in a TV ad," said Szekeres, who is gay.What about you? Are you "uncomfortable" with segregating genders in marriage? Are you "uncomfortable" with the idea of excluding mothers from children's lives? And eliminating fathers from other children's lives?
Support pro-gender marriage. Because gender matters. (Even to people with same-sex attraction.)