The very well-run NO on 1 campaign studied and learned from the failed Proposition 8 campaign last year in California. No on 8 didn’t use gay people in its television ads; NO on 1 did. No on 8 took too long to respond to the opposition’s scary TV ads; NO on 1 responded immediately each time.
About the only thing NO on 1 could have tried that it didn’t was to run alarmist, negative ads itself. Some observers thought NO on 1 should have tried that, but there was no loud or sustained effort to change the campaign’s decision in that regard. The campaign believed that calling its opponents “bigots” would alienate some of Maine’s libertarian-leaning voters who opposed vetoing same-sex marriage based on general political philosophy more than any strong pro-gay sentiment.
NO on 1′s TV ads stuck to a theme of equality for all Maine families.
The opposition repeated over and over that legalizing same-sex marriage would change what children were taught in Maine schools. The anti-same-sex-marriage campaign also ran an ad arguing that Maine’s domestic-partnership law, which does not bestow all state-level rights and obligations of marriage, provides same-sex couples with enough equality.