I take part daily in discussions of political issues of the day on a small forum. First I want to share a comment made earlier this week by one of the respected thinkers on this forum, and a heterosexual ally of gay people:
"Gay rights shows much more progress in the same time than on the fundamental issues. Back in 2002, gay bashing was on the rise, gay marriage was nowhere, the polling was totally opposed to gay rights, the public opinion was intolerant, but things are hugely different today.
"In fact, there has been more progress since 2002 than between 1970 and 2000. And a lot of that progress in the political realm has been from the gay conservatives and Republicans, not the liberals and progressives."
Mr. Mulp made a very valid, and deeply discouraging point, having looked at the debacle of DADT Repeal. If there has been more progress drafted by gay conservatives, it is because our liberals and progressives have fallen asleep at the switch.
I have belabored the point with all my friends: 2009-10 was a historic window of opportunity to pass ALL gay rights in a comprehensive domestic-partnerships legislation.
Apparently Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) and the gay Democratic Caucus were not ready, and the gay civil rights movement was not ready, to shepherd such a bill to the president's desk, where it would have been signed. I am convinced it still would be signed if it got there, except now we have 65 more Republicans in the House, so it's a pantload more difficult -- probably impossible.
Frank, one of only four openly gay lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, gave an interview with Playboy magazine recently. It's quite wide-ranging, but as you might expect it does eventually touch on gay issues (it doesn't touch too hard, of course, Playboy IS a heterosexually-oriented magazine).
What distresses me is that Barney Frank seems to be resigned to an incrementalist approach to gay partnerships equality. He acknowledges that gay marriage is going nowhere federally, and he doesn't say for how long.
"I don't see anything about gay marriage happening on a federal level. More and more states will go that way, though. When they do, people will see ... that there are no negative consequences. Places that have gay marriage have had none of the negative consequences that people warned us about. Zero. The divorce rate hasn't gone up. There have been no calamities. Marriage hasn't lost its meaning. Same-sex marriage as a divisive issue is losing its steam. Overall I think anti-gay prejudice is on its way out."
Thus, Frank is counting on the good examples shown by same-sex partners in the states, and a growing number of them, to lessen anti-gay prejudice. Or for indeterminate time to have an effect. Or both.
He pretty concisely has said, "Federal gay marriage? Forget it!"
Frank frankly seems to have lost what one-time Democratic presidential candidate Fred Harris (D-NM) used to call "fire in the belly."
And this was a Playboy interview, of course, so he couldn't get too politically detailed, I suppose. But he didn't say a thing about alternative strategies for getting all the RIGHTS that make people in partnerships first-class citizens.
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