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Perhaps I Repeat Myself (on Gay Leaders’ Failure to Debate Gay Marriage) — But it is a Rather Significant Point

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:11 pm - June 12, 2006.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Gay America,Gay Marriage,Gay Politics

In a nasty comment, a frequent critic of this blog made a somewhat valid point, that I seem to be making the same point over and over (and over) again when I fault the gay leadership for being more eager to attack the president and the congressional GOP leadership for advocating a constitutional amendment (defining marriage) than to actually debate the issue. Indeed, in the very post to which he attaches his comment, I wrote, “As I’ve said before . . . ,” acknowledging that I was aware I’d made the point in prior posts.

This is not, as my reader contents, a “relatively minor point.” It is a rather significant one as it gets to the heart of what our gay advocacy groups should be doing.

In their very rhetoric last week, however, they focused on attacking the sponsors of the amendment, not promoting our (i.e., gay and lesbian) issues. (Even the ostensibly Republican organization joined the anti-Bush chorus.) In the debate on a constitutional amendment defining marriage, they made it clear that they stood with the far left whose priority is not issue-driven, but animosity-driven — demonizing President George W. Bush and the GOP.

What else explains the failure of all the leading gay groups (save Log Cabin) to note that this is the one issue on which the Vice President has publicly distanced himself from the president?

I believe a public debate on this issue would not only promote state recognition of same-sex unions (no matter what they’re called), but would also further understanding of same-sex relationships. As I indicated in my last post, I had a tough time coming out because I did not then find, either in my experience or my reading (about gay culture), examples of long-term monogamous gay couples. My gay peers (and a few gays senior to me) told me to have sex, play safe and not worry about emotional connection because it wasn’t possible anyway.

A debate on marriage would make it very clear how commonplace is the type of gay relationships I so longed for in my youth — and still seek today. The failure of the gay groups to speak out is not a minor point. It gets to the heart of how we talk about ourselves. And the more I think of the behavior of gay groups last week, the more outraged I become.

I’m not alone. Other gay bloggers (e.g, Chris Crain, Stephen Miller, The Malcontent’s Robbie, Andrew Sullivan) representing a variety of different political viewpoints, have faulted gay groups for their unwillingness to debate gay marriage.

In the most recent debate on the issue, gay groups have ignored their basic responsibility — to promote a positive image of gay people to the American people. They would rather spend their time painting a negative picture of President Bush and the GOP.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

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15 Comments

  1. Dan… unfortunately we need to repeatedly say things over and over so those who have been indoctrinated by the Gay Borg will start to think for themselves. 🙂

    Comment by Bruce (GayPatriot) — June 12, 2006 @ 10:47 pm - June 12, 2006

  2. there was absolutely nothing to be gained by debating the issue at this time. Even an indifferent individual could see that this was red meat for the base but DOA.

    Comment by ralph — June 12, 2006 @ 11:53 pm - June 12, 2006

  3. I’m not sure why the gay community would want to be part of such a failed institution, anyway. But, be that as it may, the leadership of the gay community should have been focused on civil unions.

    Marriage is largely a religious connotation, since great efforts are made to keep a separation of church and state, it would be in the better interest of the gay community to push for civil unions. In doing so they can remove the arguments of bigotry regarding religion and homosexuality, they can focus on the legal benefits of a civil ceremony, it would diffuse the heat of “marriage” with the far right Christian zealots and hopefully stear clear of putting discrimination into our constitution.

    Over the last decade I’ve moved further away from the gay community to the point where I really have nothing to do with it. The “membership” contains mostly adolescent behavior and points of view. Being gay has turned into, or perhaps has never changed and I only started seeing it 10 years ago, nothing but OCD about looks, bodies, money, etc.

    Oh sure, we get the argument from others in the community, “well, straights behave the same way”, yeah, well, that doesn’t make it right. Why not grow up, behave as adults in adult relationships, create a community that is the envy of other minority groups and the general population at large. Look how we view the Asian population and their dedication to education, how smart their kids are, how they excel in some many aspects of business.

