Stanford Students on Marriage Memes

by Holly Fetter, ’13

You’ve undoubtedly seen an onslaught of red squares in your newsfeed this week as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national LGBT rights organization, has encouraged supporters of marriage equality to display their politics via their profile photos. A red and pink version of the ubiquitous HRC logo has been consuming Facebook alongside many creative reinterpretations, including my personal favorite — the Tilda Swinton one. (Is it a political commentary? Is it a meta meme? We may never know).

But what do all these symbols mean? And what’s the difference between = and > and Paula Deen? I asked several Stanford students to share their thoughts on what these images mean to them.

>I have the ‘greater than’ symbol, as a symbol of solidarity with all those whose relationships and models of community and care are excluded from the state’s recognition of marriages, and a statement that our queerness neither begins nor ends at assimilation.  Marriage is not a ‘first step’ that has the potential to launch more conversation; it is, right now, an eclipsing step, that has overdetermined LGB politics in the US and erased much of the history of queer resistance pioneered by people of color, low-income queers, and trans* people.
—Alok Vaid-Menon, ’13

=The “inequality” sign strangely feels a bit anti-coalitional, anti-solidarity to me; having critiques of the institution of marriage does not keep me from supporting the fight for marriage equality. I chose to change my profile picture to the equal/equality sign, instead of the greater than/inequality sign, because while I have my critiques of the institution of marriage, and have even personally boycotted marriage since starting college, I actually feel the fight for marriage equality quite deeply. I do not believe that the legalization of same-sex/same-gender marriage is the absolute, end-all, solution to discrimination of gay/queer folks, particularly here in the United States, but I cannot turn my back on my heritage, culture, and traditions as a person of Mexican upbringing — marriage is a big deal, and I find myself feeling compelled to honor and respect that. Regardless of my personal opinions of the “marriage equality movement”, I recognize that marriage is a very important aspect of many people’s lives, families, and cultures, and I strongly believe that their desire to enter into marriage should be legally permitted, accepted, and celebrated.
— Monica Alcazar, ’13

end white supremacyMy current symbol is text that says ‘End White Supremacy’, which neither precludes nor excludes the possibility of marriage, but is an attempt to point to how whiteness and its investment in state-sanctioned relationship models (that preclude other interdependent relationships from accessing basic rights) play out in the HRC-backed marriage equality movement.  Also, the pink and red colors are a simple way to bring forward the political conversations we want us to be having, hence ‘white supremacy’.
— Janani Balasubramanian, ’12

++I chose to use the increment operator, “++”, for my profile picture. I chose not to use the red HRC equals-sign symbol because 1) I am skeptical that HRC has been/would be interested in being accountable to a significant portion of lgbtq people, and I am skeptical that HRC cares about not being useless, 2) marriage equality is only a subset of full rights equality, and 3) focusing on rights equality will not get us to where we need to be. I chose not to use the red greater-than-sign symbol because, although I agree that marriage equality is narrow and non-inclusive, I am not yet sure that it will be counterproductive. I’ll be glad if AFER et al. finish this fight now, so that more people will start to focus on addressing everything else that needs to be done. Anyways: in C-style programming languages, the “++” operator increments an integer variable by one, which is the smallest possible change to that variable. Similarly, marriage equality is an incremental step, and we’ll need to follow it up with much more progress, because so much time, attention, and resources have been diverted from other pressing needs into the fight for marriage.
— Ethan Li, ’16

>If we push only for marriage, then instead of achieving liberation from an oppressive puritanical society, or changing American society to be more open/embracing of ALL queer lifestyles, then not only would we be further confining ourselves to arbitrary social institutions, but we would continue a horrible legacy of exclusionary politics for many within the queer community for whom marriage is not and will never be an option. That is the main reason I prefer the greater than sign, because we as a queer community and as an American society deserve to have “greater than” just marriage. We deserve a society that is validating, that does not demand conformity and is open and embracing of nuanced goals and lives, especially when it comes to sex and love, and we will not achieve that if our only goal is equality through marriage.
— Erika Kreeger, ’14

