HRC Blog

When Scaring Parents About Marriage Equality Stopped Working

Speaking to voters in the days before Maryland’s historic vote for marriage equality, I was particularly struck by the many parents I met.
 
These parents were bombarded by ominous TV ads crafted by marriage equality opponents to elicit maximum fear and anxiety in their hearts.
 
One ad titled “Parents Have No Rights” ended with the line “don’t make the same mistake and think that gay marriage won’t affect you.” Nearly identical ads ran in Maine, Washington and Minnesota.
 
The explicit message was clear: marriage equality will hurt your children; the implicit messages were even more troubling, but, the scare tactics didn’t work.
 
This time, parents recognized that the only real effect of a vote for marriage equality was that it would allow their children to grow up in a state that treats its citizens fairly.
 
In fact, many of the parents I met were proud to share the historic vote with their kids.
 
“Can you read that number?” a mother asked her son after she took a Vote for 6 pamphlet. “That’s right, 6. We want to treat everyone equally!”
 
A father proudly explained to her daughter that Question 6 would let Uncle Joey get married.
 
These parents had little trouble talking to their kids about marriage equality because they recognized that it was a conversation about values.
 
It was a conversation about respecting families that love and care for each other and treating everyone fairly even if they happen to be different from you.
 
These are values that are appropriate for all ages. They are the values that led so many parents to look past the scare tactics and come down on the side of equality.

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