Will the Battle for Gay Rights Ever be Finally Over?

"The anti-gay folks remind me of that Japanese soldier found on a deserted island decades after WWII and still thinks the war is on. It has been fought and won."  -- Shannyn Moore, Anchorage talk show host.
I think Moore has a point of sorts.  But I wouldn't go so far as to say the war has actually been won.  If we're going to use the metaphor of the War in the Pacific, then perhaps today's "war" for gay rights is analogous to final months of the Pacific war -- when Japan was losing, but still capable of mounting its desperate and fanatical kamikaze attacks.

Of course, in politics, conflicts are seldom truly decisive.  The gains of one generation can be set back by the next generation.  Take abortion as an example.  For a time after Roe v. Wade it looked like that right was firmly established, but today, not so much.  There is no reason to believe that gay rights, once won, will not need to be won again and again.

At least, that's how I see it.  But what am I missing?

3 comments:

  1. I think it will depend on the religious makeup of the U.S. over the next few generations. The political climate there is so heavily influenced by religion that a small group of extremists can have a huge impact on the general population.

    As a dual US/Canadian citizen it's really interesting to watch things play out in the States as I go about my daily life here in Ontario. The two cultures share a lot of similarities, but the differences between them are huge in certain areas.

    Multiple studies have pointed to a rise in people who identify with no religion in the states. Atheism and Agnosticism are also rising if I remember those studies correctly.

    It will be really interesting to see how this impacts US politics as most of the people who are vehemently against marriage equality and abortion rights seem to base their arguments on religion.

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    1. That strikes me as some pretty insightful commentary, Lydia. I think, also, even among the religious, the young tend to be much more tolerant of homosexuality than their elders. Do you see that in Canada, too?

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  2. In the 1980s, I would never have predicted marriage equality in my lifetime. As recently as 2008, I would not have predicted an African-American president in my lifetime. These were two of the loveliest surprises of my adult life.

    The election of Barack Obama has brought out a depth of evil bigotry and hatred as severe as that in the years surrounding the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It is of a far smaller breadth, however, and that is why the Republican party is likely to suffer for having permitted the deep bigots to steer their party these past 6 years. The extremists finally look... extreme. That is one reason I hope we will not lose the progress we made in civil rights for racial minorities.

    Perhaps because so much hateful energy has been siphoned off by the phenomenon of a black President, there has been less available for organized, active homophobia. There has been less public attention available to be exploited by the worst homophobes. (I use these terms advisedly. I am mindful of the Facebook meme about homophobia: "You're not afraid of anything. You're just an asshole.") While the scandal of the black man in the Oval Office may have created space for progress in gay civil rights, it has also blunted the energies of the most virulent and ludicrous opponents of marriage equality. So, I believe that marriage equality will be attacked in another 20 or 30 years. I can only hope for particularly ugly attacks, so that the public might finally be so sickened by the bigots that they will oppose them on principal.

    I am seeing cases like this in my own generation (late forties). One of my friends admitted many years ago that he has a visceral revulsion to homosexuality. Recently, he explained why he supported marriage equality.

    "Other people's relationships and marriages are their business. My feelings are my business."

    So, I am guardedly hopeful that many of my generation, the generation that was so easily gulled into surrendering so many of those civil rights we believed "settled," will be a little more mindful in the future of the fragility of rights in the face of visceral bigotry.

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