Why is there more social acceptance, but less and less progress towards legal rights and equality?
March 4, 2006 1:32 PM   Subscribe

...his boyfriend Josh. --beautiful story, made all the more poignant at a time of more and more state constitutional amendments ensuring second-class citizenship, and a Democratic party urging us to just shut up already, but still give.
posted by amberglow (48 comments total)
That *is* a very sweet little story, amberglow.

And it's things like that which make so angry at the cynicism of Rove, Bush, and company to hype gay marriage up into a wedge-issue frenzy right when the mainstream was on the verge of relaxing about the whole non-issue.
posted by digaman at 1:50 PM on March 4, 2006

good post. from the Prospect link:
To date, no DOMA has been defeated in an open popular vote. On the other hand, the California electorate strongly supports the state’s domestic-partnership registry -- by 72 percent in one poll. So LGBT advocates in California have been working on the “Equality for All Campaign” since fall 2005. The key component: building progressive coalitions. Last year, LGBT organizers and volunteers helped progressive allies defeat Schwarzenegger’s initiative slate, especially the “parental notification” bill, which would have required teenage girls to tell their parents before getting an abortion. In return, those groups are already training their organizers and educating their members to fight the threatened SuperDOMA
My sad, disheartening advice to my LGBT USian friends: the American people have spoken on the issue -- like the abolition of death penalty, gay marriage (and gay rights in general) are electoral losers. try to defeat the GOP anyway to reduce the damage -- I don't see any viable Democratic candidate President harassing gays if elected (or spray-painting anti-gay graffiti on the Constitution like Bush wanted to do). lesser of two evils and all that. it's sad and lame, I know. but blame the good, God-fearing voters who don't seem to care about much more than forcing all women to give birth if they get pregnant, and to remind homosexuals of their subhuman status*

* as explained in Leviticus, that famous science book
posted by matteo at 1:52 PM on March 4, 2006

I guess it would be safe to say the Doors are open for everyone now?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:01 PM on March 4, 2006

I just read the third link. That screeching queen who gave the Dems' State-of-the-Union response, VA governor Tim Kaine, is "anti-gay"? Please. More evidence that closet cases are helping to enable the current wave of GOP-stoked homophobia.
posted by digaman at 2:03 PM on March 4, 2006

very clever, m_c_d
posted by jonson at 2:28 PM on March 4, 2006

From the Log Cabin Republians to Condi Rice to Ralph Reed (a closet case if I've ever seen one), there always seem to be a small number of folks willing to sell out for a smidgen of recognition from the powers that be.

And speaking of Condi, Spike Lee had some good advice for her on Friday. At the very least, it'll make you laugh.
posted by bim at 3:08 PM on March 4, 2006

Totally gay.

I mean that in the nicest way, of course
posted by delmoi at 3:13 PM on March 4, 2006

I just read the third link. That screeching queen who gave the Dems' State-of-the-Union response, VA governor Tim Kaine, is "anti-gay"? Please.

Haha. I'm reminded when Dashel and Pelosi gave the rebuttal. It always just seems pathetic anyway, but Dashel just seemed like he was on Paxil or morphine or something.

Kane was incredibly boring.
posted by delmoi at 3:17 PM on March 4, 2006

"What did you think about the civil equality section? Oh, oops...I'm sorry, you didn't skim past it. IT'S NOT THERE."

Yeah, neither was any mention of a global warming initiative. That doesn't make the Dems anti-global warming. "Dems to coastal cities: 'Shut up and learn to swim.' " Talk about losing the forest in the trees...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:20 PM on March 4, 2006

I think the big issue is that a large plurality of Americans have a rather odd and knee-jerk reaction when the word "marriage" is used. If you talk about insurance, powers of attorney and probate as independent issues, a majority will agree that homosexual couples should have equal rights. If you talk about sodomy laws and getting the government out of the business of enforcing laws against consensual sexual behavior, again you have a majority who will agree with you. Child care and adoption are a bit more tricky.

