Marriage Boycott

On November 3, 2009, Maine voters took away same-sex couples’ right to marry, even though their lawmakers had been willing to grant this right. In response, many different-sex couples are deciding to boycott marriage. We invite you to join this growing grassroots movement!

Why Boycott Marriage?

Since AtMP was founded in 1998, hundreds of people have told us that they refuse to marry because of their solidarity with same-sex couples. Scattered around the country, religious congregations are joining the boycott by refusing to conduct wedding ceremonies until everyone has the right to marry.

For some people, the issue is intensely personal: they have a friend or relative in a same-sex relationship who wants to marry and can’t. For others, the issue is political: it’s about fairness and equality.

After 2008 court decisions in California and Connecticut stated that domestic partnerships and civil unions were unacceptably unequal to marriage, many people hoped that this would be the year that voters would turn their backs on marriage discrimination.  Unfortunately, a slim majority of California voters chose Proposition 8, eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry.  Equally disappointing, voters in Arizona, Arkansas and Florida also chose discrimination over fairness and respect for all relationships.

AtMP members had mobilized against these ballot measures.  Volunteers registered new voters, phoned fellow members, posted flyers, and encouraged their friends and family to Vote No.  Like other activists, UE members are frustrated and disappointed at the election results.  To everyone who worked so hard for fairness, we say Thank you and Congratulations! The voting margins are getting smaller, and more people than ever understand that it’s time to get government out of the marriage business.

How to Boycott Marriage

  • Tell us. Nearly 300 couples have already joined AtMPs informal Boycott Registry! Join them today! Please be sure to tell us whether you’re willing to talk to the media – reporters love to cover this story, especially in February and June. Then sign the pledge at National Marriage Boycott.
  • Tell your friends and family. You know people are curious about why you’re not marrying or postponing your wedding. A boycott depends on people knowing that it’s happening. More people need to have a stake in ending marriage discrimination.  If your mother or grandmother knows you won’t tie the knot until everyone else can, maybe she’ll vote no on the next ballot measure.  If you’re a web-savvy social networker, sign up on the National Marriage Boycott’s Ning page.
  • Protect yourselves legally. Any unmarried couples, same-sex or different-sex, who plans to be in an unmarried relationship for any length of time, should work with a lawyer or use self-help legal forms to create basic legal protections like a will, health care proxy, and cohabitation agreement. See our Legal Issues section to get you started.
  • Have a commitment ceremony. It’s possible to have a religious marriage (or a religious blessing on your relationship) without a civil marriage, or to celebrate your relationship without having a wedding. Since these options are also available to same-sex couples, some different-sex couples decide they are most comfortable with this option. To learn more about it, see the Ceremonies section of this website or check out the chapter on how to plan a non-legal wedding or commitment ceremony in Unmarried to Each Other.
  • Register your Domestic Partnership if your city or state offers a registry.  Be sure to find out what rights and responsibilities you’ll be getting – the rules are different in each place.
  • If you’re already married, you could even consider getting divorced!  Or you could eschew some of the social privilege by simply referring to each other as “partner” instead of husband and wife. There are more options in between these two extremes as well.
  • Stop recognizing marriages. Just as some congregations and officiants no longer perform legal marriages, you can stop attending weddings or stop referring to married people as husband and wife.
  • Further Reading:

    Standing on Ceremony” by Erik Baard in The Village Voice.

    “”Is it Time to Boycott Marriage Yet?” by Eric Scheie.