Dana Rudolph

Mary Bonauto Gets Raw and Real About Marriage Equality

Filed By Dana Rudolph | January 11, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, laurence tribe, Marian Walsh, marriage equality, Mary Bonauto, Massachusetts

Mary Bonauto, lead counsel in the Massachusetts case that won same-sex couples the right to wed, spoke in November at a WBUR Kennedy Library Forum about marriage equality. When asked about the potential impact of the demonstrations that have sprung up since the election, she said:

Demonstrations are important. They make people feel good also, and involved, and connected with the issues. But I will say this: I think the most important thing that anybody can do is to find those people who are conflicted about this issue, who don't want to discriminate but really don't like the idea of extending marriage to same-sex couples, and to have a one-on-one, heart-to-heart conversation with them, repeatedly. That is what changes minds, and not demonstrations. So if I had any recommendation for everyone who cares about this issue, it's to get raw, real, and vulnerable with people where it's outside of your comfort zone to do so. And that's what's going to make a lasting difference.

Bonauto's fellow panelists were Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, one of the preeminent constitutional law experts in the U.S., who wrote the amicus curiae brief for the ACLU in Lawrence v. Texas, and taught some community organizer from Illinois named Barack Obama; and State Senator Marian Walsh, assistant majority leader, a devout Catholic representing one of the most conservative Catholic districts in the state, who has nevertheless voted and spoken out in support of marriage equality, even in the face of reelection pressure.

The full Forum is now online, and well worth a listen, even though it's over an hour. You can stream it as a RealMedia file or download it as an mp3 (suitable for iPods and the like). There's no direct link, but you can easily find it if you scroll down the page.

It's a fascinating look back at the Massachusetts decision as well as a look forward at marriage equality post-Prop 8, by some of those in the best position to offer thoughtful opinions.

(Crossposted at Mombian, which is also in the running for a Weblog Award as Best Large Blog. This means you can vote for it and then go vote for Bilerico as Best LGBT Blog, with no conflict.)


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I am 100% behind educating the public abotu us. BUT - My problem with that?

We should NOT have to "make the case" for equality. And it is the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT whom is constitutionally-responsible for PROTECTING all of us EQUALLY - in adoption, military, marriage, housing, employment, etc. It's the FEDS. They SHOULD protect us regardless of "public opinion".

Why all of this compartmentalization of human rights? Family Rights. Is it really too far of a stretch to DEMAND Full Federal Equality across the board in employment, housing, adoption, marriage, and military NOW!? Sometimes I fear that all of these organizations are helping to perpetuate this slow, 30-year-road to federal equality because their jobs depend on it. [pessimism. anyone?]

It is obvious that the work we've done for the past 20-30 years moves us AT A SNAIL'S PACE to where other tax-paying Americans thrive right now - a place where they are not PERSECUTED and legally/financially/emotionally-harmed for whom they love.

I've actually heard some gays say how they do NOT support Charles Merrill's tax protest because they do not like HIM. (?!?!) Will our individual personalities (and whom we hate and like amoung us) actually influence Queers from forming a UNITED FRONT against GOVERNMENTAL HATE? [it's fine to think tax protest is a bad idea, but that's a different matter]

I fear we all HATE each other and the myriad of differences our queer random sample encompasses.

An UN-Unified Front - Why We Will Fail
http://gaytaxprotest.blogspot.co...fied- front.html

But I'm in a bitter, ANGRY place now - AND IT IS JUSTIFIED. I have been permanently disabled due to Q-Inequality; now a welfare recipient, soon a Social Security dependent. So just as other in similar situations, it gets FRUSTRATING to hear from all of those who have YET to be seriously harmed by inequality discussing Q-rights. I want to; THEY are often the ones MOST HARMED by marriage/housing/employment inequality.

Sorry about link; if you're not totally P.O.-ed at me and what I wrote, GOOGLE "An UN-Unified Front"

Final Idea (folks, I'm stuck here at home 24/7 so give me SOME slack for ranting endlessly)

To many Q's this "culture war" may feel like going to an Event, a Lecture, a Rally, a Hobby, a Social Group, a Ceremony, or a Full-Time Job.

I am NOT diminishing what others have done and are doing every single day [THANK YOU], but to those of us who have been PROFOUNDLY affected during this "culture war", it feels like NONE of the above.

IT FEELS LIKE A BLOODY, VIOLENT WAR where we are literally running, hiding, AND fighting FOR OUR VERY LIVES and the lives of our children. It Feels Like LIFE or DEATH. It has been for some. It feels as URGENT as one feels when a stranger points a gun at your temple and asks you IF you STILL want to live. URGENT.

Please keep our stories in your mind as you fight this war. Many are suffering horribly and dying, wondering WHY a 20-30 year wait is O.K.

Why NOT a unified TAX REVOLT against the FEDS? Don't we all DESERVE equality NOW, and don't we all NOT deserve to be taxed unfairly?

DON'T WE KNOW WE DESERVE BETTER NOW?