    But, alas, no. The community continues to play into the stereotypes and allows politics like the “gay marriage” issue to surface with all kinds of fire power. I saw an interview, for the first time, on a couple of shows last week with a gentleman who spoke calmly and eloquently (I wish I knew his name) about the gay community and this issue. He made tremeandous strides for the public image of the gay community by how he presented himself, his viewpoint, and the politics of the gay community(not everyone’s politics, but at least those he represented).

    Civil Unions should have the been the gay agenda. Stop forcing down the throats of the straight/religious community our lives. This time, this place in life, with the limits of an evolving society, this is where we are right now. Strive instead for those “middle of the road” ideas that give us what we need without threatening the foundations of the greater whole.

    Comment by Scooter — June 13, 2006 @ 7:51 am - June 13, 2006

  4. Dan:
    Thank you for repeatedly coming back to this point. Bitterness and name-calling convince no one. On the state level here in Tennessee, the gay organization that is fighting Amendment 1 – the state constitutioinal amendment to ban same sex marriage – fails to offer any reason that anyone should support same sex marriage, whether they be gay or straight. Instead, we get a constant drip of victimhood and vituporous bleating. It can all be summed up with “They’re being mean to me!!!”

    I want to be able to legally marry the man of my choice because 1) my sexual orientation means that marrying a woman is out of the question, and 2) I have the same fundamental desire for a long term relationship in which I give and receive affirmation, affection, security and love as straight people do. I recognize in the marriages of those around me the qualitative difference that the bonds of matrimony bring. How many times have we heard a couple comment on the change they felt after they got married, even though they had lived together for years?

    And, yes, I do want to share in the same government benefits and obligations that are bestowed on straight couples in our society. I would never get married in order to get the government benefits, but receiving those benefits would be a visible symbol that my government recognizes my relationship on an equal footing with those of straight couples.

    It might be better if we could have had a different debate, perhaps civil unions, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, ENDA (which I don’t support) or Hate Crimes Legislation (which I also don’t support). The fact is that this is where we are. Wishing things were otherwise won’t change that. We can continue to voice our concerns and viewpoints on those issues, but right now, we must address the anti-same sex marriage amendments.

    Thanks,

    Comment by Michael K. Bassham — June 13, 2006 @ 12:39 pm - June 13, 2006

  5. The problem I have with the constant harping about gay leadership is that it absolves those that are engaging in the prejudice.

    The fact of the matter is that whenever there is an anti-gay law or action of any sort, 9 out of 10 times its a GOP legislator coming up with it or supporting it. Thats not the fault of gay and lesbian leadership, its the fault of those Republicans.

    Its like GP and GPW are getting gay-bashed but are blaming the people that have stopped and are trying to help, instead of blaming the people who actually did the bashing.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — June 13, 2006 @ 2:15 pm - June 13, 2006

  6. Dan, Chris Crain and the rest of the anti-advocacy group crowd must think they’re the smartest kids in class, and anyone who earns a paycheck working for an LGBT non-profit is thick-headed, thin-skinned and lazy. My experience with the groups here in Washington is quite different. They’re more often than not savvy political professionals. The people who work at advancing LGBT rights are instead often forced to spend time, effort and money trying to stop the erosion of them. That’s quite a different exercise. At a time when a solid majority of the U.S. electorate is opposed to marriage equality, and a solid majority of the party in power is willing to use that to their own political advantage, it is enormously difficult to stop the erosion with reasoned arguments about the wonders of two gay men being allowed to marry. And how do the professional gays know this? Because they conduct the same polling and focus groups that Karl Rove and the RNC do. And they see the same results. And they craft messages and campaigns based upon those results, not based on what they’d hoped the results would be. And you know what? It’s worked. Twice.

    Comment by DCposter — June 13, 2006 @ 2:42 pm - June 13, 2006

  7. DCposter, no matter what the gay groups had done, the amendment would have been defeated.

    Knowing that, I thought the gay groups should use the opportunity of the debate to advance LGBT issues (which you claim is their work) to do so by making clear why state recognition of same-sex unions is good for society.

