Combating Dystopia.

Friday, July 22, 2011

On the "Will of the People" (tm)

Boehner says no House vote on DOMA repeal | Washington Blade - America's Leading Gay News Source

Here's an interesting lesson in political jargon. When DADT, Proposition 8 and the recent votes to legalize gay marriage in NY state were major political issues, we'd hear quite consistently how we needed to "Let the people vote!!!". The reason for this is a sheer matter of numbers and social conservative pragmatism, as NOM and the likes assume (narrowly in the case of Proposition 8) that people will invariably vote to suppress the rights of their neighbors should they "disagree with some aspect of their lifestyle choice". They assume- marginally correctly- that (older, more religious) people will find the gays vile enough, and have no network connections to actual gay people and therefore will be more apt to enshrine glbt discrimination into policy (or at least vote in favor of it).

But there's some indication that this assumption can be made less safely now, as the above article makes an interesting distinction:

“A number of House Republicans have told me privately that they feel the same way,” Nadler said. “This, coupled with the fact that there is now a majority of Americans who support equality and with the recent polling data showing that a majority of Republican voters want GOP leadership to give up their position on this matter, means that it is only a matter of time before we act in a bipartisan manner and repeal DOMA. And, believe me, we will keep pushing to get it done until we have succeeded.”

Interestingly, the data from Proposition 8 even showed a gradual sea change on the attitudes of younger Americans towards same sex marriage. Glenn Beck, the afore-reviled Ken Mehlman and other staunch conservative figures have since noted that the vehement traction on the wedge issue is much less there. (With the likes of Mehlman this is of course too little, too late as he's one of the architects of DOMA in the first place.) During the elections that hammered through anti-gay marriage legislation on both the state and federal levels during the Dubya years, the anti-gay rhetoric was turned up to 11, and the "Will of the People" was done; At least according to the staunch conservative policy groups like NOM who make a very handsome living being professional homophobes. Look at the rhetoric being used here: Allowing people to vote on gay rights issues = the will of the people. Not allowing people to vote on DOMA = prudent officiating. Its artifice at its most transparent to suggest that NOM and the American Family Association are interested in the will of people who do not side with them on this issue. For groups like this, their tactics and ploys to perpetuate political inequality are good and noble...but only when they do them. Some of their press on gay rights issues shatters the misconception they push about "just being about preserving marriage" and "not being explicitly anti-gay". NOM's activity, tweets and talking points have long since gone beyond opposite sex marriage and ballooned into full blown completely transparent anti-gay rhetoric. If anyone ever bought the idea that they "merely disagreed over allowing gay people to call it marriage" we can dispense with that naivete now.

The consolation prize is that these issues are nominal in the grand scheme, and ultimately love will win over inequality. I'm confident of that much. The world can be a beautiful, inclusive place, "the kids are allright" and I for one am pleased to see the changes on the horizon for what they are.

Here's some Earworm for you, courtesy of Empire of the Sun- "Walking on a Dream" (Seriously, I'm trying not to adore this song) The original is lovely too.

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