10 ways to show your support of marriage equality at your wedding

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10 ways to show your support of marriage equality at your wedding
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Are you looking for a way to acknowledge your support for our LGBT friends and families during your hetero wedding ceremony? From the covert to overt, here are 10 ways to use your wedding to show your support for marriage equality.

1. Use gender neutral terms in your ceremony. This is a great way to sort of sneak in your support, and even the most conservative of guests can't take offense.

2. Represent the rainbow. Rainbow flags are the symbol of LGBT pride and they're also pretty. Add some rainbow elements to your wedding as a way let your gay pride flag fly, as it were.

3. Add a moment of silence for those who can't marry. A silent “pouring one out for the homies” if you will.

4. Use your straight marriage certificate to make a point about gay marriage. This is a great way to use your paperwork to voice your opinion to the governmental powers-that-be.

5. Add a reading to your ceremony. Sarah and Adam worked with their officiant to include marriage equality in their ceremony by reading this passage from the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage:

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support.

Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.

It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a “civil right.” Without the right to choose to marry one is excluded from the full range of human experience.

6. Use marriage equality stickers as favors. Jill and Kim bought marriage equality stickers for their reception tables. Since those specific stickers are now out of print, I found a few good ones on Amazon here and here.

7. Include a link on your wedsite to a marriage equality charity. Some suggestions: MarriageEquality.org, Lamda Legal, Freedom to Marry. Or perhaps look for a charity that is fighting for the rights to gay marriage in your particular state.

8. Encourage charitable donations in lieu of presents. Use the suggestions from the above tip, or chose your own charities, and then ask your guests to donate in honor of you two, instead of gifting you a blender.white knots

9. Make a donation to a marriage equality charity and make reference to said donation in your program.

10. Have a WhiteKnot.org table set up. The White Knot is a marriage equality organization whose slogan is that everyone should have the right to tie the knot, and their symbol is, appropriately, a white knot. You could put out a little table with white knot ribbons, and a sign about your commitment to marriage equality with info about the White Knot organization. You and your partner could wear a white knot during the festivities, and you could make them available to guests to wear.

I know there are even more creative and wonderful ways to show your support of marriage equality. How are you using your wedding to show your support?

Comments on 10 ways to show your support of marriage equality at your wedding

  1. We out and out refused to have an officiant who WOULDN’T do a queer wedding (which is still surprisingly alot of officiants in Canada)and we made sure EVERYBODY coming knows that that was important to us. and we are having a reading that emphasizes the many shapes and forms love takes, be it man man, man woman woman man, genderqueer and smorgasborg of love WHATEVER. We our queer friends will be loud and proud at the wedding so I feel like everyone will know that this is an inclusive event without making a huge issue of it, which ends up being a kind of backwards prejudice “look how awesome we are for including YOU…” sort of thing. I think just making the wedding about the WHOLE community makes it inclusive that way. That and I am pretty sure a few of the guests may be showing up in drag 🙂

  2. I know of a wedding where instead of people clinking their glasses to get the bride and groom to kiss, they had to drop money into a donation jar that would later go to a marriage equality charity. I thought that was a great way to work a good deed into your wedding, whatever your choice of charity may be.

  3. We are working with our budget to see if we have the funds and the time to travel to OFFICIALY wed in a state that allows gay marriage, as opposed to legally marrying in ours, which doesn’t. We definitely don’t want to give our fee – as nominal as it is – to a state that doesn’t support marriage equality and, sometimes, money is the only language that lawmakers speak. 😛

    • This x 100.

      We are getting married in 2 weeks in NC. Since the new legislation, we plan to get our license from Illinois,which supports marriage equality. Unfortunately, it’s too late to back the whole wedding out of NC

      • We plan to wed in Indiana because it’s a more equal distance for our families (I have family in Ohio and Michigan, he has family in Kentucky, Wisconsin and Illinois).
        I called the Circuit Court about wedding in Indiana but being Illinois residents and she told me we HAVE to get our license in whichever state we wed in. Is there a way we could still get our license from Illinois?

        • You could just have a small civil ceremony at the courthouse in Illinois. That would also allow you to have an un-official officiant (such as a close friend) at your main ceremony if you would like.

      • You need to get the marriage license in the same state (and sometimes the same county) where you will wed.

  4. This is a great post, and something I’ve been thinking about a lot. I’m inspired, and I’m actually going to order equality stickers from the Human Rights Campaign. Donate $25 to a great cause, and get 50 stickers to put out at my reception. It’s a win-win!

