Marriage equality: students can lead the way

By Andrew Blumenfeld, Summer 2010 New Media Intern
As a student- in high school, in college- it may not always be easy to see why the freedom to marry is something to which we should devote a whole lot of time or thought.  We’ve seen our friends, family members, and neighbors find and commit to that special someone later in life than most of our grandparents would have ever considered typical.  So when it comes to marriage equality and “winning the freedom to marry,” it can be difficult- at least initially- for the younger amongst us to summon a whole lot of interest.  

I think that’s a big mistake.  

The recent Prop 8 court decision further delaying the freedom to marry in California shows clearly why we as young people can lead the way so that equality becomes a reality and not just a dream

It is with this in mind that Freedom to Marry is launching Students for Marriage, a campaign to effectively inform and mobilize young Americans around a new goal in the marriage equality movement: never having to wait for justice.  Students for Marriage will initially be organized in Facebook and will provide young people information and tools to move marriage forward.

It’s not uncommon for marriage campaigns to utilize the images of elderly same-sex couples who have been together for decades to convince voters that these individuals deserve the right to marry one another.  Jen and Megan have been together for 30 years now—shouldn’t they share in this wonderful thing we call marriage?  

Now, it’s easy to see why the marriage issue, after seeing a message like this one, might become very salient to a crowd engaged in their own years-long relationships.  But if we as young people don’t see the direct plea to our demographic in that message, then we’ve just missed the whole point.  

Of course marriage equality ought to be what we can offer to Jen and Megan and every other committedcouple holding their relationships together for years just waiting for their government to recognize them.  But marriage equality truly is a youth issue.  It is a fight for the freedom from ever having to appear in one of those campaigns, sitting next to the one you love and have devoted a life to, pleading with our communities to acknowledge it.  

It’s not often that the progress worth fighting for can be realistically expected in its entirety in any one lifetime or generation.  As the young people of this generation, we are primed to see this issue come to a resolution in a timeframe that might mean we enter full adulthood with one less struggle, one less fragment of institutionalized intolerance that weighs on us as individuals and as a community.  

The opportunity to realize this potential- to create a society in which our children might never know what a world with marriage discrimination looks like- is real.  And not unlike many issues of the past- where a rising generation expected a little better than what the previous generation was planning on leaving behind- this issue will require great effort on the part of the youth, of students.  

Join Students for Marriage and help make marriage a reality.