Amazon’s new Kindle Paper White commercial shows just how far we have come in a relatively short period of time. Allow me to offer a bit of personal background. A little over a decade ago, a debate raged within my religious movement regarding rabbis officiating at ceremonies celebrating same-sex couples. My position on it was clear, and I told my Board of Directors. One of my most stalwart supporters, a man whose wisdom guided me on many issues, disagreed strongly and went so far as to almost beg me to vote otherwise or, at the minimum, to abstain. I respectfully told him that we would have to agree to disagree on this front. Fast forward to last year. The New Jersey State Assembly passed a resolution on gay marriage that would finally bring marriage equality to the Garden State. I signed on to travel to Trenton to testify on behalf of the proposition. I had a meeting of my Board of Trustees the night before and decided to share my prepared statement with them. When I finished, there was no dissent but, instead, there was a thunder of applause. What a difference a decade makes.
There has been a (wonderful) change in attitude, and I see it pretty much everywhere I look. When I ask current teens their position on same-sex marriage equality, they look at me as if I had two heads. Their unspoken response is something like “That’s a dumb question.Why is there even a discussion?” When I quietly changed our membership from to read “Parent 1. Parent 2” as opposed to “Mother. Father”, no one said a word. And when our students with two mothers or two fathers celebrate their B’Nai Mitzvah, I am thrilled to say there is nothing exceptional. (Except for the awesome 13 year olds leading the service of course.) And while I live in a progressive part of a progressive state, the changes can be seen on television, in movies and, yes, in Amazon’s new gay-friendly Kindle White commercial.
Jeff Bezos has been outspoken with regard to marriage equality, and he even gave a significant amount of personal support when gay marriage was up for debate in Washington State last year. It is, however, one thing for an individual, no matter how rich or powerful, to offer personal support, and it is quite another for the company itself to make the statement. Taking the latter action carries potential risk to the bottom line, and since companies are in the business of making money this is no small statement. It tells me that either Bezos and his company hold the moral position above the bottom line, or they actually believe there is less risk running such a commercial now than there would have been a few short years ago. I would like to think it is a bit of both.
There is, however, another aspect of the new gay-friendly Amazon Kindle Paper White commercial that is worth noting. It is, I believe, the more important statement. That statement? “There’s no statement to be seen or heard here.” The iPad-user refers to his husband as casually as the bikini-clad Kindle-reader does hers. It reminded me of something I said to Carly and Sarah when we were meeting prior to their wedding. “Folks,” I said, “You’re just as boring a couple as the rest of us.”
We will know we have achieved real marriage equality when, instead of referring to the “gay couple”or the “lesbian couple”, we refer to “the couple”. With their new Kindle Paper White Commercial, Amazon brings us one step closer.