HOUSTON VOICE www.houstonvoice.com
APRIL 23, 2004 11
Oillt BRUCE CARROLL
President Bush and the religious right
didn't start the culture war over marriage.
It's the radical gay groups' agenda.
A fine mess
we're in now
THE BACKLASH OVER GAY MARRIAGE
during the past few weeks doesn't come as
a surprise to me. I predicted it months ago
to a group of friends who are rabidly in
support of pushing the issue.
I told them that while there was a gay-
marrying frenzy breaking out in San
Francisco. Oregon, and New Paltz, N.Y.,
most Americans were not at a place to
accept this change.
Since two-thirds of Americans oppose
gay marriage, and the same percentage
support legal protections for gays in the
workplace, then why, I asked, are the radical gay groups forcing marriage down the
throats of America at this time?
But it wasn't the "religious right" or
President Bush who started this round of
the culture war. It was us.
The battle was clearly started by gay
activists who adopted the tactic of challenging marriage laws across the country.
The battle was joined, of course, by the
conservatives now pushing for a federal
But we need to step up and admit that
the responsibility of the gay marriage
debate, good or bad, is squarely on the
shoulders and the consciences of the so-
called leaders of the Human Rights
Campaign, National Gay & Lesbian Task
Force, Log Cabin Republicans and their ilk.
Now the dominoes are falling against
us, in Georgia, Kentucky and
Mississippi. A state constitutional
amendment banning gay marriage in
those states will be put before voters.
Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi —
not surprising, right?
But in Massachusetts, far from a bastion of
the religious right, the state legislature adopted a constitutional amendment, though it still
must survive additional legislative votes next
year before it goes on the ballot there.
SO THERE WE HAVE IT. THIS DECISION
by our supposed leaders to push gay marriage onto center stage in America at this
time and in this election year has resulted
in a colossal setback that is solely the
fault of those same groups.
Why? Because instead of appreciating the feelings of most Americans and
undertaking a long-term commitment to
educate our nation about who we are,
our leaders took the easy way and went
to the courts to dictate one version of
morality and forced tolerance from the
bench. That strategy is faulty and will
What we saw in Massachusetts,
Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi will be
replicated in nearly every other state of
the union. So the net impact of our
activists launching this culture war will
become discrimination enshrined into
state constitutions. That certainly doesn't
seem a step forward for gay rights.
Gay leaders will scratch their heads and
wonder what went wrong, but the fact that
they don't "get it" is proof enough that we
need to find a new way and new leadership.
Instead we get Rosie O'Donnell who says
she's getting married in front of TV cameras
merely because President Bush says he's
opposed to it. Well, that's one sure way for
opponents to question the sincerity of the
true commitment to gay marriage, isn't it?
THE PATH TO GAY MARRIAGE IS NOT
to force Americans to accept a morality
they are not prepared to embrace, Instead
of radical gay groups spending their precious few dollars, time and resources
engaging in court fights and street battles,
it's time to turn our attention to the hearts
and minds of mainstream America.
What is needed is a fundamental and,
most importantly, mature awareness campaign across the country about what it is
to be a gay or lesbian American today. We
all need to be willing to come out of our
closets — proverbial or not — and let our
friends, family and work colleagues know
who we are.
Let them know that we pay our taxes
just like them. Let them know we experience the ups and downs of daily life just
like them. Let them know that we want
the same financial, job and relationship
security that they enjoy. Let them know
that we want to be as tolerant of their
long-standing religious beliefs as we want
them to be tolerant of ours.
Until the leaders of these radical gay
groups come to grips that they have wasted precious years on counterproductive
strategies, we will continue to face these
predictable setbacks to gay marriage and
other issues with increasing frequency
Until all of us start reaching out to
mainstream Americans, instead of shouting in their faces, we will continue to be
responsible for our own failures.
Brace Carroll lives in Alexandria, Va, and
is a former member of Log Cabin
Republicans; he can be reached at
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