It was sad to hear that the vote to protect the vulnerable people living in Houston, Texas was lost, but there is still a huge silver lining present.
The vote had been expected to be close. But with nearly 94% of precincts reporting, the measure was failing by a wide margin, 61% to 39%.
That’s right. Two out of five people understand the issue and support protection of the vulnerable. And I’m not convinced that the remainder of the people are actually against protections for the minority as much as they didn’t understand the issues.
The large and early turnout for the vote indicated that the conservatives were effective in getting out the vote, but I suspect that many of the voters didn’t understand what they were voting for. It is the same process that happened with same-sex marriage as well as virtually every bit of progress that has ever been made in the United States.
It starts with the fear mongers and demagogues. Outlandish claims are made, but a certain number of people will see through the fear and take the time to understand the issue. As time passes, more and more people will be able to objectively look at the proposal and see it for what it really is: a way to protect people that need protection.
Many of the people didn’t seem to know exactly what they were voting on. The Huffington Post reports:
Conservative activists — who were heavily outspent by LGBT advocates — dubbed Prop. 1 the “bathroom ordinance” and adopted the slogan “No men in women’s bathrooms,” playing up fears that passage could lead to male sexual predators dressing up as women and entering women’s restrooms.
This factually dishonest message proved to be incredibly effective: Many Houston voters seemed to think the measure was solely about access to restrooms and were unaware of the broader nondiscrimination protections in the measure.
The most recent TV spot released by the anti-Prop. 1 coalition Campaign for Houston, for example, showed a man entering a bathroom stall with a young girl.
“Any man at any time could enter a woman’s bathroom simply by claiming to be a woman that day,” the narrator warned.
With dishonesty like this being propagated, it’s no wonder that the people didn’t really understand what they were voting against. But while it takes time to educate people that have been exposed to this type of lies, people willingly change their minds when they finally understand that they were lied to.