By Ross von Metzke
Originally published on Advocate.com December 08 2009 6:10 PM ET
Jamie Frevele is an unmarried heterosexual woman who “probably won't be using my right to get married.” So she’s decided to sell it to the highest bidder.
After seeing the frustration of several close gay friends in the wake of last week’s New York state senate ruling against marriage equality, Frevele joked that she should just sell her right to get married to someone who really wants a trip down the aisle.
Earlier this week she did just that. In conjunction with a blog entry on The Huffington Post, the New York-based sketch comic posted the eBay listing: “Jamie Frevele’s Right to Marry.”
“I would like to sell it to the highest bidder and donate the proceeds to an organization that supports LGBT rights since the government designed to protect all of us is picking and choosing based on what they think is icky, weird, or unknown to them,” she writes in the listing.
If the listing isn’t yanked — a strong possibility given the fate of similar ones in the past — Frevele says she plans to donate the proceeds of her right to marry to the Point Foundation, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to gay teens who aren’t getting financial support for college from their families. And if she has her way, her right to marry with go to none other than Stephen Colbert — in part because it will help get the message out and in part (just a hunch) because Frevele has a little crush on him.
Advocate.com: Prop. 8 in California, Question 1 in Maine, and the senate vote in New York have prompted rallies, photographic essays, even viral videos on YouTube. But you chose to voice your opposition on eBay. Why that site?
Jamie Frevele: I’ve done things on YouTube, I’ve done videos ... this way, first, felt like it would get people’s attention, and second, be away to attract a different audience. I’ve been joking around that I’ve been upset with what’s going on and that I was going to sell my right to marry on eBay. This time I just did it.
It’s interesting — one of the points you seem to be trying to make with this is that people are so involved in other people’s lives and might somehow be offended that you would so frivolously throw this away on eBay. Are you hearing any of that? What kind of response are you getting?
I’m getting nothing but positive response. I’m sure there are people who would read this online and mock it, the same way I would mock them. But so far the response has been 100% positive.
I think this raises points that some people don’t think about. I think some people really believe gay marriage means Agador Spartacus is going to show up at their house and get married there. It’s none of their business. They don’t care that other straight people are getting married — why should they care about gay people? There’s something in my head that doesn’t compute why some people care so much about limiting the rights of other people.
In the piece you wrote for The Huffington Post , you write. "If I really want to, I'll just get a civil union or have a commitment ceremony.
Because they're just as good, aren't they?” Some people argue that it’s
really all about the word — that if we took the word marriage out and
just fought for the rights, we’d win. What’s your take on that?
is clearly a legal contract. If it had nothing to do with the state or
the law, you wouldn’t have to go get a marriage license. You wouldn’t
have to have someone who is legally allowed to marry people marry you;
you could just go get a priest to marry you. This is a legal matter. We
need to change the lingo. To call it gay marriage makes people think of
stereotypes they aren’t familiar or comfortable with. To call it marriage equality and make it more inclusive, I think people would
embrace it a bit easier. Some people will never embrace it, but some
might change their minds if we change the language. Legal marriage is
legal marriage, and it should be for everyone. It’s not just a
religious institution. It’s a local, federal, legal issue ... so no, we
shouldn’t take the word marriage out of it. Marriage is marriage.
there a moment you can think back to in which you went from being a
supporter of marriage equality to an activist for marriage equality?
started volunteering little by little with the Empire State Pride
Agenda about a year ago. Having gay friends and having to listen to
them say, “Well, I’m as married as I can be” or “I don’t know what to
call him.” Having friends who are in relationships say, “Well, we can’t
get married in New York, so we’re going to another state.” That’s
ridiculous. What really got me was last Wednesday, my friend’s fiancé
on Facebook posted, “New York just reminded me I’m a second-class
citizen.” That angered me, and it broke my heart. To have people
actually think that really bothers me so much. All of my friends have
supported me over the years. Nobody is a second-class citizen, but this
is how it comes off, and I refuse to accept that.
There is a
chance that eBay might yank this listing — they’ve yanked listings of
this sort before. What do you ultimately hope happens with this
listing ... what is your overall goal?
If somebody could read this
and change their mind — their misconceptions could be changed or fixed — that’s what I want. I want people to see this for what it is. We
aren’t making anyone change their religion. We’re not asking churches
to do anything. People are so set in their ways with churches ... that’s
fine for them, but this has nothing to do with that. Some churches will
refuse it and some will start to accept it. This is legal protection.
If people would just realize this is a civil issue and a legal issue
and not a personal church issue, they might think differently about it.
Some people will never budge on this, but if one person does, my work
As of right now your right to marry is selling for $138. How high would you like to see bidding go?
thinking in terms of what would be a good donation to the Point
Foundation. I’d love to hit a thousand. Everyone’s saying, “I would
love to bid, but I can’t afford it.” That includes me. I might pop it up
to $200 if I can scrounge it up, but I’d love to hit a thousand.
Why the Point Foundation? It’s a great organization, but there are a lot of great organizations.
kind of have a soft spot in my heart for kids. It’s hard enough to be a
teenager worrying about school and transitioning from a kid to an
adult, let alone to be someone who is accepting your own sexuality.
When I was in high school drama, there were kids who were on the verge
of coming out, and they were my rock. I feel like maybe, if there’s
anything I can do for kids who are feeling that insecure, that’s who I
want to help. And maybe by the time they have to worry about marriage,
it will be an option for them.
Well, here’s hoping you get the bids up there.
you know what I would love? I would love it if Stephen Colbert would
buy my right to marry. I mean, that just means more heterosexual
marriage for him. I would love the Point Foundation to get as much
money as it can.
Well, we’ll put it out there ... maybe he’ll be reading.
Yes, Stephen Colbert ... this means more “heterosexy” marriage for you.