City & Politics, Essay

Tie The Knot: The fight for marriage equality in America

I followed the American election quite closely. All the while I had people ask me why I, as a Canadian, cared so much. My answer was quite simple: what happens in the United States affects us in Canada – our nations are inextricably connected. If their economy falters, so will ours. Obama faced a lot of criticism about how slowly the American economy is recovering, but that’s just it – it is recovering, and reverting back to Republican policy would only undo that progress. Also, I really didn’t like Mitt Romney, and his views on women’s rights and LGBT rights scared me. I didn’t want America to go backwards on so many fronts that have recently enjoyed tremendous movement forward.

Rights for the LGBT community is a great example. In 2011 President Obama ended the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy, which had banned openly gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from serving in the military. President Obama also came out in support of marriage equality for the LGBT community. This was huge; he was the first president to ever take a public stand in favour of gay marriage. On the night of the election, Maine, Maryland, and Washington all voted in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage. That brought the total number of states to legalize gay marriage to nine. This proves that America is changing, albeit slowly, and it is changing for the better.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, for starters I’m really glad the United States has someone in the White House who is looking out for both women’s rights and gay rights. But I’m also telling you this because it’s important to understand that there are still many many people who cannot legally marry the person that they love and benefit from the rights that a marriage offers.

Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson (from that little show called Modern Family) and his partner Justin Mikita have taken action to help marriage equality stretch across the United States. In their newly launched website, Tie The Knot, the couple is raising money for marriage equality by selling beautiful and unique bow ties, with patterns inspired from their own living room, styles on the street, and those they enjoy. The proceeds from every bow tie go to charities that are fighting for marriage equality all over the U.S.

In a press release on their website, Jesse Tyler Ferguson is quoted as saying, “Justin and I created Tie The Knot in the hopes that we soon see a day when millions of Americans across the country will have the basic civil right to marry the person they love. When people purchase our bow ties, they’re raising funds that will help support marriage equality, and they’re doing it while looking damn good.”

Now you might be asking yourself why it is I’ve written this story on a website primarily intended for Canadian news. My answer reiterates my answer from above – it’s important. This is important, and as members the human race we need to pay attention.

Under the Civil Marriage Act that was passed by the House of Commons in 2005, same-sex marriage became legal across all of Canada. Why should it be any different in the United States? Why should it matter who marries whom? Why should millions of people be denied this right? I know that America is moving forward; they proved it in this past election. Supporting something like Tie The Knot will only help them to continue moving forward so that one day LGBT Americans will enjoy the same freedoms as LGBT Canadians. So, go check out the bow ties and help our neighbours to the south move toward nationwide recognition of marriage equality.


Krista Wiebe is a freelance writer and editor based in Calgary, Alberta. Follow her on Twitter @KristaWiebe.

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