=Same-sex marriage does not and will not ever mean full equality for LGBTQ people. Treating marriage equality like a ‘fix-all’ for LGBTQ rights is a rather juvenile approach, to a much larger problem-like discrimination trans* people and the almost complete lack of representation of QPOC (queer people of color) in huge organizations like the HRC. And I get that guys, I get it.  I chose the equality symbol, because marriage equality is something that my heterosexual and cis friends and family members can deeply relate to.  Creating conversation around same-sex marriage is a good way to begin conversations about more deeply rooted problems.  I chose the “equal” sign, because most of my conversations were with people who don’t understand the larger issues facing the LGBTQ community-and by engaging in conversations about same-sex marriage I can widen the dialogue to discuss the larger issues facing our community.
— Brianne Hunstman, ’15

>You won’t find me protesting gay weddings with the Westboro Baptist Church, but marriage equality is not a priority to me and to many other queer folks. There is no doubt that a good ruling would make a huge difference in the lives of committed, monogamous single-sex couples and their children, and I hope it does. But I want my sympathetic Facebook friends to dream of something greater than assimilation, to dream of a society in which monogamy is not privileged and gender is not policed. I chose a “>” rather than a “=” to remind them that there’s plenty of queer politics beyond the prepackaged viral messaging of the Human Rights Campaign.
— Adam Detzner, ’14

>I chose the greater than sign because of the fact that the same sex marriage equality movement is not inclusive of queer people of color; the “greater than” sign, in my view, is calling for more than that — more than the marginalization of people of color in a movement that obviously will continue to impact them regardless of the decision that is made in court. It is asking people to recognize who’s voices are being heard and who’s voices are being ignored in this primarily white cis male led campaign for “equality,” or ticket into one of the most dominant and patriarchal legal institutions of the western world. Let’s build each other up, rather than resort to clambering on top of one another’s oppression.
— Giselle Moreau, ’16

=I chose to use the = sign as my profile pictures because I wanted to stand by two principles that are important to me: justice and equality. I find out outrageous that marriage equality would even been a issue up for discussion, yet I acknowledge that we don’t live in the perfect society that perhaps we would wish we did. I’m also cognizant of the fact that there are a lot of other seriously important things that need to be taken care of outside of marriage equality for the greater queer community, yet because this is the issue that’s on the political table right now, I find it more efficient to collect our efforts in support of the matter at hand and then move to other important issues once this seriously overdue dilemma has been resolved.
— Zoey Lema, ’16

=>I couldn’t decide for a long time which symbol to choose. I want to do the sign for equality but it doesn’t represent really important issues that face queer people and are ignored by only discussing marriage, which in itself is used as a normalizing institution, in the gay rights movement. But just doing an inequality sign seems a little petty for me, and maybe a little bit of activist elitism. For places like my hometown, granting same-sex marriage is a big deal and will open up a silenced issue to more discussion, and I hope pave the way for future, more needed change. So I choose to combine the two symbols and reflect my own contradicting opinions and my hope that, whatever happens, discussions like these will help everyone move forward, whether they are starting at a place where gay means deviance and sin, or in the knowledge that marriage is a supporting structure of harmful, unnecessary norms.
—Tess Dufrechou, ’16

So, what do you think? What image did you choose (if any), and why?

Holly Fetter is a senior majoring in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. 

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13 thoughts on “Stanford Students on Marriage Memes

  1. jvroom says:

    My own preference is for “this” symbol to contain an “infinity” sign. (Perhaps “lemniscate” to folks using C+ coding rubric in social meme-ing.)

    Something to do with how much work remains in the discussion.

    Best wishes to all.

  2. Holly says:

    yes, yes, we’ve heard this from the community already. and for me personally, marriage is not the goal. but i do know many of my gay friends who think that marriage is something that they would like in their relationships. i fully support their needs and desires. you can call it assimilation, or what you will, but no body should be discriminated against based on their sexuality. for this reason, i support the = sign. all ❤ is equal. PS adore Tilda Swinton.

  3. Momo says:

    It is very exciting to see people thinking deeply about this and responding to each others thoughts and images! I especially like Devney’s comment. I never really understood why secular governments administered marriage and I resonated with her explanation – probably because I’m living in China right now. To my eyes, the Chinese government seems to work really hard at keeping traditional marriage and family values the way they are. And, as a result of this work, they are remarkably effective at controlling people’s thinking and personal lives.