    But, they, alas, seem loath to debate. And that’s my point.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — June 13, 2006 @ 3:19 pm - June 13, 2006

  8. Gramps at #5, the boat sailed for you once again… you missed the very point of Dan’s good post here.

    The issue is that the self-appointed gay leadership HAVE failed our entire community:1) by defining the issue as “gay marriage” rather than the less-politically charged “same sex unions”; and I would add 2) by hitching our wagons to the failed Democrat Party and putting us in the same strangle hold that keeps hostage the Black vote, the Union vote, the urban cities vote, etc.

    We should have been taking our best arguments and most persuasive spokesmen to the MSM that the liberals in this country control… and we shouldn’t have been promoting a movie like BareBack Mtn which portray us a home wrecking, self absorbed, lust driven egotists with little concern for what our conduct does to others. But you know what? That very message resonated with fellow gays –how screwed up are our values! Gheez.

    It’s why Mary Cheney on Larry King was a fundamental break through… and why the GayLeft’s, Democrat-driven partisan hack job on Mary is another example of the self-appointed gay leadership’s failure of our community and its agenda and our common interests.

    While the states raged with anti-gay discriminatory voter initiatives in the last 8 years, our self-appointed gay leadership stood in DC, swilled pink Cosmos, played eye candy provocatuers for closeted and bi Congressmen, fawned over the Democrat’s choice in candidates du jour while turning a deaf ear to their antagonistic attitude to us… rather than using the gay leadership’s considerable talents to build effective opposition to those state-based initiatives.

    They frickin failed US, Gramps. US. Every single ego-centric preening faggot at the HRC and other groups should be tarred, feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. But only after they put on some skin mosturizer, tho. Instead, they’ll be in the heart of PTown on July 4th looking for a hook-up to validate their “glam & cuteness”.

    They failed US, Gramps. Why you continue to defend them by saying “Yeah, but the Republicans are worse. Like waaay worser.”

    They failed US, Gramps. Just like your out-of-control BushHatred blinds you… it blinds them. Our community needs to build consensus OUTside our community, explore new cooperative partnerships, redefine our agenda to begin progress.

    Failure is no longer an option for GayAmerica… we don’t have special affirmative action programs, access to give away govt contracts, nor special “corruption condoned” zones of urban decay to craft our future and determine its course. GayAmericans have to live within the majority –with few exceptions. We need to compel the majority to support our efforts for progress.

    Not sip pink Cosmos, preen endlessly and be content to rub shoulders with DC’s political elite while they determine when they need us next for something other than bending over again.

    God, how people can be so stubborn in understanding that today’s gay leadership sold out our agenda, our interests, and our future.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — June 14, 2006 @ 10:06 am - June 14, 2006

  9. The problem with the whole “civil unions instead of marriage” argument is that there’s very little difference between the folks who rage against gay marriage and the folks who rage against civil unions. Nobody in the anti-gay industry is going to suddenly say “oh, it’s just a civil union, no big deal.” In fact, their constitutional amendments are designed to block not only marriage, but also civil unions.

    The real priority of a smart gay rights agenda would be getting the government out of the marriage business entirely, and opening up the tax, immigration, and other legal “benefits” of marriage (which once belonged to everyone until government took them away 1 by 1) up to everyone — single, married, gay, straight, whoever. Government has no place defining family or regulating voluntary relationships.

    Comment by Brian R. Miller — June 14, 2006 @ 11:52 am - June 14, 2006

  10. The people who work at advancing LGBT rights are instead often forced to spend time, effort and money trying to stop the erosion of them.

    Bullshit.

    They spend time, effort, and money on promoting the erosion as “pro-gay” and “gay-supportive” — money that they refused to give and in fact channeled away from the state organizations who were fighting the erosion.

    These groups flatly don’t give a damn about gay rights. The people leading them even endorsed and gave money to FMA supporters and DOMA supporters.

    You see, we know that gay rights groups don’t really oppose the FMA or stripping gays of rights via constitutional amendments; if Democrats order them to support it, they will, just like they did in 1996 and 2004. Even now Howard Dean is pulling on their leashes, ordering them to shut up and sit still while he casually cans LGBT activists’ partners, slashes their “outreach’ budget, and preens on TV about how Dems believe gays should be legally deprived of rights — and they are obeying.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 14, 2006 @ 4:44 pm - June 14, 2006

  11. Um, if gay conservatives are dissatisfied with the way gay political groups are run, then why don’t you try to do something about it? Apply for jobs with the groups (and take the pay cut that working for a nonprofit entails). Do volunteer work. Get on a board of directors. Raise money (which guarantees you some serious input when it comes to policy).

