Straight Allies Phonebanking for Marriage Equality
September 26, 2012 by Guest contributor
This post comes from Jeanette Richardson, an HRC member from Texas.
I was a bit worried as I drove down I-30 from my suburban home. I’d never volunteered for a marriage equality phone bank before; I’d never volunteered for any LGBT effort, even though I’ve felt strongly about equality issues and been a member of the HRC for many years. Would a straight, married, middle-aged mom with grown kids be welcomed?
I wasn’t actually worried about mustering arguments for the calls themselves. The rightness of marriage equality -- or employment and housing non-discrimination, and civic equality of every kind -- is so obvious to me. I think that we are all entitled to the same rights and the same respect because we’re all human beings. There should be no institutional barriers that differentiate us. It’s hard for me to understand the reasoning of those who disagree.
Of course, I shouldn’t have worried as I made my way to the phone bank. The folks from HRC’s Dallas/Ft. Worth steering committee were great. The evening was satisfying in a uniquely rewarding way. Maybe it was because while on the phone I received plenty of positive, heart-warming responses from other allies.
I told several people I talked to that night that I was a straight ally, that I was married to a man but still felt strongly enough about this issue to give it my time, my money, and my passion. That seemed to make the naysayers stop and think, even if just for the length of a quietly inhaled breath.
In a meeting recently, I sat next to a woman who is a member of a large, conservative Southern Baptist church. She, it turned out, is a supporter of equality. So is the teacher who sat on my other side, neither of whom had any family member to cause them to be supportive; they simply saw equality as the right thing. There are allies to be found in unexpected places. I am proud to be one of them. I care about what happens in the four states with marriage-related ballot measures this November (Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington) as much as I care about the election for president. When the Supreme Court takes up equality cases for decision next year, I want the justices to know that more states have answered the historic roll call for equality and fairness. I want those justices to stop, take a breath, know the country is trending toward justice, and realize they must follow.
Forgive my passion. I’m just one woman who spent a few good hours with a phone.
January 9, 2013