    I also disagree with the statement “marriage is about love”. To me, marriage is about sacrifice and faithfulness. It is about two people (yeah, like April, I’ve bought in because of personal history) who spend a lifetime together learning how to think of another person first, even and especially when that person does not deserve it. This personal view of marriage is quite counter cultural and deeply rooted in my religious views. That is why I wish marriage was not a legal issue at all, but rather a personal one.

    I suppose that if I had to chose a symbol, it would be two red crosses on a black background. I would interpret it as a representation of my view of marriage – two self-preoccupied and insecure people learning to become vulnerable, secure, and truly other-centered like Christ. Also, I like that the coloring of this image differs from the flag of the crusades (a red cross on a white background), because many interactions between Christians and the general public bear a disturbing resemblance to the crusaders insecure and hurtful spirit. I would hope that these crosses could represent something more like what the cross was meant to be – a symbol of God’s offer of love and acceptance to all people. ALL people. No matter what their identity. (I also have to admit to being pleased about omitting pink, a color of warm fuzzy love, and keeping red, the color of blood and sacrifice – real love. 🙂

    What to do? All I can think to do is to keep questioning, wondering, and trying to figure out how to help the people in my life be confident in their own self-worth. Perhaps not as universally useful as changing the legal system, but a girl’s gotta do what she can do.

  4. Gustavo Empinotti says:

    In response to “Marriage is not a ‘first step’”, “assimilation” and “white supremacy”:

    I think you will agree with me that one of the following is ideal: either a society without marriage or one with marriage for all. The latter is being discussed in the Supreme Court at this very moment. How long do you think it will take until casting down marriage altogether is even to a large extent discussed in society?

    Your argument is the same as that of someone who defends communism and refuses to aid the poor until communism is established. Let them starve to death meanwhile because accepting any kind of law that helps the poor without complete overturn to communism would be “assimilation” of capitalism.

    Similarly, to fight same-sex marriage given that, realistically, marriage will continue to exist for many, many years, is to have the Windsor case repeat itself for that time (along with other legal disadvantages), not to say it is to legitimize anti-gay people’s beliefs by telling them that the Supreme Court agrees with them, exactly when we have the chance to instead open these people’s eyes.

    Once we do open their eyes, having the marriage issue settled, it will then be possible to discuss deeper concerns that to the average person (that is, one who is not aware of other queer issues) are currently incomprehensible. This is how it is a first step, and why a first step is necessary. History moves slowly. Wanting to solve everything instantaneously is unrealistic, and rejecting partial (even if temporary) advances is counterproductive. Partial is a step towards full, not away from it.

    At last, the fact that life is easier for “rich gay white men” than it is for other queer groups is only a reflection of the fact that it is easier for the rich, for the white, and for men separately (for straight people as well). That is of course a problem, but a different one. There exists a white supremacy, a money supremacy, a male supremacy, but they also exist for straight people, and I dare you to find a single person in favor of marriage equality that is happy with any of these supremacies. The existence of one, deeper, problem doesn’t render other problems, even if they have less serious consequences, inexistent. In the Supreme Court at this moment is same-sex marriage. When the other issues that you complain about come to court, we will defend them. In particular, when you want to end the institution of marriage, bring to court a case that ends it for everyone. Right now, the options are marriage (and its legal consequences) only for the straight, or for all.

    • ++ says:

      I hope somebody will correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that none of the “>” people in the article said they were “[fighting against] same-sex marriage” the way you (and many others) straw-manned them. From my reading, most of them say they don’t necessarily oppose it, but instead are trying to open up mainstream discourse more broadly to include certain “deeper concerns” starting right now. For example, you probably missed the parts where Janani said that her picture “neither precludes nor excludes the possibility of marriage”, where Erika specified, “If we push only for marriage”, where Adam noted, “You won’t find me protesting gay weddings with the Westboro Baptist Church”, and where Giselle said, “the “greater than” sign, in my view, is calling for more than that”, because your third paragraph exists.

      Why are the “>” people trying to bring up these “deeper concerns” now? In order for us (activists/etc.) to introduce the average person to “deeper concerns”, we must all first understand these concerns better. So the “>” people are trying to do that education. History may move slowly, but people suffer greatly in the meantime, and it would be good to make history move as quickly as possible. That is why this activisty education is not being delayed.