    HRC Action Center

    • Are you willing to consider a different organization? HRC has a pretty tepid, milquetoast reputation; if someone wanted to support me, I’d rather they donate to Lambda Legal (which brought the case in Iowa) or even PFLAG.

      • I have to back up NH. HRC is a loud voice, but is historically one of the LEAST efficacious gay rights groups out there. (Their response to Obama’s refusal to repeal DOMA was essentially “Don’t worry, someday something will get better! Let’s just wait and see.”) Lambda Legal is great for marriage equality, and there are dozens of other general LGBT advocacy groups out there. Dan Savage often recommends donating to Lambda Legal, and I usually trust his judgement on these things.

        • Another voice recommending against HRC. In addition to the reasons given by Ellerie and NH, HRC doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to being inclusive of the transgender community. Actually, I haven’t been impressed by much of their work when it comes to issues affecting anyone other than white affluent gay men (and lesbians, to a lesser degree).

          • Interesting….I never knew HRC was so frowned upon. I guess its like PETA… I’m a huge animal nut but detest PETA for the same reasons why people seem to detest HRC…..doesnt actually do any good for the cause they claim to be helping and just do a lot of hypocritical actions. Shame how some of the biggest names out there are the worst names :-/

  5. This is wonderful. I had already decided instead of (or possibly along with a regular present-type) favors to make a charitable contribution to support marriage equality for each guest. This is so important to me and my fiance. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  6. White Knot for the win! We had a white knot station set up with a sign and our guests really showed their support. It was nice because some of my family is not in support of marriage equality and we didn’t want to make people feel uncomfortable but we still wanted to say something about how unfair it is, so this was perfect. Those that wanted to show support could but it didn’t put other people on the spot or use our ceremony as a statement (which is sometimes great it just wasn’t for us). This was our subtle classy way of sticking it to the “man” 🙂 Some of our friends still wear their white knots on their bags!

  7. We got legally married in a jurisdiction that promotes marriage equality. We did this on a different day than our wedding, and had a note in the program about why we weren’t getting legally married that day.

    • anon,

      that’s BRILLIANT. We could make a solo drive to a state that DOES allow same sex marriages, get hitched, then have our “hoop de doo” for family and friends and let em know why we did it this way. Love it.

  8. I have to admit I’m always kind of wary of things like this, I feel like there’s a fine line between showing your own support for a cause and using your wedding as a platform to preach your views to others when they’re effectively a captive audience and can’t share their own views in return.

    But I really like some of these ideas because they get the point across, but in subtle, non-forceful ways.

    • I actually live in a place where gay marriage is legal (Toronto, Canada), and there will be about 5 or 6 gay people at my wedding. I do see what you are saying – I didn’t want to use my wedding day to preach to people. However, because of our stance on this issue, and for other reasons too, we decided against a church wedding and we are getting married in a park. And one of the things that attracted me to our officiant was that she specifically stated in her ad that she does marry gay people. I really wanted to be married by someone who wouldn’t deny other people the same kind of privilege my guy and I will have when we get married.

    • I hear you, I don’t usually expect to go to a wedding to be preached at. That being said I have been to more than one church wedding where the minister launched into a whole big tirade against both gay marriage and feminism, seemingly out of the blue, it was very strange. I was lucky I wasn’t wearing a hat or I am sure it would have blown off, but no one else seemed to notice it was happening so maybe people wouldn’t notice/be offended by a small speech in support of marriage equity if it was done in a friendly, non-judgey way?

  9. I know you mean well by this, and I’m sorry to be a downer, but I have to say that as a lesbian, if I went to a straight wedding where any of this happened I would just feel patronised.

    If you get married, whatever else you’re doing, you’re still supporting and buying into the good old traditional institution of marriage between a man and woman, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t help our equality, it doesn’t make a stand against anything. I’d be angry if any of my friends thought it did. If you’re straight and enjoying the rights and privileges that you’ve had for centuries, to stand there and make a nod towards us and our inequality feel hypocritical. If you feel THAT strongly about it, don’t get married until everyone is allowed to do it. It’s great if you want to get out and campaign and protest with us at other times, but my personal view is leave it out of your actual wedding day. I know others won’t agree, I’m just giving the view of one gay person.

