This year, as people head home for the holidays, Why Marriage Matters Ohio is asking Ohioans to have a conversation with family and friends about why all loving and committed couples deserve marriage equality.
Marriage equality isn't always an easy topic to discuss. Many Ohioans have deeply held convictions about the issue. However, approached the right way, the conversation can avoid being confrontational and can go a long way toward building support and understanding for those who want nothing more than to be able to marry the person they love.
We encourage those who are going to have this discussion to think through what they'll say and who they will say it to. It may be easier to start with family or friends who may be supportive, and go from there. It's important not to make assumptions about another person's beliefs; people who you think support marriage equality may not, and vice versa. It's also important to talk with those who's opinions differ from our own. We cannot advance the cause of marriage equality if we only talk to people who support it.
The best way to raise the subject may be to wait for a conversation to touch on personal stories about relationships, life situations or current events. Those subjects may provide an opening to bring up marriage equality.
It's crucial always to approach things from a calm and understanding perspective. Your goal should be first to understand the other person's perspective and what has led to his or her beliefs.
After you better understand the other person's feelings and beliefs about marriage, offer your own views. Many members of the LGBT community will have personal experiences to draw on and clear reasons why the subject is important to them. But straight people who support marriage equality often have their own experiences related to friends and family members who want to get married but can't because of Ohio law. Everyone can play a role in changing hearts and minds.
Finally, you don't need to be an expert to talk about marriage equality. Why Marriage Matters Ohio (whymarriagemattersoh.org) can provide you with information and helpful hints, but the message boils down to this: Marriage equality is about love and commitment, protecting families, and doing the right thing.
At Why Marriage Matters Ohio we have these conversations all the time, and we understand how challenging they can be. However, in order to achieve marriage equality for all loving and committed couples, these are conversations we must have. Our educational efforts hinge on people sharing stories of love, fairness and family.
Michael Premo, campaign manager
Why Marriage Matters Ohio