      Why “>”? Lots of people are forgetting that marriage is only a partial step, as opposed to a full step (there’s lots of rhetoric equating marriage equality to “equal rights for all Americans”, and I can give you some examples if you want). Also, this partial step might make later partial steps harder to achieve. This fear comes up because it is easy to get stalled at partial progress, especially when that partial progress is formal legal equality not followed up by reforms of structural inequalities and cultural attitudes. Often changes in law lead to declarations of “Mission Accomplished!”, even though the fight is far from over. The “>” symbol is used to remind everyone of this issue.

      Regarding the term of “first step”: this is not a “first step”. This might be considered “a step”. “First step” completely erases all the prior history that we’ve had. Let’s not do that. I believe there may be other possible objections to “first step”, also.

      You want to know a single person in favor of marriage equality that is fine with rich or white or male supremacy? Try Michael Bloomberg. However: the existence or nonexistence of a marriage equality supporter who marginalizes other people is entirely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. The attitude you and/or others imply of “ignore all these other issues you face because you’re not monied & white & male & cis, and listen to me instead of telling me to listen to you, and focus on *my* issues now because I already pushed this issue to SCOTUS because I have most of the power and visibility and resources/money” is one that doesn’t neutrally preserve other marginalizations, but rather worsens them. The way it worsens them is when people argue that there is not “a single person in favor of marriage equality that is happy with any of these supremacies” and therefore that obviously ~nobody~ supporting marriage equality can possibly be hurting other lgbtq people!

      In conclusion: it would be good if everyone acknowledged that we need to start working more on these issues-that-are-incomprehensible-to-the-average-person (and I personally don’t think that stuff like the things that drive lgbtq youth out of schools/homes and onto streets/prisons is *that* incomprehensible compared to marriage equality?) now, because, as you said, “history is slow”, and people suffer while we delay.

      Please let me know if I read any of your comment in a way that you did not mean.

      • Gustavo Empinotti says:

        No, I did not miss any of these comments. I don’t know what made you think I did. I didn’t mention any of these people by name, I didn’t quote any of those passages. I also didn’t make any reference whatsoever to the “>” sign. In particular, I did not ask “why ‘>’?”. I know the answer to that question. I was arguing that this answer should not conflict with support of same-sex marriage.

        It should be very clear from what I wrote that if you defend the philosophy of the “>” but also support same-sex marriage right now, then we are on the same page. I was addressing those people within the “>” movement that do not support same-sex marriage, and these people exist. In the above comments, it is said that “Marriage is not a ‘first step’ that has the potential to launch more conversation;it is, right now, an eclipsing step” and marriage equality is referred to as “assimilation”. There is a movement on campus ridiculing the discussion on same-sex marriage on these premises. These are the ideas with which I disagree and to which I was responding.

        I stated on the very first line of my post: “In response to ‘Marriage is not a ‘first step’’, ‘assimilation’ and white supremacy'”, (my argument on white supremacy being that it’s a distinct, however existing, problem and that it shouldn’t conflict with marriage equality). That is, I was not addressing anyone in particular; I was not responding to everyone who said anything in the article or to everyone who used the “>” sign.

        I say that marriage is a first step. Clearly, I am using the word “first” meaning “first from now”. “First” to indicate that I expect “second” and “third” steps and so on (i.e. more steps), the same way in which it was used in the article. I obviously didn’t use “first” in order to ignore all prior history. You know I meant it that way and you took my usage of the word out of context. You also took my “dare” out of context. You yourself acknowledged that, so I don’t know why you did it anyway. Yes, by interpreting what I wrote as a literal dare and pointing out Bloomberg, you won the dare. Kudos.

        About your sarcastic emphasis of the word *me*: I gave you a list of logical arguments to support my beliefs. If you want to attack their logic, go ahead — I will either defend them or change my mind if I think you successfully dismantled some of them. None of my arguments said that you should do what I’m saying because it will privilege *me*.

        Saying that I implied that anyone should “ignore all these other issues you face because you’re not monied & white & male & cis, and listen to me instead of telling me to listen to you, and focus on *my* issues now because I already pushed this issue to SCOTUS because I have most of the power and visibility and resources/money” is a gross and offensive distortion of what I said, which ignores all the arguments I gave you and invalidates them based on the social group to which you assume I belong. I shouldn’t need to explain, especially within this discussion, that I don’t choose which of these groups I belong to. Therefore, trying to invalidate my arguments on the basis of such belonging is entirely inappropriate and could be turned back to most of the quotations in the article (which I have no intention of doing). Please attack my arguments on their content, not on their source.

