National Organization for Marriage, the organization that has jumped into fights for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples around the country, is launching a Summer for Marriage tour. In announcing the tour, Director Louis Marinelli declares supporters to be part of the "silent majority" (a term first coined by Richard Nixon in reference to white, apolitical folks opposed to civil rights and Vietnam protestors, and used by successive conservative politicians following him), dedicating to stopping the "homosexual agenda", and my favorite part is how denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry is part of our national security:
We must stand up for marriage because marriage is the foundation of our society. A strong marriage, rooted in strong morals and values makes a strong family. Groups of these strong families make strong neighborhoods. These strong neighborhoods in turn make strong towns, cities and states. And it are these towns, cities and states that make up our Nation. Everything is connected! Protect marriage and the family and you are protecting the Naton. (typo theirs)
On our side, Freedom to Marry is responding in kind. More details in the extended entry.
Freedom to Marry will be launching a counter-tour, challenging NOM in each state and in DC. But the difference is that theirs will be one of love, not hate. Committed same-sex couples- both those who are married and those who wish to be- will be joining Freedom to Marry to both challenge the distortions and express how marriage, along with its responsibilities and legal protections, is important to all couples.
In my offline time, I ran a national book tour to 29 cities last year, so I had some interest in logistics and planning. Over GChat, TBP Contributor Michael Crawford, also with Freedom to Marry, answered some questions I had about the tour, and I thought I'd share.
Me: What is the message for straight audiences, and those undecided on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples?
Michael: we want to take NOM's message of summer for marriage to it's logical conclusion: all committed and loving couples should be allowed to marry.
Me: How do you plan to advertise the events and let the local community know about it?
Michael: We'll have a section of the Freedom to Marry site www.freedomtomarry.org which will include centralized info, extensive outreach through Facebook and other social networking sites, and outreach in the states by our state and local partners.
Me: Are you going to be in each location in all 17 states, and DC?
Michael: we are working with our state partners on responses to nom in each state and dc.
Me: Is this more of a counter-rally appearance at NOM's events, or separate events?
Michael: separate events. we want to respond, but not in a "shouting across police barricades" kind of way. we will be spotlighting gay couples and families to make the case about why we should have the freedom to marry.
Me: Logistically, are you guys traveling with a large painted bus with organizers and advocates, or individually state-to-state, working with folks on the ground, or some combination of both?
Michael: we are working with state groups in each of the states on events and action that are most relevant for those states. Freedom to Marry staff will be providing some on the ground support with state groups as the key to organizing on-the-ground turnout.
Me: Where can committed same-sex couples who want to join the rally go to help and/or speak?
Michael: we'd love help and support. the best voices are those who have the freedom to marry or want to have the same responsibilities and rights as heterosexual couples. Those who make up those voices, or can help organize in other ways, can email me at email@example.com. We are working with working on setting up a page on our site which will contain info about the campaign.
Freedom to Marry will kick off the tour next month.