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Monday, January 21, 2008

Chris Crain Puts It Well on HRC's Elizabeth Birch


The debate in 2006 over the federal marriage amendment is a classic example of how these two misjudgments crippled the movement's effectiveness. Facing a vote that everyone involved knew we would win, HRC's Hillary Rosen (Elizabeth's then-partner) bought into the Democrats' partisan strategy of avoiding the gay marriage "hot button" in favor of attacking President Bush and the Republicans for pressing a "non-issue," which was only a distraction from "real issues" like Iraq and rising gas prices.

It was colossal missed opportunity for a gay rights group to agree to the Democratic Party's self-serving strategy of avoiding gay marriage linkage and instead calling the movement's signature issue a distraction -- thereby punting on the free-media opportunity to educate the public about why we want to marry in the first place.

OutFront Minnesota used the same message when lobbying against this bill. I expect that type of junk from the Democratic Party that does not share the same interests gays do. I expect more of organizations that supposedly "represent" gays.

I find it unforgivable that HRC focused on helping specific Democratic candidates over putting resources in some of the anti-gay marriage initiatives. HRC resources could have made a difference in Wisconsin and in South Dakota.


Lynn said...

We have already lost the fight for same-sex marriage. It is time to move on to a fight we can win: achieving the all of the rights of marriage under the title of federal civil unions.

Same-sex marriage with all of the rights, benefits and obligations of marriage cannot exist in the United States in the near future. Here is why: Forty-five states have laws (19) or constitutional amendments (26) prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Source: Human Rights Campaign) Almost two-thirds of 48 million votes cast on same-sex marriage in 29 states were against us. As the noted gay historian and professor at the University of Illinois, John D'Emilio, observed in his 2006 article, The Marriage Fight Is Setting Us Back, "The campaign for same-sex marriage has been an unmitigated disaster. It has created a vast body of new anti-gay laws." There has already been, in effect, a national referendum and we have lost......BIG.

A clear majority of voters support civil unions with all the same rights, benefits and obligations of marriage but oppose support same-sex marriage. Illogical? Yes! But it is a fact we must live with. (Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll of 10/28/2007: 30% support same-sex marriage, 26% support civil unions, 38% oppose any legal recognition for same-sex couples.)

All of the rights, benefits and obligations of marriage are attainable, with public support, under the title civil unions or domestic partners. Same-sex marriage is not. We may not like that fact, however, it is none-the-less a fact.
Federal Civil Unions = Marriage Equality

lloydletta said...


Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Part of the reason so many states have these laws, is there was no serious attempt to articulate why the amendments and laws are wrong - beyond the "it's a distraction from the economy", or "it's a distraction from health care" argument. When one side is arguing they are favoring "traditional marriage," and the other side concedes the argument, it's not surprising that side wins.

Over time voters are changing their tune on this issue, and remember, that years back, voters didn't want domestic partners or civil unions.

We also can't stop fighting constitutional amendments on this issue. The constitutional amendments - and laws - are bad - because they go way beyond "gay marriage", and ban civil unions - which you have said is the achievable goal. In some cases, amendments are going to have to be overturned - and this might mean putting them on the ballot again, and again until they are overturned.