Eli has already written eloquently about volunteering at the phone banks for marriage equality (aka R-74), where volunteers sit down in a room for an hour or two while their cell phones randomly dial people across the state.
I volunteered at a phone bank last night, with a few other Stranger folks, and it was a strange and invigorating experience. As Eli pointed out, reporters cold-call people all the time. No big deal, right? But calling people to coax information out of them is one kind of difficulty. Calling people to coax information into them—that lots of gay couples already have children, for example, or that R-74 wouldn't force their churches to perform LGBTQ weddings—is a whole other kind of difficulty.
It's political Chatroulette: One call could be a super-liberal who wholeheartedly supports marriage equality and just wants to get back to her lasagne. The next call could be to some radical who believes all marriage should be abolished everywhere because marriage is inherently oppressive.
The third call could be to McChord Air Force Base where some guy rails about how the evils of homosexuality are "IN THE BIBLE! IN THE BIBLE! IT'S IN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS!"
If you mention that the Ten Commandments do not, in fact, contain an injunction against homosexuality, that guy will not listen to you. If you mention that we live in a pluralistic democracy and not a theocracy, and that any given church's religious beliefs should not be a template for state law, per the Founding fucking Fathers—and, furthermore, that the US military has spent the past decade at war with groups who believe religious belief should be a template for state law like, say, the Taliban—he will sputter but will not change his mind.
Making rational arguments tended not to work—most people I talked to didn't seem to vote with their reason. They vote with their emotions. But appealing to those emotions/better angels in a nice way did seem to work from time to time.
I was talking to a guy who sounded like he might be in his 60s. He was torn on the issue: He was a religious person who thought homosexuality was a sin, but wasn't so sure his religious beliefs should dictate everyone else's lives. (We talked about how Catholics might oppose divorce but don't struggle to make divorce illegal for everyone else.) He was split right down the middle.
We teeter-tottered in this discussion for awhile and then I said: "Well, how about this? If we have an opportunity to make people happier rather than less happy, shouldn't we take it? Shouldn't we want people to be happier?"
He seemed to like this idea, and said he'd be switching from "undecided" to "possible supporter."
If you want to play a little Chatroulette for R-74, you can sign up here.