I have done the training, practiced the scenarios and I have had many conversations about Prop 8.
I left Camp Courage in East LA this weekend ready to go forth and continue the fight for marriage equality!
Out of the Blue
Today, I was sitting in a meeting with a client (who also happens to be a family member) and right in the middle of talking about the shopping cart functionality a discussion starts about Prop 8.
I realized that up until today I have really only had conversations with people who are supportive of same-sex marriages. I mean during my phone banking days I had some callers who told me they were voting yes on Prop 8 but I never really had a conversation with them.
I guess I have been lucky (or not).
So when the client said he voted yes on Prop 8 (after my initial shock) I thought about all my training. Stay calm, find out why, use persuasion and all that jazz.
I asked him, "How does my marriage to Shannon affect you?"
"Well it doesn't," he replied.
I preceded to ask why he voted yes. After he told me his reasons I used my "active listening" skills and said, "so it's the word marriage that you have a problem with?"
After some more questioning and me pointing out that before 1967 he wouldn't have been able to marry his wife (he is in an interracial marriage). He told me that, "marriage is between a man and woman." I replied, "so because Shannon and I have the same body parts we don't deserve to be married?"
We had some more back and forth then the conversation ended and I thanked him for discussing his views with me and for listening to what I had to say. He thanked me as well.
We hugged and then continued on with our work.
I may not have changed his mind today but I KNOW I opened his heart.
What I learned today is the only way we are going to repeal prop 8 and gain marriage equality FOR ALL is having these kinds of tough conversations.
It isn't easy but it is necessary!