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Cheney For Gay Marriage?
Log Cabin uses VP's statements in an antiamendment ad.
By Michael Wilke


VP Dick Cheney. Transcript of 2000 VP debate.

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APRIL 2, 2004. In their first advertising campaign ever, the Log Cabin Republicans have doubled their modest $1 million annual budget to launch a television campaign against the proposed anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The $1 million campaign is intended to raise both the current level of debate surrounding gay marriage and the group's profile.

The idea for the ad began to take root as the Massachusetts high court's gay marriage decision came down early this year, and calls for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage were made. After President George W. Bush demanded an amendment, Log Cabin, which endorsed him in 2000 decided to approve the expensive ad.

In His Own Words
"It's a states rights issue," notes Mark Mead, director of public affairs for Log Cabin. "How do you explain a states rights issue in 30 seconds? You don't."

The group then identified a statement during the four-year-old vice presidential debate aired on C-SPAN, in which now Vice President Dick Cheney makes their point for them.

Following a black-and-white picture, and the sound of a film projector, Cheney says, "The fact of the matter is we live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everybody. We don't get to choose, and shouldn't be able to choose, and say, 'You get live free, but you don't.'"

"Colored waiting room" signs flash by evoking a previous era when racial segregation was tolerated, followed by photos of male and female couples. "People should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. That matter is regulated by the states ... I don't think there should necessarily be a Federal policy in this area," Cheney continues.

The text at the end, referring to Log Cabin, simply says, "We agree. Don't amend the Constitution."

"The Vice President's statement," says Mead, is "as powerful in 2004 as it was in 2000. The reason we don't mention the President in the ad is because his vote (on the marriage amendment) is already made."

Aiming at Voters
The goal of the ad is to influence "members of the Senate and House because they can stop it in its tracks. And the way to get them is through their constituents," Mead says.

The ad will run on such programs as "Meet the Press" and "Good Morning America", and on the cable channel Bravo, initially in Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin and Washington D.C. Supporting print ads may come later, and 1,000 copies of the commercial are to be delivered to many Republican leaders, including the Vice President himself.

Log Cabin says it hasn't heard from Cheney's office, but he appears to have a different take on the subject today. In a recent interview on "Meet the Press," Cheney says he stands with the President. Calls to the Vice President's office for comment were unreturned.

Bipartisan Action
The Log Cabin effort is unusual, not only because it is the group's first foray into advertising, but also because it has teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign, and even the National Stonewall Democrats to produce the TV spot.

Mead says that the number of Log Cabiners who are indifferent to the amendment are "infinitesimally small," according to communication from the group's 68 chapters, though "there was some concern about how much the ad costs."

Funding the campaign has brought a groundswell of support for Log Cabin. Most of the $1 million campaign price tag was raised in just two weeks. Though 27 years old, Log Cabin founded its national office only in 1994, and now claims 10,000 members.

The marriage amendment may prevent Log Cabin from supporting Bush in the November election, according to Patrick Guerriero, Executive Director of the group, but it will bring growth and new relationships.

Mike Wilke's Commercial Closet column covers gay issues in advertising, marketing and media. For 85 years of gay images worldwide see www.CommercialCloset.org.



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