Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Gay Wars: Will the States Rights Arguments Reverse?

Given that hard-right sore losers are rallying around Palin and seem to be ignoring the gracious sentiments of McCain's acceptance speech, I'm not too surprised by this kind of anti-gay rhetoric emanating from the right on FOX today.

The past eight years, gays and their advocates knew they had no friends in Washington, so they pushed for rights at the state level. That's where the lines were drawn; now, with conservatives on the outs in Washington, you can bet that there's going to be an even bigger concerted push by the religious right to finance their anti-gay initiatives further at the state level.

Given the reactions in California, though, such a push will only heighten the issue and excite the passions, bringing issues like "don't ask, don't tell" and DOMA into heightened focus in Washington.

We may have seen a slew of setbacks - and advancements - at the state level these past eight years. More importantly, however, we held off any disastrous national initiatives like we saw during the Clinton years. If conservatives want to double-down their state-by-state strategy now, they should prepare: with an Obama administration at the helm, gays and their supporters may alter their state's-rights strategy, and work instead on pulling out some important trump cards in Washington.

My priorities: replace DOMA with a national civil union law (that would allow couples in all fifty states to enter into Federal civil unions, even if states don't), one that also recognizes Federal benefits for states with full marriages. And repeal "don't ask, don't tell."

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