Monday, December 20, 2004

Common Nonsense

On TomPaine.com, Greg Reisher has an editorial called "Marriage Lessons". In it, he proposes giving up the fight for marriage and pursuing issues more palatable to the general public.

It is no surprise to me that he used to work at the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC believes in assimilation and is willing to drop the quest for some people’s rights in the pursuit of rights for the ‘majority’ of their marginalized constituents. They did not include transgender folks in their push for ENDA, etc. for many years, because they considered TRs a deal-breaker with the mainstream. They changed this policy after gays started refusing to donate to them. After all, who among us is truly 'mainstream'?

I can’t help but think that Reisher is the type who would honor the drag queens of Stonewall while advertising for a “straight acting” man in the personals. The drag queens of Stonewall were people who pretty much didn’t - or couldn't - conceal their personalities. They were thus the first with the courage to fight for equality, as opposed to those who convincingly lied about who they really were. If it weren't for these less 'palatable' individuals, there would be no HRC.

I also can't help but think of how the abolitionists asked members like Susan B. Anthony to drop their quest for women’s equality because it would ‘hurt’ the anti-slavery movement. The feminists sacrificed their needs 'for the moment', hoping that their allies would assist them afterwards. It took over a half century before women got the vote, and that was because they took up their own cause again.

Perhaps I’m selfish, because I refuse to wait till I’m ninety-two for my rights. Perhaps, since I was raised to believe I was a valuable human being, I am outraged rather than cowed. Or perhaps I just understand that rights should not only be granted to the 'palatable'. Certainly no other push for human rights has succeeded using that strategy. 'Mine's better than yours' is just too tempting a game for most people.

If the gay community drops its quest for marriage, it won't stop politicians from using it against us with the 'slippery slope' bit: grant them ENDA, and they'll just ask for marriage next. Same-sex marriage scare tactics now have a proven track record for serving the interests of the Republican Party. Clamoring for those state constitutional amendments swept them to victory in state-level elections across the country in November.

Meanwhile, the efforts of the (mostly HRC-led) anti-ballot campaigns focused on shushing public talk so the Democrats, our nominal allies, could win. But by not being visible, no opposing view/human face was available when inserts began appearing in church bulletins across the country - and the Democrats lost all around. The GOP made damned sure that Democrat candidates were linked with support of same-sex marriage, regardless of their actual stated views.

The Human Rights Campaign needs to concede that the genie is out of the bottle on the marriage issue, and gays will lose as long as the GOP is framing the arguments. Reisher should do the same.

Sarah G

1 Comments:

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Frank Glenn said...

I couldn't agree more, but I see this issue as only one of the spectrum that has been "pre-confrontationally pruned" in the forlorn hope that "they" will meet folks half-way on an issue.

Maybe I don't like Howard Dean's or George McGovern's chances in general elections but, since the Democrats are now in a minority, it is time for us to state an agenda and promote it at every opportunity in the open fora - Red as well as Blue states - until we are heard or decisively defeated.

I don't like Pepsi or Sam's Club colas; gimme Coke.

Dad

 

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