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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Phone Banking with My Coworkers Last Night for Gay Marriage

Posted by on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Emily Nokes, Anna Minard, Gillian Anderson, and Brendan Kiley at last nights phone bank.
  • Emily Nokes, Anna Minard, Gillian Anderson, and Brendan Kiley at last night's phone bank.

You should have heard Brendan Kiley on the phone last night—so unflappable, so smooth, so sweetly persuasive, talking effortlessly about the Bible and the Catholic faith he was raised in. Stranger publisher Tim Keck was making calls right next to me and he was amazingly friendly and calm too, talking about his kids with people who have kids, talking about hospital visitation rights, convincing more than one person strongly against same-sex marriage into giving it a second thought. A lot of voters strongly against gay-marriage have never had a conversation about it with anyone, so that's what we were doing: The entire staff of The Stranger went phone banking last night. We were planting seeds in people's minds that would maybe lead to changes of heart. There were so many of us and it got so loud in there that Emily Nokes had to duck under the desk just so she could hear who she was talking to (little old ladies talk quietly).

Everyone in the above photo is straight. Almost everyone who seemed to have good conversations last night—persuasive conversations—was straight. I'd have to go back several more times (and I plan to) to confirm this, but straight married people are the most convincing people of all on this topic. If you're a voter reluctant on this issue, or if you're really opposed to gay people, and a gay guy calls you up, well, you're going to be less interested in talking to him, less open-minded, than if, say, a straight woman calls you up. The Stranger's direction of events and promotions, Carey Christie, was awesome on the phone, cracking jokes about how getting married can be a horrible decision and shouldn't everyone be allowed to make horrible decisions; managing editor Bethany Jean Clement was graceful as ever; copyeditor Anna Minard was fascinated by the whole thing anthropologically, since she has never talked with anyone in her life who is opposed to gay marriage. Even though I had a night of rough conversations, I did not leave feeling unhappy. I left feeling grateful and proud and humbled by my friends and coworkers. Want to see another photo of Emily working hard to convince old ladies to vote? Looks like she's puking, but she's not!


If you have time to phone bank, you should totally do it.


Comments (18) RSS

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Urgutha Forka 1
There's five people in that top photo and only four names. Who's the other one?
Posted by Urgutha Forka on October 11, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
David Schmader 2
Dear all of my coworkers who spent last night phone-banking : Thank you so much. I love you.
Posted by David Schmader on October 11, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Quick question. Do you use your own cell phone for this? I'm signed up to do this on Tuesday and didn't think about this until I saw this picture. I have a cell phone, but it barely functions and has extremely limited minutes. Any information on this would be greatly appreciated.
Posted by Cappelletti on October 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
I want to second Dave—a huge thank-you to all my straight co-workers. Nancy Hartunian, who produces the "Savage Lovecast," has been phone-banking for the Approve R-74 campaign over the last few weeks too.

One of the things I always tell audiences when I talk about the "It Gets Better" campaign is that things have gotten better for LGBT people over the last four decades. And it's gotten better for us because straight people have gotten better.

There's the proof, right there in a single photograph.
Posted by Dan Savage on October 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 5
Nice work! I can imagine how draining this might be, especially with the more...opposed people. But how rewarding all around.
Posted by ArtBasketSara on October 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
You guys! Thank you for doing this, thank you for putting your action where your mouths are! Phone banking truly makes a difference, especially with this issue, and we ALWAYS need volunteers.

Super proud of everyone stepping to the plate to get it done. 25 days 'til election. Let's win.
Posted by kerri harrop on October 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
@3: there are cell phones available for you to use at the action centers. Thank you for volunteering!
Posted by kerri harrop on October 11, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
You guys are awesome. Thanks for all you are doing.
Posted by texast on October 11, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
@7 Thanks!
Posted by Cappelletti on October 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM · Report this

I don't know if you were still at Center for this, but back when I was a junior in Greenberg's class and we were still trying to get sexual orientation protected against discrimination, we went to Kirkland to try and get signatures. It was like being on another planet. It was one for every five people who stopped and signed- and at least three of the remaining four had objections. I wonder if Kirkland has at all changed since 2007. Did you talk to any of the folks there?
Posted by stilettov on October 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Report this
please don't call me. i have a rule that says i don't vote for anyone that calls me.
Posted by LiberatusQuirkus on October 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM · Report this
@1 -- the volunteer on the far left? Sad to say I never caught her name.
Posted by Christopher Frizzelle on October 11, 2012 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Rotten666 13
For some reason I pictured Anna Minard as Indian.
Posted by Rotten666 on October 11, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
Anthony Hecht 14
I had a kind of rough night of it too, luck of the draw got me mostly "absolutely opposed" people who are very hard to turn, but the conversations were still valuable, eye-opening, and important, and I at least moved one or two from opposed to undecided. Do it! Also props to our lead developer Jay who also had a persuasion!
Posted by Anthony Hecht on October 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
I *love* that the Stranger staff are showing up for this stuff. You guys rock. Thank you. All of you.
Posted by pheeeew!crack!boom! on October 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
Really? She has never talked to anyone in her whole life who opposes gay marriage?

I feel sorry for how insulated she is. Not living in reality will catch up to her one day.
Posted by Swearengen on October 11, 2012 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 17
So, is Gillian Anderson, like, the Gillian Anderson?

Cuz that really looks like the back of Scully's head.
Posted by Ipso Facto on October 11, 2012 at 2:25 PM · Report this
I'm a Savage Love listener who lives in Minnesota, and I've been phone-banking here against the amendment on our ballot (which would create a constitutional prohibition against same-sex marriage). I've done a weekly phone banking shift weekly for the last five weeks.

It's not always easy. But some people really are willing to talk to you, and listen to you, and when you realize that you're really opening a window in someone's mind for the first time ever, it's electrifying. When I did my shift on Thursday, my very last call was to a 70-year-old man who was emphatically planning to vote yes (which, just to clarify: "yes" is the WRONG vote in MN even though it's the right vote in other states). And he opposed same-sex marriage and he didn't really think it was OK to be gay (that's usually the cue for us to politely end the conversation). But then he asked how I was voting, and why, and listened as I told him about my friends who were going to be hurt by this, and their kids. And I could hear the change in his voice as he started to actually think about his prejudices and assumptions. I didn't bring him all the way to a no vote, but I moved him from an emphatic yes to undecided and planning to give this some serious thought. Last week, I moved someone all the way from probably yes, to definitely no.

It's hard, but it is SO WORTHWHILE.
Posted by NaomiMN on October 12, 2012 at 8:33 PM · Report this

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