What do we talk about when we fight for marriage equality? Equal rights under the law? Benefits? Documentation?
Based on recent anecdotes, the argument for marriage equality is most successful when we talk about love and commitment rather than rights.
According to this piece from the Los Angeles Times, some of the most compelling evidence in favor of marriage equality has come not from descriptions of legal advantages won or lost, but from couples and families telling stories about their own lives. In particular, Republican lawmakers seem to have changed their minds about gay rights most often when compelled by personal stories rather than considerations of benefits and the like.
A Washington state lawmaker who voted for the bill recalled her own marriage. “I was married for 23 years to the love of my life and he died six years ago,” said Republican Rep. Maureen Walsh in a video that went viral. “How could I deny anyone the right to have that incredible bond with another individual in life?”
In New Jersey, 15-year-old Madison Galluccio told state lawmakers debating same-sex marriage what it’s like being the adopted daughter of two gay dads.
“A lot of people think that my family is different,” she testified before an Assembly committee. “You gave us a civil union. I don’t know what that is…. It’s very hard for me to explain to my friends. It’s very hard that I can’t tell them, ‘Oh yeah, I have gay dads and they’re married just like your parents.’ But they’re not.”
Some of the most successful ad campaigns for marriage equality (read: the It’s Time video) follow this line of thinking, too - they don’t focus on rights or benefits at all, but instead emphasize the love and commitment that underlies marriage. What do you think of all this? Do you agree?
Posted on Monday, 5 March 2012