Bring up the "m" word however and all of the prejudices come out. Unfortunately, I think that it's going to be a rather long hard fight to get there, and advocates of gay marriage will have to win it piece by piece.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:21 PM on March 4, 2006

I have nothing against the gays, but if you let them marry each other, I bet at least half of their marriages would end in divorce. And that would just devalue the entire institution of holy matrimony.
posted by ColdChef at 3:27 PM on March 4, 2006

ColdChef, when Texas voted (again, just to make sure the homos knew their place I guess) to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, I said that next they'd have to ban divorce if they really wanted to protect marriage, and that the conservatives would hate that. I thought it was kind of funny (as well as sad). Next day, front page of the paper, the group that pushed the DOM stuff said they planned to use their victory to work on making divorce more difficult. I was right, but I really wished I'd been wrong.
posted by MadamM at 4:04 PM on March 4, 2006

We are witnessing the death throes of a religion/belief that is no longer relevant. Religion as we know it will be dying soon, so gays/lesbians/scientists/foreward thinkers hang in there, the time is coming. The "meak" will be inheriting the earth.
posted by snsranch at 4:37 PM on March 4, 2006

...at least half of their marriages would end in divorce. And that would just devalue the entire institution of holy matrimony.

Yeah...kind of like...kind of like....straight marriages -- where 1 out of 2 marriages end up in divorce!

Foks of the gay persuasion demand the right to devalue the insitution of marrage as much as straight people.

Britney Spears is my role model.
posted by bim at 4:55 PM on March 4, 2006

bim, your ability to recognize sarcasm is spectacular.
posted by jonson at 5:09 PM on March 4, 2006

Don't get your undies in a twist, Mr. Johnson. ;)
posted by bim at 5:35 PM on March 4, 2006

wait, you all thought ColdChef was serious?

thanks for the links...
posted by hototogisu at 5:39 PM on March 4, 2006

reminds me of a new yorker cartoon . . . .husband and wife watching the news . . . . .wife: "Gay marriage? Haven't they suffered enough already?"
posted by Zendogg at 6:13 PM on March 4, 2006

Oh dear lord people, chef was kidding. Put down your torches for a sec and check your sarcasm meters. Honestly.

That said, this issue is just one more nail in the coffin of what was theoretically a progressive party, that has become Republican Light, with the same corporate sponsors as the others.

They're all freaking dinosaurs and until we scrap the existing system and start over, we'll just continue to get the government that the corporations have bought and paid for, no matter what outward label they pretend to wear.
posted by dejah420 at 6:14 PM on March 4, 2006

You know, I was worried it was a little too subtle. Sorry.
posted by ColdChef at 6:29 PM on March 4, 2006

ColdChef = One of the good guys.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:36 PM on March 4, 2006

Sorry if I was too quick to draw my sixshooter, too. When you've have tin cans tossed at you or been cracked in the head with an egg because someone assumed you were gay (and they were right), you tend to be a little sensitive.

...but all in all, folks seem to be a pretty enlightened bunch on mefi. I'll try to assume the best. Peace. :)
posted by bim at 6:42 PM on March 4, 2006

most ppl are very cool here, bim--it's too bad the wider world isn't.
posted by amberglow at 7:46 PM on March 4, 2006

The Democratic Party is in a frantic backwards crabwalk on both gay rights and abortion rights. Birth control to follow.

I strongly disagree.
posted by troutfishing at 7:46 PM on March 4, 2006

er, I knew ColdChef was kidding. just in case it wasn't clear. I know what sarcasm is, I promise!
posted by MadamM at 8:03 PM on March 4, 2006

We've secretly replaced the Democratic Party with Folger's Crystals, lets see if anybody can tell the difference.
posted by I Love Tacos at 8:19 PM on March 4, 2006

