It is hard to overstate how much of a big fucking deal yesterday was for LGBT rights. Meteor Blades writes about the four states that dealt a blow to bigotry, and much more has been written about it elsewhere.
But I'd like to point out just how historic this is.
It wasn't long ago that the bigots at NOM were giddy about the issue of civil rights being put on a ballot. And why were they so giddy? Because, until yesterday, every time this issue was put to voters, it lost. Every. Single. Time.
We were, as Rachel Maddow once put it, 0 for 32.
So NOM and every other bigot was thrilled to have this on the ballots again. Run up the score a little, right? Why not?
Except that didn't happen.
For the first time in history, LGBT equality was voted on in four states, and LBGT equality won.
Again, I simply can't overstate how big of a deal this is.
Remember, this has never happened before, and it wasn't supposed to happen quite like this. Back in February of this year (eons in political time), a fascinating article about Maggie Gallagher, the nation's most ridiculous anti-gay bigot, was published at Salon.com.
The organizations Gallagher founded, and the fundraising and activist networks she continues to build, are active everywhere that same-sex marriage — currently legal in six states and Washington, D.C. — is being contested. Her armies are working to pass anti-gay-marriage amendments in North Carolina and Minnesota and to stop gay-marriage bills or referendums in Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington state.They were working hard, and back then it seemed inevitable that they would win most of those battles because, again, we had a long history of losing them. But towards the end of that article (and I encourage you to read the whole thing), one of Gallagher's fellow bigots let something slip.
In May 2011, a Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans believe the law should recognize same-sex marriages. It was the first time any major national poll found majority support for same-sex marriage. And support was strongest among young people, those 18 to 34, and weakest among those over age 55. Gallagher’s people are dying off; her enemies are breeding. Meanwhile, the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy proceeded without incident last year: a non-event that surely bodes well for same-sex marriage, one more aspect of gay men’s and lesbians’ full inclusion in civil society. One prominent ally of Gallagher’s told me that the “fight is over.” There will be minor victories to come, but “we’re going to lose,” the ally said.Then, an interesting if not at all surprising thing happened. The bigots were exposed here by Scott Wooledge. They saw the writing on the wall. Support for equality was trending up across the nation. They had to find a way to stop that momentum, so they decided that stoking animosity between communities of color and the LGBT community would ensure a few more years of stalled LGBT rights.
(This plan to pit African Americans and LGBT folks against each other seemed obvious to many. I was personally offended by the idea that all LGBT people are white and all AA people are homophobes, but for the puroses of this diary, I am not going to delve into that issue in depth. Shannika and Denise Oliver Velez have written about this far more eloquently than I can.)
And they could have gotten away with it too, if not for the fact that prominent groups, such as the NAACP, endorsed marriage equality, calling it a matter of civil rights.
Oh, and, right, some other really prominent guy, like THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES endorsed marriage equality.
And while some fretted over what this would mean to his chances of being re-elected, it's important to note that he was the FIRST sitting president to state his support for full marriage equality. And not only did it not become a contentious campaign issue, the Democratic party embraced it and championed the idea. It was a net positive for them.
For the first time in history, marriage equality was championed by one major political party, and we won.
We won big. We won decisively.
We won by taking a formerly controversial position and presenting it as a matter of basic fairness.
I know that there are many straight allies on this site who are proud of what we did last night.
But I don't think it's possible to fully explain what this means to me as a gay American. For the first time in my entire life, I was not a political football. I was not supported tepidly, drawing the line at the word "marriage."
I was supported loudly and enthusiastically.
The guy who did that WON.
It won in four states, and it won at the presidential level. It won in Wisconsin, where we elected the first openly gay female to the senate.
Up and down the ballot, equality won.
This has never happened before.