An Activist-Bride’s Vow for Racial Justice

By Guest Columnist Oct 03, 2008

by Samantha Erskine I am a huge fan of WeddingBee, a website community for those excited about weddings (Yes, I’m planning my wedding!). But, as a bride-to-be who is committed to social justice, not only in my profession but also in planning my nuptials (for example, in looking for a venue, I refused to consider anything that had the word "colonial" or "plantation" in the title), I could not believe that the owners of my favorite wedding blog have sold their site to eHarmony. eHarmony is the same dating site that refuses to match same-sex couples and acknowledges that it routinely rejects "certain types of people." Therefore, plenty of people of color have been denied opportunities to find love. Discrimination against the LGBTQ community goes directly against what I stand for. For one, the same arguments against same-sex marriage were used to ban interracial marriage. Also, people of color comprise a substantial chunk of the LGBTQ community, and the LGBTQ rights movement is rooted in the struggle for racial equality. In addition, many queer families of color have been subject to attacks based on government-mandated policies, which have perpetuated racism and racial disparities. Moreover, opponents of racial justice and same-sex marriage target both movements and stigmatize what really are basic human rights. In addition, eHarmony’s founder Neil Clark Warren, an evangelical Christian, is strongly connected to Focus on the Family, an organization that believes that feminism is harmful to women. As a woman of color, I have been empowered by the principles of feminism: freedom, equality, the belief that women’s identities, bodies and family choices are matters of personal determination, not of public debate. The LGBTQ movement is my natural ally and it shares my principles of justice. As an activist bride, I believe in marriage equality, but aside from a few episodes of Bridezillas and Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?, the wedding industry, in general (like most of America), is resistant to the idea of same-sex couples in wedding magazines and mainstream wedding websites. Weddingbee was different and embraced queer brides-to-be. So, now I’m at a quandary. Do I continue to support Weddingbee (helping eHarmony make money AND effectively demonstrating tacit approval of eHarmony’s discriminatory practices)? Or, do I put aside my activism and social justice principles and just focus on developing beautiful wedding ideas? Several of Weddingbee’s queer bloggers have quit in protest of the sale. Other queer bloggers will continue to be featured on Weddingbee, though, and I am sure that this business tactic is a mere facade of acceptance of same-sex marriage. What do you all think?