Empire State Pride Agenda says what many are thinking--no money or support for candidates who hurt us: ... Marriage is now make-or-break.
"This year Eliot Spitzer, David Patterson, Alan Hevesi, Andrew Cuomo, Mark Green, Sean Maloney and others are running for statewide office and are in favor of marriage equality for gays and lesbians. When our struggle is over, they will be recorded as being on the right side of history and as of now Hillary Clinton will not be with them," Van Capelle writes, adding:
"Supporting an LGBT fundraiser for Hillary Clinton will actually hurt our community. It will send a message to other elected officials that you can be working against us during this critical time and not suffer a negative pushback from the gay community. We have become a community that throws money at politicians and we demand nothing in return. And that’s what we get -- nothing. It’s the wrong message to send."

posted by amberglow at 8:19 PM on March 4, 2006

and from the comments there: the LGBT community will withhold our financial support from candidates who don't support our full civil equality, which includes equal civil marriage rights. It takes guts, and it's absolutely the right thing to do. Also, it's ahead of the curve...for now. A few years down the road it'll be hard to imagine that it was controversial in 2006 to ask politicians who want your money whether they support your fundamental civil rights. Puts Hillary in a tough spot. She needs LGBT voters to get the 65% plus re-elect number she needs to springboard into the 2008 primaries, but she doesn't want to budge on our issues -- even on saying DOMA was a mistake (how hard is that for a NY Senator really?) Those who think it hurts the party to push Dems on this stuff should explain why Eliot Spitzer can poll at 70% in Upstate NY and still support equal civil marriage rights (and transgender rights). It's called leadership -- Democrats should try it if they want to win.
posted by amberglow at 8:21 PM on March 4, 2006

Yes, I saw those statements by the Empire Pride Agenda the other day. They are right on the money. Thanks for brining that up.

I have always voted -- every election. But I'll be damned if I'll vote for the dems just because they think we have no other choice.

I have always argued with folks who say, "Why bother to vote? It doesn't make any difference." But I'm beginning to see a point to just skipping showing up at the polling place if the dems have no backbone. But then again I do like Spitzer. But Hillary can kiss my vote goodbye.

It's pretty sad. And Howard Dean has been a major disappointment. I thought he might be a breath of fresh air. Instead he's ineffective and nearly invisble and he's driving donor's away.

...and I will forever be miffed with HRC for supporting Al D'Amato.
posted by bim at 8:31 PM on March 4, 2006

he also just wrote a really great op-ed: What We Should Expect From Our Friends--... But, where were our friends? Where were the people we voted for and whose job it is to represent us? Where were the people we counted on to look into those television cameras and say that they knew us and that we were not those things. Would it really be so hard in 2006 to say, “I have LGBT constituents––they are upstanding people, wonderful parents and they don’t deserve to be treated as second-class citizens”?
Most of our friends were silent; maybe they were afraid. All I know for sure is that most of them were nowhere to be found and that some in our community were making excuses for them.
Our friends should be defending us even if it means they get reelected with fewer votes in the next election. ...

posted by amberglow at 8:34 PM on March 4, 2006

It's great that society is becoming more tolerant of those with teh gay. Sadly though, there are still far too many dipsticks like this guy running around.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:49 PM on March 4, 2006

"Those who think it hurts the party to push Dems on this stuff should explain why Eliot Spitzer can poll at 70% in Upstate NY and still support equal civil marriage rights (and transgender rights). It's called leadership -- Democrats should try it if they want to win." ( amberglow )

I call it the power of conviction.
posted by troutfishing at 9:04 PM on March 4, 2006

Heartwarming story amberglow but then I read about these folks.
posted by arse_hat at 10:20 PM on March 4, 2006

bim: Um, a hint, there are other ways that one can vote other than Democrat or Republican.

Also, the time to start making noise about this is in the primary elections which individuals and small groups can have a big impact due to low participation overall.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:50 AM on March 5, 2006

I don't understand Hillary Clinton's equivocation on this subject.

Nobody doubted where John Kerry really stood on marriage, and yet he ran far ahead of the defense of marriage initiatives everywhere. Gay marriage just isn't enough of a threat, or offense, to anyone to cause them to switch their Presidenital votes.

