Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wedge Issue in 2008

Gay men and lesbians who survived the 2004 presidential election against republicans who successfully used same-sex marriage as a wedge issue in 11 states are relieved not having to fight this battle again. If polls are correct, this will be a democratic year and the gay community seems satisfied with either Clinton or Obama as president. In stark contrast to the republican race, this year will be a watershed year for the Democratic Party with potentially the first woman or African American party nominee/president, and the first gay-sponsored debate back in August, among others. Gays are an important voting bloc in states like New York, comprising between 5-13% of democratic voters. As the race tightens, Clinton and Obama are aggressively courting gay voters.

It is easy to forget past struggles when tides are turning in the gay community’s favor such as more and more states are granting civil unions, in one state particular, Massachusetts permits same-sex marriage, and recent passage of federal anti-discrimination laws to include sexual-orientation. While polls showing greater public tolerance and gay issues becoming non-issues, another group is increasingly being marginalized. This year’s wedge issue will be immigration, and intrusive anti-immigration laws at the state and local level have torn families apart, and driven a myriad of Hispanics from their communities. Gays (and other minorities) must wage in the debate and cannot be complacent because of recent successes. At minimum, we are bound by one belief - the fundamental principle of human rights and dignity applies to all human beings regardless of citizenship status.

As pastor Martin Niemöller famously said during the Holocaust, “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” The time to speak up is now.


abaran said...


The Political Bee-Yotch said...

Looks like Obama doesn't care to be associated with people who fight for gay rights.

Obama Snubbed Newsom During S.F.'s Gay Marriage Fight