Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gay Rights March on Washington

There was a significant but not overwhelmingly important gay rights march on Washington today. It will not be more impressive than West Hollywood or the Castro district (SF) on Halloween. There is no doubt that many in the gay community want gay rights to become the civil rights issue of the 2010s. This march was part of that. Notably, Barney Frank was not on board with the march. As we know in California where gay rights groups are divided as to whether to bring an initiative for gay marraige in 2010 or 2012 - and they are idiotically having their fight through the press- the gay community is VERY internally divided.

Who can be surprised? For decades and generations, the gay community has been divided between those who were more out or more in the closet. The community has divided mightily and personally on strategies of infiltration, collaboration, or confrontation. In this respect, the gay community is more divided than the black community ever was - since for blacks, the ability to just "fit in" and be hidden was never an option.

My strong inclination is to oppose, at this time, a nationalization of the gay rights movement. first, it has been organized on the local and state level for the last 2 decades, and it has been very successful. Second, gay rights groups do less well the larger the forum of contest is. The biggest success is at the local level, then smaller states, then larger states, then nationwide has been the hardest of all. I agree with Barney Frank in principle that the state-by-state movement is working well and should be continued.

Here's my thought: Imposition of equal rights by federal fiat will ultimately be necessary in the benighted South run by its Republican-Baptist theocracy, but it will be a much harder and more politically expensive battle if the East, North, and West are not yet fully on board. Even national issues are really more local than they seem. I am heartened, for example, by the fact that Senator Reid just wrote an open letter to President Obama demanding repeal of don't ask-don't tell in the military. A mormon senator from Nevada? Well, Nevada is trending Democratic, is very libertarian in its social policies, and Harry Reid wants gay money from California next door. Which he will now get, I presume. But this is really about local positioning by Reid, not really about national policy (since Obama is not expected to move in that direction quickly and Reid is not really expected to push him - this is about positioning Reid vis-a-vis Nevada and California).

So maybe big marches on Washington should be postponed for 5-10 years. March on Sacramento first.


Raised By Republicans said...

I think part of this is that some kinds of activists get stuck in a rut when it comes to street demonstrations. They start thinking that street demonstrations are the answer to every political problem. But they are in the legislative drivers' seat now and Frank may be right when he says that a demonstration in Washington over a couple of days when most Congressional reps are out of town anyway, won't pressure anyone.

I also agree with LTG that trying to do this all at once throws away the biggest advantage supporters of equality for the gay community has: namely that every time they win a victory somewhere the sky doesn't fall. Since last year's successes in New England and Iowa, equality is gaining momentum and I can speak for Iowa when I say there has been little to no backlash at all. State by state seems to be the way to go.

I'd say the next target should be Nevada. Get Las Vegas thinking about Gay Marriage as a source of tourism dollars in a recession.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Nevada has a GOP governor right now. They Nevada legislature passed a civil unions bill over his veto about 4 months ago. There wasn't a 2/3 vote to legalize marriage. If the Dems take the governor's house in 2010, then there will probably be a big shift in Nevada.

The Law Talking Guy said...

It is worth remembering that the famous Civil Rights march on Washington came at a time in August 1963 when the President was getting on board with a civil rights agenda. The judicial victories over segregation were nearly a decade earlier.

Dr. Strangelove said...

As you know, there are a handful of issues that cannot be handled at the state level. Obama has promised to pass ENDA, repeal DOMA, and to allow gays to serve openly in the military--and I expect him to start making good on those promises in 2010. Keeping up the national pressure on those fronts is important.

But I agree completely marriage recognition will have to be won state-by-state for the time being. (LTG is almost certainly correct that Federal action will be required in some states later on down the line.) I also agree with Barney Frank that this particular march on Washington was ill-conceived and ill-timed, however heartfelt the sentiment.

As for the public dispute in the political community regarding the repeal of Prop 8... I have to concede it would probably be safer to attempt to repeal Prop 8 in 2012. Nevertheless, when polled by the various organizations, my husband and I both indicated our preference to put an initiative on the ballot in 2010. California should be leading the nation on this issue, not just following when it is safer to do so.

While the gay community is very internally divided regarding when exactly to attempt to repeal Prop 8, I think the events of last year have energized the gay community and helped unite it. The has been a real shift in attitude. Last year most gay leaders believed the issue needed be fought as a matter of civil rights, without mentioning the "G" word. Now I think there is now a general understanding this was a mistake. We should not apologize for standing up for ourselves. Pride matters. And that, I think, was the basic reason for the Washington march.

Mikhail Silverwood said...

In Australia, we're about to have a gay rights march - same-sex marriage is illegal under our federal laws, thanks to former Prime Minister John Howard.
It will on the 28 of November in all the capital cities.

The website is

Our last one, on August 1, had 10,000 people nation-wide including 5,000 in Melbourne (my city).

Wish us well.