“Commitment Campaign”: New Game Plan For Making Straight People Like Us

i imagine the campaign will be something like this

It’s hard to sell people on the idea that gay people deserve equal rights, apparently. So a group of ambitious politicians in Washington have launched a campaign to change the direction of the conversation around gay marriage from “rights” to “promoting the value of commitment.” It’s called “The Commitment Campaign.” Cute!

Centrist group Third Way is at the helm of this campaign, which launches today and has the support of Democrat Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (Independent, former Republican), Christine Todd Whitman (former Republican New Jersey governor) and former chairman of the Republican National Committee and out gay man Ken Mehlman.

Third Way and Grove Insight‘s polling revealed that many Americans think gays and lesbians want to marry for different reasons than straight couples. I assumed these reasons likely include things like spreading the gay agenda, indoctrinating children, having sex in public, and setting tulips on fire — but of course there are always more sinister things to want than pyromania.

58% of polled heterosexuals, when asked why “couples like you” might want to marry, said to “publicly acknowledge their love and commitment to each other.” However, when asked why gay and lesbians wanna tie the knot, the respondents split between “love and commitment” and “rights and benefits.”

The Log Cabin Republicans, who we sometimes like and sometimes really want to punch in the face, are fans of this campaign. California Log Cabin Republican Chairman Charles Moran says “this is a really radical way of changing the approach in communicating why gay marriage equality is important.”

another idea i had for the campaign

Governor O’Malley told the USA Today that they’re just searching for some common ground – “the way to have the conversation with those who would be inclined not to support marriage equality is to search for those common values that we share.”

Those poll numbers are awfully telling though, aren’t they? Hello straight privilege! To couples who’ve never had to consider for one single second what life would be like if who they loved determined their access to the same rights held by other citizens, it seems our money-grubbing and rights-hoarding is very distasteful.

just another brilliant idea from me

This week the Senate Judiciary Committee will be preparing to consider repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. States including Maryland, Minnesota and North Carolina are possibly gonna have gay marriage related ballot initiatives on their 2012 election plate. As Carmen mentioned yesterday, there’s a lot of prep going on for the Repealing DOMA Party, such as the brief filed in federal court by 70 businesses and organizations in support of a DOMA repeal. These 70 groups include Microsoft, Google, Nike and Starbucks. Basically what I’m telling you is that it’s a very important TIME.

this one took a lot of creativity for me to come up with

Well, let’s get real — we’ve tried for a really long time to do this on our terms, and we succeeded with some people and failed with others, so now we need a new strategy to get those others. Many in the queer community will see this as another attempt to stick gay people into heteronormative boxes or to encourage conformity to a hegemonic ideal. Personally I am a big fan of commitment, because then instead of going to bars, you can watch Netflix in bed. With beer if you want to.

But this campaign isn’t actually about us. It’s about THEM. The target market for this campaign are people who don’t believe in equality for equality’s sake — people who genuinely balk at the idea of gay people being equal to straight people or gay marriage being equal to straight marriage. So you gotta speak their language, and that language is the language of commitment and strong families, etc. — the same language these people use when discussing straight marriage. It’s probably a mostly accurate sentiment (“a desire to make a commitment to someone I love” being the primary motivator for wanting legal same-sex marriage) but considering they’ve made us feel like our relationships are super-gross for so long, we haven’t exactly wanted to advertise our partnerships to those people. Like, we didn’t think they wanted to see lesbians holding hands, but yeah you wanna talk about love and commitment? GAME ON.

god i'm an advertising genius

Oh! Ahem! I’d like to take this message-shifting-campaign-conversation opportunity to shift everyone’s message-related focus away from this Kim Kardashian character. Who the fuck cares. We think we’re soooo fucking clever to make our point about “But Kim got to do it and she RUINED it, why can’t IIIII do it Mom? Why can’t I do it tooooooo!” via her 72-day marriage but hello, as if that point hasn’t already been made 8,000 times before, most notably re: Britney Spears and that dude from her high school and “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire.” Everyone on our side has already heard that argument, everyone who hasn’t heard it probably never will. We cannot change that. Also I have this theory that nobody actually watches the Kardashian TV Show and this whole thing is just made up to sell magazines at grocery store check-out lines.

Anyhow, ideally lovers of equality AND lovers of family will come out to vote and vote for us for some reason.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.


  1. For whatever reason image number two CRACKS ME THE FUCK UP.

    Gotta love that we have to commit to commit in order for some to understand we’re only slightly serious about this marriage thing. Personally I think this should be the campaign.

    • I loved all of these, although image #2 makes me feel like I’m looking at the alternate universe versions of Bev and Nina. #mindfuck

    • i imagine the pregnancy test telling them they’re pregnant and are going to have ten babies and they’re like OMG yay!

