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Optimism about same-sex marriage

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The American Prospect recently published a remarkably optimistic article about same-sex marriage by E. J. Graff. Here's the blurb from the top of the article:

This November, anti–gay-marriage bills will be back on ballots with a vengeance. But this time around, the gay and lesbian activist network is ready to play hardball.

The article explains that there are a whole bunch of upcoming DOMAs (Defense Of Marriage Acts, explicitly banning same-sex marriage) and "SuperDOMA" initiatives (banning not only same-sex marriage, but "marriage-like" quasi-equivalents like California's domestic partner law and Vermont's civil unions). However, according to the article, "public opinion toward lesbians and gay men is warming more every day"; and perhaps as importantly, "the 'gay agenda' now has a new plan for winning over the long haul"--a fifteen-year plan involving cooperation among all the major LGBT political organizations. The plan includes several important goals:

By the year 2020 (give or take five years), the goal is for 10 states to have full-marriage equality; 10 states to have civil unions or the equivalent; 10 states to have nondiscrimination laws and be repealing (or peeling back the effects of) their anti-gay marriage amendments; and the final 20 states to show progress.

The article claims that these goals are achievable. I have no idea whether the author's optimism is warranted, but I hope so. And just reading about it makes me a lot more hopeful about this stuff than I've been in a while. Go read the article, and if it moves you to action, go out and get involved!

Here are some organizations involved in the effort; if you're interested, you might consider joining them, volunteering with them, giving them money, or even just dropping them notes of support.

  • The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been fighting for LGBT rights for over thirty years now. Unfortunately, I can't seem to connect to their website right now, but I assume that's a transient glitch.
  • Equality Federation: "a network of state/territory organizations committed to working with each other and with national and local groups to strengthen [...] lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organizing."
  • The Human Rights Campaign (which I'd previously been a little dubious about for various reasons) now appears to be "[helping] state groups create their own organizing plans."
  • If you're a Democrat, you may be interested in the National Stonewall Democrats, who are working on "[helping] gay-friendly Democrats win in such states as [Pennsylvania,] Arizona, Maine, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin."

(Thanks to ceciliaregent for the pointer to the article.)

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I don't know if you saw John Tierney's column "Who's Afraid of Polygamy" in the March 11 NYT, or the foofaraw that came after. Essentially, sparked by the HBO series "Big Love", the conservative columnist decides that there isn't any compelling state reason to ban polygamy, particularly taken in the context of legal same-sex marriage. It's badly argued, blinkered, and expensive (although it may be possible to read it for free somewhere, blink blink) but it's worth noting that that person in that context makes that argument.

As for same-sex marriages, I think twenty years may be too brief a frame to expect that kind of change, but clearly the tide at the moment is in its favor. In particular, now that it exists, and not just in Europe, it's going to be harder to convince people that it constitutes a crisis. That's what was predicted, at any rate, and it seems so far to be working that way. Early days, yet. But, yes, lots of reasons to be hopeful.