Who supports gay marriage? I think you can’t always tell these days. I mean, Grover Norquist, Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, Megan McCain, Steve Schmidt and various “conservative” pundits and polemicists support gay marriage, and many other conservatives support the same rights without the “M” word — in other words “civil unions”. Which makes those latter individuals on the same page as Barack Obama who issued a statement, after the Prop 8 court ruling, indicating that while he congratulates gay couples on their victory in California, he does not actually support ah, “gay marriage”, he does support “civil unions” however.
Additionally, one of the two attorneys who fought so very well for the ruling supporting the rights of gays and lesbians to marry in California is Ted Olson, George Bush’s Solicitor General – of all people. He has built a conservative case for gay marriage.
And, of course, marriage is always a “conservative” choice. There are, after all, radical “queer” identified LGBT people who only grudgingly support gay marriage or who feel that gay marriage is NOT the correct goal.
Here, Dean Spade, a prominent Queer (Trans) activist and law professor states along with Crag Willse: “Let’s remember the politics of marriage itself. The simplistic formula that claims “you’re either pro-marriage or against equality” makes us forget that all forms of marriage perpetuate gender, racial and economic inequality. It mistakenly assumes that support for marriage is the only good measure of support for LGBT communities. This political moment calls for anti-homophobic politics that centralize anti-racism and anti-poverty. Marriage is a coercive state structure that perpetuates racism and sexism through forced gender and family norms. Right wing pro-marriage rhetoric has targeted families of color and poor families, supported a violent welfare and child protection system, vilified single parents and women, and marginalized queer families of all kinds. Expanding marriage to include a narrow band of same-sex couples only strengthens that system of marginalization and supports the idea that the state should pick which types of families to reward and recognize and which to punish and endanger. We still demand a queer political agenda that centralizes the experiences of prisoners, poor people, immigrants, trans people, and people with disabilities. We reject a gay agenda that pours millions of dollars into campaigns for access to oppressive institutions for a few that stand to benefit.” That statement is from this: http://makezine.enoughenough.org/prop8.html “No to state regulation of families!”
So, the gay marriage agenda has never been fully embraced by queer activists. In fact, here Spade equates the support of gay marriage with “the right wing”. The non-LGBT right often appears to completely overlook this, believing instead that gay marriage is part of a larger “communist” agenda to attack the nuclear and traditional family. Well, there is a “communist” or hard and far left agenda that is doing just that, the right is not being paranoid, and this agenda is articulated quite well by Dean Spade and others on the fringes. While they do not always call themselves “communist” anymore, the agenda is clearly very nearly the same. And, in the LGBT “community” or world, these fringes are relatively vocal and large enough to impact politics, although they have not been strong enough to stem the enthusiasm of the tide pushing toward full marriage equality. They are kind of spoil sports or party poopers you might say, but nonetheless they make their noise consistently and with great moral heft.
So, the movement to gay marriage is in some sense, as Spade points out, a conservative if not traditional movement, and conservatives who are heterosexual and even Republican are beginning to support it or at least, not deign to stand in its way. This is interesting for what it bodes for historical realignments of power and politics, and the future of the Democrats, who while they are always assumed to be pro-gay marriage, are not always entirely on the bandwagon.
Here, a quote from a recent Huffington Post article by Jason Linkins: “Oh, that’s right! Steve Schmidt, one of the top campaign guys in the game, supports gay marriage. And there’s distant signs of thaw between the GOP and the gay community everywhere. There’s Laura Bush’s open support. There’s Megan McCain’s tireless advocacy. There’s Grover Norquist, a conservative movement big-timer, joining up with GOProud — the “national organization of gay conservatives” that served as a CPAC sponsor. You might recall, also, that when a conservative activist took to the CPAC stage to decry the alliance between CPAC and GOProud, he was booed off the stage by attendees. It still seems unlikely that marriage equality will become the law of the land through the advocacy and support of the Republican party. But it’s getting less and less implausible.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/05/prop-8-ruling-exposes-dem_n_671900.html
What? It’s “getting less and less implausible” that the Republican Party will become the party pushing gay marriage through the gates? Well, Ted Olson is fighting the good fight, the big battle before the courts, that is true. Along with a Democrat, David Boies, his former opponent in arguments before the Supreme Court regarding those famous “hanging chads” of Bush/Gore yesteryear. So, in a sense, this odd idea is already beginning to become historically accurate.
And, finally, I leave you with a very interesting and cogent article from Roger L. Simon, a Hollywood screenwriter who made the shift from left to right relatively late in life and started Pajamas Media, a conservative/libertarian media hub. Simon, is in support of gay marriage, and here writes about Laura Bush, Cheney and others who have expressed similar views, while – oddly, Obama has not. Of course, Obama is still in office and wishes to be re-elected. However, since his base is skewed to the left, this may not be the best strategy. But, I digress, the point is, the world, as always is changing and shifting.
Here, from Roger L. Simon’s article: “Everything is in flux. These days those who identify themselves as “liberals” are on the run because the lynchpin of their ideology – increased government spending – is bankrupting the world economy. I certainly agree with this analysis as do, according to the polls, most voters. But will this always be so? Not necessarily. At some point, governments may stop spending money and come out of bankruptcy or near bankruptcy. This will probably take a while, but then where will we be? Our infrastructures will likely be in sore need of repair. At that point many of us may feel it’s time for governments to start spending money again. How inconsistent of us. But that’s life. Things change. Which brings me back to gay marriage. The world has changed on this issue and is continuing to change. As Laura Bush points out in her interview (with Larry King), it’s a generational thing. Younger people in our culture don’t consider homosexuality such a big deal. Same-sex marriage is also no big deal to them. Indeed, it has already come to pass. Our cities are filled with gay couples who are de facto married. Almost all of us know some of them. Many of us have them in our families. No social calamities have occurred that I know of, at least not from gay people living together.
We have real problems. That is not one of them, not even faintly. In world where financial markets are in free fall and Islamic terrorists threaten to blow up airplanes, indeed when Islam is beginning to take over the culture of Europe and even starting to make inroads into ours, worrying whether gay people who are in love should be married or not seems an absurd waste of time and energy.” From this article: http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2010/05/13/gay-marriage-laura-bush-dick-cheney-and-barack-obama/
And, finally, this just in.. Ann Coulter is going to headline at the first convention of the gay conservative organization “Homocon”! Here, from the Huffington Post by Nick Wing: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/06/ann-coulter-to-headline-a_n_673313.html
Nick Wing states: “The gay left has done their best to take all the fun out of politics, with their endless list of boycotts and protests. Homocon is going to be our annual effort to counter the ‘no fun police’ on the left,” said Christopher Barron, Chairman of the Board of GOProud, in a statement. “I can’t think of any conservative more fun to headline our inaugural party then the self-professed ‘right-wing Judy Garland’ – Ann Coulter.”
Indeed, the political landscape is changing . A good friend who knows me said when I began to turn rightward, “you are usually on the tip of new trends, this doesn’t look good for the left.” I know I am only a small person in this large world, but maybe she was onto something. I sniffed the wind, and I can tell you this- things are going to look very differently politically in a few years. My prediction: the LGBT right grows as gay marriage becomes legalized in more states and other issues take precedence. Also, a very sharp distinction, a chasm grows between queer left LGBT politics and more moderate or libertarian, or conservative LGBT politics as LGBT people begin to enter more decisively the “normal” fabric of American life.