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Queer Talk: “It’s Time,” 3 Million Plus

Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.

So much has been written and said about “marriage equality,” “same-sex marriage,” “marriage between same-sex couples,” “gay marriage,” etc. But a video has come along, about this much discussed subject, that’s been viewed over three million times.

Get Up! Action for Australia is “An independent movement to build a progressive Australia and bring participation back into our democracy.” On their website is this petition:

Prime Minister Gillard, delegates to the ALP National Conference:

Not allowing same-sex couples to marry denies them and their families legal equality and perpetuates discrimination and prejudice.

The overwhelming majority of Australians support full marriage equality and it is the right thing to do.

Marriage matters: amend the Commonwealth Marriage Act so that same-sex partners can be wed.

As a part of their advocacy work, Get Up! released a video about marriage that “went viral” very quickly. Facing their own struggle to win marriage equality in Australia, Get Up! took a step in the same direction that’s begun to be pushed in the U.S. — focus on the love, the commitment. That doesn’t mean the equality part of the struggle is any less important, but it seems it’s more difficult to critique and parse the meaning of “love” than it is “equality.”

At The Advocate, Jeremy Kinser has an interview with Paul Mackay of Get Up!, It’s Time: The Making of a Viral Video Love Story. The Advocate calls the video “possibly the most beautiful marriage equality ad we’ve seen.”

Last Friday (November 25) … the Australian grassroots advocacy group Get Up! released a marriage equality video titled ‘It’s Time.’ The group hoped it would encourage a dialogue that would, as the organization’s Paul Mackay puts it, ‘pave the way for change.’ No one was prepared for the clip’s instant global success.

To date ‘It’s Time’ has been seen by nearly 3 million viewers on YouTube. The campaign is aimed at changing the country’s Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Saturday will mark a pivotal moment as Australia’s Labor Party convenes to discuss making changes to that narrow definition.

From the interview:

(Mackay): We gave a lot of thought as to whether we would tell this love story as a gay or lesbian couple and had varied feedback in the scripting process. Much research, at least here in Australia, is that same-sex female relationships are more widely accepted and we should consider using two women. In the end, we decided to use two men for the benefit of the final reveal. It’s common in advertising to pitch men as dopey characters who fawn over their partners, and so we played into that narrative. …

(Advocate): What’s been the response from the opposition to marriage equality?

(Mackay): Of course we were always going to receive negative feedback from those who oppose marriage equality, but the real surprise has been how little of that there is. Funnily enough, much of the negative feedback we’ve received has centered around people’s dismay that they were ‘duped’ by the video. Many people have written in saying, ‘How dare you not flag the true nature of the video!?’ or ‘You showed me a beautiful love story then ruined it by revealing a terrible gay relationship!

This kind of anger at being “duped” will be familiar to many. One of the most memorable letters we ever received at the LGBT weekly newspaper for which I wrote and edited some years ago came from someone who was furious with us that we made it “look like a normal newspaper.” It really does mess with your stereotypes when you discover they don’t fit your own perceptions.

Again, from The Advocate interview:

(Advocate): Do you think this type of campaign could be applied in the United States?

(Mackay): I think if anything, the international attention the video has received shows it’s a style of campaign that could work anywhere in the world. We’ve already been reached out to by groups right across the globe, including the U.S., who want to either take the video or reproduce it with their own local landmarks. I think the campaign could be applied anywhere due to its universal nature. Put simply, the point we’re making with the video is that love is equal and we should allow people in loving relationships to have that love recognized with the highest institution our society offers.

Love is equal. Why is that so very frightening to some people?

( Photo via GetUp )

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