UPDATE — Feb. 21, 2013, 10:30 a.m. EST: On Wednesday afternoon, Laura Bush asked to be removed from the marriage equality ad in question. Spokeswoman Anne MacDonald said in a statement that the former first lady “did not approve of her inclusion in this advertisement nor is she associated with the group that made the ad in any way.”
The Respect for Marriage Coalition is pairing the most unlikely of bipartisan bedfellows in a $1 million multimedia campaign in support of marriage equality.
The television ad, which began airing Wednesday, features clips of Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and President Obama coming out in favor of same-sex couples’ right to marry.
No question about it: That’s Dick Cheney in an ad with President Obama.
“None of us would want to be told we can’t marry the person we love. That’s why a growing majority of Americans believe it’s time to allow marriage for gay and lesbian couples,” the ad begins. “Freedom means freedom for everyone,” Cheney pipes in.
The coalition cited President Obama’s comments about gay marriage in his inaugural address, freedom to marry legislation pending in several states, and two marriage cases before the Supreme Court as its impetus to launch the “Time4Marriage” campaign.
As to whether the coalition asked political leaders’ permission to use the clips featured in the 30-second spot, co-chair Evan Wolfson told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts on Wednesday: “These are all thoughtful leaders. They choose their words carefully. …They’re already on the record. They’re public. We want the country to hear it and see it and embrace it.”
The coalition, led by the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry, said that this is “the first time in history that LGBT advocacy organizations across America have come together to fund a national ad buy.”
A print and digital campaign will accompany the television ad, according to the coalition. Full-page print ads will run in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, along with online ads and a social media push. In addition to the featured television spot, titled “Leadership,” the coalition’s website features a video of NFL linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo endorsing marriage equality.