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Spare us the puppy love.

The good news is, the puppy's cute.

The bad news: $900,000 that could have been used to help educate Americans about gay lives was instead wasted on an ill-conceived media campaign about a dog who moos.

Yes, that's right. A pup that goes "moo."

It's supposed to be a metaphor. The little spaniel, dubbed Norman, was "born different" and struggles for acceptance. Featured in five TV spots, a fake movie trailer, and billboards, banners, and bus ads--all seen only in Colorado Springs, Colo.--Norman is supposed to make that notoriously conservative town's residents rethink their opposition to gay rights. Activists with LET THE PUPPY MOO T-shirts wander the streets to talk to passersby. If right-wing hearts are warmed by this canine fairy tale, we're to assume, then they might suddenly wake up to the wisdom of marriage equality.

What an unconscionable waste of time and money. We're shocked that no one at the Gill Foundation, which funded the campaign, anticipated the Christian right's terse, logical response: Puppies aren't born mooing. And people aren't born gay. Because the first statement is an absolute truth--hello-o-o!--it gives apparent credence to the false statement that follows.

Thanks, Gill Foundation, for putting another arrow into the quiver of the homophobes--and for associating a crucial human rights issue with an embarrassingly infantile fantasy.

Meanwhile, a little-known group called the Arcus Foundation--along with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Freedom to Marry--began its own media campaign, called simply Marriage Matters." In direct, engaging ads appearing nationwide (not just in Colorado Springs), five same-sex couples who've been together from five to 53 years are pictured above the phrase "They're committed. So are we." Then follow the names of dozens of prominent people and groups who back marriage equality, including mayors, union leaders, a rabbi, and Tim Gill, founder of the Gill Foundation.

Gill's generosity is legendary, and his foundation has been an unparalleled force for social change. But comparing the ill-begotten Born Different mooing puppy campaign to the powerful Marriage Matters ads leads to one inescapable conclusion: If you want to educate Americans about gay and lesbian lives, it's best to show them real gay and lesbian people.

Not an imaginary mutt, no matter how cuddly he may be.
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Title Annotation:money spent on a puppy's abnormal behaviour
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 12, 2006
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