After defeat after defeat, suddenly several states passed amendments and laws giving gays the right to marry. What turned the tide? The answer is in an interesting article on Buzzfeed.
I consider myself a moderate, even though in today’s partisan world moderates seem like a dying breed. So it is interesting to read an article that shows that one of the main reasons why so many states adopted gay marriage rights was because proponents adopted tactics aimed at moderates. This came after a yearlong research effort, which made significant changes to the talking points and television ads run in support of marriage equality.
Instead of ads talking about “rights”, the new ads focused on committed relationships. Instead of avoiding talk about “values” the new ads speek to values directly, emphasizing the golden rule and how values should be taught in the home. And probably most importantly, the ads made it clear that accepting gay marriage may not be an easy decision and gave voters permission to change their position (just as Obama changed his position).
The new message looks something like this:
My name is Bill Stevens. I was brought up thinking that marriage was between a man and a woman, but I came to realize that gay and lesbian people are just born that way. After all, who would choose that harder path? I also know the value of my marriage and the vows we made, so I understand why gays and lesbians would want to make that unique and important commitment, too. I teach my children not to judge others and to practice the Golden Rule. I feel confident that they learn their values from my wife and me and legalizing gay marriage is not going to change that, nor does it threaten my marriage. For all these reasons, I’ve now decided to support marriage for gays and lesbians.
And it worked.