The campaign ad was such a closely guarded secret, not even the No on Prop 8 executive committee knew when the first ad was going up on the expensive California airwaves. The idea was to get a jump on the opposition and hopefully define the issue before a swarm of negative ads from the Yes on Prop 8 campaign creates a stir.
Hastily called news conferences were held in San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco to reveal the thirty-second spot. It features Samuel and Julia Thoron who have been married for 46 years.
Samuel Thoron says:
"My wife and I have treated our children differently, we never loved them any differently and the law shouldn't treat them differently either."
Julia Thoron says:
"If Prop 8 passes, our gay daughter and thousands of our fellow Californians will lose the right to marry. Please don't eliminate that right - for anyone's family."
"Don't eliminate marriage for anyone. Vote NO on Prop. 8."
Lorri Jean, the CEO of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, said at the news conference at The Village this morning:
"The beginning of television advertising usually signals the 'official' beginning of any campaign in California - although we've been working for months - opening headquarters, phoning voters, raising money - etc. We believe we are the first on the air in the Prop. 8 effort, but we expect the other side to be up very soon. Our first spot tells our story in a compelling way, using real people, not actors."
My first impression was that it was a very "white" ad - but Lorri Jean said that most people could empathize with a family and that was what it was about. She also said that more spots are coming.
My second impression was that the spot was targeted to those conservative areas of California such as Riverside and San Bernadino counties where a lot of independents live.
The ubiquitous Let California Ring education spot where the bride encounters numerous obstacles to getting married - which was NOT part of the No on Prop 8 campaign but undoubtedly made an impression on straight women - ended its long run on Sept. 20.
Here's what Geoff Kors of Equality California said:
"The Thorons' story not only speaks to all of us, but it also reaches out to the 20 percent of voters who still haven't made up their minds about Prop 8. ??Right now, the other side is out-raising us by a wide margin. Soon, their ads - undoubtedly filled with lies and distortions about Prop 8, about us and about our families - will be on the air. Our ads will tell the real story -- how real families will be affected if Prop 8 passes. Their ads won't. We need to keep our messages on the air as much as we can."
Here's where it is scheduled to air: Dancing with the Stars Premier, Heroes Premier, Grey's Anatomy Premier, The Presidential Debate, Survivor, Ugly Betty Premier, The Office Premier, Colbert Report and The Daily Show, The Today Show and Good Morning America, Ellen, Oprah, The Tonight Show and David Letterman, Saturday Night Live...and more, per the press release.
In an online fundraising appeal", Kors notes that a commercial that would run twice on the "Daily Show" in Los Angeles country runs $5,000 and up. To air in a small TV market in Spanish, the ad would cost $50-$124.
The Yes on 8 campaign was quick to put out a statement (I do not know if they put anything up on radio yet to counter).
Here's their online fundraising appeal:
"The Consequences of Homosexual Marriage"
In the next few weeks Californians will be inundated with media messages about the importance of allowing same-sex marriages. Voters will see TV ads telling them that homosexual love deserves "equality" with heterosexual love. Voters will hear radio reports about how all gays and lesbians want is to have the same "rights" as all married couples. And the main message that will be repeated is that allowing homosexuals to marry will have no impact on your marriage or your family-so what's the harm in giving gays their chance to marry
Although on the surface these arguments appear convincing, they don't tell the whole truth:
Homosexual marriage will have a direct, intrusive and damaging effect on your family.
Public Schools will teach that homosexuality and same-sex marriage are normal and acceptable-and if you disagree, you are a bigot. Books like "Heather has Two Mommies" or "Daddy's Wedding" will be used to teach kindergartners about homosexual relationships. When parents in Boston complained about an eighth-grade teacher instructing students about gay sex, the teacher responded, "Give me a break. It's legal now."
Churches will be required to perform homosexual marriage ceremonies or face prosecution under anti-discrimination laws. The California Supreme Court recently ruled that medical professionals may not defer treatment to another professional based on their religious objections. In other words, Christians and those with moral beliefs must check their conscience at the door when they arrive at work. The same case law will apply to churches. Pastors will no longer be allowed to refuse marrying homosexuals based on their religious beliefs.
Businesses will be prosecuted for not participating in homosexual ceremonies. A New Mexico photography company is being prosecuted for refusing to photograph the "commitment ceremony" of a homosexual couple. The full force of the government will used to make citizens publicly accept homosexuality.
Married couples will no longer be considered "bride and groom," but "Party A and Party B." A young couple in Placer County wrote the terms "bride" and "groom" on their marriage license, which was returned from the state as an "unacceptable alteration." A husband and wife are legally referred to now as Party A and Party B according to the California government. By redefining marriage, every marriage has already been affected.
The role of parents will be diminished. The family unit is already under assault with no-fault divorce, acceptance of single parenthood, and nanny government usurping the role of fathers. Homosexual marriage worsens this trend by giving government approval to single-sex parenting. Children need both a mother and a father. By approving homosexual marriage, government and society denies children their right and need for both parents.
These are just a few of the negative, damaging consequences of allowing homosexual marriage in our society. When you encounter a neighbor, church member, work associate, or family member who says, "I'm not a bigot-and homosexual marriage won't affect me," remind them of just how much it will impact their family and all families.
This is not an issue of bigotry, but of ensuring marriage isn't redefined by four activist judges. Wanting children to be raised by both of their parents isn't bigoted either. What's truly bigoted is telling Christians, Jews, Muslims and other people of faith that their beliefs must be silenced.
At the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Leadership Awards Lunch at the swank Beverly Hills Hotel this Sunday, Bruce Cohen, co-producer and business partner Dan Jinks, director Gus van Sant and writr Dustin Lance Black were honored for the upcoming film "Milk" about the life and assassination of LGBT martry Harvey Milk, were honored with legendary straight ally Sid Sheinberg, president and Chief Operating Officer of MCA, Inc, parent of Universal Studios for more than 20 years and now partner in The Bubble Factory and is the board vice president for Human Rights Watch.
In his moving remarks, the recently married Cohen noted that the first gay rights ordinance was passed in 1977 in Dade Country, Florida and that it was "take away" by antigay Anita Bryant and the Moral Majority. Bryant then brought her crusade against gays to California under the antigay measure known as the Briggs Initiative - Prop 6, which would have prohibited gay teachers in classrooms and punished anyone who talked about homosexuality.
Prop 6 was the first battle Harvey Milk fought and defeated in 1978 - 30 years ago.
But when it came time to contribute to the Task Force's No on 8 campaign - few hands went up. Sid Sheinberg, who was the first to contribute - he gave $25,000 - called them out after promising to include LGBT people in all areas considered by Human Rights Watch.
"If it isn't worth you giving $1,000 or $2500 - why should anyone vote no."
The NGLTF event raised over $100,000 for the No on Prop 8 campaign.
UPDATE: On the same day that the No on Prop 8 campaign released its first ad, director Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw have donated $100,000 to the No on Prop 8 effort. Ted Johnson has the story.
Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California and leader in the No on Prop 8 campaign, said this about the Spielberg donation:
"We so appreciate their generosity and leadership in standing for the right of all people to marry the person they love. The continued and growing opposition to Prop 8 sends a powerful message to those that seek to eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry."