A New Year plan for marriage equality

National organization offers New Year’s Resolutions for the marriage equality movement

Marriage Equality USA is a national, grassroots organization working to achieve equality in marriage for same-sex couples. In recognition of the New Year, they’ve offered up some resolutions for the marriage equality and LGBT movements.

“To win marriage equality, we must empower and enlist the grassroots in each community,” said Molly McKay, Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) media director. “In the devastating aftermath of the passage of California’s Proposition 8 campaign, MEUSA hosted community forums across the state to invite participants to constructively examine the campaign and provide input on where we go from here. MEUSA also created an on-line survey which collected responses from an additional 3,000 people across the nation to check the pulse of where things stand within our national marriage equality movement following the Nov. 15 Stonewall 2.0 revolution.”

Below are their resolutions for equality.

To end homophobia, we must not practice it. As Harvey Milk once said “they’ll vote for us two to one if they get to know one of us.” The LGBT community must be visible in our campaign to secure marriage equality because we know our real images and stories are the only way to replace stereotypes. We must share our stories through earned media, door to door canvassing, and other visibility actions.

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We must focus on our families. We will never allow LGBT families to be pushed into the closet. Our families are raising children and serve as our front line ambassadors with other families. Our lives and experiences, including the fear and harm their children face from these anti-gay campaigns, like Prop 8, must be shared to increase understanding and support. We must work with family-focused organizations, both LGBT and other family-focused groups.

We must challenge institutionalized privilege within LGBT organizations. It’s not just about outreach; it’s about inclusion in our marriage equality movement. We will promote, support, involve and fund leaders and organizations of color and create messages and messengers that reflect all communities as a priority, early and often, not as an afterthought.

We must engage in all 50 states and in California, in all 58 counties. Just as it was wrong to exclude the transgender community from the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, it was wrong to exclude the Central Valley from California’s No on Prop 8 campaign. Same-sex couples live everywhere; therefore we must campaign in every community and not ignore less supportive communities where there is so much room to gain and where the marriage equality outreach and education is essential.

We must empower communities of faith. We believe faith leaders and faith communities, not focus groups or consultants, should determine the messages and the best way to engage other people of faith in this movement. We can’t oversimplify and restrict our faith leaders and other faith based allies to talking points that don’t adequately give space to reflect their diverse beliefs or limit their participating to phone banks that keep these leaders out of the public eye. We need these faith leaders to be visible and vocal in building bridges to other faith communities. They are uniquely situated to respond to some of our most ardent opponents.

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We must ensure our straight allies have a larger voice in our movement. Our marriage equality movement must not be restricted to the LGBT community. We must embrace and incorporate our straight allies as leaders in our movement by providing outlets and invitations for them to join us in fulfilling our collective Constitutional promise of equal justice and treatment for all people.

We must recognize the interconnectedness of our lives and the broader social justice movement. We cannot just ask for support for LGBT equality and not step up for other social justice movements. Our goals and our opponents are similar and by participating as good coalition partners, we can support the broader progressive movement for equality and justice.

We must commit to a national grassroots infrastructure and strategy. We must have a proactive, sustained marriage equality educational movement and national dialogue to create the environment necessary to be able to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act and promote support for marriage equality nationwide. When these ballot measures arise, each state should not reinvent the wheel or have to start from scratch. We need to create effective modes of communication within the grassroots structure and share good ideas and practices. By capit alizing on technology, we can allow every state or volunteers in supportive communities to effectively participate in building our national vision.

We must provide a place and a space in this movement for everyone. Our community must be invited to do more than check writing and organizing house parties. We must be engaged in organizing and educating our communities, being visible, contributing our voices and sharing our unique talents and resources to assist the movement. We will allow anyone of any educational background and economic class to participate to the extent they are interested and we will provide materials, training and assistance to maximize and plug in all available talents and resources to promote volunteer-grassroot s leadership and participation during this watershed civil rights movement for LGBT equality.

info: www.marriagequality.org

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