A Closeted Campaign Never Works

Virginia Postrel on the lessons that should be learned from 8's passage:

Conventional wisdom maintains that the hide-the-gays strategy was good politics, but a) it insulted voters' intelligence on an issue that was not hard to understand b) it seemed desperate c) it suggested that gay marriage is, in fact, something to be ashamed of instead of an extension of normal family life and, of course, d) it didn't work.

The political and cultural reality is that either people think it's OK for gays to get married, or they don't. And if they don't, they think this kind of discrimination is good--and completely different from the bad kind of discrimination. Besides, when you say the issue is "discrimination" and equate traditional limits on marriage to (now-illegal) racist practices, traditionalists can claim, without seeming crazy, the next step will be to outlaw even private, religiously based limits on marriage. Isn't that what we do with discrimination?

Ideally, we would persuade skeptics that gay marriage is good. But, at the very least, we need to persuade them that it's not bad. A lot of people are still in the muddled middle on this issue. They just need more evidence and more experience. As hard as it may seem right now, gay families need to be more, not less, public about their lives.

Agreed. Patrick Guerrerio helped rescue the campaign at the last minute. But it was guided throughout, alas, by the same mentality that plagues the Human Rights Campaign. They are poll-obsessed, focus-group manic, and devoid of real, gut-level conviction. They ran a Clinton-style campaign in an Obama-style environment. But I'm not depressed by this. Every time we lose, and tell our stories, we win. And we will win this, however timid so many of the well-moneyed, boomer-dominated HRC establishment types are, howevermany bumps in the road.

Because we're right. And history will prove it.