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Tearjerker Ads Worth Spreading winner earns adoption rights for same-sex couple

Posted by: Kate Welsh

Expedia’s remarkably moving short film, “Find Your Understanding,” tells the true story of man named Artie Goldstein and his journey to accept his daughter Jill Goldstein’s marriage to another woman, Nikki Weiss. As the world waits for the Supreme Court decision on the Defense Against Marriage Act, millions have viewed this socially-conscious ad online. But in a poignant twist of fate, the film has done more than just open the hearts of its viewers. This piece — which was named one of TED’s Ads Worth Spreading — has played a significant role in helping Nikki secure parental rights of her son, Adler.

According to an article on Creativity Online, Nikki and Jill had agreed to participate in the film because they wanted to set a positive example for families struggling to come to terms with their gay children. And while the film shows footage of the couple’s wedding in 2010, the pair were not legally married under federal law. So when Jill gave birth on their second wedding anniversary, Nikki had to convince a social worker to allow her to adopt her own son in order to be legally considered as his parent.

The meeting with the social worker did not begin warmly. While taking Nikki’s fingerprints, she grilled Nikki about her relationship to Jill, “when we’ve known each other since we were children,” Nikki tells Creativity. But when the social worker asked the Weiss-Goldsteins about how their families felt about their relationship, they played her Expedia’s film. The social worker broke down in tears, and, as Nikki said, “I don’t think there were any more questions after that.” Nikki’s adoption of Adler becomes final on April 17th.

Sadly, Mr. Goldstein will not be able to see the impact of his eloquent and touching soliloquy on his path to acceptance of his daughter’s marriage. He passed away in January. But Nikki said that the Expedia film remains as a “love letter” from her father in law.

William Gelner, creative director at 180 LA, the agency behind the film, spoke to the TED Blog about “Find Your Understanding.” He says that it is proof that there needn’t be a “dividing line between doing good and [doing] business. Too rarely do we realize that, as advertising people, we have the ability to truly influence culture for the better.”

Gelner’s words embrace the spirit of Ads Worth Spreading, which TED created to recognize and award advertising that truly resonates with consumers. By boldly standing up for its values and talking to its audience like people rather than robotic purchasers, Expedia has gained new respect and a community of supporters.

As Gelner tells us, “[This ad] opened hearts, minds, and hopefully soon, the law books on the issue of marriage equality.”

Get to know more about Jill and Nikki, whose wedding was originally documented for an episode of The Real L Word, in the videos below:

Comments (2)

  • commented on Mar 30 2013

    Reblogged this on UNCOVER777.

  • Bracken Englestead commented on Mar 29 2013

    Common sense/Marriage equality

    In the battle being waged between of marriage equality and protection of marriage as a sacred institution has shown little tolerance, filled with hateful protests, media bias, hurtful FB posts and utter selective hypocrisy. “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is …that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

    Why do the advocates of same-sex marriage want what they want? And why do defenders of traditional marriage, as uniting men with women to form families, resist such a change. LGBT feels they are being denied rights that heterosexual monogamous relationships receive. Their basic claim if two people love each other and aren’t harming anyone then why not. While Sanctity of marriage and religious freedoms could potentially are at stake with discrimination, religious bigotry to marriage inequality which would still exist to the point of its loss of religious freedom as well as the unforeseen risks to the country, communities, families and children.

    Traditionally in this country, marriage has been defined as a religious and legal commitment between a man and woman, as well as the ultimate expression of love. Homosexual relationships are increasingly gaining acceptance in this country however, these couples have not been permitted to marry. Some states have considered a new form of commitment called a “civil union”, which essentially is marriage without using the word “marriage”. Many politicians have said they are against gay marriage but think it should be left up to the states to decide. However, the “full faith and credit” clause of the Constitution says that if one state makes a law, other states must recognize it. Thus, if one state allows gay marriage and that couple moves to another state, the other state must recognize that marriage. This in effect allows one state to make same-sex marriage legal in the entire country. Many politicians are calling for amendments to their state constitution or the U.S. Constitution. Many areas of the country such as San Francisco have performed marriage ceremonies in defiance of the law. Lost in all the legal battles and political maneuvering is the basic question “Should we allow gay couples to legally marry?”

    Definition and process of traditional Marriage has always been a covenant between a man and a woman which is by its nature ordered toward the procreation and education of children. Marriage was initially realized through a religious act as a ceremony. The building blocks of our society and the thing that makes it strong is the traditional family of man, woman, and children. It is what has sustained us through world wars, terrorist attacks, Great Depressions and numerous other challenges over the centuries. While friends and lovers come and go, your family is always there. The main reason our culture and values have started to crumble is the weakening of families.

