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Detailed Report Assigns Blame in Prop 8 Vote Debacle

by Steve Weinstein
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Aug 11, 2010

After Proposition 8 lost in a slim majority in November 2000, there was plenty of blame to go around. Among many gay men and lesbians, there was even some hate -- directed at, among others, Mormons, blacks and Hispanics.

Now a detailed study has put the lie to many of the notions that became current in the chaotic days following the passage of the referendum that blocked gay marriage in the nation's largest and most important state.

David Fleischer, the author's report, runs the LGBT Mentoring Project, which provides coaching and other services to LGBT campaigns fighting against gay rights around the country. Like many, he was perplexed by the defeat. But instead of lashing out, he analyzed mounds of data. His results can be perused on his website.

Perhaps the most surprising conclusion is that it wasn't any specific ethnic group that did in gay marriage, but rather parents with children under 18. Unfortunately, the other side was more cognizant of this swing group than the pro-marriage equality forces, according to Fleischer. "Anti-gay TV ads primarily targeted parents," he writes.

On one point he does agree with other post-mortems: The referendum was so confusedly written that some supporters may have inadvertently voted against it. He estimates passge 52-to-46 percent if the measure had been more carefully and clearly worded.

Among Fleischer's recommendations to other such campaigns:
• preempting and rebutting rather than avoiding attacks that exploit anti-gay prejudice
• use the time between campaigns to gain additional insight and experience to directly rebut anti-gay attacks
• conduct more and better research that is less dependent on polling
• try out voter communications that focus on the diversity and lived experience of LGBT Americans and those who know us.

Here, Fleischer explains some his findings:

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).


  • , 2010-08-16 14:57:19

    This article is not well written and further confuses the issues. I appreciate the background research but the article needs to be re-written. It states that Prop 8 lost, when it won. It states the election was in 2000 when it was in 2008. "Passage" is spelled incorrectly and the article keeps referring to Prop 8 losing. In this article it states that one of the reason’s we lost gay marriage was because people weren’t clear that voting for Prop 8 was voting against gay marriage. Really?!!! This article surely didn’t clear up that misconception. RJ -Los Angeles

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