What went wrong with the No on 8 campaign

Marriage Equality USA today posted the first of three reports based on community forums and surveys they’ve been conducting since Proposition 8 — which changed the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage — was approved by voters in November.

“We received input from community forums hosted across California and over 3,100 individuals across the United States and in 13 foreign countries,” said MEUSA Police Director Pamela Brown. “This report is the first of three to be issued in the month of January that will share the ‘collective wisdom’ gathered by summarizing from this grassroots input.”

Among the findings, according to the group’s news release:

  • Clergy leaders, identified as the most effective messengers for marriage equality, were underutilized in the No on 8 campaign,
  • MEUSA and like-minded groups must promote the leadership and inclusion of people of color as part of the LGBT family to inform and direct outreach to these communities,
  • The official No on 8 campaign ads lacked heart and inexcusably excluded same-sex couples and their families,
  • The official No on 8 field plan lacked visibility and ignored potential volunteers,
  • The official No on 8 campaign abandoned LGBT community and supporters in the Central Valley, and
  • Empowering the grassroots community will help advance the national marriage equality movement.
  • The next report, scheduled for release next Monday, “will share stories of discrimination and harm that resulted from California’s Prop 8 campaign and mirror similar experiences of our LGBTI community and straight allies who have faced similar ballot initiative campaigns,” the release says. “Finally, our third report to be issued later in January will provide MEUSA’s plan for the future on how to win support for marriage equality in all 50 states.”

    Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

    • Ralph Hoffmann

      Two years makes a difference. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed in the military, and we appear on the cusp of approval of marriage equality in 2011.