Videos and Ads
When we began our effort in 2006 to win marriage equality in Maine, we understood we needed to change hearts and minds. Changing hearts and minds was going to happen only if people got to know gay and lesbian couples and their children.
In the fall of 2006 we produced a 12-minute DVD featuring three Maine LGBT couples and families, titled The Way Life Should Be: Marriage in Maine. This was our primary educational tool throughout our 3-year Public Education Initiative. The families discuss everything from parenting to aging, and describe how their exclusion from marriage affects their lives legally, emotionally and socially. We showed this DVD to thousands of Mainers and over the years people began to understand why marriage mattered to LGBT people in Maine.
Click here to watch the video entitled The Way Life Should Be: Marriage in Maine
During the legislative campaign, January to May 2009, we produced two short videos that we used to educate legislators on why marriage matters to their constituents. One video, featuring three straight couples with school-aged children supportive of marriage equality, addressed the issue of school curriculum and why children should be taught to respect all children and their families.
Click here to watch the video entitled Respect and Fairness: The Heart of Who We Are in Maine
The other video we produced and distributed during the legislative campaign was a beautiful montage of portraits of LGBT and straight families, set to music.
Click here to watch the video entitled Marriage for All Maine Families
In August 2009, after the referendum campaign was up and running, EqualityMaine Foundation, Maine Civil Liberties Union and GLAD produced a television ad as part of our Public Education Initiative. It ran for a month, from mid-August to mid-September, on both broadcast and cable TV. Our strategy was to connect marriage equality to Maine values of fairness and equality, thus claiming these important values.
Click here to watch the video entitled TV ad: Together
Once mid-September rolled around, both campaigns began running TV ads. The Yes on 1 campaign wasted no time in attacking us on school curriculum. It seemed that their strategy was to run the same campaign they ran on Prop 8 in California, and in fact, they used several of the same exact ads (insert Maine teacher for California teacher).
The thing is, Maine isn't California. Maine prides itself on local control and while there are learning standards issued at the state level, what is taught in school curriculum is determined at the local level, with signifcant community input.
Even with that, we did not expect to "win" the ad war against the issue of school curriculum. Our goal was to maintain our support throughout the attacks, and then run an aggressive field operation that would get our supporters out to vote.
No attack went unanswered in our television ads, yet in every ad we pivoted back to our frame of fairness and equality. We continued to be the campaign of Maine values while Yes on 1 was the campaign of negative campaigning.
In one of our opponent's ads, they tried to associate discussing the book Who's in A Family with teaching about marriage in the curriculum. Instead of denying that the book was discussed in school, we encouraged people to read the book (available on our website) and then ask whether we should be ashamed of any family in the book.
Click here to watch the video entitled TV ad: Book
Another attack from our opponents was on the grounds of religious freedom saying, among other things, that if marriage equality were to become law, people of faith would be prosecuted if they refused to provide public services to LGBT couples. We made it clear (mostly through earned media) that refusing to provide public services to LGBT people is already illegal because of the 2005 non-discrimination law and that would not change if Question 1 was defeated.
What we did in terms of religious freedom was put up a TV ad about Grandma, a French Catholic grandmother from Lewiston whose son and son's partner are in a loving, committed relationship and raising a child. It was very personal and illustrated that not all Catholics oppose marriage equality and in fact some embrace it with open arms.
Click here to watch the video entitled TV ad: Mom
In our last two ads, which ran in the final 4-5 days of the campaign, we offered a clear choice to Maine voters: they can choose to treat some families differently, make them feel ashamed, and deny their children important legal protections, or we can choose equality and treat every family with respect and dignity under the law.
Click here to watch the video entitled TV ad: Sam