Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wedding Protest in Florida

The Tampa Tribune reports that gay rights supporters in Florida plan to gather outside the governor's wedding to protest his hypocrisy or--to put it more positively--"celebrate [his] fundamental right to marry," according to Lorna Bracewell of Impact-Florida.

The governor endorsed Amendment 2--a same-sex marriage ban--prior to it becoming part of the state Constitution.

The gay-rights supporters will gather in pink T-shirts outside First United Methodist Church of St. Petersburg on December 12 and will continue outside the reception site at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort (see photo above) Afterwards, there will be a candlight vigil close to the Vinoy in downtown St. Pete to mourn the gross inequality.

The fact that not all people in our country have the right to marry still eats away at me. A friend of mine argues that I'm a hypocrite because I went ahead and took advantage of my heterosexual right to marry. He argues that I should have boycotted marriage out of solidarity for those who cannot legally marry.

He believes that if heterosexual couples boycott marriage, their more conservative parents will eventually start voting yes to legalizing gay marriage. The argument goes: conservatives care more about seeing their heterosexual children marry than they do about keeping same-sex couples from marrying.

I tend to think boycotts are most successful when they're tied to economics. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, for example, cost the Montgomery public bus company more than $750,000 according to a PBS article. If heterosexuals boycott marriage, the biggest entity to be affected would be the Wedding Industrial Complex.

And while the Wedding Industrial Complex rules over millions of brides, I'm not sure it has any political sway.

But maybe I'm just trying to justify my marriage and make myself feel less guilty.

What are your thoughts? What should heterosexuals do to advocate for same-sex marriage? Should they boycott marriage?

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Biz said...

we went to the atlanta prop 8 protest two weeks ago...it was pretty big, and my honey and I were two of many straight allies, (str8s against h8) which was nice. I just think more of us need to make noise (maybe not with boycotting, but tons of advocacy) so that people understand the connection between marriage rights and human rights.

Also, we're going to include our views about it in a prayer in our own wedding... I've talked about not getting married by the state over with several of my gay friends, and one said "why wouldn't you take advantage of a right you have just because I can't? I mean, it'd be like refusing a great education at a good public school just because not everyone gets one.

I think there are some issues with this analogy, but as of right now, we're not going to do the boycott thing after all.

V. Wetlaufer said...

As a lesbian, I am against people boycotting marriage for "my" sake. I just don't think it makes sense. I do think everyone should avoid the WIC for lots of reasons, as I'm sure you do.

What I find nice is when my straight friends speak up about the fundamental inequality, even at their weddings. I've seen people put things in their programs or ask for donations to marriage rights organizations in lieu of gifts.

I wrote a post about this on my blog here: http://femalehusband.wordpress.com/2008/11/27/the-marrying-kind/

I guess the reason I'm not in favor of the boycott is I don't thing anyone should feel guilty for their love and their desire to celebrate and solemnize that love. The reason Crist's wedding is such a slap in the face is because of his belief that it's a right only straight people have, but if he was a gay-supportive governor, then I'd toast his wedding. I celebrate love in all forms, and I agree that a boycott wouldn't do much good. If straight people want to change their conservative parents' minds, they need to talk to their family about their beliefs.


Anonymous said...

I don't think that boycotting marriage is the most effective means by which to protest gay marriage bans. Heterosexual couples in support of gay rights need to continue marrying for a couple of important reasons. First, pragmatically speaking, no conservative hearts or minds are likely to be swayed via an anti-marriage movement that risks appearing even more liberal than the pro-gay rights movement. Second, marriage is something that gay and straight couples alike should have the right to do because marriage is something that we VALUE. At the end of the day, boycotting marriage would only mitigate the significance of the very thing we're fighting for.

Instead, we should campaign for gay rights via the kind of protests that surrounded the passage of Prop 8, and by good old fashioned letters to our state governments. My fingers are crossed that the incoming democratic administration will help thaw some hearts on this issue, but in the meantime we've just gotta keep working.

