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Push for ‘gay marriage’ must continue, national leader says

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–One of the nation’s most prominent homosexual activists says the push for same-sex “marriage” must continue despite setbacks on Election Day and that homosexuals “must never lose sight” of their goal.

“The lessons of history are clear — equality cannot wait for a convenient time, society only moves toward equality when challenged to do so,” Cheryl Jacques, former head of the Human Rights Campaign, wrote in a column posted on her website.

“Change does not come through cautious inaction, but through principled insistence.”

The Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest homosexual activist group — waged an unprecedented campaign last year to see President Bush defeated. But Bush won on Election Day, and all 11 states that voted on constitutional amendments banning same-sex “marriage” passed them.

It was a significant defeat for homosexual activists, who months earlier had seen Massachusetts become the first state to legalize same-sex “marriage” solely because of a ruling by the state’s high court.

The Election Day results presumably contributed to the resignation of Jacques from the Human Rights Campaign in late November. Her Internet column — as well as a handful of media interviews — broke her silence.

“The road to equality will be rocky, with days where much progress will be realized, mixed with days of setback and new obstacles,” Jacques wrote in her column, dated Jan. 6. “We have planted the flag of full equality solidly in the ground, and we must never lose sight of it. We must work tirelessly each and every day to get closer to it, until we can gather around that flag as a community, as full and equal citizens of the United States of America.”

Jacques acknowledged that the homosexual community is divided on the political and legal strategy surrounding same-sex “marriage.” But she compared the push for “gay marriage” to the push for civil rights and women’s suffrage.

“The struggle for gay civil rights is at a crossroads in America, and even within the GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender] community there are differences of opinion about how the struggle for equality should proceed,” she wrote. “While many committed leaders are continuing the long march toward full equality, including equal marriage rights, others are arguing that we have gone too far, too fast, and that we should wait for society to catch up.”

Jacques told the Metro West Daily News in Framingham, Mass., that it is a “minority of voices” within the homosexual community who want to slow the same-sex “marriage” movement. It is unclear where Human Rights Campaign officials stand on the fast-paced push for same-sex “marriage.” The topic still has a prominent place on the HRC website; in addition, an HRC official told The Boston Globe that the push for same-sex “marriage” is “extremely important.”

But even if the homosexual community is somewhat divided, several victories could lie ahead in 2005. The Washington state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a same-sex “marriage” case in March. An appeals court in New Jersey and a judge in California heard arguments in separate same-sex “marriage” cases in December. Pro-family leaders aren’t optimistic about any of the cases.

In fact, the “gay marriage” movement shows no sign of slowing down. Including the three aforementioned states, nine states are in court defending their laws against those seeking to legalize same-sex “marriage.” The Defense of Marriage Act — the federal law that gives states the option of not recognizing another state’s same-sex “marriage” — also is being challenged in court.

Pro-family leaders say the lawsuits point to the need for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution — something Jacques says must be defeated.

“We have achieved things that once seemed like an impossible dream, including the legal marriage of more than 4,000 couples in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” she wrote. “… But many challenges remain, including the reintroduction of a federal marriage amendment and proposed constitutional amendments in Massachusetts and numerous other states that seek to make inequality a permanent condition.”

Jacques added that homosexual activists also must work to persuade Americans, who polls show oppose same-sex “marriage” by a margin of 2-to-1.

“[W]e must recognize what election day taught us — that there is an enormous conversation, and an enormous education campaign that still must take place in this country,” she wrote. “The more that American voters learn about the aspirations we hold for ourselves and our families, the more they will realize that those aspirations are the same as theirs.”
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust