Tag Archives: ad campaign

TV ad campaign for gay equality launched in Mississippi

Mary Jane Kennedy considers herself a conservative Christian Republican, and she’s led Bible studies in her native Mississippi for decades. She’s also the mother of two gay sons and one of the faces in a new advertising campaign aimed at softening religious opposition in the Deep South to equal rights for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The national Human Rights Campaign is taking on the region’s longstanding church-based opposition to homosexuality in a series of groundbreaking television commercials, direct-mail messages and phone-bank operations designed to promote equality and legal protections for LGBT people in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

TV commercials will begin airing today (Nov. 10) in Jackson, the state’s largest city and prime media market, with Kennedy featured as a mom who struggled to understand her own sons and believes God loves them, just like everyone else. The commercials also will be available online, as will banner ads on websites.

Other commercials may follow in Alabama and Arkansas depending on the reception and results of the Mississippi campaign. The Mississippi effort – which will cost $310,000 – is part of an $8.5 million, three-year effort launched six months ago in the three states.

Brad Clark, director of Project One America for Human Rights Campaign, said the commercials are the group’s most direct effort yet to confront religious attitudes involving sexual orientation and non-traditional gender identification.

Polls have shown that Mississippi is among the most religious states, with more than half of its 3 million residents belonging to Southern Baptist churches. At the same time, Mississippians are far less likely than the average American to say they know someone who is gay, according to Human Rights Campaign.

“It’s the first time we’ve led with this message, and it’s historic for the South,” said Clark.

The commercials will begin airing two days before a federal court hearing in Jackson on a Mississippi law that bans same-sex marriage. Opponents of the ban are seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the ban from being enforced while a lawsuit seeking to overturn it is pending. In November 2004, Mississippi voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

After a series of recent court decisions, gay couples have the right to marry in at least 32 states. However, earlier this month a panel of federal judges from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld anti-gay marriage laws in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

Kennedy, 61, was initially apprehensive about speaking out so publicly about such a private topic, but she said her faith led her to the belief that spreading kindness, love and caring was more important than her own fears.

Justin Kelly of Jackson says the spots could help build acceptance in his home state. The 25-year-old Iraq war veteran is openly gay and will be featured in his Army Reserve uniform in another TV spot during the campaign, called “All God’s Children.”

“The values that are already in place in Mississippi are what we’re looking for: To be friendly, to be open, to have conversations,” said Kelly.

The Human Rights Campaign has said it wants to change the “hearts and minds” of people through the campaign.

On the Web …


Madison mayor calls for a 21st century Wisconsin and marriage equality

UPDATED: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was in Wisconsin on Sept. 9 to court same-sex couples who can’t marry in their home state. He was inviting gay couples to marry in Minneapolis, where he has officiated at same-sex weddings, including that of the city’s police chief.

Rybak joined supporters of marriage equality at a press conference at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center earlier on Sept. 9. He also went to Madison to court the LGBT community and spread the equality message.

“Minnesotans and Wisconsinites are almost like family: we know each other well and see each other often. Now, our Wisconsin cousins have another great reason to come see us in Minneapolis: to get married,” Rybak said. “Gay and lesbian couples from Madison and across Wisconsin don’t have to wait one more day to get legally married in Minneapolis. We’re a supportive and welcoming city where we’re ready to help them put together the wedding of their dreams.”

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, at a press conference in the capital, said, “It’s time for Wisconsin for to join the 21st century and do the right thing. Eventually, we will recognize same-sex marriage — and the sooner, the better.”

Kate Belanger of Fair Wisconsin spoke in Madison and in Milwaukee, advocating for equality. She said, “As more and more states surrounding Wisconsin enact marriage equality, many Wisconsin couples are certainly likely to avail themselves of the full recognition afforded by those states and the federal government. Wisconsin’s antiquated and discriminatory laws banning marriage equality and civil unions are bad for our people and our economy, and put our entire state at a disadvantage to our more welcoming neighbors.”

The Minneapolis mayor last week visited Chicago, where he offered the same invitation. He’s also expected to visit Colorado, where same-sex couples can enter into civil unions but not marriage.

Minneapolis has launched a ad campaign – “I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis” – to draw LGBT tourists. Minnesota’s law allowing same-sex couples to marry went into effect in August.

Since then, according to a survey by The Associated Press, same-sex couples have received nearly 1 in 3 marriage licenses issued in Minnesota.

At least 1,640 same-sex couples have applied to be married since Aug. 1.

The AP reported that demand for licenses was heaviest in metropolitan areas, with three of every four licenses for gay marriages issued in Hennepin and Ramsey counties, which make up about 32 percent of Minnesota’s population.

Marriage equality could bring $45 million to the state through increased spending on wedding and tourism businesses and through a rise in total state and local tax revenue, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage.

Evangelical ad campaign says Jesus would back immigration reform without delay

A coalition of Evangelical groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention, hopes to give an earful to key congressional lawmakers about immigration reform.

The Evangelical Immigration Table formed last year and has launched a $400,000 radio ad campaign in 56 congressional districts. The “Pray for Reform” ads feature local pastors and national voices encouraging passage of immigration reform without delay.

The ads are airing in Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas and promote securoing the borders, keeping families together and establishing an earned pathway to citizenship for people in the country now without legal papers.

Dr. Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission says the ads will air for two weeks “at saturation rates.”

Pastor Felix Cabrera of Oklahoma City’s Quail Creek Baptist Church says the collateral damage of the current policy that he’s seen includes detention and separation of parents from U.S.-born children.

And Amarillo, Texas, pastor Stan Coffey says evangelicals should sound off on the issue. He says “this is what Jesus would have done if he were here.”

On the Web…


ACLU urges Republicans to come ‘Out for Freedom’

The American Civil Liberties Union has launched the “Out for Freedom” campaign with ads in The Wall Street Journal and on conservative websites that encourage Republicans to join the marriage equality effort.

The ad launch follows the historic Supreme Court decisions on the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 anti-gay amendment.

“We are going to bring Republicans into the ever-increasing groundswell of support for the freedom to marry,” said ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero. “Today begins the next step in the movement for full marriage equality for all Americans, and we need everyone, including Republicans, ‘at the party’ for freedom and fairness.”

A full-page color ad in the Wall Street Journal features states attending a party, with a door staffed by Republican elephants. Inside the party are the 13 states with marriage equality, including a newly-arrived California, while the 37 others wait impatiently outside. The ad urges Republicans to come out for freedom, joining other prominent conservatives who support all Americans’ freedom to marry. The initial online ad buy includes The Wall Street Journal’s web site as well as conservative online hub DailyCaller.com.

The ACLU recently hired Edelman’s Steve Schmidt, who held prominent roles in Geoge W. Bush’s 2004 campaign and John McCain’s 2008 campaign to spearhead the Out for Freedom campaign. GOProud.org founder Jimmy LaSalvia has been recruited to lead outreach efforts to gay conservatives and tea party supporters.

“The Republican party stands for freedom, for limited government intrusion in our personal lives,” said Schmidt. “The issue of marriage equality is the Republican Party’s best chance to stand on the right side of history, create a meaningful legacy of fairness, and maintain relevance with young voters. I am proud to help the ACLU make all couples equal in the eyes of the law in all 50 states.”

The ads were designed by Purpose, an agency with offices in New York, London and Rio de Janeiro.

The Out for Freedom campaign, over the next four years, will focus on advancing marriage legislation in Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii and other states, and challenge constitutional bans on marriage for same-sex couples in Oregon, Nevada and elsewhere.

The ACLU aims to spend roughly $10 million through 2016.