Are gays selling out by seeking the right to marry?

A gay man and his terminally ill, bed-ridden partner fly to the state of Maryland from their home state of Ohio, which bans gay marriages.

They get married in the plane on the tarmac, by one of their aunts, who was specially ordained for this moment. (They raised money online to pay for the private jet necessary to transport the one husband, who is stuck in bed with ALS.)

The picture below is of them saying their vows.  The partner on the left was choking up.  The partner on the right, only barely able to move his hand, slowly forced out the words “I do.”

Are they civil rights sell-outs for wanting to get married before the one man dies?


Some would say yes.  And for a variety of reasons.  First, the two are gay, white and men.  Lately there’s been a growing chorus of scorn from some on the (far) left against the evil that is gay white men.  Gay white men run all the gay groups, we’re told. Gay white men run all the top blogs (as if someone hired us).  If only gay white men didn’t exist, the gay rights movement, and the world, would be a better place.

The demonization of gay white men goes hand in hand with the demonization of the modern gay rights agenda.  And I don’t mean demonization from the right, I mean demonization from the left. There are those who consider the two men in the photo above to be traitors because they’re embracing a heterosexual institution, marriage.  The naysayers are also not happy with gay rights groups that pursue marriage equality, or pursued the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Why?  Because they don’t like either institution, and they feel that these pursuits don’t benefit a large number of gay people.  Though it’s not clear what gay person doesn’t potentially benefit from marriage, and the same goes for access to the military, GI benefits, and more – it’s an equal opportunity opportunity.

What do they think would be more beneficial? Seeking passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would put into federal law a ban on workplace discrimination against gay and trans people (it’s currently legal under federal civil rights law to fire someone for being gay or trans).

And they’re not wrong for wanting ENDA.  It’s a great law, and I’ve been working on its passage since 1996.  But ENDA was going nowhere the past seven years, and we had to fight for something.  Marriage and DADT organically rose to the top of pile.  And I think you’re hard pressed to argue that ENDA is more beneficial than the right to marry, and the over 1,100 federal benefits that go with it.  Not to mention, the cultural sea-change that will come, and is already coming, with the advent of gay marriage.

As for DADT, the nation’s experience with racially integrating the military showed how important an influence it can be to force people of all walks of life to work together and realize that they’re all human beings, equally worthy of respect. I also think the symbolism of openly gay service members, risking their lives for their country, shouldn’t be underestimated in terms of its impact on the larger culture.

Of course, a good number of the folks upset that we pursued the repeal of DADT, and are pursuing marriage equality, would prefer that gay rights organizations abandon the gay rights legal and legislative agenda all together and focus instead on poverty, immigration, racism, and other liberal issues that all of us embrace, but most of us don’t define as “gay.”

I was reading a review of longtime lesbian activist and thinker Urvashi Vaid’s new book, “Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics.”  And I saw this quote, which got me thinking of the two men who got married on the tarmac in Maryland:

“The LGBT movement has been coopted by the very institutions it once sought to transform,” [Vaid] writes. “Heterosexuality, the nuclear family, the monogamous couple-form are our new normal. In place of activism and mobilization, with a handful of notable exceptions, LGBT organizations have become a passive society of spectators, following the lead of donors and pollsters rather than advocating on behalf of sectors of the community that are less economically powerful and less politically popular.”

I’ve written about this aspect of the topic before, specifically concerning immigration reform (but it’s happening with race and poverty issues too).  A number of people were trying to claim that immigration rights are gay rights and gay rights are immigration rights.  They’re not.  They’re all equally worthy struggles, but they’re not all the same struggle in practical terms.  What do I mean by that?  I mean, that if our national gay rights groups stop fighting for marriage equality and ENDA, and instead devote all of their resources to racism and poverty, then they will cease being gay civil rights organizations – they will not be fighting for gay rights.  Sure, they’ll be fighting for another worthy cause – in the same way that immigration groups could stop working on immigration reform and instead focus on defending a woman’s right to choose.  It too is a worthy cause, but I suspect a lot of immigration advocates would have a problem with the switch.

Some would argue, what’s so wrong with gay groups working on race issue – after all, we ask the NAACP to endorse marriage?  And that’s a fair point.  We make coalitions all the time, and it’s fair (and wise) to scratch your coalition partners’ backs on their issues, so that next time they’ll hopefully scratch yours.  And that’s why progressive groups in town routinely sign on to each other’s letters and protests and legislative battles.  We work as a coalition.  But that’s a different thing than criticizing gay groups for working on gay marriage instead of poverty.  Rather than enlarging the agenda for the sake of the coalition, some people want to change the agenda entirely by labeling non- gay rights issues “gay,” while abandoning gay issues entirely, in order to further a set of issues they prefer – issues which are simply not part of the “gay agenda.”