In fact, Kerry's blatant attempt to have it both ways -- claiming to support traditional marriage while voting against the Marriage Amendment and promising to appoint the kind of Supreme Court justices who would surely overturn traditional marriage in the absence of the Marriage Amendment -- probably he cost him votes from people who just want politicians to be honest, for once, even if they disagree with them.
posted by MattD at 10:33 AM on March 5, 2006

Good point, Kirk. I had no interest in Howard Dean last time around and have felt that voting for independents was a vote thrown away (no flames, please). But maybe the time has come to at least make a statement by not voting for the mainstream candidates. It's probably is a better option than just sitting it out.

And Matt. I'll never vote for John Kerry again. How can I expect him to fight for me when he wouldn't even put up a fight in the Ohio (the voting machine debacle)? I'm sure he decided he'd be better off not fighting if he wanted to run again for president. Well, he can forget my vote.
posted by bim at 10:58 AM on March 5, 2006

Gay marriage just isn't enough of a threat, or offense, to anyone to cause them to switch their Presidenital votes.

It doesn't cause anyone to switch--it riles up the GOP base enough to come out to the polls in the first place. It's also why white churches are so important to them.

Just as those votes are absolutely necessary to any GOP election, we'll be seeing whether our millions of votes (and millions of dollars) are at all important on our side--we have more at stake anyway than the GOP base.
posted by amberglow at 12:48 PM on March 5, 2006

I think KirkJobSluder is right on the money here. For whatever reason, the word "marriage" means more than the sum of its parts (insurance, power of attorney, etc), maybe because so many little girls fantasize over their perfect wedding and dreamy honeymoon - they don't think about legalities, only the wedding cake and the big white dress. (This doesn't explain where the guys are coming from, but it's the best I've got.)

Maybe the most effective tactic is to go after the rights first, and leave the "m" word out of it for a while. Give it enough time for the public to get used to seeing gay couples with equal legal rights, and it will feel like it's always been that way (you mean there was a time when women couldn't vote?). At that point maybe the knee-jerk jerks will no longer have a large and receptive audience.

Apart from the sentimental value, I can't see an advantage to being married compared to simply having all the legal rights that would automatically kick in. I speak as a married woman who never daydreamed about a perfect wedding and is not the least bit sentimental about the institution of marriage. Hubby and I love each other very much, but we got married purely for the legal benefits. We have different last names, we keep separate bank accounts, we don't even wear wedding rings, but we have insurance coverage, power of attorney and all the rest of it. Our love and commitment is personal and private, but our marriage was for legal and financial reasons. [Yowzers - on preview this sounds really cold, but Hubby and I really are a loving affectionate couple! Honest!]

I would think that if gay couples could have the same legal rights as Hubby and me, they could adopt the same unsentimental attitude (at least for a while). Large-scale social movements - universal suffrage, civil rights etc - take time and the larger the change, the more stubborn the resistance. If you break it down into smaller steps, the overall rate of progress would probably be faster.

Sweet story, by the way - thanks, amberglow.
posted by Quietgal at 1:47 PM on March 5, 2006

I think one of the signs of progress came in 2004 when Bush and Cheney in the debate regarding Mary Cheney's involvement pretty much conceded ground that would have been unthinkable a generation ago.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:56 PM on March 5, 2006

Quiet, we've been fighting for our rights--anti-discrimination in housing and employment, for just 2 examples--for a while now. What happened was that the GOP made Marriage the issue, and now we're stuck with it. We don't have the power to change the subject and never have--we have to deal with what they're saying and doing since the media takes their cue from them. They set the "gay agenda"--not us.
posted by amberglow at 3:09 PM on March 5, 2006

A while ago, i had a big disagreement with Kirk here about tactics--he said that people just have to come out and work locally, and things will get better. Well, we're seeing more and more people come out, and not get killed, but we're losing rights--very hard-fought-for rights--everytime a new state amendment happens, people in cities and municipalities in those states are losing rights they spent decades fighting for, and people who fought their companies for equal treatment are losing rights as well, and it's happening in more and more states each election season. This kid dedicating a song to his boyfriend is not going to grow up in a more equal environment, which should concern all Americans, not just us--right now, it really doesn't. It's always about rights--it's not about a word, and to reduce it to that speaks volumes at how successful the GOP has been at spinning it all.
posted by amberglow at 3:16 PM on March 5, 2006

amberglow: A while ago, i had a big disagreement with Kirk here about tactics--he said that people just have to come out and work locally, and things will get better.

