Wednesday, June 26, 2013


A few thoughts regarding today's Supreme Court ruling invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act:

The Court's ruling is, no doubt, a historic victory for LGBT couples--married or otherwise. It could, perhaps, also lead to California becoming the latest state to adopt same-sex marriage. Let's hope it happens.

That being said, it is worth recalling DOMA's origins.

Both The Defense of Marriage Act and the equally discriminatory, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which barred gay military personnel from serving openly, were signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Clinton has, to his credit, come to publicly regret his signing of the former bill, calling it "a mistake." This change of heart is, certainly, a laudable indication of the former president's personal growth as a human being, though it frankly does nothing to alter or undo the emotional and psychological damage done to the gay and lesbian couples personally affected by the law. (Clinton's epiphanic about-face on gay marriage is almost as disingenuous as that of former Sen. Olympia Snowe, who expressed her support for gay marriage back in April--three months after leaving office.)

The truth is, the Democratic Party has long been hostile to gay rights. Sure, the Dems are not as openly homophobic as Republicans--theirs is a more subtle form of prejudice. But it's still prejudice.

Recall, for instance, President Obama's initial attempts to block the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" back in September 2010. The president argued, at the time, that Congress, not the courts, should determine DADT's fate. But, if Obama truly opposed the policy, as he claimed to, why should he have cared how exactly it was repealed?

And yes, Obama ultimately came out in support of gay marriage last year. But he did so only after his perpetually unfiltered vice president essentially forced his hand. (And how convenient, too, that he finally did so during an election year.)

Indeed, with friends like Democrats...

As gay rights advocate, Andy Thayer notes, "One would never know from Gay Inc's pronouncements that the two biggest legislative attacks on gay rights of the last century [DADT and DOMA] were undertaken and vigorously defended by Democrats" ("Bradley Manning and the Appalling Silence of Gay Inc.," Counterpunch, 2/22/2013).

Like the environmental movement, the anti-war movement and what is left of the labor movement, the LGBT movement remains tied at the hip of a Democratic Party which regularly displays a commitment to them that can be best described as inconsistent. As I wrote about a few posts back, this is the same reason the LGBT community refuses to rally behind Bradley Manning or other gay truth-tellers.

As Thayer writes, "Just as much of the anti-war movement was 'anti-war' only when a Republican president was leading the wars, much of the gay movement is pro-gay only when it's non-Democrats who are anti-gay."

If the LGBT movement is serious about advancing gay rights (and not merely marriage--an inherently bourgeoisie institution), it needs to shed its ties with the Democrats. The Green Party has supported gay rights long before Lady Gaga made it popular to do so. The Democrats, meanwhile, only officially added gay rights to their party platform last year.

So by all means celebrate today's victory. But if we are to ensure we don't get any more DOMAs, DADTs or any other acronymic, discriminatory laws, it is essential LGBT citizens sever their abusive relationship with the Democrats.

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