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Conventional wisdom says Marriage Equality will come through the efforts of gay couples to win their rights.  Of course, that means that unless gay couples become a majority, it will be a minority fighting for its rights, rather than a civilized community offering and guaranteeing rights to all its citizens.  That's where we get the likes of Prop 8.

Some of us heterosexuals see things differently -- especially those of us who have participated in successful civil rights movements before.  Men who've stood up for women's rights.   White people who've marched and taken risks to help racial minorities, and demanded passage of the Civil Rights Acts.  We see Marriage Equality as a human issue - not an interracial issue or a gay issue, on a battlefield defined by bigots.

Please consider joining us, starting this Valentine's Day, to take back the Sanctity of Marriage - and do our part to define marriage as the inalienable right of every family.

Our family has postponed legally marrying for more than a decade because -- as hungry as we are for more than 1000 federal rights - we'd sooner marry in a whites-only club than sign up for a license that's being denied to equally deserving families.

We're looking for other heterosexual couples who are willing to fight for equal rights.  We demand not just Marriage Equality, but also equal rights to Civil Unions, which we're currently denied under law in states like California.  Civil Unions provide another way to fight - and bring in a unique ally: Barack Obama.

It is my strong belief that the government has to treat all citizens equally. I come from that in part out of personal experience. When you’re a black guy named Barack Obama, you know what it’s like to be on the outside. And so my concern is continually to make sure that the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for all people.
That’s why I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 2006 when I ran for the Senate. That’s why I am a strong supporter not of a weak version of civil unions, but of a strong version, in which the rights that are conferred at the federal level to persons who are part of the same sex union are compatible.
When it comes to federal rights, the over 1,100 rights that right now are not being given to same sex couples, I think that’s unacceptable, and as president of the United States, I am going to fight hard to make sure that those rights are available.

While Obama wasn't saying heterosexuals should stop getting Married, the case has been made that as a statement of Values, a Civil Union is actually much better.  

  • a Union that's so strong, it's not threatened by other couples
  • a Union with no history of women becoming men's property or promising to "obey".
  • a Union that celebrates equal protection - with no history of denying interracial or same-sex couples their right to happiness and a family
  • a Union that doesn't require the endorsement of any adulterer, divorcee, or church*

*i.e. the signer (Bill Clinton), author (Bob Barr) & advocates of the Defense of Marriage Act

A Winning Movement
Here's a dirty secret: if it wasn't for eager white customers, no Jim Crow segregated restaurant could stay open, and the civil rights struggle would have taken about a month.  Americans like privileges.  It's the wedge that opponents of equality always count on.  Will privileged liberals actually sacrifice anything?

But there were white faces on the civil rights marches.  A previous poll suggests many heterosexual couples here - married and not - are sympathetic.  Our message should ring out:

  • We know Values come from fairness.
  • We reject the idea that Values come from piety or privilege.
  • We want all families and children protected by federal law.
  • We don't believe interracial or same-sex couples threaten our relationship.
  • We're eager to march alongside our brothers and sisters until they enjoy all the same rights.

Valentine's Day
So let's take the one day of the year when Americans celebrate love, and ask each other and the president how long families should wait - knowing that every day, children or couples are hurt when those 1000 rights are denied in hospitals, deadly emergencies, and probate courts that rule no family exists.

We're especially interested in participation from other couples in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This coming Valentine's Day we can celebrate again at City Hall - much as thousands of couples did with their new marriage licenses five years ago.  My mate and I attended that fantastic, spontaneous party that people called the Marry-In.

There isn't much time till Valentine's Day, but if there's interest, I'll create a Facebook group and contact my old friend Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, and we can get better organized.

This time an even larger group of couples can line up and speak up again for equality.  If California claims to be providing equal rights now, let's all demand the Civil Unions that are considered good enough for gay families.  

Whether you're single, a long married couple, or waiting like us for a Values marriage license that won't be tarnished by inequality, you can be part of the successful movement that sprang forward when in Loving vs Virginia the Supreme Court ruled for right to marry.  That's right - we don't have to marry a gay person to participate!

Let's all ask President Obama - if he's sincere about Civil Unions, just when will we all have the equal federal rights he promised?  And we'll have another great party.

Originally posted to David L on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 01:56 PM PST.

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