Michael Crawford

Please Don't Divorce...

Filed By Michael Crawford | December 27, 2008 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Courage Campaign, gay marriage, gay rights, Ken Starr, Prop 8 protests, repeal Prop 8

The Courage Campaign has launched an amazing and heartbreaking new community photo project called Please Don't Divorce to put faces to the 18,000 married same-sex couples facing the possibility of being forcibly divorced in California.

Kenneth Starr, the right-wing prosecutor whose investigation led to Bill Clinton's impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, has filed a legal brief on behalf of Yes on 8 to nullify marriages performed between May and November 2008.

If you were married in California, you can

submit your own photo, as an individual, a couple or in a group (perhaps with your family over the holidays). Take a picture holding a piece of paper that says "Please don't divorce us," "Please don't divorce my moms,""Please don't divorce my friends, Dawn and Audrey," "Please don't divorce Californians" or whatever you want after "Please don't divorce..." and send it to: [email protected]

Led by openly gay executive director Rick Jacobs, Courage Campaign is kind of a MoveOn focused on bringing progressive change to California.

Courage Campaign is taking a leading role in helping to undo the damage wrought by the passage of Prop 8. They are building grassroots support to repeal Prop 8 and are working to gather 1 million signatures of people who support marriage equality. To date, more than 310,000 people have signed the pledge to repeal Prop 8.

Sign the Courage Campaign's pledge to build the marriage movement.

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What's the big rush to nullify these marriages? Wait a couple years and most of these couples will be divorced, anyway.

I created a collage of photos from on line. I sent it in, and I posted it on my blog, www.monicahelms.com/blog

I read this first and had a sophisticated and educated comment to make but then I just watched the photos and I cried. I shared the slideshow with friends on my facebook account and I'll paste my notation here:

"If any of you can look through these images and tell me that the Gay marriages in the state of California (or anywhere) should be dissolved then you are soulless and heartless inhuman creatures and I pray that you will never ever speak to me again.

If you feel what I felt, if you got the same lump in your throat and pain in your chest from looking at these beautiful couples and families - I am proud to know you and I would stand by your side at war."

Thank you.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | December 27, 2008 11:53 PM

Beautiful Michael.

Huh. I see the effectiveness of this as an advertising campaign, but I'm unmoved by the sentiments it attempts to draw out. I considered not responding at all, given my views on marriage, gay or straight, but I'm tired of the gay marriage movement's constant emphasis on couples and families as the epitome of civilisation and I think it's worthwhile to keep asking what kinds of norms we replicate at the cost of forgetting that marriage is also an economic contract that's increasingly designed to leave many people out.

This campaign, like so much else of the gay marriage movement, conveniently casts marriage as a manifestation of nothing more than love and commitment. The reality is that marriage, increasingly, is being posited as the only way to gain the most elemental benefits, like health care. The sentimentality of the campaign belies its slickness and the slickness hides the harsher realities that are being occluded by this campaign.

And a legal question: is nullifying a marriage the same as "divorcing" people? The slogan "Please don't nullify our marriages" wouldn't, obviously, work as well as "please don't divorce us" but it might be more accurate. Nobody's being forcibly divorced here, right?

That doesn't mean I support Ken Starr (who seems to need something to do), but I have to wonder if we shouldn't be more accurate. And, following on the first commenter's note, it's likely that gay marriages will go the same route as straight marriages.

Can we move past the idea that the fact of a cause (gay marriage) being opposed by the Right automatically makes it an idea worth rallying around, without questioning its basic precepts? What's the difference between this campaign and something coming out of the "save our marriages" campaign touted by the Right? Does anyone else notice that this seems pretty similar to the rhetoric and images propagated by the Yes on 8 campaign?

I'm with Yasmin on this, plus the Courage Campaign website calls marriage equality "the civil right movement of the 21st century." That kind of hyperbole is way off base in my book. And Michael -- please be sure to call this the "marriage equality movement" not the "marriage movement." The marriage movement is a right-wing effort to get everyone into heterosexual marriages. Most of its adherents (though not all) oppose marriage for same-sex couples. They are the ones we have to thank for federal spending on "marriage promotion" and for abstinence-only sex education and for spreading the lie that all our social problems are caused by the decline of life-long heterosexual marriage. I have my many differences with the marriage equality movement, but the marriage movement is truly an enemy of LGBT rights and respect for family diversity.

Yasmin -

To answer your question, from a legal perspective "nullify" is different than "terminate." A divorce is one way to "terminate" a marriage. I think what you mean by "nullify" is actually "void" which would mean that, as a legal matter, the marriages never happened. From what I gather, it's a pretty open question whether a ruling against marriage equality from the Supreme Court on their third question would nullify, terminate, or simply prevent recognition of (i.e. not void or terminate the marriages, but deem them to be without legal effect moving forward) the marriages.

However, from a social perspective, "divorce" seems like an accurate (and, as you point out, effective) description.

Further, I'm not sure what about the photo exibit leads you to see a "constant emphasis on couples and families as the epitome of civilization..." Of course, your response may have just been a statement of your general opposition to/concerns with marriage equality. Otherwise, I'm just not seeing the same thing in these photos.

I worry that in laying out an alternative path (which you do well), you may unintentionally be demonizing (for lack of a better word) people who make a different choice than you. Of course, you may be doing so intentionally, but in reading your posts over the last several months, I'd be surprised if that was the case.

Melanie Davis | December 28, 2008 2:38 AM

Ken Starr is still alive? The guy who wasted millions on a guy lying about getting a hummer now wants to go after the Gheys. Brilliant.

Man, somebody give that guy a blowjob, already. It's all he wants, just a little attention, oh, and maybe a lot of legal fees. I forgot about the money.