Tonight on the Marriage Front

The rest of the gay blogging community seems to have issued some sort of message in relation to the Massachusetts court case. Some say, "it's about damn time," and it is. Some issue congratulations, which are due. Some fear the backlash, which is only reasonable. I on the other hand (as I do with a lot of current events stuff) have waited a while to let things settle down a bit, so I can comment on it with the safety of hindsight.

My prediction is that we'll see a proper marriage reform in the next few/several years. Why? Defense of Marriage acts aren't going to stand up in the US Supreme Court, Scalia has even said that it seems. As for a backlash, waiting isn't going to do anything… There are always going to be radical elements who will try and insight a backlash. Here's something interesting from a recent Washington Post article:

We were afraid that pushing too hard on this issue would inspire extreme legislation," she said. "But by 1996 it was clear that we had achieved nothing at the federal level -- not even a simple employment nondiscrimination law or hate-crimes bill. The incrementalist approach, while a valid idea, had no effect. So why not be clear about what we need and what we should be given as a matter of birthright and a matter of being fully participating citizens? Set out all the goals at once.

The nice thing about extreme legislation is that it usually doesn't live through the courts. Legislatures and courts almost always move in opposite directions of each other, and it seems to me that it's easier to rally the community against extremism. For example, marriage, hate crimes laws, and employment non-discrimination (ENDA) are all very noble causes, but the community will have a mixed response; however, extremists are far more likely to provoke a unified response. Also, straight-allies are even more likely to see injustices when it's really pronounced.

Let use race as an example. Before and during the civil rights movement there were these grave injustices for people of color, extremist legislation, and all that bad stuff. The community was able to rally, and enough white folks became allies, that sweeping changes like Brown vs. Board of Education, and the Civil Rights Act, were able to pass. And now, today. There are tons of race issues that still need to be addressed. But, there isn't any extremism, and white people are for the most part oblivious to the problem. As a result? There isn't a broad movement fighting racism today. While it's certainly not that simplistic, on some level it is, and on some level the queer movement is facing the same sort of issue.

Don't take me to mean that we need to radicalize in order to provoke a response in order to accomplish anything, but I don't think we need to be overly focused on appeasing those with power and working to scare no one. Ultimately it boils down to my age old conflict. If you like what the HRC is doing but now how their doing it, can you in good faith support them? I don't have a good answer, and I'm not sure I have anything to say to this that would further the debate right now.

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