Great post! :)

Marina said...

Well... maybe if there were a lot of gay-friendly straight couples who had conservative parents who were more easily convinced to do things by passive-aggressive manipulation rather than discussion.

I don't think that's a particularly large group.

I think discussion, money, and voting are more powerful (in that order) than boycotting anything, except, as you said, when there's a direct economic impact.

Plus, the best argument against straight couples boycotting marriage that I read is that the ability to not marry is a privilege. The ability to go without joint health insurance, tax breaks, power of attorney, green cards and visas, and all those things gay couples are struggling to get, is a privilege. I don't see anyone arguing that we should all go without health insurance until everybody has health insurance.

blind irish pirate said...

I think that heterosexuals protesting would be pretty ineffective. Just for my general view on humanity... even IF the boycott would cause a collapse of the WIC and frighten all of the conservatives into a vote... logistically, I think that there are too many selfish people, mainly brides, who don't give a rat's ass about anyone else and therefore wouldn't bother with it because they'd prefer to have their special day.

It's a sick thing, but that's what I think.

I don't think you need to feel guilty about it at all. You are an advocate, that is what it needs. You made a very big point to even incorporate it into your ceremony.

It sucks, but I think time is the answer here. Time, and patience, and perseverance, which have proved, time and time again, that it works.

Laura Slater said...

One idea would be to have a destination wedding in a place that DOES allow gay marriage - like Canada - and let everyone know why you're doing it! The country is full of GLBT-friendly vendors willing to work with all types of couples.

mydadthinksitstrue said...

I think the difference between boycotting marriage until everyone can marry, and boycotting (to follow the earlier example) health insurance until everyone is insured is that no one is saying that people shouldn't be insured because of the sanctity of insurance.

That is the main argument I hear from conservatives. And in theory, if no one got married until gay marriage was legal, they couldn't use that argument any more. I know it's very unlikely that everyone would boycott marriage, but isn't that kind of the point of a boycott?

Laura said...

I actually get really annoyed (sometimes even angry) when straight people decide to boycott marriage because same sex couples can't get married.

Even if you choose not to get married, people will still afford you the same social privileges. They're not going to stare if you're holding hands in the street. They're not going to heckle if you kiss. They're not going to ask if your nearest and dearest is just your friend. They're not going to apologise for the "mistake" when they realise you booked a hotel room with a double bed.

These are just simple every day privileges. Legal privileges are far more complex. I had to fill out a form for an American visitor visa the other day (my girlfriend is Canadian) and one of the questions asked about marital status. I was so upset and angry that if my girlfriend and I get married, I have to put down that I'm single. I can't imagine how horrific it must be when dealing with hospital visitation or wills or adoption. Grr.

mydadthinksitstrue said...

To Laura,

I don't think that straight people who boycott marriage are doing it thinking that they are then experiencing the same things that gay people face. I think for most, it's a way to show that banning gay marriage does nothing for the "sanctity of marriage" and can in fact have a detrimental effect on it.

To me, that's like saying that you get angry when white people donate money to a black charity, because they don't know what it feels like to be black. No straight person will ever know what it feels like to be discriminated against the way gay people are. But that doesn't mean they can't at least try to do something about the injustice.

That's just my two cents.

riottara said...

I find it interesting that all the responses are anti-boycotting. I think to each their own, and if you're working towards dismantling heterosexism, as a straight person, i support your personal decisions, but i do want to say that there certainly are lgbt/queer folks who do want a boycott of marriage (temporarily, or altogether).

everyone negotiates their privilege differently, and the discomfort in that is part of having it. as long as thats not all someone's doing.

i really appreciate this site, but i'm actually surprised that there isn't more about the sexism/heterosexism involved in the capitalist wedding industry analysis. to me thats a huge part of why the wedding industry is so abominable.

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