Thursday, July 31

A Moment in Time - What can I say about Bush's comments on gay marriage yesterday? Can it be that surprising that a conservative isn't on the vanguard of gay marriage? Even Howard Dean couldn't support it at the HRC confab the Democrats attended this month. The positive spin from Log Cabin types is that he is still walking that tightrope, throwing a bone to the religious righters while being fuzzy on whether he'd actually support a Constitutional amendment to block gay marriage. Whatever the case, don't doubt for a moment that the entire exchange on gay marriage wasn't precisely scripted for him -- from the quote from Matthew to the aspiration that American society be "welcoming."

It seems to me the sudden rise in prominence of the gay marriage debate marks a very important time for gays and their allies to take stock of their position and try to figure out our next steps. Most important is a cold, rational discussion of how quickly we can reasonably expect mainstream America to get behind our progressive agenda. After all, I remember distinctly how a colleague, a 40-something liberal woman from New Jersey who likes to call herself my "Jewish mother," expressed her kneejerk opposition to gay marriage when I first discussed it with her. I've always thought it a good rule of thumb to think about how my parents and their friends feel about an issue. It's not a bad guage of where the center of the country is. Expecting someone like W (or even Dean) to be far off that mark is perhaps pretty brazen.

Sure, there's a place for revolutionary moments in the progressive struggle. But for them to succeed, it takes years of groundwork behind the scenes. The Lawrence decision was ultimately unexceptional because groups like HRC, Lambda and GLAAD had work for 15 years to prepare the public to receive it. Why should we think gay marriage should be any different? There's a lot more we need to do before ANY president could appear at a press conference and be substantially supportive of gay marriage.