    • For me, I think it makes me feel honored (in a weird way) when people recognize that the inequality exists. Among the friends I have who might actually do some of the ideas, personally I would take it as a sweet reminder on their part that they are aware of and sad about the inequality. But again, that’s just me.

    • I can totally appreciate how things like this can feel (and be!) tokenizing. I had never really considered how I felt about straight folks doing ‘nods’ towards marriage equality until recently. For example, when my brother got married three years ago, it didn’t even cross my mind. However, in the last few years, I’ve felt differently. I have officiated three straight weddings since then (I identify as queer and am a woman in a relationship with another woman right now) and found that, in each case, in the period where the couples (my BFF from high school, my cousin, and an aquaintance) were deciding what to do/if they should do anything, I had *really* strong feelings about wanting some level of recognition for my ‘people.’ My cousin and his wife decided not to put anything in, and I was incredibly hurt – but kept my mouth shut to keep the focus on them, instead of me.

      I suppose maybe this is about invisibility for me – and maybe for other LGBTQ folks. I already feel like my partner gets assumed to be my friend, that when (as happened yesterday) our wedding/celebration comes up, people go looking for my ‘fiancee’ and get confused when the number of girls and boys doesn’t match up – so I want some level of recognition.

      I guess perhaps – like all things – it comes down to non-marginalized folks treading lightly, and with respect and humility and knowing that a diversity of tactics is always the way to go!


    • I totally see where you’re coming from, but it’s not always practical for people not to get legally married – I had friends get married recently who were moving out of the country and needed the marriage license so they could get a visa. In that situation, what’s the point of skipping the party, which is the part I can choose to have too? Yeah it’s irritating that I don’t have that option, but I don’t want to deny it to them. Meanwhile, I really appreciated their acknowledgement (they asked for donations rather than gifts, and one of the organizations they suggested was one of the queer marriage groups) that it’s not an option everyone has, and that they’d like to speed the day when we can all have legal backing for immigrating to our partners’ homes.

      • It may not be “practical” for people in some situations not to get married — but that’s kinda the point. How do you think LGBT couples who need visas feel?

        • I’m pretty sure I can imagine quite clearly, as I’m in a same-sex relationship myself. Here’s the thing: I don’t have any particular need for my straight friends to suffer unless it’s going to do something actually useful for me. Advocating for equality at the wedding might be awkward for people with conservative families – damn skippy I want my straight friends to deal with that awkwardness, since it helps those conservative family members see it as normal. But I don’t really benefit from my friends refusing to get married. I’d rather they put whatever energy they have into active support.

          • Yeah. Unfortunately, heterosexual couples not getting married doesn’t *hurt* the legislators who are standing in the way of equal rights, so as a protest (particularly one which often goes without being voiced to the legislators who need the boot upside the head) it doesn’t have much effect.

            I like the idea of the letter to the judge along with the marriage certificate. I think I’ll be doing something like that myself, when the time comes, along with making a donation to Lambda Legal.

      • I don’t think any straight person/couple can imagine what it feels like for LGBT couples not to be able to obtain visas. I am in a situation where my fiance and I have to get married to be together (he is English). We’ve been apart for 3.5 years and finally are planning a wedding. My heart breaks for couples in our situation who are denied the same right. I have really struggled with this, because I always said I would never get married until legally my LGBT friends and fam could, and then I met my fiance. All I can say in my defense is I will always fight for the rights of my LGBT friends and family, and support them just like they support me in my decision to be with the man I love.

    • Ditto this. As a lesbian, shows of “support” for marriage equality at straight weddings send this message to me: “we’re thoughtful enough people to realize that the current legal system of marriage is discriminatory and unfair, but we’re buying into it anyway! Enjoy the cake!” I don’t appreciate the gesture at all, since the gesture is usually being made by people who recognize their privilege but are further legitimizing the system that gives them the privilege in the first place. I have nothing but respect for straight couples who chose not to legally marry as a form of protest, but very little for the type of thing discussed in the post. I know people are acting with good intentions but to me it only ends up being hurtful.

      • I can understand not wanting a pittance, but what good does straight folks not getting married do? From this perspective, I think perhaps we should be advocating for a marriageless society – where no relationship is given legal or cultural advantages. And let me be clear, that would mean no civil unions, no domestic partnerships, no relationship acknowledgement. Until we’re ready to get that radical, I think saying that straight folks who chose to get married but also give money/time/energy to queer causes aren’t really allies feels dismissive of their relationships.

