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Love Takes Over targets newspapers to promote marriage equality
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Love Takes Over targets newspapers to promote marriage equality

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Love Takes Over, a nationwide initiative which calls on citizens to write to their local newspapers about marriage equality during the week of January 3-9, is gearing up for a campaign that its organizers say could make a difference in the way people talk about same-sex marriage.

The articles are being coordinated to hit newspapers during the same week all around the nation. College students on winter break are encouraged to write their hometown newspapers and submit a piece to their campus newspaper at the start of the 2010, say the activists behind Love Takes Over.

"The idea behind Love Takes Over is simple," Jen Dugan, founder and coordinator of Love Takes Over, told SGN. "One week. One unified voice. Everyone will take over America's local newspapers to get people talking about marriage equality across the entire country at the same time."

Love Takes Over came about as a response to the astronomical cost of the same-sex marriage fight in America. Dugan says in California alone, $83 million was spent on Proposition 8. And yet, she said, there was a news article this year reporting that the governor of California had to cut funding for domestic violence shelters because the state is in an economic crisis.

"Opponents of marriage equality were willing to come together and shell out millions to prevent same-sex couples from marrying, but so many of these donors were nowhere to be found when it came to helping their fellow human beings," she told SGN. "National Organization for Marriage (NOM) loves to promote themselves as champions of the ordinary American. Ordinary Americans don't mobilize thousands of individuals to spend millions of dollars on discrimination."

Dugan said Love Takes Over was launched as a means of empowering the ordinary American through an ordinary, inexpensive action. In addition, she says the campaign will attempt to make a difference without using money. "It exposes supporters of same-sex marriage as neighbors, friends and family," she said. "In short, it exposes supporters of same-sex marriage as ordinary Americans - thus taking the moxie out of NOM's winning strategy."

The campaign's organizers say writing letters to the editor is a powerful tool they intend to use.

"People read the news. They talk about what they read in the news. It's just what Americans do," Dugan said. "Writing a letter to the editor is an inexpensive way to get people talking about a cause they are passionate about."

Open dialogue forces people to take a critical look at their opinions, she said. It challenges people to view their arguments from every angle. More importantly, though, it forces us to interact with another human being. "When we engage in dialogue with someone, we are exposed to more than just their opinion," she told SGN. "We're exposed to the different sides of that individual."

According to the Love Takes Over campaign, many individuals who are opposed to same-sex marriage are unaware of how many around them actually support it. Maybe the issue has never come up in conversation before, or maybe they haven't been willing to talk about it.

"So, they have an idea in their head of what a supporter of same-sex marriage looks and acts like," Dugan pointed out. "Then they have a conversation with their best friends and realize that he or she supports same-sex marriage because a member of their family is Gay. Suddenly, the bubble they were living in was just popped."

Dugan says once that bubble is popped, these individuals are exposed to an entirely new way of thinking, which in turn opens the door for progress.

"We believe in the power of the small," a Love Takes Over press release reads. "We believe that the small steps people take every day to educate their families, friends, and local communities are a vital part of any social justice movement."

To speak with the activists behind Love Takes Over, contact (201) 247-6419 or e-mail ltonewspapers@gmail.com. More information can also be found at Love Takes Over's official project blog, lovetakesover.tumblr.com.

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