      • Seriously, it’s that facial expression. but hey, what do I know? Maybe down the road when I find out I’m going to be a lesbian daddy via my hawt red headed wifey I’ll make the exact same face.

  2. So will the lesbians in the “ten babies” picture each grow five of the babies? Or will some be adopted? Or does yellow shirt lesbian not want to sacrifice her figure and the whole thing was really orange shirt lesbian’s idea anyway so she should really carry the children if she wants ten so badly?

  3. Okay first of all start your own advert company RIGHT NOW.

    Second, I still really enjoy that we have to convince people that we just want to get married so we can be bored and married just like those wacky straight people!

    And finally, maybe it’s just me, but Netflix in bed (with or without beer) ends up being way cheaper and way less stressful than going out to bars or clubs, amirite?

  4. “lesbians want to marry for different reasons than straight couples. I assumed these reasons likely include things like spreading the gay agenda, indoctrinating children, having sex in public, and setting tulips on fire..”

    OMG! Who leaked Autostraddle a copy of my wedding ceremony plan?

  5. I’m torn. On one hand I realize the efficacy of “speaking their language” and emphasizing the commonalities of love and commitment that many heterosexual and homosexual couples share.

    On the other hand I feel like sending out a big ol’ “FUCK YOU! I don’t have to justify why I want to marry someone and if I want to do it so we can set carnations on fire(I would never set tulips on fire)then that should be none of your business.”

  6. I feel like the people who didn’t listen to us going ‘hey it would be nice if queers could have rights and love the way straights can have rights and love’ are not going to listen to ‘hey it would be nice if queers could have love’. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to appeal across the board, and keep trying to convince people, but changing the tone of our argument is not the key.

    Know why? Because anti-queer marriage types will respond by pointing out all the loud, proud, non-committed/non-monogamous queers who believe in gay marriage for other reasons. ‘The gays, they lie! They say it’s about love – well for THESE homos it’s just about furthering their depraved selfishness’.

    Minimising the importance of rights in an argument that is about rights doesn’t seem like the right approach to me.

    • I certainly agree with “speaking to them in their language”, but I’m pretty sure that the anti-queer marriage types will whip out their anti-queer marriage logic (or lack thereof) no matter how honestly we approach this debate.

      It’s true, though, that there are people who don’t care as much about commitment and/or the expression of love. When they point that out we can point out that those people exist in both parties. The point is that, even though they exist in both parties, only one party of people have the right to marry. Why make it what it’s not? We deserve to the right to marry regardless of whether or not everyone we represent has the same views of commitment.

  7. I am not above using marketing strategies to pass legislation, esp. if it inspires such hilarious/awesome graphics.

  8. Maybe then jewelry companies could start pandering to us. Some suggestions:
    “SHE went to Jared.”
    “Every kiss begins with gay, at Kay Jewelers.”
    “Diamonds are forever, but lesbians can be reincarnated, so that’s like… multiple forevers.”

  9. There are two things in this world that last longer than time. Love is one of them. If you thought the other was a diamond, you are wrong.

    Lesbians are forever.

  10. They should really use your posters for the campaign.
    They’re persuasive and will win the opposing side’s hearts.

  11. Personally, I think the traditional route to marriage is backwards. You should be emotionally committed before you get married, not commit the day you get married. Neither a fancy wedding nor a legal binding document is going to create an emotional bond.

    I’ve also been annoyed by those Kim Kardashian facebook posts. Really, I have nothing against couples getting divorced when they realized they’ve made a mistake. Fewer people would make that mistake if they were committed before they got married. If only people weren’t pressured into doing it before they were ready.

  12. What’s so funny about commitment? I think gay and lesbian people do need to show more respect and commitment to their own relationships. I’ve known of so many relationships where partners did not stand up for each other to homophobic in-laws, or worse. Raising children together, get in a fight … the partner not biologically related to the kids is kicked to the curb with no more rights than a nanny who just got fired. Not that straight couples are any better. That’s half the reason marriage laws exist. To ensure fairness when love turns sour.
    Personally, I would never shack up with anyone. If my GF wants me to move in with her, she’d better start with an expensive piece of jewelry, then proceed to a GLBT friendly attorney’s office for all the legal protection we can get. Especially if children are involved.

  13. ooh ooh! how about a commercial with two lesbians stuck together by a chinese fingertrap…

    “From fingercuffs to wedding rings, we’re Together forever and ever.”

  14. Love the Kim Kardashian commentary. You wrote what’s been in my brain but I didn’t know how to say…I find you do that often though (and I like it, duh).

  15. am i the only one who thinks it’s sad that gay/LGBT people need a campaign to make straight people like us? that’s wrong in so many ways…

  16. Pingback: GetUp! Australia’s Ad Is the Cutest Thing to Happen to Gay Marriage Since … | YGA(dot)Net

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