A Little Bit of Liberal: Journalism Coverage
Minnesotans United for All Families Action Training came to my university campus in St. Paul and provided training for progressive community members. I attended for several reasons. One, my journalism class requires I get journalism pieces published four times before the semester ends. Two, I get more content for my blog! (That's always amazing!) Three, getting married is sort of important to me. I think that everyone has the right to get married! Four, I would also like to share with you what I learned in this training session. Pay attention!
What is marriage about?
Marriage is not about equality. Marriage is not about having equal access to financial stability. Marriage is not about dividing heterosexuals from homosexuals. Marriage is about love and commitment. Marriage is about that special bond between two people who love each other. Marriage is about treating others about the way you want to be treated. What heterosexual person would settle for a civil union or a domestic partnership? The key question to ask is what does marriage mean to you individually? The answer to that question has many similarities to gays and lesbians who all across the nation want to get married too.
How to be an activist?
Minnesota is approaching activism slightly differently than past campaigns to defeat anti-marriage amendments. The key is that everyone has a personal story to be shared. And everyone has a voice. The key is to speak up and voice your opinions. It is important not to remain a silent majority who supports gay and lesbian rights but doesn't speak out. Speaking out is the key. Call family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors and bring the topic of marriage up. Talk about this amendment! Don't stay silent!
Who to talk to? How to approach the discussion?
Minnesota for All Families has very detailed pamphlets as to how to approach the conversation on marriage equality. These pamphlets are not yet available to the main stream public online as the grassroots movement is just beginning. I will be getting access to these detailed pamphlets as soon as possible. I will put the pressure on their leaders to make these available through pdf! It only makes sense to give wide access to information to defeating an anti-marriage amendment!
Essentially MN 4 All Families have categorized people into champions, supporters, undecided/unclear, and supportive.
Champions - are those who will be voting no. You want to discuss with champions their level of activism and you want to convince them to become a part of the grassroots movement by making phone calls and talking with other people in their networks on the subject of marriage. You want to make them your best friends! Allies tend to always be my own personal best friends!
Supporters - are those who you know are supportive of you and/or your views but you may not be sure if they will take vocal or voter action. The key here is to make sure they vote no as well as to inform them they should be vocal about their opinions with others. The key again is to get people talking about the amendment and to reason through why they should vote no. Then to get them to convince others to vote no by having them share their own stories and views on the amendment.
Undecided/Unclear - are those you haven't a clue where they stand because you haven't talked about it to them. Here you want to be very careful and you want to get a sense of where they stand on the issue and go from there to see if they are open to having a conversation about marriage and this marriage amendment in Minnesota. If they are open to it, try to move them to the next bracket of supporters and champions. Get them involved!
Not Supportive - are those who you know are against marriage and aren't likely to change their minds. The key is to spend the energy where you can make a difference and not to spend too much time trying to convince neigh sayers to vote no.
Don't debate or argue!
In training I was asked to guess what my grandmother would say to me when bringing up the subject of marriage equality. I guessed my grandmother would go Bible thumping bringing up Sodom and Gomorrah as well as the verses in Leviticus. After this I was asked how I would respond to my grandmothers Bible thumping. I said that I would bring up the historical aspects of the Bible as well as the fact that other verses in the Bible discussed anti-women laws and said not to eat shrimp. This was my answer up until now.
I was informed there was a better approach. And that was to ask the question, what does marriage mean to you grandma? This makes marriage personal and less confrontational. It's asking for an opinion. This directly dodges the debate and argument style I would be flirting with approaching the subject from the Biblical perspective. My grandmother would answer what marriage meant to her, and I would be allowed to say, marriage means the same thing for me as well. The only difference is that I am attracted to the same sex.
Given this situation, remember to avoid argument and keep the conversation personal, respectful, emotional, and meaningful. Punch people in the gut when they discuss it and really make them think about what they are doing if they are not supportive.
Get training! Get in touch!
See if there is a community action training coming near you! Your voice can make a huge social impact! Let's beat this sucker and move toward a more cohesive and productive society! Speak up, ask questions, get in touch with activists, and do something about it. [email protected]
Community Action Trainings
A Little Bit of Liberal: Journalism Coverage
"Marriage is not about having equal access to financial stability"
Actually, for gay couples with kids the financial stability aspect is very important. The loss of one partner especially if s/he is the bread winner can be devastating on the family.
Insurance benefits, survivors benefits, pension benefits, social security, and more are key financial benefits that come with equal marriage.
By the way, Jacob, YOU ROCK!
Thanks for being an activist.
I am aware that there are financial issues involved. But should marriage really be about finances? When telling someone why you want to be married, most people don't say, well, I like the financial benefits and pension benefits and the insurance benefits, and the survivor benefits. Straight couples don't need to argue for that. So getting people to move past the benefits as an explanation for why gays and lesbians have a right to be married is crucial.
I do understand what you are saying most certainly nonetheless!
"what does marriage mean to you grandma? This makes marriage personal and less confrontational. It's asking for an opinion. This directly dodges the debate and argument style I would be flirting with approaching the subject from the Biblical perspective. My grandmother would answer what marriage meant to her, and I would be allowed to say, marriage means the same thing for me as well."
This really stuck with me Jacob. With the love story of David and Jonathan in the book of Samuel. And the endorsements Jesus himself gave to gay people of his time I have felt all too ready and excited to get people to read the gay bible stories because I know they have no idea.
But that is the wrong attitude. This is basic. Thanks for all your writing.
It stuck with me too. It completely changed the way I would approach the subject. It was sort of hard to accept that there was a better approach than what I had originally come up with.
You are welcome. Thanks for reading! My readers make me valuable!
Jacob - it appears that you believe marriage is and should be about love. I'm not saying you're wrong, but GLBT people don't need marriage to love or fall in love with each other, we do that part just fine.
Project 515 has developed a list of 515 MN laws that discriminate against GLBT folks because they cannot get married. www.project515.org
I havent' read through the list recently, but I don't recall any have much to do with love itself. However, they have everything to do with protecting our partners, kids and families because we love each other.
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