They don’t want us fighting for marriage at all, and even pushing for ENDA.  They want us doing the work of traditional race and poverty groups, full time, instead of gay rights.  And that simply doesn’t make sense if you’re going to claim that you’re a gay rights organization, or a gay rights activist.

To wit: this astonishing article from Rolling Stone on July 12 of this year.  And I quote:

For years, the larger LGBT movement has received criticism for focusing on marriage equality over issues seen as more relevant to working-class people and minorities. “If you’re a waitress in Jackson, Mississippi and you’re working at a job with no healthcare and your girlfriend is working at the local Target or Wal-Mart,” asks New Orleans writer and activist Kenyon Farrow, “how is marriage going to protect you from poverty?”

Excuse me just a moment.  But other minorities fought for their marriage equality 46 years ago, and got it.  But when we fight for ours, nearly half a century later, suddenly the battle is selfish and superfluous. Uh huh.

And we’re now to believe that gay rights groups should no longer fight for gay rights – and they should specifically give up on marriage equality, and probably ENDA too – because some gay people are poor.  The thing is, if you’re poor and your civil rights aren’t a priority for you, there already exist anti-poverty organizations that are fighting an anti-poverty agenda.  It’s unclear why gay rights groups need to disband in order to fight the agenda of organizations that already exist – how many poverty groups disbanded when Matthew Shepard was murdered?  He needed a hell of a lot more than a job.

No one is saying that we won’t help the larger progressive coalition, we will, and are.  But these folks quite literally want us to stop fighting for our civil rights, and more specifically, stop using our civil rights organizations to fight for our civil rights.  They think we should be ashamed that we’re fighting for our civil rights.

Okay, I’m game.  Then why not play the same game with environment issues.  Maybe environmental groups should stop fighting the Keystone Pipeline, and more generally stop fighting global warming, because neither of those causes will help poor environmentalists get a job today. It’s time the Sierra Club and WWF gave up on the environment and devoted all of their time to poverty.

And you know what else won’t help you get a job today?  Protecting a woman’s right to choose.  Opposing the death penalty.  Worrying about Edward Snowden and the NSA.  Fighting to strengthen the Voting Rights Act.  Getting guns off the street.  Immigration reform (how is that going to help some poor lesbian couple in Appalachia find a job?)  Or being outraged over the Zimmerman verdict, for that matter – a righteous cause, but it’s not going to help someone pay their rent.  According to these folks, we should all give up any battle we’re fighting, and dismantle any organization fighting that battle, and redirect all of our energies to fighting poverty.

Or to put it more succinctly: Please stop working on your pet issue, so you can work on their pet issue instead.

I chose to devote a good portion of my life to work on gay rights issues because I’m gay, and I’ve suffered a lot through my life because of it, including losing people I loved.  I work on other progressive causes too, but it’s clear that my #1 commitment is to gay rights.  And that’s fine.  Other people have made their #1 commitment immigration, or the environment, or women’s rights.  All of that is fine too.  And in fact, quite necessary.  If I spent as much time working on other issues as I did gay rights, I’d be an expert on none of them, and far less effective at advancing any of them.  Do I care about all those issues?  Absolutely?  Do I think they’re all equally meritorious in the grand pantheon of progressive causes?  Yes.  But I already work 14 hour days, so to work on the environment and race and poverty and women’s rights as many hours a day as I work on gay rights, would mean cutting back on my gay rights work.  And I’m not willing to do that, not until win a lot few more victories, and young gay, bi and trans kids stop killing themselves.

I count on the fact that others out there are working 14 hour days on their pet causes, just as I do the same on gay rights.  And our specialization, I’d argue, make each of us that much more effective than if we all worked on everything equally.  And that benefits all of our causes all the more.

The irony is, that for all the harping about how we’re working on the wrong agenda, and how it’s all the fault of the gay white men, the gay rights movement in America is considered one of the most successful, if not the most successful, movement in progressive politics today.

And it’s not just relative.  We’ve made some remarkable advances in the last decade, let alone the last year, and the last month.  For people who are so wrong all the time, we must be doing something right.

At San Diego Pride this past Saturday, there were reportedly more than 100 police officers in the Pride parade in uniform.  The contingent included this squad car containing two married gay cops – check out the front windshield:


“Just married” cop car in the San Diego Pride parade, July 13, 2013. Photo by Fergal O’Doherty.

A friend emailed me last night, after seeing the photo of the cop car.  He said that it ends not with revolution, but with assimilation.  And you know what?  I’m totally okay with that.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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212 Responses to “Are gays selling out by seeking the right to marry?”

  1. SarahDot says:

    ENDA is way more important than marriage equality. It stinks that gay couples don’t get spousal visitation privileges in a hospital without marriage. It sucks even worse when a gay man dies because he can’t get a job and health insurance to be in the hospital in the first place. DADT and Marriage equality rose to the top because the gay and lesbian establishment in NY and SF didn’t have those rights. They did have employment rights, so why fight for those? The fact that they don’t care about the employment rights of half the country for gays and 2/3 the country for trans people does not make those rights less significant.

  2. future_man says:

    Yes, marriage equity looks very much like a class issue…at least on the surface.

    Yet, if marriage equity is a ploy by evil gay white males to increase their power and dominate others then why are the majority of same sex marrieds female???

    In Vermont it’s two thirds women to one third men.

    How are we to imagine this works?

    In Vermont is there an especially large core group of coopted lesbian women being programmed to covertly assist in class domination by a smaller elite cadre of gay male evildoers?

    Or is it just that Vermont lesbians have produced more children over the last few decades than gay men and they are deciding to marry out of concern for the wellbeing of their offspring?

  3. For those seeking the abridged version:
    “Are these two men held up as the straw men in an argument which is in fact about White Gay Men of privilege specifically intending to change the definition of “equality” to the notion that relationships between couples such as the ones from Ohio deserve tax breaks?”

  4. Ask the correct question.

    “Are these two men, who are in a loving and committed relationship, traveling from a state which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity in state employment, even though it is this couple’s gender non conformity to cis-het binary notions of man/woman which is the root of discrimination they face, to the state of Maryland which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity, except in state employment, where, like Ohio, discrimination based on non conformity to gender, in state employment is issued only by executive order, such orders subject to revocation, in order to consecrate the bond of that loving and committed relationship in Maryland, a state which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity, except in state employment, held up as the straw men in an argument which is in fact not about whether these two men, who are in a loving and committed relationship, traveling from a state which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity in state employment, even though it is this couple’s gender non conformity to cis-het binary notions of man/woman which is the root of discrimination they face, to the state of Maryland which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity, except in state employment, where, like Ohio, discrimination based on non conformity to gender, in state employment is issued only by executive order, such orders subject to revocation, in order to consecrate the bond of that loving and committed relationship in Maryland, a state which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity, except in state employment, yet about the Gay establishment, aka Gay Inc, aka HRC, aka White Gay Men of privilege specifically intending to change the definition of “equality” from multitude of places like Ohio which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity in state employment, even though it is this couple’s gender non conformity to cis-het binary notions of man/woman which is the root of discrimination they face, and Maryland which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity, except in state employment, where, like Ohio, discrimination based on non conformity to gender, in state employment is issued only by executive order, such orders subject to revocation, to the notion that loving and committed relationships between couples such as the ones from Ohio,i.e. these two men, who are in a loving and committed relationship, traveling from a state which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity in state employment, even though it is this couple’s gender non conformity to cis-het binary notions of man/woman which is the root of discrimination they face, to the state of Maryland which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity, except in state employment, where, like Ohio, discrimination based on non conformity to gender, in state employment is issued only by executive order, such orders subject to revocation, deserve tax breaks?”

    {drops mic}

  5. trinu says:

    The Michigan case was dismissed, not allowed to go to trial. The New Jersey and and Michigan cases would have resulted in long sentences anyway; there was no charge in either case under any HIV specific law, just general assault laws and they were facing felony assault charges anyways for assaulting officers. The only case they mention of an HIV specific law being applied are the Iowa case where the man did not disclose his status and the Ohio case where the disclosure or lack thereof is a he-said/she-said case. Indeed, the article you cite mentions “more than 200 ‘failure to disclose’ convictions.” I have looked at the articles on HIV advocacy sites and most of the vitriol over these laws seems to be geared towards the repeal of disclosure laws, with the occasional mention of the Texas spitting case. I agree that the sentence and charge in the Texas spitting case were excessive but that does not mean we should repeal laws requiring informed consent for sex.

  6. dula says:

    The topic of discussion was well-off white gay men. Believe me I have no problem criticizing rich white and black straight men and women also…if they perpetrate class warfare.

  7. Julien Pierre says:


    Clearly the words “HIV criminalization” mean something different to you than to most everybody else.

    There are several more cases of specious prosecution based on HIV status that are not non-disclosure during sex listed here : . They have been brought in several different states.

    Even if not codified explicitly in law with the word HIV, the fact that the criminal justice system overall even allows these charges to be brought and go to trial clearly constitutes criminalization of HIV. The same charges could never be brought against people with almost any other disease.

  8. ThomasKDye says:

    Right… freakin’ …. ON.

  9. trinu says:

    “They know far better.” Please enlighten me as to issues other than non-disclosure. All I’m aware of is ONE instance of someone who was convicted for spitting, which is a far cry from “37 states,” and although overreaching still does not constitute a ban on having HIV in and of itself.

  10. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    ” reasonably wealthy, well connected, Gay white men are oblivious to the economic struggles of most Americans.”

    I know two men who would fit that description, but I know a lot of other gay men who are anything but reasonable wealthy and well connected. I’m not talking about friends, but just passing acquaintances. Do these reasonably wealthy, well connected gay men have a nest somewhere?

  11. Julien Pierre says:

    I would rather use their designation than yours, they know far better. Non-disclosure is hardly the only issue at stake. There have been plenty of horrendous other prosecutions based on HIV status that would never happen against HIV negative persons.

  12. trinu says:

    They can call them whatever they want, but the laws do not criminalize having HIV. They criminalize exposing someone to HIV without informed consent; there is a big difference. If you want to see a place that criminalizes HIV visit Uganda.

  13. What set me off is that she keeps saying well-off white gay men are the problem when it sounds like she’s describing well-off people, period. But for some reason the gay man thing keeps coming up. That’s what I have a problem with.

  14. Thank you :)

  15. I just updated the post with a wonderful Rolling Stone article talking about how gay groups should stop fighting for marriage equality since marriage equality won’t help the poor and minorities find jobs. The article quotes people explicitly arguing what I warned about in this piece. But I wonder, will stopping the Keystone Pipeline help poor minorities get a job? No. How about defending Roe? No. Or stopping global warming? No. Hell, even defending the Voting Rights Act won’t help you pay your bills. And neither will worrying about the George Zimmerman acquittal.

    What a load of garbage. Seriously, do go read that article in order to fully understand what these folks are trying to do.

  16. Julien Pierre says:

    Lambda Legal disagrees with you and correctly calls such laws “HIV criminalization”.

  17. trinu says:

    There are NO laws in the USA criminalizing HIV. They just say that people with HIV have to tell their sexual partners. Whether you support or oppose those laws, they are NOT criminalization of HIV.

  18. Dan says:

    Sounds more like you are promiscuous and you want to turn yourself into a persecuted victim.

    You are free to be promiscuous if you like, but as happens in life, others are free to take note of your conduct and draw conclusions about you. A person who goes from partner to partner, orgasm to orgasm, demonstrates a character deficit. When you sleep around, you don’t have to care about, let alone love, the person whose body you just used. If that’s what you are about, then go for it. But don’t expect others to celebrate hedonism and selfishness.

  19. Steven says:

    “I can easily foresee a time when young men and women come out and are expected to date, marry, and settle down, and where Pride parades are a thing of the past,”

    Good! Getting to know someone, having enduring social connection, having stable relationships based on love rather than large numbers of loveless encounters based on sex – sounds like a great trade.

    I am not of the belief that dating/marriage is the only way to be happy. Gays in the early 70s could have created a parallel culture that was different from mainstream society but just as sustaining. But they didn’t do that. What they created was little more than a more elaborate, commercialized version of what they had in the 1960s. It did a disservice to all LGBs. It has taken decades for this subculture to wither and now its demise has accelerated. I say “faster, please.”

  20. Steven says:

    If you want a good example of Vaid’s philosophy in action, just look at the so-called Task Force, a group that she used to lead.

    This is a group that has made it a primary objective to de-prioritize gay civil rights. Even while it opines on all manner of issues other than gay civil rights, it remains probably the least effective political group in existence. After 40 years, it is still working fruitlessly to achieve its legislative agenda items from 1973. It accomplishes no tasks and is not much of a force.

    If you leafed through the 2012 brochure for their major annual conference, you would find 5 pages of etiquette rules for transsexuals, polyamorists and the chemically-sensitive. You’ll find all sorts of workshops on classism and such. But you wouldn’t find any organizing for the 4 massive state marriage battles. And indeed, the “Task Force” did nothing in 3 of the 4 states and only a token amount in MN. Just as it was completely absent from the DADT repeal battle.

    What does it do? Well, go look at its annual report where it purports to justify its existence. Its “accomplishments” are invariably described in vague, meaningless language designed to shield their performance from evaluation. Lots of “worked with” and “in coalition with others” and “strove tirelessly” type language. But no actual accomplishments. It does hold the Creating Change conference, with its multiple pages of etiquette rules. But other than enriching the shareholders of Sheraton and Hilton, it is hard to see what change that conference has created after 3 decades. Oh, and it spent a lot of gay money producing a report on transgender Aleutian Islanders. Mind you, it didn’t actually reach out and help any transgender Aleutian Islanders; it just produced a nice glossy report.

    This is what Vaid sees as a model for the gay rights movement. Pretty sweet deal for the professional activist who doesn’t like to actually sully herself by working on gay rights and who dislikes being measured for performance. Not so sweet for the rest of us. The sooner groups like the Task Force dissolve themselves and are replaced by competent, focused orgs, the better.

  21. dcinsider says:

    You are too easily offended.

