Gay Marriage Group Begins Statewide Ad Campaign

Although
a decision on the legality of Prop. 8 by the California Supreme Court
is due any day now, leaders of Equality Califoria (EQCA) said Thursday
they are moving ahead with a new TV and grassroots-led campaign to make
gay marriage legal in the Golden State.

As
a first step in the effort, EQCA officials said they have made a
statewide TV ad buy to broadcast pro gay marriage commercials.
Simultaneously they will launching a 100-day-long grassroots ground
campaign that will be dubbed “Win Marriage Back: Make it Real!” The two
commercials, which will begin airing Monday, can be viewed here .

“While
we remain hopeful that the court could invalidate Prop. 8, we cannot
wait another day to take action. We are launching the most extensive
campaign of its kind to talk openly and honestly with Californians on
their front porches, online and over the airwaves in order to achieve
full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community
members,” stated EQCA Marriage Director Marc Solomon, adding the goal
of the campaign is to eventually reach 300,000 Californians in person
and “millions more” online or over the TV airwaves.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom — the political ambassador of the gay marriage movement and a candidate for governor in 2010 — approved of the plan.

“This
is exactly the kind of person-to-person, peer-to-peer outreach we need
to be doing to change minds and win support for the freedom to marry
for same-sex couples,” Newsom said in a statement.

EQCA
is a plaintiff in the current legal challenge against Prop. 8. The
court is scheduled to issue its ruling between now and June 3.

Andrea Shorter, EQCA’s coalition coordinator, said the new campaign
will focus much of its attention on developing support from the
African-American, Hispanic and religious communities. Following last
fall’s successful passage of Prop. 8, EQCA’s handling of outreach in
those communities was roundly faulted by political professionals and
pundits alike.

“This
campaign is for every person in every community in every part of our
state, and it will empower our diverse community and allies to win
marriage back together,” said Shorter in a statement. “We will also
enlist 1,000 clergy in the next 100 days to help spread the word that
marriage equality is a spiritual value as well as a civil right.”

EQCA officials say they are currently hiring and placing 25 full-time
field organizers throughout the state, including the Central Valley,
the Inland Empire, San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Orange
Counties. Six organizers have already been hired, they noted.

Follow Jeff Mitchell’s political journalism at BAPolitix.org