LeftOut: Forward Thinking

With the inauguration this month, things are looking up.

By Daryl Moore

George W. Bush will get sworn in to his second term this month. I’m actually feeling a little optimistic. Now I can say, “We’re more than halfway done.” “Less than four years left to go.” “Nowhere to go but up.” And, blah, blah, blah.

I do not say this lightly. I suffered severe post-election depression after Bush won a second term. I was in a funk. After all, fags were on the ballot this last election cycle, and we got our asses handed to us. Bush won handily with the help of evangelical conservatives, partly because he promised to push for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Eleven states passed laws outlawing same-sex marriage. Rabidly antigay Republican candidates picked up U.S. Senate seats in Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, and Florida. Put simply, November 2 was not a lavender day.

But, it’s a new year, and I’m coming out . . . of the fog of election results. There are reasons to be optimistic about 2005.

One reason to be optimistic is that Karl Rove and the radical right are running out of wedge issues. For decades, the Republican strategy has been to divide the country along cultural lines. From race, to abortion, to gay rights, decade after decade, Karl Rove and his predecessors have brilliantly chosen a single issue and polarized the country at election time. Indeed, it wasn’t the gay community who put same-sex marriage on the ballot in 11 battleground states; it was the Republicans who needed to shore up their base in those critical states.

Some recent polling data shows there are a few other reasons to look ahead:
• Nearly half of all Americans would support a law that would allow same-sex couples to form civil unions;
• Nearly one-third of Americans support a law that would allow same-sex couples to marry;
• More than half of all Americans oppose amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage;
• More than 80% of Americans believe discrimination against homosexuals should be illegal.

Some might wonder what’s to be optimistic about, when so many people still oppose civil unions or same-sex marriage. The answer is simple: The numbers are moving our way and have been, if inconsistently so. And time is on our side.

Younger Americans are almost twice as likely to support equality for gays and lesbians than their older counterparts. Apparently, the generation that has grown up watching “Real World” and “Will & Grace” is a little less freaked out about same-sex marriage than the generation that grew up watching Ricky and Lucy sleep in separate beds.

In the short term, we might take a little bit of a beating this year. Republicans control the White House, Congress, and the Senate. And the Christian Coalition expects dividends for its support of Bush. Antigay issues will be brought up and some will pass.

Still, 2005 will put us one year closer to equality. Look forward to it.

Writing from the liberal side, Houston attorney Daryl Moore has a general practice and is board certified in civil appellate law.

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Daryl Moore

Daryl Moore is a former contributor to OutSmart magazine. 

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