  22. karmanot says:

    I suspect that’s were a lot of we Iris got our zip! :-)

  23. karmanot says:

    Ah, that explains the Judge Judy nastiness.

  24. Kes says:

    ?? SC, pretty sure you’ve now crossed the line into outright delusion. I must’ve really pissed you off, huh? Who knew that a middle-aged white dude would go so off-the-deep-end over having his racial and sex-based entitlement complex pointed out? Oh, wait…feminism and critical race theory totally called that.

  25. karmanot says:

    Rattle your ovipositor Cicada, that will tell him off!

  26. karmanot says:

    “the delicate personal ideologies of the screechers.” Sums you up yo a ‘T.’

  27. karmanot says:

    “before you drag out poor Harvey Milk’s body” In my memory Harvey was never a buffoon. That is offensive. Asshole!

  28. karmanot says:


  29. karmanot says:

    I’d rather bring a can of RAID to your nonsense.

  30. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Grin through the embarrassment of your pathetic little power play blowing up in your face.

  31. Kes says:

    Ha ha ha. Yeah, okay. Whatever. :P

  32. ronbo says:

    Most excellent post, John. The proof is in the comments section.

  33. Skeptical Cicada says:

    If you’re a gay couple getting ripped apart by the immigration system, I don’t think ’70s revolutionary drivel is going to keep you together.

  34. Skeptical Cicada says:

    No, you’re just a dissembling poser. No one capitalizes Gay either, you fraud. Sorry, but we won’t be changing redirecting the movement to service your non-gay agenda.

  35. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Why, yes, I am an attorney, one who has been practicing civil rights law for 20 years. And you’re talking out of your ass, you mindless ideologue.

  36. Kes says:

    Don’t you have something better to do than follow my comments around, SC? I realize you have a bug up your butt, but this is kind of pathetic. By the way, Newsflash: Are you an attorney? Because I am. And I know precisely how quickly queer and trans theory is altering the operating definitions of “gender” v. “sex”. Hey, why don’t you go find some other feminist so you can complain about how they’re being mean to you, white man? :)

  37. dula says:

    Money is finite. You seem to have a lot of time.

  38. dula says:

    If society breaks down based on economic chaos, I don’t think Gay marriage is going to save us.

  39. dula says:

    Yeah, I’m just Gay today.

  40. silas1898 says:

    Perhaps, but they are labeled as leftists by the Village and in America today perception = reality. If it’s not on the TV, it didn’t happen.

  41. dula says:

    Fair enough. People who have done well under predatory capitalism are oblivious (classist) to those who haven’t. You are privileged not because you are white but because your aptitudes, calling, talents, interests, are rewarded by capitalism. The fact that your ancestors and that you’ve worked hard is irrelevant. Any maid in any shitty motel in this country works harder than you. Clean toilets all day and then say you’re not privileged. Most of our ancestors worked hard in physically demanding industrial jobs or on farms. You got lucky that your particular interests and abilities led you to career paths that rewarded$ you more than a nanny, nurse, teacher, social worker, garbage man, etc. In order for our society to run well we all have to contribute what we can based on our own particular talents/aptitudes. The white, wealthy, well connected Gay men I was referring to in my posts are people who disregard the necessary contributions made by economically disadvantaged workers who keep society running effectively. It is nowhere on their radar. This is why the face of Gay activism, well off, white men, are perceived as privileged. That doesn’t mean Gay activists have to fight for other causes, just simply that more hearts and minds can be won if the movement doesn’t appear so out of touch with the economic situation of most Americans. Btw, you have done well to address these sorts of economic issues with your coverage of OWS, financial fraud, poverty, etc…so I wasn’t referring to you specifically, but to the face of Gay activism in general.

  42. Skeptical Cicada says:

    As a homosexual? Funny, I don’t know any self-respecting gay man or lesbian who self-identifies as “a homosexual,” terminology that even the GLAAD media guide advises journalists to avoid. Your usage raises an interesting question as to just what you are or are pretending to be.

  43. Skeptical Cicada says:

    It’s also possible to support progressive issues relating to class without pretending they are gay issues and diverting resources from gay groups to support them. Sorry, you’re not getting those resources diverted and you’re not hijacking this movement. Get over it.

  44. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I know what you said. Resources are finite, dear. You don’t get to have it both ways.

  45. Skeptical Cicada says:

    She should have taught you how to spell arguments.

  46. Skeptical Cicada says:

    As a gay man, I find your effort to exploit your sexual orientation in presuming to speak for me insulting. I have no doubt that your ideological commitment to neo-Marxism trumps everything in your view. You’re being gay has nothing to do with it.

