Friday, July 23

Lose By Winning - On Thursday the House passed a bill which says:
No court created by Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, section 1738C or this section

This novel statute supposedly strengthens the federal Defense of Marriage Act by barring U.S. judges from even hearing a case that might make them rule the DOMA unconstitutional.  (I have my doubts about that strategy, but if it works, expect similar "denials of jurisdiction" for any future laws promoting school prayer or the Pledge, prohibiting abortion, etc.)

So the bigot brigade has scored a small victory this week. It comes on the heels of last week's bad loss on the Federal Marriage Amendment in the Senate.  As Ben recently posted, the foes of gay marriage had been hoping that such a high-profile defeat in Washington politics would turn into grass-roots gains, motivating Americans to rise up against the "liberal establishment" that blocked their precious amendment. 

The brigadiers have that exactly wrong.  As I commented in response to Ben's item, over the long term Americans are more likely to rise up against the bigots than join them.   ("We will bury you," I said.)  To explain why, let me cite an opinion piece published a few days ago in the NYPost which has attracted the notice of conservative gay bloggers like Steve Miller.  The crucial passage: 

While the GOP tries to swing both ways in this election, its leadership may well come to realize that gay marriage was the wrong territory on which to plant their flag. Polling clearly shows a generation gap here. While 75 percent of Americans over the age of 64 oppose gay marriage, according to a poll NPR commissioned from a bipartisan team, only 45 percent of those aged 18 to 29 oppose it. And civil unions — opposed 49 percent to 42 percent in the country as a whole — enjoy solid support from those under 40.

The Republicans have put themselves on the wrong side of a generation gap. And it won't be easily papered over as today's young voters age into older voters — who are more likely to show up at the polls. When it's one of your first presidential elections — as it is for me — it's no trivial matter that voting Republican means a vote for a party catering to the worst prejudices about our brothers, sisters, friends from high school, college roommates, co-workers, bosses, drinking buddies and the like. I'm not sure I can do it. And, if it weren't for the War on Terror, I know few for whom it would even be a question.

The War on Terror might cut it this time around. But if the GOP wants to attract members of the younger generation in years to come, it will have to realize that the new millennium is here, it's queer, and, well . . . we're used to it.

(Emphasis mine.)  This is the real purpose of being out.  Living openly won't influence your machiavellian political boss on Capitol Hill, but it does affect your family, your friends and the regular people in your life (voters all).  They are our secret weapon in the fight against the bigot brigade, and Karl Rove's GOP is hard at work losing them for good.

UPDATE: Friday morning reports suggest that the jurisdictional bill will not be taken up by the Senate, so it will die when the present Congress adjourns after the election.