        • Hubs and I feel that all marriages should be “reduced” to domestic partnerships, which are strictly legal. Anyone can get a domestic partnership with their partner which will afford them all of the legal benefits. If someone wants to get “married” they do so in a church. This would save the silly religious fanatics the heartburn of “marriage is between a man and a woman” and everyone is afforded the basic human right of a domestic partnership to their lover, no matter the gender. What happened to the separation of church and state? Separate them and allow people to love each other!

      • I’m bisexual and marrying a man next March. We’re planning to honor marriage equality and the lgbtq community precisely BECAUSE I am part of that community. Just bc a couple is man/woman doesn’t mean that they’re straight or that they’re not part of the lgbtq community. Please stop making that assumption.

    • I have to say that, while I understand the point you make, I find this sort of response to be rather negative, perhaps even ungrateful sounding.

      When LGBTQ people are facing the various sorts of prejudice (not just the inability to have their relationships legally recognised), that they are, I would feel that it is important for everyone, of whatever sexual orientation, to be involved in fighting those prejudices, in whichever small way they can.

      If a heterosexual couple want to get married, but also want to make any sort of gesture in support of equality (whether it be something overt like the white knot idea, or something more subtle, like checking their officiant would support gay weddings), I think that should be something to be celebrated. I do not think you can expect heterosexual couples to completely give up on the institution of marriage in order to make a stand on an issue which may well not directly concern them.

      As others have said, there are many reasons why people may wish to marry, and they should not be condemned as patronizing when they seek to do whichever gesture they may choose for the benefit of the LGBTQ community. Indeed, thay should be applauded for choosing to make that gesture at all, when there are so few who would dare to do so. Every little helps, am I right?

      • Every little doesn’t help. Some of the gestures in this post are genuinely helpful, such as writing to the judge, donating to gay rights organisations, etc. Many of them are not. Including a shout out in your ceremony? Having a rainbow theme? How does that do anything other than make a liberal-minded straight couple feel better about themselves? LGBTQ people don’t owe straight people gratitude for making meaningless gestures about how they kind of sort of think we’re human too.

      • I don’t think we should be grateful to straight people for doing the absolute bare minimum and then congratulating themselves on it.

    • I think you’re making some unfair assumptions here. First of all, some of the people acknowledging marriage equality at their hetero weddings might not identify as hetero. For instance, I identify as bisexual/queer but happen to be marrying a man. Marriage equality very easily could have been deeply personally relevant to me if my relationship had gotten more serious with one of my ex-girlfriends instead of one of my male partners.

      Additionally, I have very close family and friends that are affected by institutionalized anti-gay discrimination. Clearly, I have a significant amount of straight privilege (and I get that) but their situation impacts me directly.

      I’ve never had cancer but I feel pretty comfortable advocating for and raising awareness and money for cancer charities. I don’t think that is pandering or patronizing to my friends and family that have fought the illness, it honors them.

      Finally, your argument that the only way to show dissatisfaction for the current institution of marriage is to not get married seems really peculiar. Aren’t people that make an effort to subvert that institution by acknowledging and embracing equality in their celebrations acting to subvert it as well? I honestly think that this is a place where allies can make a difference and stand up for what is right.

      • Well said! I am in a similar situation and am considering a reading from Chasing Amy as done in this wedding: http://offbeatbride.com/2012/08/portland-burner-wedding just to emphasize the point. I am also considering choosing a venue in one of the nearby states that recognizes civil unions or gay marriage. Whiteknot will definitely be a presence, either way.

        • Isn’t Chasing Amy widely considered an effectively homophobic movie, since it’s based on Kevin Smith’s fantasy that the lesbian he was into wasn’t REALLY a lesbian?

        • Please for the love of god do not read that monologue at your straight wedding. That movie is incredibly homophobic and creepy, and using it to go on about how you ~just happen~ to be marrying a dude and thus obtaining an entire world of privileges that gay people are completely denied is incredibly self-centred and rude.

      • Elyn, I agree with much of what you’re saying, but the cancer analogy doesn’t work here. 1) Cancer is not pure social injustice, but rather a disease that everyone agrees needs curing. 2) No one’s saying that straight people shouldn’t advocate for, raise money for, and raise awareness of marriage equality.

  10. I, along with my Fiancee, sent a personal invitation to my cousin’s partner. This will be their first appearance in around family. They’re both excited about coming to our wedding.

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