Marriage Pros Support Marriage Equality. Period.
New Yorker writer and CNN legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, wrote a wonderful piece on how times have changed and the “win” this is for America: Alabama’s Marriage Victory, And The Nation’s. Fifteen years after my straight mom founded our company, I just can’t say enough about how amazing it is to read essays like this.
And, while Toobin doesn’t credit anyone by name, it seems obvious to mention the ground game quarterbacked by Evan Wolfson and Freedom to Marry and the gritty strategic work by the special teams at the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU. Wolfson’s team in particular did the movement a huge solid by pushing our LGBT stories into the forefront of the movement.
Ultimately, to know us is to accept us.
But, I always like also to credit the many brave LGBT couples who got engaged, decided to marry (in legal and non-legal ceremonies) and had the audacity to invite people to come and witness our unions first hand. These were locally-based, micro-movements that have made a huge difference, not only in changing the hearts of friends and family members who weren’t already on board, but also of the wedding professionals who worked with them.
In fact, I would suggest that the strength of the change in the wedding industry has often been overlooked as a driver of change. Don’t get me wrong: I know that there are some wedding professionals who don’t support same-sex couples (and turn them down when called upon) and I know that there are some wedding professionals who aren’t able to think about this issue and our lives beyond the dollar signs purportedly attached to our unions. But, ultimately, the bottom line is that a strong majority of wedding professionals support marriage equality.
According to a survey we did with WeddingWire last year, 82% of wedding pros said they planned to serve same-sex couples. Eight-two percent! That still outpaces the growing support of Millennials (those aged 18-29) who are still trying, as a generation, to understand the question in the first place. “Why,” most young people ask, “can’t gays and lesbians get married? I don’t get it.”
And, even better, we surveyed wedding pros in December and two thirds (2/3) said that the reason that they work with same-sex couples is because they support same-sex marriage. Period. That’s a higher percentage of supporters than reported in the general population.
So, to all of you engaged couples out there (and especially those of who you live in states that will hopefully recognize marriage equality by July 2015), know that the majority of pros you will call do support you and your union. And, if you get one that doesn’t, let them know that you hope they’ll change their mind, send them to one of my workshops, and then call someone else because, chances are, you’ll find a wedding pro who is ready, willing and enthusiastically able to help you celebrate one of the most special milestones of your life.
Wedding innovator Kathryn Hamm (@madebykathryn) is co-author of The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography (Amphoto Books, 2014), an Education Expert for WeddingWire and Publisher of GayWeddings.com