Legacies, or Some Day, They’re Really Going to Feel Like Fools
Posted by Mikhaela Reid

Marriage equality: yet another arena in which the Democrats are missing a spine.

40 years ago yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in Loving vs. Virginia that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. The Loving decision invalidated the “Racial Integrity Act” that allowed Virginia cops to bust into the bedroom of Richard and Mildred Loving, arrest them for “illegal cohabitation” and sentence them to a year in jail.

Can you imagine the leading Democratic candidates getting up at a campaign stop today and hemming and hawing out the following nonsense?

I believe in full equality of benefits, nothing left out…From my perspective there is a greater likelihood of us getting to that point in interracial civil unions or domestic partnerships and that is my very considered assessment.


It’s a jump for me to get to interracial marriage. I haven’t yet got across that bridge.

or how about

I would not support the Defense of Racial Integrity Act today, if there were a vote today. But the part I agree with is the states should not be required to recognize interracial marriages from other states.

Those are all paraphrases of actual statements on gay marriage from Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Obama has similar views. (found via Pam’s House Blend, an excellent LGBT issues blog that regularly checks in on all the candidate’s positions on marriage equality).

Some folks say the Democrats have no choice but to tone down their support of gay rights to appeal to religious voters or values voters. But is that the kind of visionary progressive leadership we want to promote?

Decades from now, the people who were too afraid to support full equality for gay Americans are going to look like spineless sheep, and rightly so. I can see the history books now “The Democrats bravely passed non-binding resolutions, courageously voted to fund an illicit war they claimed to oppose, did nothing of any note to remove an Attorney General with a serious torture fetish and tentatively supported domestic partnership benefits while opposing real marriage equality.” Now that’s a legacy we can all be proud of! As Susan Ryan-Vollmar wrote in her Bay Windows editorial last week (regarding a possible constitutional ban on gay marriage in Massachusetts):

Twenty years from now, when their time in office has long since ended, those lawmakers who back the anti-gay amendment June 14 will still be asked about their vote by their grandchildren, their neighbors and even reporters writing anniversary pieces. Trying to explain that they supported marriage equality but believed the civil marriage rights of same-sex couples should be decided by popular vote will sound even more disingenuous several decades from now than it does today.

Note: I think Ted’s turned commenting off while he’s away–if you want to comment, I’ve cross-posted this at The Boiling Point Blog.

5 Responses to “”

  1. TheDon Says:

    VERY nicely done. This is a bigotry that I never quite understood, and I am glad to see that the younger people are much more accepting and open than their parents and grandparents.

    When someone calls something “gay” as a slur in my presence, I often say something like, “I think it’s more of a nigger thing”. If I get a shocked look back, I quickly explain that I thought we were opening up to each other about our bigotry. Most decent people will sputter that they aren’t using it as a slur, and I push the point that it is as offensive as the word I just used.

    Sometimes that works as a teaching tool, and sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes people will just look at me admiringly, thinking (very briefly) that I am on their side.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    What does it take to get people to break with any candidate that won’t support full equality for all Americans? 150 years ago there were Americans who adamantly refused to vote for candidates that wouldn’t abolish slavery – is it too much to ask for a movement to start not to vote for anyone who won’t abolish marriage inequality?

    — Peter LaVenia
    co-chair, Green Party of New York

  3. Gary Kleppe Says:

    Not all candidates are as you describe. The one who said this, for example:

    “On May 17th, 2004, the 50th anniversary of the decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education that declared ‘separate’ is not ‘equal,’ the people of the state of Massachusetts became a part of another such moment in history when the legally empowered and legally protected right of civil marriage is finally extended to all citizens, regardless of gender. The decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to recognize and uphold this civil right is a victory not just for gay and lesbian citizens who have been denied their civil rights and relegated to second-class status. It is a victory for all Americans who believe, as I do, that the promise of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights should be upheld for everyone.”

    Support Dennis Kucinich, the real progressive in the race.

  4. Mikhaela Says:

    Thanks TheDon! I guess comments are working.

    But yeah, it’s always frustrating when you try to be over-the-top in your satire, and you’re taken seriously. A while back I did a cartoon called “Brickbob Gaybash” (mocking the conservatives who said that SpongeBob was promoting “homosexual values.”) BrickBob attended KKK rallies, beat gays with a nailed 2 x 4, etc… and I got a furious email from a woman who thought I was a genuine gay-hater. Sigh…

  5. Mikhaela Says:

    Peter: You are so right.

    Gary: Yes, Kucinich has always supported full marriage equality and opposed the war (I voted for him in the primary last year for those reasons and more). Sadly I’m guessing that won’t be true of whoever actually wins the nomination.

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