Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cleopatra Wolfson's Denial:
2009 'Winningest Year' for Gay Marriage

It's quite telling to see how blase some Gay Inc orgs that opposed the Olson/Boies Prop 8 lawsuit are this week. Either the orgs are deathly fearful of the lawsuit, or think ignoring it will make the outcome of it less dangerous to the survival of Gay Inc. Should we prevail with Judge Vaughn Walker, a flood of questions and accusations will assault the orgs, and threaten their continued existence.

Consider this one example of the yawning approach to the trial. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force hasn't posted a single release or official statement on the historic court proceedings. Not on their blog, and nothing on their opening page's news column. Um, is it too much trouble for this org to show the least bit of enthusiasm, or call some, _any_, attention to the trial?

Maybe I shouldn't be too harsh on the NGLTF. They are trying to occasionally put out comments from their executive director on important matters. After all, today, after many long months of other groups, foreign governments and activists speaking out and organizing to stop the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, the task farce has finally issued a weak statement, urging forceful U.S. action.

Over at Evan "Cleopatra" Wolfson's org, Freedom to Marry, their blog has been linking to the coverage others are providing of the Prop 8 trial, with no fresh news or analysis from the org.

But in his relentless campaign of denial about serious setbacks, a release from Wolfson today touts all the supposed greatness of the state-by-state approach to gay marriage, which has produced 33 losses at the ballot box, and the California Supreme Court last year upholding Prop 8, and the loss of gay marriage in Maine, along with the failure to secure gay marriage in New York and New Jersey, Wolfson wants us to believe the past year or so has been our best ever.

I will admit we suffered deep disappointments in those states, while also acknowledging good steps forward winning gay marriage in Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont, but I would in no way define the past 12-16 months as our "winningest."

From Wolfson's release, heralding the hiring of new staffers and an in-the-works expansion of the org's web site, emphasis added:

The expansion of Freedom to Marry comes at the dawn of a new decade and follows 2009, the winningest year yet in the movement to achieve the freedom to marry for gay couples, a year which once again showed that momentum is on the side of marriage equality.

Freedom to Marry’s new staff and new capacity will harness this momentum and work to continue to build and maximize it in order to keep advancing toward the freedom to marry nationwide.

Look for a new and enhanced website in February that will feature the new capacities of Freedom to Marry to support and mobilize non-gay and gay people committed to ending the exclusion from marriage and fulfilling America’s promise of liberty and justice for all.

I want the bold federal challenge of the Prop 8 trial to win for a whole lotta reasons, starting with the recognition of gay couples and love, and also for a very personal reason. A victory with the lawsuit could put an end to some of the mindless and rigid, not to mention losing, way of thinking at Gay Inc and their whole approach to securing equal rights, as exemplified by this release. In addition to despising the discriminatory laws against gays that I want wiped from the law books, I also loathe the timid, small, go-slow methods of Gay Inc.

In this week, when optimism is rampant over the trial and all of its implications, can anyone really give a damn and think Wolfson hiring more staff and gussying up his web site, with his Orwellian outlook on the recent multi-state losses, is a recipe for success?

Please, Judge Walker, do the gay movement a huge favor. Render a decision agreeing with the plaintiffs.


Bill Wilson said...

I'm a little bit disappointed in your latest post not because of content, but because I was expecting some sort of comment about the Supreme Court ruling denying the public their right to know. So I think we who have access to the proceedings now have a burden of telling the story of the trial to the world. On Wednesday I was allowed in the courtroom even with out the court room media pass on the basis of my police credential because there was so little attention being paid. The police credential I have allows me in both the media center on the first floor which has live video of the proceedings and I think the press room on the 19th floor.(I didn't need to go there so I don't know what the procedure is up there.)
We are now the truth tellers for this trial because Andrew Pugno is spinning like crazy and we have to keep him turning.:)

AndrewW said...

For NGLTF and Freedom To Marry, it is more important to justify their existence, than to actually achieve our equality.

Our dysfunctional "movement" lacks accountability. Thank-you for providing some.

Bob Summersgill said...

If 2009 wasn't our winningest year, what year was? I'm not sure what year was better. New Hampshire and DC got their wins on 2009, even if they don't/didn't go into effect until 2010. Washington State had a ballot win on DPs, which is a nice step forward, if not directly on marriage.

DC actually had 3 marriage bills pass and signed; 2 wins from the Board of Elections and Ethics; 1 court win; and Congress lifted a ban on federal funding on DPs.

Maine and New York were the only losses. Maine after a legislative win; and New York after the Assembly voted yes and the Gov pushing support.

Advances come in fits and spurts and losses should be expected and planned for. New Jersey's Senate loss in 2010 was followed quickly with a court case.

In DC, we continue to rack up incremental wins, but we do have contingency plans that go well beyond a plan B. I'm working on plans D and E now. Increasingly, it looks like plan A will be enough.

We must not be scared off by losses. We must plan for them and make plans for quick recoveries when they do occur.

In 2009, we had full wins in DC, IA, NH, and VT. We had one step forward and one step back in ME and NY. Neither of those losses prevent trying again. Even counting NY and ME as losses, subtracting from wins, we are ahead by 2, the winningest year ever for marriage.