In June, Equality Maine and the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) produced videos for their joint website, called "Why Marriage Matters Maine," in an effort to gather support for a proposed ballot initiative to legalize marriage equality in Maine. The videos feature individuals whose hearts and minds have changed to favor marriage equality as they have come to understand that lesbian and gay couples need the same protections allotted by marriage as everyone else. These videos are especially important given the organizations’ effort to gather 80,000 signatures by the end of this year in order to place the marriage equality initiative on the 2012 ballot. Now, Equality Maine and GLAD have a new and exciting opportunity to reach a wider audience than ever before through airing one of the videos on television.
Featuring this video as an ad on TV, particularly as families come together for the holidays, provides a starting point from which to begin important conversations about marriage for lesbian and gay couples that could result in shifting attitudes toward equality. Jeanette and Paul Rediker, a straight married couple and the subjects of the ad being aired, are but one example of how this can happen. In the ad, Jeanette and Paul discuss the experience of finding out that their eldest daughter is a lesbian. Paul notes that he and Jeanette, “weren’t always so ‘gay friendly,” and Jeanette recalls speaking with a Catholic priest about her daughter soon after, saying, “I’ll never forget the answer he [the priest] told me. ‘She is the same person that you loved yesterday.’”
The ad will begin running in the Bangor media market and will later be rolled out across the state, along with several others in the future. Matt McTighe, GLAD’s Public Education Director in Maine, commented on the first ad, saying, “We hope that by highlighting their [Jeanette and Paul’s] powerful journey towards acceptance, the ads can also act as a conversation starter for the hundreds of thousands of Maine families gathering together this week.”
GLAAD thanks Equality Maine and the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders for their ongoing commitment to making marriage equality a reality in Maine, and for their innovative use of personal stories featured in these ads to begin raising awareness about the love and commitment shared by lesbian and gay couples.