One of the most effective ways to educate large numbers of people regarding the freedom to marry is with public events that highlight the issues at stake. The gay pride parades and rallies held nationwide every year provide an excellent showcase. For a very modest investment of time and materials, you can have a strong, issue-oriented presence — one that commands the attention of parade goers and the broadcast media.
For the 1996 parade in Seattle, Steve Bryant, then co-director for Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples, suggested that marriage-minded marchers carry placards — each sign stating a category of laws affected by legal marriage status. Both the Legal Marriage Alliance of Washington and the Lesbian Gay Immigration Rights Task Force/Seattle [now known as Immigration Equality] carried numerous signs of this nature. This very visible presence helped focus news coverage of Seattle’s Pride Day on legal marriage. Here are some examples of the signs:
Because the issue is legal marriage and not ceremonial, we recommend not staging mock (or real) weddings or similar ceremonies. As same-sex couples, we are not prevented from holding ceremonies. (See our Where to get a Religious Blessing for a long list of religious denominations that will officiate ceremonies.) We are, however, currently denied access to the state-regulated contract of legal marriage. This is the point that needs to be made.
Weddings — often performed by churches and temples — are frequently confused in the public’s eye with the legal status of marriage. The most that a religious entity really can offer is to act as an agent of the state, as would a justice-of-the-peace or a judge. So care must be taken when introducing the terms “wedding” and “marriage.” This humorous sign “Really Cool Weddings,” though, strikes a nice note.
The “Positive Role Models” sign takes the moral high ground. And that is truly the ground we stand on. Our families do benefit society and supporting our families is critical to the preservation of a free and healthy society.
We all suffer from the withholding of legal marriage — a basic human right. It is only fair that all Americans should be treated equally.
“The Pledge of Allegiance says ‘… with liberty and justice for all.’
What part of ‘all’ don’t you understand?”
- Pat Schroeder, U.S. Senator
Photographs © 2003, Demian
Images may not be reprinted without permission.