    But for the love of God channel your criticism into something more useful than incessant carping.

    I’m a libertarian who has been heavily involved with “mainstream” movement groups for years. I don’t always agree with the ultimate strategy decisions, but I’m listened to and sometimes I win the argument. However, it would be a whole lot easier to win if more non-liberal gays were willing to do some of the work, rather than just dishing out constant criticism.

    Comment by Brian — June 14, 2006 @ 5:54 pm - June 14, 2006

  12. That assumes, Brian, that said organizations would have gay conservatives in the first place.

    I find it hard to believe that HRC, which provided staffers to support Mike Rogers’ campaigns to get gays fired and publicly harassed, would ever employ a gay conservative.

    I find it hard to believe that NGLTF, whose staffers and leaders call conservative gays “Jewish Nazis” and “kapos”, would ever allow one to volunteer for them.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 15, 2006 @ 3:15 pm - June 15, 2006

  13. You may be right about NGLTF, but HRC has hired several Republican staffers. And those are only two groups. There’s also Lambda Legal, the ACLU (which has Bob Barr on it’s payroll), GLAAD, GLAD, GLSEN, Freedom to Marry (whose position that we should be arguing that marriage equality is good parallels the position in the article that started this thread), Soulforce, Service Members’ Legal Defense Fund, etc….

    Gay conservatives and libertarians generally don’t even support the non-leftie groups that are out there. There is some support for LCR, but the Independent Gay Forum brings together great non-leftist gay thinkers without much of a budget or much support from whatever non-leftist gay community exists. IGF doesn’t even have any paid staff. If non-leftist gay people want a voice, then they need to fund one.

    Even if the national groups were too leftist to hire any non-leftists (which isn’t the case for most of them), that wouldn’t stop non-leftists from trying to exert influence on the organizations – but exerting influence is hard work – it requires doing the fundraising that allows one to get on the board of directors and building influence within the organizations. You can’t exert much influence from the outside.

    There is tremendous pressure on national organizations to drift further and further left. Liberal funders, foundations and staffers all encourage “alliance building” and mission creep. If more gay conservatives joined the movement, we would have more influence.

    Why would any organization listen to people who provide the group with nothing but criticism? And nobody is going to listen to anybody whose criticism is laced with ad hominems, insults, and accusations of nefarious motives. There are often very good points made on this site that are phrased in ways that are, um, undiplomatic (at best).

    Log Cabin understands that in order to exert any influence on the Republican Party, they have to work from the inside, no matter how nasty some Republicans are to gay people. The religious affinity groups like Dignity understand the same thing – you can’t influence the church by leaving – only by staying and fighting it out. The gay rights movement works the same way. Gay libertarians and conservatives can’t expect to just show up and take over, and you can’t expect to exert much influence by just complaining from the outside. The only way to change things is to get involved and deal with the long, slow, tedious, frustrating process of advocating within the larger movement.

    Comment by Brian — June 16, 2006 @ 6:12 pm - June 16, 2006

  14. Your last paragraph defeats your entire argument, Brian.

    If gay conservatives want to exercise influence on the people who matter, they can do it directly. We do not need mouthpieces like HRC, NGLTF, or even to some extent LCR, to do our talking for us — because we have not burned bridges or destroyed relationships as these groups have.

    HRC, NGLTF, and others, with their devotion to leftist causes and their hatemongering tactics, are no longer gay-rights groups or part of the gay rights movement — they are foul cancers that impede the progress of gay rights.

    In short, I’m not wasting my time trying to change NGLTF or HRC to do things my way; I’m going directly to the voters who can change it, and pointing out repeatedly that NGLTF and HRC are to gay people as the Ku Klux Klan is to white people — hate organizations that use other people as rationalizations for their action.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — June 18, 2006 @ 2:18 pm - June 18, 2006

  15. “‘Gotcha. Can’t win, don’t try.”

    Bart Simpson, “Homer at the Bat”

    Comment by Brian — June 19, 2006 @ 1:32 pm - June 19, 2006

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