  47. Skeptical Cicada says:

    OMG you’re so stuffed full of ideology. Newsflash: The word “gender” doesn’t have only the specialized meaning that it has recently acquired in feminist and queer theory, a specialized usage which–surprise–we’re all familiar with and don’t need precociously “educating” about. For 40 years, courts have used “gender” as a synonym for sex, and BeccaM is proposing a law, not pondering the nuances of feminist or queer theory. I seriously don’t know how someone as precious as you functions in daily life.

  48. Again, you’re using buzzwords and I have no idea what you mean. I think for a lot of you, on your side of the aisle on these issues, there’s a series of buzzwords, a vocabulary, that mean a lot to you, but don’t mean a lot to those of us on the outside. And you use them, in place of an argument you already know the details of, and you think we therefore understand the details simply because you used the buzzword. I don’t.

  49. I still don’t know what that means. What, they’re not active on labor issues? Who is, outside of labor activists? Are other white men, straight ones, in NYC and LA active on labor issues? I doubt it. I suspect they’re probably worse than gay men. I just don’t accept the underlying premise unless it’s explained in more detail – in what way are gay white men any worse than any other white man when it comes to any progressive issues? Again, I’d argue they’re probably better than white men on average.

  50. That was in yesterday’s schedule :)

  51. ldfrmc says:

    All causes or just a few?

    (the difference of public versus private causes – ENDA versus DADT and marriage)

    At the end of the day, all the labels fall away.
    I come home to you, my love, and say:
    If I can realize this much with you,
    I can realize as much for others too.

    Job, duty, marriage – all bonds. Each finds his own way. For me, that begins and ends with one other, each day, for each “cause.” And I cannot mistake myself, alone, for a “cause.”

  52. emjayay says:

    imbecile insect
    Sister Georgina taught us these are not legitimate arguements. Just before rapping our knuckles with a wooden ruler.

  53. dcinsider says:

    I believe my post reflects that I have met many, many far left politicos, hence the conclusion drawn. Larry Kramer, like all people, has his pluses and minuses, and I have no doubt he’d agree with that statement. He can also be a buffoon at times.

    Let’s not be so blind to suggest that anyone we admire is always correct or is always perfect, or is somehow immune from criticism. We see that too much from the President’s most ardent admirers.

    So, yes, Larry Kramer can certainly be a buffoon, and has been on many occasions. As for the people John refers to in his post, I have met many, including Urvashi Vaid and she is often wrong.

    And before you drag out poor Harvey Milk’s body, he was almost certainly a buffoon on occasion as well :)

  54. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Sigh. Enjoy that fantasy world of bad ’70s pop Marxism you’re living in.

  55. Kes says:

    Becca, I don’t necessarily agree that “gender” protection will cover discrimination on the basis of sex. For example, if somebody is being discriminated against because they menstruate or are pregnant, that is not gender discrimination (trans men can menstruate or become pregnant) – it is discrimination on the basis of being female, ie sex.

  56. Bill_Perdue says:

    I need a favor. If you see someone using my name misspelled as Purdue instead of teh correct Perdue, or Perdue without the avatar, or misspelled as Purdue with the avatar please give me a heads up.

  57. Bill_Perdue says:

    There is no draft and those who join to ‘get an education’ are fooling themselves – they’re either going to murdering civilians or enabling the murder of civilians to make the world safe for American corporations.

    Decent people won’t join the US military murder machine. They should be discouraged from doing and urged to get out asap.

    Marriage equality is a separate question and a valid one to fight for but other questions like ENDA or a CRA are more important, That doesn’t mean they’re juxtaposed, we can multitask and should try to involves as many people as we can in mass movements for marriage equality, for support for gay/antiwar hero Brad Manning and for tough anti-discrimination laws. The way to do all that is, of course, by abandoning Democrats and Republicans and building left and workers parties.

  58. Bill_Perdue says:

    No politics, just garbage personal criticisms. If you want to be taken seriously stay political.

  59. Bill_Perdue says:

    You’re not talking about the kind of laws I advocate. Tough anti-discrimination laws with robust penalties and making it easy to sue would be effective,

    It’s unclear why you think that rule by the rich – who use the cults, bigotry, racism, misogyny and immigrant bashing to prop up thier rule – is a good thing.

    “Support for gay rights does not positively correlate with being working class.” So? The fight to create a workers state will inevitably lead to advances in political consciousness.

  60. BeccaM says:

    Shunning and permanent underclass status often leads to lives of crime. It’s the same deal with the ‘untouchable’ castes in India.

    For what it’s worth, from the stories it was considered a hugely shameful thing and a scandal in the family when that ancestor hooked up with the Romani girl.

  61. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Femme men make great husbands.

  62. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    It’s funny that gay men (at least those of my generation) can be proud of the slut name. I would never criticize someone for being promiscuous as long as they show proper concern for their health and the health of others.

  63. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I don’t find your evidence very persuasive. Dan Savage has recently given more public attention to the idea of open relationships than at anytime in decades, and we just learned this week that college women are now driving hetero hook up culture as much as men. There is no increasing criticism of femme men; that hasn’t been true in years.
    I’m not sure what you’re grasping at. Some insistence that we stop seeking marriage equality?

  64. Skeptical Cicada says:

    How have we already passed these laws in more than 20 states and 200 municipalities covering well over half the population? Unclear why you think rule by the straight-dominated working class would be so good for gays. Support for gay rights does not positively correlate with being working class.

  65. karmanot says:

    Thank you!!!!

  66. Indigo says:

    I don’t know whether I’m a very old leftest or a very leftest old guy. The truth is I’m one of those faculty Marxists from B.D. [before Reagan] who managed to survive the academic purge. Not without scars. And yes, capitalism does need to be dismantled but the materialistic dialectic will take care of that. It’s inevitable. Meanwhile, we need to be sorting out where we stand, not dragging a false dichotomy like gay marriage vs. human rights across the table.

    The negative trope from the far left is a Bo-Chic posture. It has nothing to do with social analysis outside of admission to the oxygen bars of Brooklyn. Or is it Portland this year?

  67. Indigo says:

    or a lesson on paragraphing.

  68. dula says:

    It’s possible to be Progressive on some issues AND classist.

  69. dula says:

    Yep, as a homosexual, I believe class warfare trumps Gay rights. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe we shouldn’t fight for both tooth and nail.

  70. dula says:

    huh? I said it wasn’t necessary to divert resources to other causes.

  71. karmanot says:

    I suspect dc, you have never met a far left politico. Remember Larry Kramer? I doubt you would call him a buffoon or degrade his place in our history.

  72. karmanot says:

    You are cool, you are a honey pot! :-)

  73. karmanot says:

    They are not leftists……. agents provocateurs perhaps.

  74. zorbear says:

    He’s given us a sandal!

  75. zorbear says:

    Hey, leave me out of this!

  76. Bill_Perdue says:

    We disagree and in any case these kind of laws will not be passed until we have a workers government. Employers large and small practice wage discrimination and they’re only checked by unions who, after some fighting, began to demand equality in wages.

  77. Bill_Perdue says:

    Capitalism is the enemy. Pro-capitalist parties like the Democrats and the Republicans are the avowed enemies of working people, particularly children and seniors.

    Stagnant economies and the current depression are the result of rule by capitalists.

    Italy is a capitalist country.

    The US growth rate has been stagnant for years. (see chart below)

    For an explanation for economic questions always turn to Marxists for an answer and never trust ‘”I was in Italy’ or Democrat like Reich or Republicans like Michael Piwowari.

  78. karmanot says:

    Good point

  79. BeccaM says:

    Well, sorry, but I can’t get behind that because putting specific punishments into our Constitution is something that just isn’t done and sets a bad legal precedent.

    By the way, all I did to craft that amendment was to take the original language of the ERA, replace ‘sex’ with the word ‘gender’ and add LGBT protections.

  80. karmanot says:

    pppfftttt crickets, er cicadas.

  81. karmanot says:

    ouch! Sorry Becca, I have had terrible encounters with Romani in Europe.

  82. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Go get your prescription refilled.

  83. karmanot says:

    Ah, the same old Insect…..always ends up with an insult when challenged on a heaping pile of bullshit.

  84. karmanot says:

    I maintain that YOU don’t know the basics of respect. Your disrespect and imbecile tantrums bring disrepute to any argument you attempt to dominate by bad manners and a bad mouth immaturity. BTW, insect, Class Warfare is a bigger issue.

  85. Bill_Perdue says:

    Which is what I suggested regarding punishments.

  86. BeccaM says:

    Women = gender. And the 14th amendment already covers race.

    Constitutional amendments don’t include punishments. They just grant Congress the authority to write laws that do.

  87. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Off your meds again, I see.

  88. Skeptical Cicada says:

    You betray your bias by depicting “class warfare” as “the bigger issue.” That dismissive condescension is why the gay rights movement split from the New Left to begin with. Forty years later and people like you still haven’t learned basic respect.

  89. BeccaM says:

    My people* have always been hated, and often turn to crime because they had no other choice to get by. It’s what happens when an entire culture is shunned.

    (* = 1/16th Romani on my father’s side of the family. Had those particular ancestors not come to America in the late 1800s, all likelihood their kids would’ve died in the Nazi concentration camps.)

  90. karmanot says:

    I don’t think you know what is ‘far left’ from your positiver Cicada.

  91. Bill_Perdue says:

    I agree but I think it should to ourselves, people of color and women and that it should include provisions for passing robust punishments for offenders.

  92. Bill_Perdue says:

    I agree, an inclusive, robust (in terms of jail time and fines for offenders) constitutional civil rights amendment covering housing, public services and employment is what’s needed.

