Many of you may have seen a video featuring Reverend William Barber speaking out against North Carolina’s Amendment One, which banned same-sex marriages (and which was approved by voters on Tuesday). The video is heartfelt and passionate, and is also a great example of the importance of how we frame issues in social movements.
Reverend Barber argues that media coverage of the amendment has asked the wrong questions. Whether same-sex couples should be allowed to get married isn’t the core issue here, he says; what’s really at stake is whether the majority should get to vote on which rights will be guaranteed to those in the minority, a decision he sees as a dangerous standard in a nation that has used it previously to exclude racial/ethnic minorities, women, and the poor from the full benefits and protections of citizenship. This reframes the amendment from an issue about same-sex marriages to a broader question about rights, equal protection, and the dangers of codifying inequality into our governing documents: