• Gay BlogAds

  • Gay News Watch

  • Chris Tweets

  • « The expectation lowering continues | Main | ENDA vs civil unions »

    November 25, 2008

    Toward a more civil union (II)

    Posted by: Chris

    President_obama Don't miss this fantastic column by Jonathan Rauch in the Advocate, and I say that not only because I agree with him. In addition to some prescient analysis of the 2008 election, which he reads as the triumph of "Karl Rove divisiveness" by "Barack Obama unity," Jonathan argues that growing acceptance of gays should mean a mindset change for the movement:

    The old civil rights model, with its roots in an era when homosexuals were politically friendless pariahs, focuses on such matters as protection from bigoted employers and hate crimes. In truth, for most gay Americans the civic responsibility agenda, with its focus on service to family (marriage), children (mentoring and adoption), and country (the military), is more relevant and important.

    With a comparatively sympathetic administration and Congress taking office in Washington, the time has come to pivot away from the culturally defensive pariah agenda -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, for instance -- and toward the culturally transformative family agenda. Priority 1, and well ahead of whatever comes second, should be federal recognition of state civil unions.

    This is what I've been arguing (here and here) as well. It's relationship recognition that has sent tens of thousands into the streets. That way lies the future of the movement.

    In theory, it doesn't have to be zero sum between ENDA/hate crimes vs. federal civil unions, but that's probably the political reality. It will be hard enough to get congressional Democrats to take on civil unions, despite strong public support. And history suggests they'll expect us to sit down and shut up (and once again open up our checkbooks) once ENDA and hate crimes are law, despite the fact they've promised passage for years and both are backed by overwhelming supermajorities in polls.

    Worse yet, all signs are that the movement "leadership" is already signed, sealed and delivered on this crappy deal.



    TrackBack URL for this entry:


    1. Hawyer on Nov 26, 2008 10:08:39 PM:


      "The public has weighed the Karl Rove narrative (culture-war politics strengthens America by defending our values) against the Barack Obama narrative (culture-war politics weakens America by undermining our unity) and has come down on Obama’s side."

      Chris - I am in concert with you. I have always applauded Jonathan on his clarity and strength of purpose. This piece is right on.

    1. Jarrod on Nov 27, 2008 7:41:43 PM:

      It will be hard for the community to convince the general public of the sincerity of some new wholesome agenda. Remember the most 'conservative' gay role models are people like Andrew Sullivan who was caught in a lurid HIV+ barebacking scandal. He says he had nothing to regret for seeking bareback orgies with anonymous partners who would receive his semen containing the AIDS virus. Sullivan also supports recreational drug use too and has written about attending leather fests while partnered (open relationship?). Will the general public really believe we are capable of wholesome monogamy and the dedication to raise kids? Remember, elite leftist liberals like Rosie O'Donnell are considered to be the most immoral and anti-family.

    1. Attmay on Dec 1, 2008 1:58:50 AM:

      Rosie O'Donnell is human garbage. She's hated because she's generally an indecent human being. Her recent live TV show was one of the worst things I've ever seen, and I've seen some clunkers. Her "Queen of Nice" persona on her 1996-2002 talk show was a smokescreen. I can't imagine anyone being in a relationship with her.

      There is little similar vitriol towards Ellen DeGeneres, because apparently she doesn't treat people so poorly.

      No one on the right, gay or heterosexual, considers Andrew Sullivan a role model for anything. No one ever did. The difference is that the past four years has seen him become unhinged to the point of operatic caricature.

      But he's the only one so far.

      The fact is we as a whole cannot afford to be tied exclusively to one party. It makes it easier for the other party to demonize us and the party we support to take us for granted. Fiscal conservatives, for instance, are all out of love with the GOP. They have every reason to be.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    © Citizen Crain - All Rights Reserved | Design by E.Webscapes Design Studio | Powered by: TypePad