Bipartisan Campaign: Marriage Equality Argument Should Focus on Commitment, Not Rights

A bipartisan group hopes to shift the argument in efforts to legalize same-sex marriage to one of commitment, not rights, in an effort to persuade Americans undecided on the issue, USA Today reports:

OmalleyThe "Commitment Campaign," which is spearheaded by the centrist Democrat group Third Way and will be publicly launched today, has won support from Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat; Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent and former Republican; former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican; and Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Advocates have long made the case that legalizing marriage for gays and lesbians is a matter of equality, but those who frame the issue that way might be reinforcing a belief among many Americans in the middle on the issue that gays and lesbians want to marry for different reasons than straight couples, according to polling by Third Way and Grove Insight.

Read the campaign's plan, below:



  1. EnterTheGecko says

    I’m thinking that there are now double agents working within the equality movement after reading this. Until this ‘argument’ wins in a southern state; this is joke.

  2. says

    The argument should be framed BOTH in terms of commitment and rights, as it was in VT and other states that have marriage equality. Maybe commitment could be emphasized more, but it seems like they’re unnecessarily trying to reinvent the wheel in an effort to brand themselves.

    The truth is gay couples don’t need marriage to be committed, but couples who have been committed to one another for decades need the benefits and protections of federal marriage equality. No one is depriving us of commitment; they’re depriving us of equal rights. I’m not sure the “undecided” on the issue are going to be swayed by clichés about how committed we are. Seems like that has been the problem with some ad campaigns, not the solution. But, hey, go for it . . .

    My pet peeve is more when people say we’re fighting for “same-sex marriage” or “gay marriage” (a sin even the gay media commits daily) when we’re not fighting for that at all–we’re demanding the right to marry, period.

  3. Gianpiero says

    It’s an interesting argument, but marriage–with all the legal rights and obligations it entails–already presumes commitment. It is heterosexuals like Ms. Kardashian, not gay or lesbian couples, who feed the impression that it does not.

  4. Steve says

    Of course marriage is about commitment – though as said, not the only way. If people can’t figure that out themselves, they are stupid

  5. Jack says

    A smart advocate frames his message in a way most likely to be heard. I like the way the Third Way arrived at their conclusions, supported by evidence — and, by the way, if marriage equality is going to become reality, we need more bipartisan groups such as this on our side.

  6. Mudduck says

    This proposal comes from the Third Way, the newest reincarnation of the old corporatist Democratic Leadership Council. They are the Lieberman Democrats, the Republicans in Democratic drag, working to put Social Security and Medicate in private, for-profit, hands. Maybe they mean well here, but the gay community already has moved to stress Family as the reason for marriage — legal support for relationships. We’re not individuals doing nasty things in private — we’re full participants in society deserving the protections and respect given to others.

    Pictures of our families make that point better than concepts like “commitment.” Couples can and do break up despite vows. Commitment grows over the years. Lesbian and gay couples want the social support that straight couples get.

    Is there a hidden agenda in the Third Way argument? Dunno, but they are not our friends politically or economically.

  7. MrRoboto says

    NO! NO! NO! This is exactly the kind of b.s. that lost us the Prop 8 campaign in California. When we allowed centrist message framers to overtake the campaign and run ridiculous heartwarming ads with nothing but straight people in them, saying, “I believe in fairness. My daughter loves her partner,” we LOST the campaign. We needed to see two gay parents in an ad telling the story of how their child was denied rights A, B, C and so on because of anti-marriage equality laws. We needed to see someone like Charlene Strong telling the story of how her partner nearly died alone in an emergency room because of the bigotry of hospital staff. Voters need to understand the real stakes that are at hand, not some Martha Stewart polishing of the message to make it palatable for bigots who aren’t going to vote for us anyway.

  8. mcNnyc says

    I’m with ERNIE…
    ANDY sorry but your copy for this post still calls it same sex marriage…

  9. BG says

    This campaign seems to target those who believe in the “sanctity” myth, that a marriage’s validation somehow casts a magical spell on a relationship. This campaign implies that gays agree with that superstition. It’s not true, and we don’t need to embrace “commitment” in order to win equal rights.

  10. JT says

    +1 to MrRoboto. The fight is about rights. Straight people can get married for whatever reason they want, and nobody questions it. Love, sex, to raise a child together, health care, citizenship. Straight couples can also end their marriages at any time for basically any reason. All we are asking for is the same hands-off approach and freedom from the oppression of the religious terrorists.

  11. beergoggles says

    Pay attention to what MUDDUCK posted – this is Third Way, i.e. Republican Lite. They want us to fail just like regular Republicans.