My advice to the marriage movement: educate, speak, reach out. Stop the litigating. Resist the impulse to revel in victimhood. It may be justified and I certainly know how it feels, but it doesn’t change any minds. That’s what we have to re-focus on. And that’s the only reason we have had the success we have had. Patience, diligence, charity: these are what a civil rights movement needs to stand for.
To which I reply–Why should the marriage movement stop the litigation? Litigation is exactly an appropriate tool for seeking justice and exactly a way to educate, speak, and reach out.
Here’s the thing I don’t get about Sullivan. If he understands the psychic importance of marriage–that being able to stand in front of an officiant and your families and vow to become one family and to have those vows recognized as legally binding by the state, how can he pooh-pooh folks taking any legal recourse they can?
Maybe lawsuits don’t change the mind of the people being litigated against, but they sure can fix things. Why should gay people sit around and wait for bigots to change their minds in order to have their rights recognized? That makes no sense to me. That seems like victimhood–“Oh, well, there isn’t really anything we can do, so we might as well just try to be a good example. Oh, poor us.”
How is taking action somehow playing the victim? That makes no sense to me.
Listen, when you have rights that are compromised by unjust laws, you have to come into conflict with those laws in order to show their unjustness. Sometimes you come into conflict through litigation–i.e. Brown v. Board of Education–and sometimes you come into conflict through breaking those laws–like the sit-in movements–and sometimes, if you can, you push to see those laws applied to everyone.
I think asking the courts to rule on whether the people of the State of California all have to live by the same laws is a pretty ingenious way of pressing the issue. Or are gay people the only ones who get to have the validity of their marriages decided by strangers?
Gay Californians tried being nice, they tried educating folks, they tried pressing their case in a civil manner. What’s wrong with now trying to get the cruel and unjust law they have to live under spread out to everyone?
If Californians don’t like folks messing around in their marriages, well, perhaps they shouldn’t mess around in other Californians’ marriages.
Edited to add: Sullivan says “And we need patience and relentlessness in explaining our lives. And how human they are. It’s not fair; we should have it all already. But we don’t. And in a democracy, that means persuasion, not fiat.”
I can only imagine if Sullivan had been blogging in the lead-up to the Civil War. “Dear Sirs. Can’t you see how wrong slavery is? No? Okay then, we’ll talk about it some more later.”