Fear, Not Hate

A shrewd analysis of why Prop 8 passed in 2008: the swing voters were not African-Americans but parents with kids under 18 at home:

The Yes on 8 campaign targeted parents in its TV ads. "Mom! Guess what I learned in school today!" were the cheery-frightening first words of the supporters' most-broadcast ad.

They emerged from the mouth of a young girl who had supposedly just learned that she could marry a female when she grew up.

Among the array of untrue ideas that parents could easily take away: that impressionable kids would be indoctrinated; that they would learn about gay sex; that they would be more likely to become gay; and that they might choose to be gay. California voters, depending on where they lived in the state, were exposed to the Yes on 8 ads 20 to 40 times.

The lesson: It's not enough to make the case for same-sex marriage. It's also important to arm voters particularly parents against an inevitable propaganda attack. And it's crucial to rebut lies so parents don't panic.