Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gay Marriage Reality Check

Now that the DADT repeal has been signed into law, there has been chatter in GL world and the Gayosphere about shifting the positive momentum gained from the historic win to renewing the push for gay marriage.

That would be a mistake.    And don't let the poll numbers showing increasing support for same gender marriage and your giddiness over the DADT win spur you into making another tactical error.

Did you not forget why you shifted to a full court press effort on getting DADT repealed in the first place?

Remember the marriage loss in Maine?   I do, and so do many politicians.   0-31 is the number the politicians are looking at.   That is the current record reflecting the GL community's success rate in fighting the implementation of statewide anti-same gender marriage amendments when it's put to a vote.

It loses more right now than the LA Clippers do. 

I support same gender marriage, but I'm a realist.  To have a chance of reversing that you will have to neuter the right wing haters ability to use the referenda process to implement those bans.    You will have to engage and get the support of a plurality of the African American and Latino/a communities.   

The key to that is getting your African-American and Latino/a GL brothers and sisters on board.    We GLBT POC's know how to frame the arguments in our communities to make that happen.   It's been obvious for a while that predominately white-led GL orgs demonstrably don't. 

Frankly from where I sit, two years after Prop 8, the gay community still hasn't done the legwork and education necessary to make the case in the African-American community as to why same gender marriage is the right and morally correct thing to do.    

You have an organization whose mission it is to do that in the National Black Justice Coalition but fail to use it.   Is it because that organization also has a strong trans equality message as well?

We Black TBLG/SGL peeps see ENDA as a much higher priority than getting married. You can't get married if you don't have a J-O-B to pay for the wedding ring, the marriage license and the wedding..

ENDA is also an issue that can be used as an intersectional organizing tool to pull in straight peeps who wish to help on TBLG rights issues.  It's also one of the few GLBT rights issues that affect straight people as well.

And for you GL peeps who desire to send in your face middle finger messages to the Forces of Intolerance, the Black and Latino TBLG communities would submit one way to do so is take away their ability to legally discriminate against you.

Remember the spike in GBLT suicides everyone in the community was doing much weeping and gnashing of teeth over just two months ago?   The discrimination aimed at GLBT high school students such as Constance McMillen and Juin Baize we were pissed and have blogged about with depressing regularity?   There's introduced federal legislation such as the Student Non Discrimination Act of 2010  and the state level Dignity For All Students Acts to address that problem that is another intersectional issue that affects straight people as well.

No marginalized group can do it alone without broad based support.    Immediately returning to pursuing all gay marriage all the time as the central focus of the movement may be what the HRC-Mattachine gays want, but it's not the smart political play.

You have these three issues in ENDA, school discrimination and school bullying which.not only affect the entire GLBT rainbow, but straight people as well.   

It gives the LGBT community an opportunity to show politicians it can build a broad based coalition on issues that don't just benefit them.    The TBLG community also gets to practice working with a multiethnic coalition to pass legislation which it sorely needs, and get more legislative victories under its belt in the process.

Hopefully, by the time ENDA, the SNDA and the DASA are passed, the Prop 8 case will have percolated through the federal court system and cleared up some of the uncertainty around same gender marriage.  You will have also by that time hopefully done the legwork you desperately need to do in communities of color before you tackle the marriage issue again.

Because if you don't you will fail once again.

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