Has the word Marriage become a branded word by the Conservatives?
"Marriage"- what does this word mean to most Americans and what image pops up in their minds when they think of this word? Have the conservatives been successful in branding this word to their particular ideas and political agenda?
With the tactics that were used to pass Prop 8, we were quick to learn that the conservatives wanted to brand the word Marriage to include fear, limitation and brutal misconceptions about the gay community. From their print ads and television commercials, conservatives injected an image that gay marriage would mean the tragic loss of their brand of "Marriage." More than that, their message set out to convince voters that the loss of their definition of "Marriage" would surely lead to utter anarchy and ruin for our entire society.
What a HUGE statement!
In my opinion, the American conservative movement has absolutely been successful in convincing the general public that bringing equal marriage rights to the gay minority = the ruin of our nation.
Does the average LGBT citizen realize just how expansive a task lies ahead? Realistically, how do we turn this around and instead brand our own vision of "Marriage" to the voting public, so as to avoid another Prop 8 or worse – the continuing ripple effect that Prop 8 could potentially create?
First and most important, our community must decide together on a simple and concise meaning for our definition of "Marriage." We must focus on a clear image of the word that embodies our own political agenda: Equality. And truly, a greater degree of Equality in our nation will only serve to bring the exact opposite of anarchy… instead it will serve to bring a stronger foundation of freedom and happiness for all our people.
So how do we spread our message?
Here at Same Love, Same Rights our goal has always been to bring the community together for successful dialogue. We began Same Love, Same Rights three years ago to help bring the tools to our community so that we could indeed become more cohesive and rally around a central message. In fact, at that time we proposed a Gay Marriage Summit, inviting all the political and marriage rights organizations within the nation to join for one weekend to shape an effective and targeted campaign for equal rights in marriage, to find one cohesive voice to use not only to fight anti-gay amendments but to shape and brand our ideal (and non-threatening) meaning of "Marriage" to the public. This was three years ago, and I'm sad to report that not one LGBT equality organization replied to any of our invitations. Not one.
Their reasoning? We're not sure. …
They are too busy. They do not take us seriously, as our parent company is RainbowWeddingNetwork.com which has been in existence now nearly a decade but is a for-profit company and that fact, unfortunately, has been scoffed at by such equality organizations. (They are willing to accept sponsorships and cash donations from other, straight-owned, for-profit corporations, but unwilling to sit at a conference table proposed by us – a very small lesbian-owned company working daily on behalf of the gay community. Hmm.) Or, more probably, there is another reason.
I invite you to ask why. In your own town, with your own voice, week after week… Pose your questions! And at the same time, make use of our Forum, visit one of our Wedding Expos or utilize our other resources to communicate with likeminded LGBT citizens and advocates so that, at a grassroots level, we as individuals can decide the course of our journey to Equality.
It is, after all, our own individual responsibility. We must take the initiative and commit to promoting our own worth and our own human rights.
I look forward to reading your posts. Let us know your thoughts on the subject, as well as the actions you are planning to undertake in 2009 to move our cause forward.
Cindy Sproul, co-founder