One of the more interesting responses I received to my recent post concerning the fact that "gay rights" activists and groups were suddenly getting steamed with John Kerry for publicly making the same antigay statements he was making last year when they were shoveling him millions of dollars in support was this:
That's one way of looking at it. I think I see it as 10 million spent on what they thought was the best shot at defeating Bush.
It's certainly not my fault if you're incapable of seeing it that way.
The problem is....the point of these "gay rights" groups is to advance and defend gay rights, not necessarily to defeat a particular Presidential candidate. An unbiased view of the political situation in 2004 would have shown that the biggest and most immediate threat to gay rights were the state constitutional amendments explicitly designed to strip gays of rights and permanently consign them to second-class citizenship, far more than anything else -- for several reasons.
First, state constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage, even when they ostensibly include the "right" to civil unions, are, as the Massachusetts Supreme Court ably pointed out an attempt to maintain an "unconstitutional, discriminatory, and inferior status" for same-sex couples. As history has shown us, arrangements of "separate but equal" invariably end up penalizing the minority involved -- an unacceptable solution.
Second, state constitutional amendments that deal with situations not specifically related to Federal Constitutional rights have a good track record of survival. The Supreme Court's overturning of Colorado's Amendment 2 is often given as a reason to minimize the effect of antigay state constitutional amendments; however, it should be remembered that Amendment 2 was a brazen denial of ALL potential resolutions of antigay discrimination for gays, including the rights of due process, access to the court system, and use of the political system, something which is blatantly unconstitutional. The case of Loving v. Virginia, which ended state laws banning interracial heterosexual marriage is often cited as another "sign" that gays shouldn't worry about state constitutional amendments because the Supreme Court will strike them down under the Fourteenth Amendment. However, Loving is a decision on whether the states may discriminate based on race, not whether or not states may discriminate in marriage rights; thus, despite its strong reaffirmation that marriage is a "fundamental civil right", it also reinforces the precedent that states may with perfect right abrogate it.
Third, there is strong bipartisan political support for these amendments; indeed, both parties' Presidential candidates and numerous other candidates supported them, and the electoral results bore the fact out.
Finally, and in my mind the key reason for opposing these amendments, the most effective means of keeping the Federal Marriage Amendment from ever seeing the light of day was to make it clear that the states couldn't pass their OWN similar amendments, much less that three-quarters of them could ratify a Federal one, as is required to amend the Constitution. Had eleven states, or even a fraction of that amount, refused to amend their own constitutions to discriminate against gays, the message would have been clearly sent to Washington DC that, while Americans may not be comfortable with gay marriage, they are even less comfortable with changing fundamental law to discriminate against gays.
Given all that, it would seem obvious that the first priority of groups interested in gay rights should have been repelling these obvious threats to gay rights, and certainly not supporting someone who advocated them. However, all the major gay-rights groups with the exception of Log Cabin Republicans specifically channeled millions of dollars in cash, time, and support to candidates who supported antigay state constitutional amendments loudly and publicly.
Perhaps the best example can be shown in Missouri, using the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). HRC's efforts to repel the antigay state constitutional amendment there, as the Washington Blade reports, were classified as "heavily involved" and consisted of the following:
The national organization sent field workers and $100,000 to assist the Constitution Defense League, which was leading opposition to the amendment.
In contrast, HRC, by most estimates, spent tens of millions of dollars during the campaign cycle, including several hundred thousand on celebrations alone during the Democratic National Convention, to support John Kerry, praising his policies and stances, and publicize him as "pro-gay". What was Kerry's take on Missouri?
Sen. John Kerry said in an interview published yesterday that he would have voted for the gay-marriage ban passed overwhelmingly this week by Missouri voters.
The Democratic presidential nominee, who spent parts of two days stumping across the state, told The Kansas City Star the ballot measure was the same as one his home state of Massachusetts passed a few years ago. Kerry supported that measure.
In short, these "gay rights" groups spent tens of thousands on fighting against stripping gays of rights, but tens of millions on supporting and calling "pro-gay-rights" candidates who openly advocated stripping gays of rights. When I pointed out these decisions made it obvious that "pro-gay" to these groups means "Democrat" and referred to them as "'so-called' gay rights groups" for that reason, here was the response:
"So called"? Geeze you really are bitter. Look, ND30, if you don't respect these people, don't be surprised when people like Ridor harangue you.
I expect Ridor to harangue me regardless of what I do, simply by virtue of what I am. (grin) However, "these people" insult me and sell my equality off to homophobic bigots like John Kerry because they want to finance their Dupont Circle lifestyles, build their multimillion-dollar offices, and keep their party invitations.
As far as "bitter"....yes, the truth is sometimes very "bitter" to those who constantly deny it.