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Gay marriage advocates followed strategy I recommended in states which voted on gay marriage this month

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:25 pm - November 20, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Gay Marriage

I expect to have more to say about this later in the day, but have been quite busy.  Am just returning from a trip to Cincinnati to celebrate my twin nieces’ B’Not Mitzvah and am now preparing to head up to the Bay Area to celebrate Thanksgiving with my youngest nephews (and their parents).

I caught this in a BuzzFeed piece linked in HotAir‘s headlines.  Seems gay marriage advocates have followed my advice in making their pitch for state recognition of gay marriage in the states which voted on it earlier this month:

Among the key changes were a shift away from talk of “rights” to a focus on committed relationships; a decision to address “values” directly as being learned at home; and an attempt to give voters “permission” to change their minds, according to elements of the research shared with BuzzFeed.

I’ve long been saying advocates should focus on the meaning of the institution rather than the supposed “right” to state recognition.

Interesting that the research the various “marriage equality” groups conducted confirmed my points.

More anon.  I hope.



  1. In MN, the campaign against the marriage amendment (i.e., the pro-SSM side) seemed to be much more about rights than actual same-sex relationships. Even so, I do believe that when a position on an issue goes from being considered extreme to mainstream, it picks up steam as the typical advocate goes from being someone who may sound fringy and out-of-touch and maybe a bit angry to someone who comes off more moderate and who has more in common with the average opponent of the position. Specifically, when the most identifiable advocates of SSM are not just hardcore liberals who are always denigrating religion and who seem to have little obvious respect for traditional heterosexual marriage but also are libertarians, conservatives, pro-lifers, devout churchgoers, etc., people who were earlier closed off to SSM arguments now become more open-minded because people like them are now making arguments that resonate with them. SSM supporters like Dick Cheney or Michael Barone or Dennis Miller are much more likely to reach someone like me than someone who has never done anything to generate goodwill with those right-of-center. And also, I think some of the more extreme voices learn from their mistakes. For instance, Perez Hilton I think hurt the SSM cause a great deal by his misogynistic over-the-top attack on Carrie Prejean, but later he (rightly) criticized Dan Savage for attacking the religious beliefs of a group of people listening to him, which tells me he understands that angry nastiness hurts the cause he’s trying to advance.

    Comment by chad — November 20, 2012 @ 1:18 pm - November 20, 2012

  2. I have long believed that gays who want to marry should focus on why they want the institution rather than the various things that come with marriage.

    I have been married over 20 years, and if the government decided to no longer recognize my marriage and stop providing tax breaks and required an a power of attorney for decisions etc, I wouldn’t feel less married. Marriage is to me at least far more about the promises and the commitment than government recognition.

    Comment by Just Me — November 20, 2012 @ 1:41 pm - November 20, 2012

  3. Just Me hits the nail on the head about what has been missing from the gay marriage discussion from the Gay Left.

    Marriage is more than government goodies.

    Comment by Bruce (GayPatriot) — November 20, 2012 @ 2:04 pm - November 20, 2012

  4. I’ve long been saying advocates should focus on the meaning of the institution rather than the supposed “right” to state recognition.

    Me too!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 20, 2012 @ 4:59 pm - November 20, 2012

  5. I think you guys are forgetting in the early days the Gay left here in NYC/Stonewall didn’t really give a wit about marriage, rights or anything even close. All they cared about was tearing down all tradition out of hatred of heterosexuals along with this countries institutions. What is true is that in time the rage has dissipated but the hatred remains.

    Comment by Richard Bell — November 20, 2012 @ 8:51 pm - November 20, 2012

  6. No RB, I (for one) have never forgotten that. I remember being a voice in the wilderness for gay marriage in the 1990s way before the Gay Left wanted it. I’m not sure where your point is going to.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 21, 2012 @ 1:36 am - November 21, 2012

  7. I see where RB is going. To many on the left, this whole “marriage equality” business was nothing more than a F-U to organized religion. That’s why you had guys like Dan Savage so prominent in 2008. When gay couples and organizations began to show they have the same values as everybody else, and that this wasn’t all about the “rights”, people responded much better. This is a major advancement for gay families, and a bit of a wound to radical folks like Savage.

    Comment by Douglas — November 21, 2012 @ 6:49 am - November 21, 2012

  8. Where I’m going, ILC, is that in the end, the Gay left is still going to hate everyone that is not them and everything that is America. You will never attain any peaceful bliss because the Gay left will never be satisfied and will never stop the hate.

    Comment by Richard Bell — November 21, 2012 @ 8:50 am - November 21, 2012

  9. Richard Bell, after I read your comments, I had to check the top of the page to make sure I wasn’t inadvertently reading The Onion.

    Comment by Richard R — November 21, 2012 @ 9:49 am - November 21, 2012

  10. Ah pur pro-child buggerer is back.

    Comment by The_Livewire — November 21, 2012 @ 10:34 am - November 21, 2012

  11. I’ve long been saying advocates should focus on the meaning of the institution rather than the supposed “right” to state recognition.

    Oh give me a break. Both of these are valid reasons to allow gay marriage that have been offered over and over again, and conservatives rejected them both. Nobody advocates for gay marriage solely because they want to poke a finger in somebody’s eye. Christians just love to play the victim, and imagined that they were under assault by the gays so they could work out their persecution complex (it’s been a long time since the War on Christmas everybody!) Even this strategy of yours is designed to placate the sensitive, religious sort: now the Christians are okay with gay marriage because the gays agreed to only talk about how great the institution of marriage is and how eager they are to participate and how grateful they are to the Christians for defending marriage for all these years…. BLECH.

