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A lot of folks have been wondering just what's up with our ticket pricing for this year's 20th Annual Community Celebration on May 18th at the Echo Center. First, we really listened to community members who said that last year the benefit was too expensive.
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A local straight attorney from the ACLU, Dan Foley, took it up instead, one of many straight men and women who helped make this happen. Much of the gay left was deeply suspicious of this conservative-sounding reform; two thirds of the country were opposed; the religious right saw in the issue a unique opportunity for political leverage – and over time, they put state constitutional amendments against marriage equality on the ballot in countless states, and won every time. The Clintons embraced the Defense of Marriage Act, and their Justice Department declared that DOMA was in no way unconstitutional the morning some of us were testifying against it on Capitol Hill. Bush subsequently went even further and embraced the Federal Marriage Amendment to permanently ensure second-class citizenship for gay people in America. I recall all this now simply to rebut the entire line of being “on the right side of history.” History does not have such straight lines.
And when we won, and got our first fact on the ground, we indeed faced exactly that backlash and all the major gay rights groups refused to spend a dime on protecting the breakthrough … Movements do not move relentlessly forward; progress comes and, just as swiftly, goes.
I never believed this would happen in my lifetime when I wrote my first several TNR essays and then my book, Virtually Normal, and then the anthology and the hundreds and hundreds of talks and lectures and talk-shows and call-ins and blog-posts and articles in the 1990s and 2000s.But some things you know deep in your heart: that all human beings are made in the image of God; that their loves and lives are equally precious; that the pursuit of happiness promised in the Declaration of Independence has no meaning if it does not include the right to marry the person you love; and has no force if it denies that fundamental human freedom to a portion of its citizens.In the words of Hannah Arendt: “The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which ‘the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one’s skin or color or race’ are minor indeed.“This is the loopiest idea ever to come down the pike,” he joked. Then a breakthrough in Hawaii, where the state supreme court ruled for marriage equality on gender equality grounds.No gay group had agreed to support the case, which was regarded at best as hopeless and at worst, a recipe for a massive backlash.