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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Carol Ann Hackley

First Committee Member

Qingwen Dong

Second Committee Member

Jon F. Schamber


This case study examined the San Francisco Mayoral Office's public relations management of the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses. The research was conductedas a case-study, integrating a comprehensive literature review and semi-structured interviews. Analysis of the results suggested that the Mayoral Office's campaign was successful in meeting its goal of marrying same-sex couples; the Office was somewhat effective in getting its primary messages reported by the print media, and the Office utilized innovative strategies to reach its key publics through the use of diverse spokespersons and a humanizing focus. Five major implications emerged from the study. First, crisis planning is essential to the effective management of crisis situations. Second, humanizing controversial messages to target audiences can be very effective. Third, providing media training to spokespersons can improve the organization's overall message. Fourth, segmenting key messages within the target audience is fundamental. Fifth, spokespersons' roles can have a significant impact on the public's perception of an organization's management of a crisis situation.



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