    There has never been a legitimate argument against gay marriage, and everyone who tried almost invariably revealed themselves to be an authoritarian religious fanatic. Gay marriage is such an easy issue if you understand the Constitution, or failing that, a four year old’s sense of fairness. Gay marriage is passing now because all of the religious doom-saying has been exposed as utter bullshit and because people are realizing how little stuff like this matters in the scheme of things.

    Comment by Levi — November 21, 2012 @ 6:07 pm - November 21, 2012

  12. Fine, Levi, if they’ve been offered again and again, please provide links to gay groups saying as much.

    And are you really saying that everyone who opposed state recognition of gay marriage proved themselves to be an authoritarian fanatic? Wow, you are judgmental.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — November 21, 2012 @ 6:13 pm - November 21, 2012

  13. Dan,

    Levi never provides links, that would be too much like work.

    While I disagree with the ends, I do agree with you on the means.

    Comment by The_Livewire — November 21, 2012 @ 6:35 pm - November 21, 2012

  14. Richard I have no doubts that for some on the gay left that their goal is the destruction of the institution, but I also believe that there are a lot of gays and lesbians who want the institution because of what it means.

    What I find interesting is that het couples who want to toss a big F You! to religious conservatives generally don’t want the institution or the “piece of paper” and once gay marriage is more common in more states that extremists will likely follow the F You method of het couples.

    Comment by Just Me — November 22, 2012 @ 12:05 pm - November 22, 2012

  15. Jim Geraghty writes at National Review that Republicans need to confront why their party is less popular than its conservative economic ideas (which a majority of Americans say they support, as long as they’re not attached to Republican candidates). Among his examples of how the party alienates voters it should seek to include:
    It seems to be a knee-jerk, not-really-in-jest comparison when some conservatives discuss the issue of gay marriage: If two men or two women can get married, why not a man and an animal? … At a recent conservative gathering, one well-known pundit exclaimed, “Why can’t I marry my cat?”

    Now, think about how this argument sounds to any gay or lesbian [person] or to anyone who loves them — to their mothers, fathers, brothers, and friends. It takes a consensual relationship that more and more Americans see practiced by their friends, neighbors, and relatives and equates it with criminal acts, among the most reviled in our society. Put another way, if some jerk in a bar came up and compared your relationship to your spouse to bestiality, you would probably be sorely tempted to knock his teeth out

    Comment by rusty — November 22, 2012 @ 10:23 pm - November 22, 2012

  16. The answer is simple, rusty.

    Gay-sex marriage is comparable because you are demanding that marriage recognition be extended based solely on your wanting to have sex with that individual or person.

    The entire statement of gay-sex marriage is that you should be allowed to marry whatever you wish to have sex with, and that to not allow such things is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Furthermore, gay-sex liberals such as yourself have stated that strictures on with whom you wish to have sex are violations of the same Fourteenth Amendment, and that it is unconstitutional to ban anyone from having sex with whatever they want at any time.

    Hence the point. People want to have sex with animals; therefore they must be allowed to marry them. People want to have sex with children; therefore they must be allowed to marry them. People want to have sex with blood relatives; therefore they must be allowed to marry them. Your whining and screaming and crying has destroyed any legal basis for bans to prevent any of the above, since you have made sex with whatever you want an absolute and inviolable “right”.

    The rest is details. No one seriously believes that sexual libertines like yourself and your friend Levi who scream and piss yourself that there’s nothing wrong with coercing people into sex and that having to wear a condom is too much work and responsibility are going to limit yourself to people of age, people who aren’t related to you, and human beings. You’re going to do whatever you damn well please and insist that we pay the bills for it.

    Hence we take a stand. Society is enhanced by encouraging opposite-sex couples to stay together and raise the children they produce. The money spent on you and your sex partners is wasted, since you will neither produce children or moderate your behavior in any way that is beneficial to society.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 23, 2012 @ 12:21 pm - November 23, 2012

  17. To skeptical conservatives, Mehlman says they won’t need to change their core convictions about marriage to support the ability of same-sex couples to enter into civil marriages:

    Some misperceive the issue of marriage equality as exclusively progressive. Yet what could be more conservative than support for more freedom and less government? And what freedom is more basic than the right to marry the person you love? Smaller, less intrusive government surely includes an individual deciding whom to marry. Allowing civil marriage for same-sex couples will cultivate community stability, encourage fidelity and commitment, and foster family values.

    Comment by rusty — November 23, 2012 @ 6:16 pm - November 23, 2012

  18. I personally believe marriage to be between a man and a woman. But at the same time I don’t think the federal government’s job to define marriage because I think that’d be better fit for the states to decide for themselves cause the feds tend to screw up or becomes very difficult to handle. Hell maybe even just take marriage out of government at all eventually and just let the church take care of that. Also what the Stalinists do with institutions like marriage is nothing to do with genuine civil rights. It’s to tear down everything resembling the United States of America as originally founded. I’d even say they don’t give a damn about whether or not LGBT can marry legally. They just want to for the reason I just pointed out.

    Comment by Jonathan Gillispie — November 23, 2012 @ 7:16 pm - November 23, 2012

  19. That is not to say there ain’t those who’d want to marry for genuine reasons, I’m just saying the leftists and authoritarians particularly celebrities are there to destroy the culture and the country whatever way possible.

    Comment by Jonathan Gillispie — November 23, 2012 @ 7:20 pm - November 23, 2012

  20. And what freedom is more basic than the right to marry the person you love? Smaller, less intrusive government surely includes an individual deciding whom to marry.

    Comment by rusty — November 23, 2012 @ 6:16 pm – November 23, 2012

    So Mehlman is supporting the overturning of bans on bestiality, incest, pedophilia, and plural marriage?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 23, 2012 @ 7:41 pm - November 23, 2012

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