    So that’s where LGBT come in. On a non sexual way they want the same benefits as a heterosexual monogamous relationship receives as well. For gay marriage advocates, the ultimate end is equality: the recognition of gay unions as marriages in all fifty states and ultimately around the world as part of the process of creating a world in which sexual orientation is treated like race. Questions raised are how can preferential treatment be given to LGBT and not to polygamists (gay or straight)? Isn’t denial to them the same claim as denial to LGBT? If denying these marriages on grounds of marriage equality being a form of minority discrimination then why not for all “discriminated” groups involved? America was founded on the concept that the majority should rule, but the rights of minorities should be protected. It is the main reason we have a Bill of Rights as well as anti-slavery and equal protection amendments. So why would the constitution protect the same sex minorities or those incapable of speaking or defending themselves and not selectively protect those who wish to practice polygamy? If denying marriage to a homosexual couple is no different than denying marriage to Hispanic or black couples why wouldn’t the argument be the same with polygamist and where do we draw the line and who decides whose rights take higher priority to another?

    What do we say to Polygamist (straight or gay) who is madly in love? Why deny them? The only thing that should matter in marriage is love right? Marriage is not just to establish legal status, allow joint filing of taxes, or protect each other in medical decision-making, but also it’s about love. We hear marriage is the ultimate expression of a person’s love for another. Marriage is a commitment that says “I love you so much that I want to live the rest of my life with you. I want to share the ups and downs, forsake all others, and be together until death do us part.” Should it matter that the man with multiple wive don’t fit into what society is used to? My question again is why would special benefits be denied to polygamists, who love each other, who aren’t “hurting” anyone? How can the denial of preferential treatment be ok in one case and not marginalize the other? Why does the popularity of the time define the principle?

    I haven’t seen red = signs in favor or support of the communities of polygamy on FB. I’ve yet to see a protest for marriage equality for Warren Jeffs in Colorado City from the LGBT community. Since there are so many kids around the country in need of adoption and their family unit is already sustainable for extra children this would be a good thing. However, others including same sex couples believe a child reared in a polygamist culture do not develop ideally and would be at high risk to the leadership in those communities. Evidence at this point is inconclusive since polygamists have yet to become widespread with adoption. But if in a circumstance of divorce which wife would get the child in the legal battle? Which same sex couple would be awarded the child in the divorce or would they even take responsibility of that child? This philosophy of adoption is what’s being denied to same sex marriage but they aren’t advocating it for any other group especially polygamist. The view that having gay or lesbian parents makes “no difference” in the development of children into well-adjusted adults, so could we assume for them so could we assume there’d be “no difference” with the actual polygamy especially parents being the biological normality? . Does having your aunt living with a family and assist with raising the children detriment the developement of that child and comparably aren’t the multiple wives known as aunts? Would we dare to assume there would be greater potential for positive growth then with the nonbiological normality(LG) in the home? If this could confuse children about roles of marriage because of multiple wives then gender roles would confuse them also. Why are polygamist deemed unfit to adopt children? Is it due to risk of it becoming a sex trade to high officials with underage children they claim are now their legal children. Denying the rights for marriage equality to polygamist would be discrimination and how do gay activists believe they have higher priority on this right? Why should gay monogamists get special benefits over gay polygamists? By what right do same sex couples receive special privileges based on their potential marital or sexual practices? If we see human rights as indivisible, commitment to identifying and fighting against those barriers to equality and justice that are imposed to all discrimination not just selectively.

    Ironically same sex couples strategically redefine marriage as 2 consenting adults mainly to take away from the legitimate threat of accepting polygamy which debases their whole arguments and carefully crafts their arguments around their “definition” to fit their agenda. While not willing to accept the real definition of Traditional marriage which is defined as a religious and legal commitment between a man and woman, as well as the ultimate expression of love for the potential of naturally and biologically propagating their offspring.

    When was the last Supreme Court hearing for advocacy towards the polygamy? What Hillary Clinton or Obama flip flop charade has taken place in favor of being married to multiple wives? Both just 4 years ago opposed marriage equality and held on to traditional marriages but without obvious convenience to the popular polls “evolved” to accept same sex marriage but have yet to mention inequality to polygamy. Is it a optimistic hope they will “evolve” in time for Malia and Sasha potentially approving this equality in their lifestyle? Would Opposition be characterized in the media, at best, as clinging to “old-fashioned” beliefs and at worst, as polygaphobic and hatred if Malia starting sharing a husband? Marriage encourages people to settle down and to give up certain types of lifestyles. Married people commit themselves to a partner or partners and work to build a life together. Isn’t that the type of behavior we want to encourage? Why isn’t occupy Wall Street filthily protesting this at our nation’s capital? Why then are they dressed like fairies in scandalously clad clothing protesting for the rights of same sex marriage? Their rally chants at gay parades or protests so creatively paint the picture of equal rights…..but not for all. “Gay families under attack, what do we do, we fight back!” ” Gay, Straight, Black, White, marriage is a civil right!” The poetic anthems are lost in translation probably because polygamy is a word too difficult to rhyme with. Why do LGBT get preferential treatment and are benefited by the decisions of the Opportunists at Washington passed typically in support of the popularity of its polls not by the virtue of its substance? If it doesn’t hurt society or anyone in particular and if it is a personal commitment that really is no one else’s business. Why LGBT / Society should be dictating what people can or can’t do when no one else is hurt in the process? If they or certain groups disapprove, that’s their right but it isn’t their right to stop it right? Supreme courts responded indirectly by justifying same sex marriage by downplaying polygamy by saying “about exploitation, abuse, patriarchy, issues with respect to taxes, inheritance, child custody it is an entirely different thing.” (Would those things conveniently or magically disappear with the LGBT community?) “If a state prohibits polygamy, it’s prohibiting conduct. If it prohibits gay and lesbian citizens from getting married, it is prohibiting their exercise of a right based upon their status.” These same arguments used for same sex marriages are the same hypocritical debate against it. We can’t choose policy depending on the popularity of it at that time. MLK didn’t fight civil rights for just only blacks He fought the Principle of equal rights for all races, ethnicities, ages, religions, political affiliations etc “Rights” shouldn’t be a power grab on a pendulum swing that shifts to side depending on who’s got majority power in congress. Or a tug-o-war of rights yanking and jerking on conditions on who the President of the USA. A right should be a truth to all without regard to what political party has the advantage. These principles should be a North Star constant and firm in the chaos and change in its political sky.

