What’s more important: straight couples vowing not to get married or straight couples working for marriage equality?
If you’re a straight couple who is in love, you have my blessing. Go get hitched, you crazy kids.
Don’t get me wrong; I have an immense appreciation for our allies. When Macklemore sang “Same Love” while Queen Latifah married 33 couples on live television, I honestly cried a little bit.
But when celebrity couples make empty promises to the LGBTQ community as some sort of publicity stunt, the gesture is meaningless if not insulting. I guess I could give Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie props for waiting a full eight years before breaking their promise to not get married until everyone can. I mean Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell only waited two years and used the DOMA ruling as a loophole. Now Lena Dunham has jumped on the bandwagon and I have to call bullshit.
If the self-proclaimed voice of my generation wants to make a promise like that, I just hope she intends to keep it. Otherwise, don’t bother. There are plenty of other gestures that would speak just as loudly.
I mean, not even LGBTQ people are waiting to tie the knot until same-sex marriage is legal nationwide. Whenever a new state makes this inevitable change, it’s met with celebration. Most couples aren’t as fortunate to be able to delay marriage in the name of social protest. For them, the legalization of marriage is not just about equality, but also the security that they want to be able to offer their loved ones.
Having grown up and come out of the closet in Jackson, Mississippi, I’ve known a number of gay and lesbian couples that take whatever opportunity they can to make their love legal. They travel to other states just to be able to say, “I do.”
But that’s still not enough. I recently met an older couple who has to file mountains of paperwork to accomplish what a simple marriage would do, all so one woman who works for the state can pass her benefits on to the very sick woman she loves.
If you’re in love and have the legal right to get married, don’t waste that. I understand it’s a gesture well intended but not everyone is so fortunate to squander their rights.
If you want to show your support, get married in a state where it’s legal. Show the other states what hosting Brad and Angelina’s marriage can do for their economy and tourism.
Better yet, use your money and connections to fight where it matters most. Sponsor a bill in a state that’s still behind the times. Who knows? Maybe the Dax and Kristen Act will be responsible for marriage equality in Mississippi.
I don’t think lawmakers will say, “Well, if legalizing same-sex marriage will allow Lena Dunham to marry her boyfriend with a clean conscience, we should do it!”
I will always be grateful for allies, no matter if they’re huge celebrities or small town citizens. But making some lavish, yet empty promise does nothing but tarnish your word. If you want to show you care, actually do something. Otherwise, I hope your marital vows last longer than the ones you’ve made to the LGBTQ community.
Follow Glenn Garner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/glenntgarner
Photo: JD Hancock/Flickr
Originally published at Huffington Post.