I seem to remember that disagreement a bit differently. That specific conversation came out of a thread about gay rights activism in Topeka, KA., in which you and others were making an argument that has popped up repeatedly on MeFi not only in regards to gay rights, with abortion and evolution as well. What I hear repeatedly is that people friendly to "the left" should turn turtle and hide in their ghettos where they have created an environment of local privilege. Those people who live and work outside of those ghettos should be strongly encouraged to pack up and move.

To my knowledge I have never, ever, EVER said that it is as simple as just just "come out and work locally, and things will get better." What I have said until I'm blue in the face is that the local battles for churches, cities, schools, workplaces, and support services in every part of the U.S. are necessary. I've said that they are important and valuable. I've expressed profound frustration at the lack of support and even hostility expressed by turtles in urban ghettos towards local activism efforts. But I've never said that it's going to be easy.

I'm also an opponent to the death penalty and if anything should dispel the magical thinking that social change can happen entirely on the basis of a Supreme Court decision, it's the rather quick about-face the Supreme Court actually did in regards to the death penalty.

This kid dedicating a song to his boyfriend is not going to grow up in a more equal environment, which should concern all Americans, not just us--

Well, the question is how do you make it a concern of all Americans? I mean, you keep bringing up Supreme Court cases such as Brown vs. Board of Education to say that the Supreme Court can make this possible. However, Brown came on the heels of 70 years of activism that attempted to put a human face on the injustices of segregation. 50 years after Brown de facto segregation is still a dominant feature of American society.

...it's not about a word, and to reduce it to that speaks volumes at how successful the GOP has been at spinning it all.

Well, I agree with you on this. Still I think that it's foolish to deny the fact that we are fighting against spin that makes it about the word and a symbol rather than about rights.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:22 PM on March 5, 2006

And I should add that 52 years after Brown, equality within school systems is still a tough fight that happens school by school. So what I see as a big chunk of our disagreement is on the relative importance of pushing grass-roots activism and support efforts.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:35 PM on March 5, 2006

a Democratic party urging us to just shut up already, but still give.

entirely unconvincing link. tempest in a teapot.
posted by 3.2.3 at 10:19 PM on March 5, 2006

not to us, 3.2.3--not to us at all.
posted by amberglow at 5:29 AM on March 6, 2006

This whole business about the Democratic Party Agenda reminds me of a presentation I went to a couple of weeks ago in New York. Turns out the organization who the speaker (Dave Pollak, if anyone's interested; I'd put a link, but never got a URL) represented was trying to come up with an "agenda" for the Democratic party. You know, for "branding", and "messaging", and all those things that politics are about these days.

The part that got to me was when the floor was opened up to questions, and the question of civil rights came up. It wasn't even specifically civil rights for the gays, but the guy didn't even seem to understand the question. I'm not one to actually speak up at one of these kinds of things, but I felt the need to ask him again, isn't the democratic party the one that got that whole civil rights thing done? If the democratic agenda doesn't include standing up for "equality" (which he specifically said he thought wasn't worth putting in...) then haven't we lost something?

The last time I registered to vote, I failed to check the box marked Democrat, because I didn't feel like they represented my values. Guess I'm a little bit too far left for American politics these days...
posted by grae at 6:02 AM on March 6, 2006

grae, Pam's House Blend link (my 3rd) goes into that too--Dean's blueprint for 06 doesn't mention rights at all, not even generally. It doesn't make sense to me either, esp. after Katrina showed all the inequalities.
posted by amberglow at 7:19 AM on March 7, 2006

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