Maryland pro-family victory analysis: Top 10 reasons why it was WON when it looked like it would lose.
POSTED: March 14, 2011
This was a classic pro-family victory that needs to be understood and learned from.
Just weeks ago all the political experts were predicting that the "gay marriage" bill would sweep through the Maryland General Assembly. After it passed the relatively conservative Senate, the more liberal House looked easy. The Governor was all ready to sign it. But the pro-family forces came together in an epic fight.
MassResistance worked closely with pro-marriage activists across Maryland. Here's our analysis of what happened:
- They ignored the moderate conservative "experts." Early on, a pro-family group made an effort to pull all the Maryland groups into a "coalition" under a unified leadership. They would dictate strategy. They also insisted that the pro-marriage message be tightly controlled, that it be "moderate" and not anti-gay or otherwise "fringe" sounding, be calm and not too emotional, and that they decide who testifies at the marriage hearings, and what the testimony would be. That's what happened in Massachusetts in 2005-2007 and it led to a huge failure.
On our MassResistance conference calls we advised Maryland activists to ignore that -- and act independently with their own messages, and be as emotional and outspoken as they feel appropriate. Luckily eventually everyone did that and the coalition effectively fell apart. It was the best thing that could have happened.
- Groups from everywhere became active. People across the state formed their own groups, and worked with other groups, informally interacting with each other. They crafted their own messages and lobbied in their own ways. It worked great. The opposition didn't know what to make of it. Here's what one great student group did.
- Key activists worked really hard. Certain activists worked tirelessly, almost continuously, and got a huge amount of valuable work done. Unrestrained by a controlling "coalition," they were able to be very creative and innovative. We helped them the best we could by supplying them with materials.
- Outstanding leadership from politicians. A few politicians really stepped up to the plate. In particular, Delegate Don Dwyer really took ownership of the lobbying effort in the House and worked closely with activists. Del Dwyer was the pulse of where people were, what was happening and who was doing it in the House. Activists told us that he was an amazing leader, and it couldn't have happened without him. They wish they'd had someone like him in the Maryland Senate. We wish we had a few of him in Massachusetts.
Leadership in action. Del. Don Dwyer on Baltimore television during "gay marriage" fight.
- The churches got involved in a major way. At first the churches seemed like they were going to sit it out, or just give lip service. But then after the Senate passed the bill, they exploded onto the scene: Catholics, evangelicals, black churches, Hispanic churches, and many others. They put pressure on the House members like no one else could.
- Fearless use of strong arguments. People were willing to use whatever arguments they felt were most important: the destructive nature of homosexuality, the horror stories in the public schools in Massachusetts because of "gay marriage", quotes from the Bible, health statistics, how children need both parents, religious freedom, the nature of sin, etc. This "diversity" of forceful arguments was very effective.
- Money was put to good use. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) paid for hundreds of thousands of robo-calls across the state, informing and mobilizing voters in key districts, which were very effective. It was also reported in the press that NOM was willing to up $1 million to defeat pro-gay-marriage Republicans around the country who favor same-sex marriage and assist the campaigns of Democrats who oppose it.
- Ex-gay movement came in. This was very powerful and very important. Their testimony at the House public hearing and other work helped debunk the phony "born gay" myth used by the homosexual lobby, and helped make pro-gay Delegates re-think their position.
- The Republican Party got involved. The State Republican party was on board and kept the legislators from selling out on this issue. Only one Senator and no House members caved in to the propaganda and pro-gay lobby pressure. This was important. (It was a bit of culture shock for us -- in Massachusetts, the party would probably be working on the pro-gay side.)
- Prayer. Pro-family activists made it a point to tell us they did a lot of praying, in addition to activism. There were weekly prayer vigils at the State House and other places. They felt God's presence in this fight, they said.
One lesson that was reinforced throughout this experience was that legislators are capable of believing the most outrageous lies and propaganda -- and will act accordingly -- unless passionately confronted by constituents. Watching Bible-believing legislators repeat the ridiculous "civil rights" platitudes from the homosexual lobby was unbelievable. Mere reasoning often doesn't work at this point. We see that everywhere, not only in Maryland. Sometimes the cold water of constituent anger is the only effective remedy. And the pro-family activists delivered that!