Gay / Lesbian
The National Organization for Marriage, "a national organization that opposes same-sex marriage is targeting New Jersey in a $1.5 million advertising campaign." The group is also running ads in Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. The television spots warn that supporters of same-sex marriage "want to change the way I live. ... That means wedding photographers and marriage counselors could be labeled bigots and sued if they oppose working with same-sex couples," they claim.
I posted a brief item here recently about the PR nightmare facing the Mormon Church as a result of the prominent role it played this year promoting Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California. At the urging of church leaders, Mormons spent about $20 million on the effort, which probably provided the margin that enabled the proposition to pass.
There is some irony in the fact that Mormon pollster Gary Lawrence, who led the Proposition 8 grassroots campaign for the church in California, has a gay son, Matthew, who publicly resigned from the church to protest its anti-gay campaign. Matthew says that after his father's participation in "two anti-gay initiatives in eight years, it's impossible not to feel attacked."
Adding further to the irony, Gary Lawrence has a new book out, titled How Americans View Mormonism: Seven Steps to Improve Our Image. His advice to Mormons who want to be better liked is, "Simply be yourself" -- advice that drew a sharp response from one blogger, who pointed out that being yourself "is a poor prescription for winning friends when 'who you are' is someone willing to lead a campaign to strip your own child of his civil rights."
California is a hotbed for political messaging, as same-sex couples get married and conservative groups try to stop them with a November ballot initiative. Equality for All, a coalition supporting same-sex marriage, has hired Ogilvy PR Worldwide, the Democrat-leaning firm Dewey Square Group and the polling firm Lake Research Partners.
The September 2006 issue of a Denver area LGBT magazine, MetroMode, carries a curious full-page ad titled "Busting the Myths of Smoke-Free Colorado" that urges readers to protest Colorado's Clean Indoor Air Act, the law that ended smoking in most workplaces (including bars and restaurants) as of July 1, 2006.