April 20, 2011
By Rick Jacobs
Nate Sliver today in the New York Times demonstrates yet again that the best thing that ever happened to the LGBT community was the passage of Prop 8. Every time I say that, people get all bent out of shape. “How can losing our rights in an election be good for us?” people often ask.
It’s simple, really. Prior to Prop. 8, no one in California really thought we could lose. There was no real movement for full equality. Look back to 2004 when Bush and Co. used anti-marriage and anti-LGBT ballot measures to drive right-wing turn out. Did you fight against those measures? Did anyone ask you to? Yes, some folks did, but there was no movement.
Remember in December 2004, Senator Feinstein herself said that pushing for same-sex marriage rights may have been too much too soon, as if somehow Gavin Newsom’s brief winter of love may have lost us the election. But then Senator Feinstein, like many in this country, completed her own journey and cut perhaps the best spot of that whole not-so-fun Prop. 8 campaign, saying that same-sex marriage is right for California. And now she has applied her formidable talents and determination to winning repeal of the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) in the Senate. As someone who has watched her for years, never doubt her ability to get something done, no matter how tough.
Nate Sliver points out that for the first time in an amalgam of polls, 51% of Americans favor legalized same-sex marriage with 47% in opposition. He further shows that the pace of acceptance of marriage equality has accelerated in the past three years.
1. Prop. 8 passed and that galvanized all of us. We were in the streets in November and December of 2008.
2. We did not rest until repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) passed.
3. That collective movement across the nation demonstrated that discrimination against LGBT people profits no one, and as Sliver says, is beginning to hurt Republicans and right-wingers.
4. The Internet. Telling stories changes minds as we saw with Louis Marinelli right here on P8TT. The Internet allows for many more of those stories to be told and more importantly viewed very widely.
5. The Prop. 8 trial. It upset the apple cart and also made clear that only by reaching for full equality, not fractions, will we end this battle.
We’re not done by a long shot, but thanks to you, we’re getting there. This poll helps us repeal DOMA. And the work on repealing DOMA helps improve the next set of public polling results. It’ll be a bumpy ride, but we’re winning.