In what is perhaps a watershed moment in the long fight for gay rights, the current battle over the Defense of Marriage Act is being waged with at least tacit acknowledgment from all sides that it is a political winner for pro-gay-rights Democrats.
In the wake of President Obama’s decision to drop support for portions of the Defense of Marriage Act, gay rights advocates have been unabashed in claiming that beyond the merits of their underlying argument they now have the political advantage as well. Not only does public opinion polling suggest they’re right, but the reaction of gay rights opponents does, too.
On Wednesday, House and Senate Democrats held separate press conferences announcing the introduction of legislation to repeal DOMA. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), one of the sponsors of the House bill, was asked whether Democrats were politicizing gay rights as a wedge issue against the GOP, as Majority Leader Eric Cantor alleged last month.
“What do I say to the idea that this is a wedge issue? I say ‘Hallelujah,’” Frank told reporters. “The fact that we’ve now evolved to the point where the Republicans are complaining about the fact that we introduced this bill because it causes them political problems is a great sign of progress. It used to be the other way around.”
The tipping point has been reached, as Wayne and I have said again and again. Bigots like Maggie Gallagher and Tony Perkins can cling to their statistic that “every time the people have voted, they have voted for [exclusionary] marriage!”, but they know, and we can tell by their actions that they know, that that cute little line isn’t going to be true much longer. People shouldn’t be voting on civil rights issues anyway, but every day, in more corners of American society, it becomes more and more repugnant to appear bigoted against gay people.
In related news, over at Down With Tyranny is an interesting observation about the ninety-five biggest homophobes in the House who are co-sponsoring Vicky Hartzler’s (Deranged Bigot-MO) resolution demanding that the Obama administration defend DOMA in court. Referring to Joe Sudbay’s piece at AmBlogGay, DWT notes:
Joe Sudbay, the writer, explains that they all have LGBT constituents, of course, but he doesn’t point out that at least two of them are notorious closet cases themselves, Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC). That’s not to say that none of the others are; it’s just that Franks and McHenry have been blatant and publicly exposed. I don’t know what hotties Howard Coble (R-NC), Michael Grimm (R-NY), and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) do behind closed doors. On the other hand, several notorious GOP closet cases have not signed on as cosponsors, including Aaron Schock (IL) and David Dreier (R-CA).
Ha. Maybe their consciences won’t let them. Who knows?