While I disagree (strongly) with Dale Carpenter’s suggestion that juvenile gay activists should move their protests from Mormon Churches to marriage license bureaus, he makes an excellent point about the protests:
Here’s my advice to righteously furious gay-marriage supporters: Stop the focus on the Mormon Church. Stop it now. We just lost a ballot fight in which we were falsely but effectively portrayed as attacking religion. So now some of us attack a religion? People were warned that churches would lose their tax-exempt status, which was untrue. So now we have (frivolous) calls for the Mormon Church to lose its tax-exempt status? It’s rather selective indignation, anyway, since lots of demographic groups gave us Prop 8 in different ways â€” some with money and others with votes. I understand the frustration, but this particular expression of it is wrong and counter-productive.
I think that any protest would be counterproductive. Instead, we should see a housecleaning at gay organizations and the selection of new leaders who refuse to demonize social conservatives, but seek instead to persuade them.
Once these new leaders take office, they will say something like this:
Look, Proposition 8 won because we failed to make the case why gay marriage is good for society. We understand the very valid concerns some people have about gay marriage; they believe the institution as an exclusive union between individuals of different genders. It is out task to convince them why it’s time to expand the longstanding definition of marriage to include same-sex as well as different-sex couples.
Let me repeat, they’re the ones pushing a social change.Â They need make the case for gay marriage, if that’s what they really want.Â They can’t keep blaming others for their failures.Â I mean, this is not the first time voters have passed an initiative amending their state’s constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.Â Voters in every state, every state, which has considered such an initiative (narrowly drawn) have passed them.
They need a different strategy, a better narrative.
For as long as I’ve been blogging about gay marriage, I’ve been saying we need make an affirmative case for gay marriage. I doubt most heads of gay organizations have paid much attention because, well, because of my partisan leanings.
Now that they’ve lost in California, maybe they should pay more attention to gay conservatives. At least we have associated with social conservatives opposed of same-sex marriage.Â We speak their language.Â And it’s they we need to convince, through gentle suasion not angry protests.