Controversy and Division April 10, 2006
Controversy and Division
The controversy surrounding same-sex/gay marriage has not only divided our society and our country, but there is even division and controversy among gays and lesbians themselves. This handout is to present details and information of the division and controversy among gays and lesbians.
· Legal Challenge to Marriage: Federal Court
On Tuesday, April 4, 2006 in the 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court a gay male couple’s legal challenge to marry under the U.S. Constitution was heard. This legal challenge to marry has resulted in a division among the leading national gay and lesbian groups. The Associated Press released a story on the newswire service. The following quotes are from an April 3, 2006 Washington Post.com article, “Gay Marriage Advocates Battle in Courts”, written by David Kravets. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp dyn/content/article/2006/04/03/AR2006040300208.html)
As gay marriage advocates battle through the courts for the legal right to wed, a split has emerged over the best strategy to win.
Two gay California men plan to ask a federal appeals court this week to declare they have a right to marry under the U.S. Constitution, but heavyweights in the fight for same-sex marriage are sitting this one out because they think the legal tactic is misguided.
Matthew Coles, director of the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, was quoted in the article as saying.
We think, strategically, bringing a federal claim for marriage now is not a wise idea," Coles said. "The Supreme Court is the country’s institutional conscience, and if you lose there, I think that sets you back.
· “Meet the marriage malcontents”
This is the title of a Sept. 30, 2005 article from a gay newspaper, the New York Blade. Not all gays and lesbians advocate for marriage. Among gays and lesbians there are conflicting ideologies, assimilation’ and sexual liberation. The following information is taken from that article written by James Withers.
A transgendered, male to female, said this about the same-sex/gay marriages that took place in San Francisco in 2004.
Despite all this joy, Mattilda, also known as Matt Bernstein Sycamore, was utterly dejected.
Nothing could be more depressing than the spectacle of this gay marriage charade played out on the national landscape and the way in which the gay marriage agenda erases decades of queer struggle to make transformative ways of making and loving, Mattilda said. We are now so sanitized.
But some even more moderate gays and lesbians question why the gay rights movement at large has become so single-minded when it comes to same-sex/gay marriage. Two moderates’ views were expressed in the article.
New York University professor Lisa Duggan wonders when gays and lesbians, as a diverse community, had a conversation about the importance of marriage as a right. It’s not exactly like everyone got together and decided to make it an issue, Duggan said. There has not been an internal debate about this.
Joseph DeFilippis, coordinator of Queers for Economic Justice, accuses gay-rights activists of not taking the debate to the people.
It is not a grass-roots movement, he said. This has bypassed the legislation process. The gay movement is using the judicial branch. There is no grass-roots support for it.
The folk who gay marriage is a number one issue are privileged white folk of some financial means and this is the only deprivation in their lives, DeFilippis said. And they have hijacked the movement.
There are usually two reasons given by those gays and lesbians who oppose marriage. The first is that marriage itself has problems. The second is what should alarm those who support marriage. That is there are gays and lesbians who wish to undermine marriage itself.
For those not part of the same-sex marriage movement, many point out that marriage is rife with problems that gays and lesbians should be wary of.
We want to be just like straight people, the same people who were beating us up and not allowing us to express ourselves, Mattilda said. We need to think bigger than that. We need to challenge the systems of oppressions and build something more deviant, devious, and devastating.
The strategies of assimilation and liberation are aimed at the legitimatization and normalization of homosexuality, homosexual behavior. But it is much more than about a specific sexual behavior, homosexuality, it is about how society defines those essential factors that give a society meaning and provides for a healthy society: gender, the family, and community. These last quotes are by one who self-identifies as a homosexual.
Gay and lesbian identity politics is, only in part, about the social status of self-identified homosexuals, it is also about the meaning of sexuality, gender, the family, and even community in our society. (Escoffier, American Homo: Community and Perversity, p. 225)
The lesbian and gay communities, however, have considerable ambivalence toward the campaign for citizenship, because the outlaw status of homosexuals is historically significant. (Escoffier, American Homo: Community and Perversity, p. 225)