View Full Version : "What do they want?" Speaking of weird questions.
05-17-2006, 12:58 PM
The recent chats on Mia's "Who's the man?" thread about people asking strange questions inspired me to share this one with the group:
At a dinner party this week, with all highly accomplished, very educated, cultured people (opera singers, actors, medical doctors, engineers) I had the following conversation:
Opera singer: "Zerbie, what does that button you're wearing say?"
Zerbie: "Oh, it means I support same-sex marriage."
Singer: "Good for you."
Singer's husband: "I've been wondering. What do they want?"
Zerbie: "They who?"
Husband: "Gay people. What kind of wedding do they want?"
Zerbie: "I'm not sure I understand the question."
Husband: "I mean, do they want big church weddings, or do they just want to do it in front of a justice of the peace?"
Zerbie: "OH!!! Well, like with anyone else, that depends on the couple."
I continued for a while giving examples of religious/spiritually minded couples having religious ceremonies, and also trotted out Daniel's example of having the Buddhist-inspired religious ceremony plus the trip to Canada for the piece of paper.
After the explanation, it was clear that he got it. But I found it weird that he asked the question.
05-17-2006, 01:07 PM
that conversation demonstrates that most people do not understand the "civil" part of the marriage contract. Many people think that the gay community is asking religious institutions to allow same-sex marriages within their churches. That is not what's happening. We are asking the government to award us the same civil benefits that straight couples obtain by signing the marriage contract.
05-17-2006, 01:11 PM
Oh right - I've forgotten that with all the furor, it isn't clear to an impartial observer what the screaming debate is all about.
Yes, that has to be what was behind the question.
Glad I answered both points, and now I'm very glad I mentioned the part about being unable to get benefits/legal protections without the civil marriage.
05-17-2006, 04:16 PM
Maybe us GLBT and supporters are going about our fight the wrong way (some of us anyway). Instead of 'fighting' perhaps we should be educating - such as public forums, question & answer sessions, articles in the local newspapers. I'm not really sure about the mechanics and feasibility, but if we reach out and answer questions, perhaps minds would be more open to equal rights. With education comes knowledge, and with knowledge often comes acceptance. I'm sure to a certain extent these are things that are being done, just seems like with all the questions floating around out there, maybe we could do better job with passing on knowledge.
Maybe it's education and 'fight' - don't want anyone to think we've given up!
05-17-2006, 08:11 PM
I cannot tell you the number of times I've had to infrom my straight colleagues- and this is in supposedly liberal and educated NYC - of the facts. They think gay people have the same legal protections as heteosexuals. Hello! I boggles the mind. They mistakenly assume that, just because we're on TV sitcoms, that somehow, Government recognizes our relationships. They also give far more weight to domestic-partnership laws than they deserve. They think these laws give us everything.
It's like GLBT people are yelling about everything in one corner and they're off in another - totally oblivious.
Yes. We need education. Lots of it.
05-17-2006, 08:48 PM
Thanks Keltic Daniel and Tdogg for the reminder - I get used to talking about this among us and forget that others don't have the information we have. I remember that I had to learn about the lack of legal protections for LGBT individuals and couples, actually first learned about it in a college class! If it hadn't happened then, I don't know how long it would have been before I found out how lack of legal protection impacts people every day.
Now, I think there is a call to action somewhere in here. Right now, culture is saturated with screaming debate about Gay Marriage This Gay Marriage That, but it's all sound bites - noise bites. Screaming. The middle-road people we want to reach and bring over to support our "side" aren't hearing facts, they're hearing noise. As this liberal, educated, cultured man at the party demonstrates. I wish I had been more clear about what same-sex couples are lacking by not having legal protections, but I know I communicated *some,* and it was enough to convince him that our argument is a valid one based on fairness.
So what can we do to reach people? Can we do some kind of letter-writing? To what audience? Letters to the editor? Submissions to magazines? Something else?
Anyone wanna brainstorm??? I'm not a good idea person, but I'm a good writer if someone else has ideas. . . hint, hint. ;)
05-19-2006, 02:39 AM
I think the reason the guy asked "what do they want?" might be because some guys hate big fancy church weddings. They'd rather be watching the football game or going to the lake than wasting a perfectly good Saturday afternoon putting on a tie and sitting in church and the only thing to look at is a bunch of flowers and candles and that lady singing.
The only reason some guys go to big weddings is for the cake. But even then it's only a small square piece on a paper plate. The pieces need to be bigger. Either that or allow for seconds.
I think many straight guys could handle gay marriage if they knew it was just two guys in front of a Justice of the Peace. Just the guys and the Justice. No friends in ties or the singing lady.
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