Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Coming Marriage Fight

Through Facebook (of all places) I just ran across Marry Me Minnesota. Their description:
Marry Me Minnesota was formed by same-gender couples
wishing to legally marry. It is an all-volunteer organization that
exists solely to sue the State of Minnesota for the right of
same-gender couples to legally marry.
I'm not a fan of using the courts to get gay marriage. I was asked what I would do instead and I thought I'd cross post it here.
I'm no expert here but it seems to me that the greatest gains on public opinion have come when the general populace comes in contact with gay people at work and in everyday locations. In the face of obvious 'just folks' situations, the overly colorful stereotypes fall away. If you want the majority of Minnesotans (and Americans in general) to support gay marriage, the best bet is to defuse the 'other'.
I'd run commercials with testimonials of long time gay couples. Let them speak of the challenges they face without being able to marry. Ask them to emphasize that they want regular marriages like millions of straight people have.
I think this would have a profound effect on the people who still don't personally know anyone gay. I think it could change some minds.
I think that supporters have this hardened idea that opponents are unpersuadable, so why bother trying. That's probably true in some cases but certainly not in all. And what a horrible approach! The Civil Rights fight in the 60's was won because more and more whites thought that discrimination and racism was wrong. It took a very long time (yes, sometimes generations) to make the country colorblind enough to get there.
Gay couples don't have to move public opinion as far as blacks did. They've made good progress so far but not because of court rulings. They've made it because so many more of them are understood as regular people. The more people that see them that way instead of something scary, the better off they will be.



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