Posts Tagged → Kent
August 30th, 2008
The Marrying Kind movement — a boycott of the marriage economy– is in its infancy. The boycott will continue until equal federal marriage rights are granted to same-sex couples. The challenge, at this early stage, has been how to spread the word and get others to join me in this fight.
How exactly do I get the attention of people and explain to them that refusing to attend marriages, as long as they remain segregated institutions, will go a long way in bringing about change? How do I convince people to stop buying wedding presents? How exactly do I, and all those involved in The Marrying Kind, chip away at the profits of the wedding economy and become Williams-Sonoma’s worst nightmare?
My web designer, Ping Fang suggested I start a group on Facebook to bring attention to the boycott. I’d been invited in the past to join Facebook, but never really saw the point of spending time online with friends when it seems hard enough to find time to spend with friends in real life.
As I began exploring Facebook, I stumbled upon groups called I love cheese (and I love bacon). There was one called Close your Damn Legs, directed at subway riders who hog seats. These groups, and countless others, each have thousands of members. Amazing.
Millions of people support marriage equality, so I was convinced my group would attract vast numbers on Facebook. The Marrying Kind group offers positive action steps to achieve that goal. Soon, I was sure, The Marrying Kind would be bigger than I Love Cheese. After all, I reasoned Facebook must be filled with people who are lactose intolerant or saturated-fat phobic, or just don’t like the taste. How many of its members really want to see gays and lesbians marginalized and disenfranchised?
So I joined Facebook, formed the group and invited fifty or so friends and then I waited. For days it was a group of two: myself and my amazing web designer, Ping Fang. Soon after, my oldest and dearest friend, Alison joined. Within five days we were twenty.
A week later we reached twenty-three members. Even though I hadn’t done very much to actively solicit members, despair was setting in. I could not bring myself to check what I was convinced would be the rapidly growing membership of I love cheese. (Could they have reached one million?) Disgusted by the swarms of cheddar-lovers, I decided to eliminate dairy from my diet. Also, I briefly toyed with the idea of starting a group called, I loathe cheese. I abandoned that notion as being a time waste which would do nothing to bring about gay marriage rights.
My morning routine became log onto Facebook, confirm that the group remained a static twenty-three. Then I’d make coffee (fortunately, what with my dairy ban, I drink it black).
Miraculously, one morning while checking on The Marrying Kind group, I saw that we had jumped to twenty-eight members. My friends were coming through for me! Those thirty or so friends of mine who had ignored my invitation finally were having a change of heart. They were joining.
But no. These five new members were not friends of mine, nor did we have friends in common. The new members were all students or alumni from Kent State. Kent State? How did that happen?
Here’s how: I received a note and a “friend request” from a woman named Marta Roueiheb. She had come upon the group while searching facebook and immediately responded to my call to action. She told me that she’s been with her boyfriend, Jason Byard, for six years, but long ago they decided they would not wed until gay marriage was legalized. She and Jason joined The Marrying Kind. Marta invited over one hundred of her friends.
I was amazed and excited and unbelievably moved that a couple who can legally marry have chosen not to until I can get married too.
Within two days, our membership had passed forty– still a small group. But considering half of the members are friends of one straight couple I’ve never met, who live in a state I’ve never visited, it’s truly exciting.
I imagine other Marta and Jason’s — all over the country, at every university– finding the website or this blog or the Facebook group, and being similarly moved. These people will join. They will tell their friends. They will invite others. And like the old shampoo ad– And So On, And So On, And So On…
I know college years are about, among other things, school rivalries. Surly no university wants to be out done by Kent State on the issue of supporting justice. From Harvard to Berkley, I ask others to follow the lead of Marta, Jason and their friends at Kent State.
Tomorrow, when I wake, who knows. Maybe I’ll have a new Friend from Yale.
Please hurry, equality is at stake. Also, I’d love to eat a piece of cheese.