    How could we be so naive to see it could provide a slippery slope in the legality of same sex marriage or having multiple wives? Gay rights activists claim that these marriages should be allowed because it doesn’t hurt anyone, but we’ve carefully shown the high risks involved. same-sex marriage promises to create all sorts of new problems, and to exacerbate others we already know. Marriage in the modern age is a wounded institution, and what magic beans do the LGBT community have to change that? Unless we follow the traditional definition of what a marriage is, the options are endless and will be crafted according to the popularity and convenience of the time and slowly deteriorate our societal values. Marriage is the optimal form of family for raising children is the stable union of a married man and woman bringing up their own biological children. The ties of nature, the presence of both parents in the home, the modeling of manhood and womanhood for the next generation in addition to a host of material benefits produced by stable relationships of this type have decades worth of research supporting the two-parent family ideal. On the flip side with minimal research supporting same sex marriage those affected would be children from adoptions, legal battles, deep emotional scars, psychological problems and sexual risks. Studies on the contrary on which these claims have been based are all seriously flawed from sample size, sampling strategy, statistical power, and effect size and in general that they lack methodological rigor. These are overlooked by the warm fuzzy feeling expressed that love is love and if it doesn’t hurt anyone then who has the right to stop it. Why is marriage equality denied to polygamists who are consenting adults, who love each other, who aren’t “hurting” anyone? How can the denial of preferential treatment be ok in one case and not ok in another? Why has Chick-fil-A been ridiculed by the media and protested for openly expressing their belief of traditional marriage views without respect and tolerance from the LGBT community.(I guess tolerance has no hypocrisy) Would Chick-fil -A be apprehensive of opening a restaurant in Colorado City because of their beliefs?

    If these options sound absurd, remember that all it takes is a few activist judges to use the statute to open the door. It doesn’t matter if 95 percent of the population disagrees with the policy; one judge can interpret the case the way he or she wants and use the doctrine of the state to decide to impose a law on everyone. California recently declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional? If the decision hadn’t been overturned, it would have prevented millions of children from being able to say the pledge every morning, despite the fact that 95 percent of Americans disagreed with the decision.
    The court is deliberating California’s Proposition 8, which banned the right for same-sex couples to marry. Arguments heard regarding the national Defense of Marriage Act,(DOMA) which has legally defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman since 1996 (ironically under Clinton) proves the voice that once cried for the majority on the sanctity of marriage
    has no value because judges are going beyond their appropriate powers and engaging in making law and not merely interpreting it. One example of this is the Boston Catholic Charities. They were forced to stop their adoption services. Why? Because placing children with same-sex couples violated their religious beliefs. If they didn’t comply with federal laws they would lose federal funding and have to shut down completely. Rather than lose funding for their other charitable services, or compromise their values, Boston Catholic Charities decided to shut down their adoption agency. Massachusetts law ruled that the Catholic Church must comply with the same laws as the State, effectively destroying the “separation of church and state”
    Churches are also granted tax-exempt status by the federal government. If a church wants to maintain their tax-exempt status, they will need to comply with federal laws…including those espousing same-sex marriages or lose tax-exempt status. In order to maintain tax-exempt status religions will be barred from preaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman to preach God’s view of marriage will be illegal, discriminatory and construed as a ‘hate’ crime. Additionally, churches will have to allow and conduct same-sex marriages. And if a religion or a religious leader refuses to perform such a marriage,(ex. In Mormon temples) they will be brought up on charges of discrimination.

    If the principle of marriage equality was truly the center point of LGBT’s view then all fringe groups regardless of race gender religion age sex political affiliation shouldn’t and wouldn’t be denied the privilege of this human right. If all access isn’t granted then their agenda is to be assumed have ulterior motives to which attack on religious freedoms and the constitution would be at the forefront.
    Until the LGBT’s acronym doesn’t discriminate and adds a capital P to the end for Polygamy then how are they justified to marriage equality. LGBTP
    “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”