        It is also unnecessary for you to remind me (with a rhetorical question) of what the queer problems we are talking about are and about whether or not they are easy to understand. The problem here is not making *me* understand them, but rather a society that finds it hard to understand, for example, that two people of the same sex might be in love. What I am arguing is that approving marriage right now is, yes, a good thing to do in the effort of approving other queer issues. I understand the idea that it could stall discussion by allowing people to think “Mission accomplished”; I just think this idea is completely wrong, and that in fact the opposite is true. This argument that you use could be applied to basically any kind of law to prevent it from passing. No law solves all the problems of a given social group at once. When slavery was abolished, those previously enslaved did not immediately have their standard of living rise to that of their previous owners (and that gap hasn’t been covered until today). At that point in time, it could have been argued that ending slavery would allow white people to say “hey, black people have equal rights now” (the “Mission accomplished” declaration you suggest) and that therefore it would stop all discussion on racism. I’m sure you will agree, however, that abolishing slavery was the right thing to do, that it did not end the discussion on racism and that we have been striving towards equality ever since, even though we haven’t reached it yet.

        I believe the opposite of the “Mission accomplished” argument. I agree with you that “people suffer greatly in the meantime, and it would be good to make history move as quickly as possible”, and I think that passing same-sex marriage right now will make it move as quickly as possible. This is why “being on SCOTUS right now” is relevant to my argument — because it is “right now”. I obviously do not want to prolong the suffering of the queer people that you mentioned. I just think that rejecting marriage will not help their issues be solved faster. It will make them take longer to be solved by keeping the focus on marriage and giving philosophical support to the conservative side. Again, this view relies on the recognition that there is a society around us that fails to understand queerness at all. The problem is not whether or not *I* want this suffering to happen. In particular, I’m not defending marriage because it will help *me*; I’m doing it because – besides the basic premise that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married as long as opposite-sex ones are- it’s on SCOTUS right now, and rejecting it would be telling this conservative side of our society that their opinion aligns with the Supreme Court’s definition of right, while accepting it would be allowing the discussion to move forward. If marriage overshadows the other issues, not settling marriage will just delay moving to different issues even longer. I’m taking a pragmatic approach and defending what I think will lead to faster results given that this is a fight against the conservative side. “People suffer while we delay”, I agree. I am defending what I realistically believe to be the shortest path to end this suffering.

      • ++ says:

        Alright, sorry – I had recently read comments by some other people who, in response to the article, conflated the “>” philosophy with opposition to the same-sex marriage campaign. So I made the mistake of misreading your first line as a reply to everyone in the post who had mentioned assimilation and/or race issues and who I was referring to by the “>” shorthand.

        I did not know that you had meant “first” purely as a way to suggest subsequent steps and without the implication that that step was unprecedented, because I always use that word and phrase to indicate unprecedentedness, and because I have never heard the phrase “first from now”. But now that we are on the same page as to your meaning, I have no disagreements with it.

        When you had said “I dare you to find a single person…”, I read that literally as a denial that the leaders-in-power of the marriage equality campaign would have interests in perpetuating various other supremacies, which is why I wanted to answer that. That was my interpretation of your sentence, because I have seen other instances of people making that denial. However, I saw no connection between the figurative dare and the adjacent sentences, so I felt that it was irrelevant. Feel free to explain why you included it, if you care to.

        I didn’t assume that you belonged to the groups I listed, but my writing was terrible there (e.g. I shifted the “I” to refer to various entities at various points), so I’ll clarify what I meant. I wanted to reply to arguments I’ve seen in which the speakers declared that all queer people of different salient marginalizations should fully support (and should avoid critiquing) the marriage equality campaign on the premises that, as you mentioned, 1) marriage is the issue being discussed by the Supreme Court right now, and 2) success in the marriage campaign is necessary for discussion and thus for success of other issues such as deeper concerns. I did not know if you agreed with the conclusions of demanding “full support” and “avoid critiquing”, so I made the unjustified conclusion that you did. My objection to the argument I described is that the reason marriage is the issue being discussed by the Supreme Court is that marriage was pushed there by the campaigns of various organizations, who focused on marriage to the exclusion of other issues faced by disenfranchised queer people. So the premise for the conclusion that queer people should avoid critiquing the campaign to emphasize their other major concerns is founded on a history in which their concerns are consistently ignored by the social group in control of the dominant discourse. So it doesn’t seem like a valid reason to me. I am sorry I was so incredibly careless with my writing at that part, because opposing others’ arguments solely on the basis of membership in certain groups is a thing I really try not to do and a thing I did not intend. Also because the form completely mangled my meaning.

