For as long as I have been blogging about gay marriage, I have said we need change the strategy.Â Instead of demonizing social conservatives, gay marriage advocates should try to understand their opposition to same-sex marriage and, at the same time, do a better of making an affirmative case for gay marriage.Â I have also said we should avoid going through the courts as that leads to a backlash at the ballot box.
If you have a moment, just view my posts in our category Gay Marriage and you’ll see how readily and regularly I have made this point.
As long ago as March 2005 (shortly after we moved away from blogspot and established categories), I said we need to
do as Jonathan Rauch has done in the first chapter of his book, Gay Marriage : Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America and talk about what marriage is for. But, we also need to understand why, in the wake of growing tolerance for gay and lesbian citizens and growing support for civil unions, over 60% of Americans oppose gay marriage.
Well, now, in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8, it seems, leading advocates of gay marriage, including Andrew Sullivan, are making nearly the same argument as I’ve been making.
To be sure, Jonathan Rauch has been making a similar argument for some time, but in his must-read post on the Independent Gay Forum, he finally recognizes the futility of the mindless approach of “pushing lawsuits through the courts without adequately preparing the public:”
The gay marriage issue is not going to be decided over the heads of the American people, and no amount of comparing it to Brown vs. Board of Education or any other dubiously relevant precedent will change that. Too many gay heads are too strategically locked into a litigation-based mindset that has become counterproductive. Too many people forget that Martin Luther King was a persuader, not a litigator, and that the real breakthroughs came through Congress, not courts.
Even Sullivan now seems to oppose the litigation strategy. Note the last line of this passage from a recent post:
And we need patience and relentlessness in explaining our lives. And how human they are. It’s not fair; we should have it all already. But we don’t. And in a democracy, that means persuasion, not fiat.
That’s what I’ve been saying all along. I go one further than him. We need show we understand what marriage means and explain why we want that institution to define our relationships.
Let us hope that more leading advocates of gay marriage come around to this way of thinking and realize we need focus on persuasion.
It’s what I’ve been saying for nearly four years as a blogger.Â I’ve actually been saying longer than that, but lack an electronic record of conversations with friends and acquaintances.
It’s nice to see others make the same argument you’ve been making.Â Let’s hope that they’re the first of many.