    My comment was not so much about the law as it was about the almost forty years of betrayal by Democrats. They’re only pushing it now because it won’t pass and they refused to take it up in 2009-2010 when they could have passed, if not for the fact that so many Democrats are bigots or bigot panderers.

  93. karmanot says:

    I would have been happier in the tumulus age of goddesses, then Stonehenge came along and the sky Mr. ruined everything.

  94. BeccaM says:

    Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

    Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

    Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

    A new Equal Rights Amendment for the 21st century.

  95. karmanot says:

    What offensive stereotype? Dula is talking about diversity, What set you off? Nothing can offend Harvey or Kramer, they knew well their enemies and their lives are not offended by ignorant slurs or BS tropes. I disagree with Dula on one point a few of the wealthy gay white males I have known are not oblivious to the struggles of the greater GLTBQ communities and even most have lost partners to HIV. The fact is they just don’t care and can’t be bothered. You are lucky in your acquaintances not to have experienced these people.

  96. BeccaM says:

    It was when we women were traded between men like brood mares.

  97. BeccaM says:

    Well yeah — it is a red herring. And professional-level concern-trolling.

    What gets me is the conflation of personal discrimination with outright institutionalized oppression.

    Discrimination is usually between people. It’s when you don’t get a job because the hiring manager prefers male candidates. Or you’re denied housing because you’re a gay couple. One might even argue that hate crimes are a form of bias discrimination.

    Yet in the case of DADT, it wasn’t just discrimination. Serving openly was illegal. Same thing with DOMA and all those mini-DOMAs: It’s not just individuals disrespecting our marriages, it’s the full weight and power of the government declaring them illegal, null and void.

    There’s a difference between legislating a disincentive to discriminate versus a grant of previously denied equal rights under the law.

    You can pass laws to make discrimination illegal, but it won’t force people not to be bigots. It can’t. All you can hope for is for them not to be able to act on their bigotry as openly as they’d prefer. We can, however, pass laws that make it illegal to ban gay people from certain jobs — or with DADT, repeal that awful ban. Likewise with marriage equality: We can pass laws to extend those rights to all the gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry under civil law.

    Or to put yet another TLDR; post in shorter words: We can’t outlaw prejudice and bigotry, but we can remove prejudice and bigotry from our laws and system of government.

  98. Julien Pierre says:

    ENDA is crumbs, though. The Civil Rights Act of 1965 should be amended to outlaw discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity. That would be much more comprehensive than ENDA.

  99. karmanot says:

    You are so full of bs on this. Dula is not attempting to disprove a bigoted prejudice and you know better.

  100. karmanot says:

    “The anger is probably directed at the percentage of upwardly mobile,
    neoliberal, white men who manage to feel so satisfied getting married in
    an oligarchy.” You are conflating here. Don’t tell me wealth and status don’t shield privilege from the brunt of what most of us have endured and overcome–or not.

  101. karmanot says:

    “The anger is probably directed at the percentage of upwardly mobile,
    neoliberal, white men who manage to feel so satisfied getting married in
    an oligarchy” This is true and to deny it, damages the quest for equality, because these folks are either silent, uninvolved, or speak like Obama and act like Log Cabin closet cases.

  102. Julien Pierre says:

    Of course not, it’s a silly question to ask. Marriage rights are extremely important. We still have 37 US states and 183 countries to go. We should not let up.

    That said, it pains me that many mainstream LGBT organizations are now paying lip service to many other important issues, such as HIV/AIDS. Criminalization laws on the books today in more than half of US states and many other countries are horrendous. Access to medication is still too limited in the US. Sex education is insufficient. In developed countries, about half the cases of HIV/AIDS are in MSM (men who have sex with men). These organizations would be very wise to start looking into these causes again, lest they want to become irrelevant like SLDN-Outserve after the repeal of DADT, once we gain full marriage rights in the US, which may not be very far off.

    There are certainly many other international problems as well, such as criminalization of homosexuality, but it’s understandable that many domestic LGBT organizations aren’t interested.

  103. Bill_Perdue says:

    Marriage equality is not a sellout but ENDA will be much more important when the Democrats get around to passing it late this century.

  104. karmanot says:

    I still have a Howard Dean sticker on my car. His brother is no slouch either.

  105. FLL says:

    That oft-repeated argument that civil marriage should be abolished is untenable simply because, beginning in the 1930s, all industrial nations have involved their citizens in a network of relationships with government, like Social Security. That myriad of federal government arrangements necessarily involves civil marriage.

    Thank you for suggesting that voters not passively accept, like a flock of sheep, the dictates of political parties or the media. That is what happened in 2004 when Howard Dean really should have gone on to victory after his speech in Iowa. All he really needed was a glass of water, but the public was so cowed by the professional political class that they couldn’t make a reasonable judgment.