        I think it may be a bit easier to make society understand why it’s bad to kick a kid out of the house or to murder certain people or to allow bullies to continue targeting students (and so on) based on their personal characteristics than it is to make society understand same-sex marriage and/or queerness, but this is somewhat more speculative. I currently agree that marriage is likely to be a beneficial step in the long run, and I agree that all change must be made in steps. However, I wonder about the cost of putting a bunch of things on the back-burner to focus everything on a single issue (which appears to be what’s happening), because people not committed to the things on the back-burner often forget without constant reminder. One example of the “Mission Accomplished” problem that has happened is in how, despite legal non-discrimination progress, there are various very-entrenched social factors that still lead to structural racial inequality in how the government operates with police/education/etc., and the existence of non-discrimination laws is often used to deny the the seriousness (or sometimes existence) of these issues. I don’t know enough to conclude how much the “Mission Accomplished” argument applies/doesn’t-apply here since I could see it going both ways, but I am skeptical right now and open to convincing.

  5. Seraphim says:

    No students defending traditional marriage? Or do their opinions simply not matter anymore in this brave new world?

    Also, the comments against monogamy only solidify what I’ve felt about those pushing for gay marriage: that their end goal is chaos and confusion in the hopes of further obfuscating what their consciences are trying to tell them about the unnatural lifestyles they’ve embraced.

    • "seraphim?" says:

      gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you’re over 50. luckily your generation is on its way out!

      which “traditional marriage” do you mean? Israelite polygamy? required marriage of a rapist and his victim as prescribed in Deuteronomy? the Catholic sacrament? polyandry in Tibet?

      or is it that one kind that you’ve experienced, so everyone has to participate in it too? yeah, I think it’s that one.

  6. Nat Roth says:

    This was really eye-opening for me. Thanks a lot!

  7. Devney says:

    I learned a little from the explosion of these red squares everywhere: it sent me looking for a symbol for ‘equal access to inquiry’ or more mundane, ‘equal education.’ Of course there is no such image, so now I’m more interested in how HRC managed (or did they – maybe it was less orchestrated?) to imbue the red squares with so much meaning so quickly.

    • Devney says:

      PS Tess, I hope it’s okay if I use yours? If not let me know and I’ll take it down asap.
      I strongly disagree with the Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Charlie Joughin’s statement “Red is a symbol for love, and that’s what marriage is all about,” — I think marriage is a way that states recognize interdependency and make it bureaucratically possible. I want to use Tess’s arrow because I want to see the state recognize a lot more ways to be interdependent, more ways to be family, share money, care for each other, and team up to raise children.

  8. April says:

    Huge thank you to all contributors. As someone whose identities are almost entirely privileged in American society, the line between “ally” and “perpetrator” isn’t always clear. This is definitely the case when it comes to marriage and marriage equality. I wear my equality ring for more reasons than the typical “I don’t want to get married until everybody can get married” summary statement I give most people when they ask about it. But that doesn’t change the fact that marriage does mean something to me. Maybe it’s because my parents have been married for 39 years. Maybe it’s because I spent last summer researching how crucial marriage was in African Americans’ processes of self-definition after emancipation. Maybe it’s because since age 7 I’ve been told the story about the petition to kick my newlywed grandparents out of their Southern California neighborhood because my grandpa was Mexican and my grandma was white. Maybe it’s because my HIV+ uncle depended on my mom financially for the last decade of his life because he received no health benefits from his late partner. Maybe I just suck and have bought into the system. But I found Moni’s explanation to be the one that ultimately resonated most with me. I don’t think it has to be an either/or battle (I see you Tess). You can honor what marriage equality means to some while also being adamant about recognizing what and who it excludes. For me, this is what striving to be an ally is all about — seeing the shared humanity in opposing sides of an issue and trying your damndest to help others see it too.

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