I really want to post this video because of the attitudes expressed by some in the progressive LGBT community that marriage is either of concern only to white gay men with money or is part of some grand scheme to remake same-sex couples into a hetero-like version of suburban blandness. The push for marriage rights is not something orchestrated by DC-based activists or donors but has always been something pushed for by people like Deborah and Octavia.
The truth is that marriage is something that the national organizations would have been more than happy not to touch and that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the issue. They were content to focus on employment non-discrimination and hate crimes protections, both of which are vital to our communities. It's also true that at different points in time different issues take the spotlight. But it was same-sex couples across the country who stood up in a variety of ways who first demanded the freedom to marry. These couples and their allies went to city facilities to request marriage licenses, filed lawsuits, wrote letters to their elected officials, pushed for union ceremonies in their churches and caused such a ruckus that LGBT advocacy organizations had to come along.
As the story of Deborah and Octavia (and the story of Fernando and Mike below) make clear, marriage is about much more than ceremonies, parties and over-the-top honeymoons. Ending marriage discrimination is about full and equal participation in American society and the rights and responsibilities that are associated with marriage such as hospital visitation, immigration, access to a partner's health care insurance and social security benefits.
Will marriage benefit the white and wealthy among us? Yes, absolutely. But because white and wealthy gay men will be able to marry does not negate the huge impact that gay people of color, poor and working class gay people and others will gain from being able to have the relationships and their families legally recognized.
There will undoubtedly continue to be discussion about the place of marriage equality in the larger fight for LGBT equality and there should be. But it strikes me as patronizing for others to imply that LGBT people of color do not understand or want the opportunity to marry.