NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In the wake of severe Election Day setbacks, a coalition of more than 20 homosexual and liberal organizations released a joint statement Jan. 13 outlining their goals for the future and re-stating their commitment to fight for legalized same-sex “marriage” nationwide.
“[W]hen we look at the state of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights today, we have every reason to be optimistic,” the statement reads. “Our movement is strong, it is determined, and it is gathering momentum every day.”
The 1,200-word statement comes more than two months after the same-sex “marriage” movement saw 11 states pass constitutional marriage amendments and America re-elect a conservative president that the homosexual movement opposed.
Since then, the homosexual community has undergone a self-examination while debating the legal tactics and political strategy they should use in the future.
The statement, embraced by 22 organizations, signals a unifying of sorts within the homosexual movement that hasn’t been seen in weeks. It is signed by such prominent groups as the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian & Gay Rights Project, the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal.
In the statement the groups pledge to work toward eight goals, such as fighting to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” and supporting the “freedom to marry.”
But pro-family leaders say the movement’s optimism flies in the face of election results. The amendments last November passed by an average of 70.1 percent of the vote. For the entire year, 13 of 13 amendments passed. A marriage amendment has never failed when placed before voters.
“I thought [the statement] was a very interesting spin on a severe setback for their movement,” Glen Lavy, an attorney with the pro-family Alliance Defense Fund, told Baptist Press. “The 13 marriage amendments passed last year were a real shock to the activists. They are simply out of touch with where the majority of Americans are in regards to marriage.”
Lavy has been involved in the same-sex “marriage” legal battle, and in December represented pro-family groups in a “gay marriage” case before a California judge.
“[Homosexual activists] want so desperately to believe in their cause that it’s difficult for them to accurately evaluate what most people think,” he said.
In the statement the coalition claims the mantel of a “civil rights” movement.
“The histories of America’s civil rights movements — and their successes in securing equal protection of the law for those denied it — have always been shaped by the complex interweaving of legal victories, political progress and advances in public opinion,” the statement reads.
Although some black leaders have sided with the homosexual activist movement, others have been critical of the comparisons to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Bernice King, daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., said last year of her father: “I know deep down in my sanctified soul that he did not take a bullet for same-sex unions.”
Carrie Gordon Earll, a senior policy analyst for Focus on the Family Action, also criticized the comparison to the civil rights movement.
“They continue to try and hitch a ride on the civil rights train, which was a legitimate claim of discrimination,” she told BP. “… There’s no such thing as a former African American. But I work with former gays. I know that there is a difference there.”
The statement notes that — despite the setbacks on Election Day — 2003 and 2004 were full of victories for the homosexual activist movement.
“It has been only 18 months since the Supreme Court struck down the last remaining state laws that branded us as criminals, little more than a year since Massachusetts’ top court ruled that same-sex couples could not be denied full equality in marriage and mere weeks since California enacted the nation’s most expansive domestic partnership law,” the statement reads.
“… The speed with which our movement is advancing on all fronts is absolutely historic — and it hasn’t happened by chance or by accident.”
The groups criticize what they label “anti-gay extremists” — presumably Christian conservative organizations. These extremists, the statement says, are “small but powerful” and manufacture “inaccurate stereotypes.”
Exit polls showed that white evangelicals and born-again Christians made up 23 percent of voters in November.
“Wrapping themselves in cloaks of ‘family’ and ‘values,’ these groups are spending tens of millions of dollars to confuse, distort and subvert the public debate that continues to change hearts and minds about our right to equality as it opens America’s eyes to the true family values that LGBT couples, parents and families are living and demonstrating every day,” the statement reads, referring to the often-used acronym that stands for “lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.”
The statement lists eight priorities for the immediate future:
— “We must fight for equal employment opportunity, benefits and protections — and the federal and state laws that safeguard them.
— “We must fight against anti-LGBT violence and for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal hate crimes law that already protects Americans based on race, religion and national origin.
— “We must fight — in both the private and public sectors — for better access to health care and insurance. We must advocate for HIV/AIDS policies — including age-appropriate, LGBT-inclusive comprehensive sexuality education — that effectively address this epidemic at home and abroad.
— “We must insist on safe schools, where youth can learn free from bullying, harassment and discrimination.
— “We must fight for family laws that give our children strong legal ties to their parents.
— “We must work to overturn the military’s discriminatory anti-LGBT ban, which dishonors service members who serve their country with valor and distinction.
— We must continue to expose the radical right’s efforts to advance a culture of prejudice and intolerance, and we must fight their attempts to enshrine anti-gay bigotry in our state and federal laws and constitutions.
— “And we must continue our vigorous fight for the freedom to marry and the equal protections, rights and responsibilities that safeguard our families, strengthen our commitments and continue to transform understanding of our lives and our relationships.”
Even though homosexual activists suffered a setback on Election Day, they could see some major victories this year. Washington state’s Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a same-sex “marriage” case in March. Including Washington, nine states are defending their marriage laws against homosexual and liberal activists.
Lavy, of the Alliance Defense Fund, said homosexual activists fail to recognize the opposition to same-sex “marriage” doesn’t come simply from religious people.
“The concept of marriage is as old as history,” he said. “It is something that is universal across cultures and religions.”
The organizations that signed the statement were: American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian & Gay Rights Project; Equality Federation; Freedom to Marry; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; Human Rights Campaign; Lambda Legal; Log Cabin Republicans; Mautner Project; National Association of LGBT Community Centers; National Black Justice Coalition; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Center for Transgender Equality; National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs; National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; National Youth Advocacy Coalition; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; Servicemembers Legal Defense Network; Sigamos Adelante: National Latino/Hispanic LGBT Leadership; and Stonewall Democrats.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage