My mom sent me a blog post from The Stranger (“Seattle’s Only Newspaper”) titled “Hello, I’m Calling to Argue for My Rights” by Eli Sanders. You should read it! For my first few hours of campaigning in this class, I attended a phone bank at Vote For Equality (VFE) in Hollywood and we phoned Washington voters on behalf of the same organization discussed here—Washington United For Marriage—regarding Referendum 74. I had never phone banked before. I was looking forward to calling my home state and discussing this referendum—the measure to guarantee the right to marry to same sex couples. The hypocrisy of the referendum is detailed in this article, but essentially, the right to marry was passed and signed into law by Washington Governor Gregiore last February. Afterwards, opposition followed up by forcing the law onto the next ballot as a last ditch effort to deny marriage equality to Washingtonians.
Four months ago I flew home to explain to my mom and dad that I was dating a woman. I would not, as almost everyone had anticipated, likely be marrying a man. If I had read this article before phone banking, I may have thought twice about attending. Growing up in Seattle and attending a liberal college in a liberal city, this transition has not been as painful or confusing as I recognize it could have been. In other words, while I knew homophobia existed, before this phone bank I had never considered how it would feel to recognize it so close to home. Marriage equality has never been “my issue” in the past. For better or for worse, it has become an integral part of my future. Campaigning for my own rights called into question many of my values and intentions, but it also introduced me to some of the language and tactics I can use in the future to effectively articulate those values.
The battle in the Washington state election has all the warning signs of Proposition 8. Many at VFE feel that the only reason Prop 8 passed was because of a climate of liberal apathy—an assumption by many that such a hateful proposition would never pass, so why engage? Let’s not risk it. Listen to Macklemore if you are not convinced. Check out Washington United for Marriage online for more ideas. Attend a phone bank at VFE. Thanks.