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10/28/2009

Stand For Marriage Maine has damaged their state with lies. It'll take time to fix.

by Jeremy Hooper

Check out this landing page that's being used to scare visitors to the StandForMarriageMaine site:

Screen Shot 2009-10-28 At 8.16.43 Am-1

Okay, let's break this bullcrappy down:

1) We're not sure if the teacher is supposed to be a pro-gay "indoctrinator," or simply a teacher. But what does stand out here is that it's literally the first person of color we've seen in any of Stand For Marriage Maine's materials. No implications here -- just an observation.

2) The out-of-state claims are SO ridiculous. Stand For Marriage Maine's largest donor is the New Jersey- and D.C.-based National Organization For Marriage. Their consultants are the California-based Schubert-Flint. Their ad production units are all California-based. The out-of-state Eagle Forum is recruiting votes. Out-of-state "pro-family" leaders Peter LaBarbera and Brian Camenker are today holding a press conference in support of the "yes" campaign. And so on and so on...

3) Maine is not a "target." It's also not "ground zero." It's a church-separated state. The people-elected legislature passed marriage equality legislation, and the people-elected Governor signed it into law. There would be and should be no "fight" here. The only reason why this peaceful civil development is militarized is because Stand For Marriage Maine cannot live and let live. They want to use their wholly faith-based views to deny gay couples of their CIVIL (i.e. church-separated) unions.

4) The idea that marriage or any same-sex teaching hinges on Question One is a complete, utter, unscrupulous lie. Gay people exist, and their lives might be acknowledged in various ways in public schools -- then, now, or in the future. But schools don't "teach" about marriage in general, and marriage equality in the state of Maine doesn't facilitate or prevent gay acknowledgment in schools.

5) There has been no mass same-sex marriage teaching in Mass schools. Again -- this is an outright lie! In fact, the only two cases that even the "pro-family" points to (out of the countless Mass. families who have been in the public school system in the 5+ years that the state's had marriage equality) involve acceptance in general, not marriage in specific. And again, these sorts of pro-acceptance teachings might be found in ANY state's public school, because gay people exist among us!

6) The idea that gays "fought in court" on the Massachusetts schools' issue? Yup, you guessed it: Another blatant lie from the self-professed team of morality! In truth, it was the two families who had a problem with pro-acceptance children's books, the Parkers and the Wirthlins, who took their case to court. When they chose to do so, the school system and fair-minded allies had no choice but to defend the curriculum, gay families, etc. But there was not fight on our side to "push" anything. All we did in court was DEFEND against their attempts to strip public schools of any pro-acceptance materials. We fought against their side's arrogant, galling attempts to have both private Christian schools where they can deny and demonize gays (a right that we support), as well as public schools where they can do the same (a right that they do not have)! And we won, because we were in the right.

7) If you want to fight back against true indoctrination, you'd actually donate to NO ON 1. But of course knowing what we know about our opposition, they'd likely just lie and say that you donated to them anyway.

***Interesting side note: The National Organization For Marriage used this exact same stock photo in this New York ad. You can find the stock photo (with two excised African-American students) here.

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Your thoughts

Jeremy, for some reason the screenshot is not showing up and it is making my browser crash. Do you have the URL of the landing page? Thanks. L

Posted by: Leslie | Oct 28, 2009 9:14:07 AM

How to lead an insurgency, Page 1: Convince potential insurgents that they live in a dualistic world in which everyone has united against them. Paint the enemy in broad swaths in order to dehumanize them. Then strike and claim that your mission is one given to you by some divine force.

It's only beginning folks.

Posted by: Brian | Oct 28, 2009 9:19:24 AM

http://www.standformarriagemaine.com/landing4/index.html

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 28, 2009 9:23:31 AM

Neither here nor there, but NOM used the same classroom shot in their NY ad from May:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-GC9W3boHw

Posted by: LdChino | Oct 28, 2009 10:15:28 AM

Jeremy, I think you're being too kind in not naming the implication of SFMM using this photo now.

The message is "If Yes on 1 fails, this person will be teaching your kids about same-sex marriage." And, this teacher just happens to be the first person of color?

This is a multi-million-dollar campaign being delivered by high-dollar consultants who are carefully crafting and testing their images and messages. As they've shopped their way through the catalogs of stock photos, those including people of color have been shuffled aside.

There are two options here: Carelessness or callousness.

If SFMM and its contractors have accidentally reached this point with white-only faces, they should apologize.

If excluding people of color has been intentional, it speaks of a cynical, cowardly lack of trust on SFMM's part: They haven't believed the people of Maine would respond rationally or favorably to ads which included non-white families. But now, suddenly and inexplicably, the teacher talking to second graders about homosexuality happens to be black?

The implication may be subtle, but it strikes me as a clear one.

Posted by: Bose | Oct 28, 2009 12:58:59 PM

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