GLBT leaders on ice
It’s not what you say, but how you say it. According to Chandler Burr, a writer for The New York Times, this is the principle behind what is killing the gay rights movement inside and out. According to Burr, the efficacy and inefficacy of opponents to the GLBT movement lay not within each side’s base argument, but in the angle in which they approached swing voters.
For example, in the campaign for Proposition 8, proponents discovered that touting the sanctity of marriage didn’t mobilize anyone that wasn’t already on their side. When they realized this, they switched the message to being about children having homosexuality forced upon them in school. This tactic won in California and achieved the same results in Maine. After defeats in several liberal bastions, it has become abundantly clear that the tactic of empathetic appeal isn’t working. The secret, Burr said, is convincing voters that being gay isn’t a lifestyle, but an inborn trait.
Researchers at Georgia State University did a study in 2007 that indicated an 80 percent correlation between the beliefs that men and women are born gay and lesbian and support for gay marriage rights. According to a similar survey among 100 random UH students, 63 percent of students who believed that homosexuality is a choice didn’t think that gays should marry, while 100 percent of those who thought it wasn’t a choice believed that they should have equal marriage rights. Forty-six percent thought being gay wasn’t a choice, and 41 percent thought it was a choice. Thirteen percent didn’t have an opinion, and those are the people that count.
Obviously, due to the limited nature of this survey, these statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, but they are strikingly similar to larger-scale polls taken elsewhere in the country. Depending on which way the “no opinions” swing, gay marriage could be won or lost.
With numbers in it’s favor and conventional wisdom failing political leaders, more and more people are becoming frustrated with GLBT leaders ignoring their own silver bullet. Some blame it on the liberal mantra that denies our biology has a controlling effect over our innate behaviors. They don’t view homosexuality as a choice, but they still look at it as a lifestyle.
Whatever activists believe, there is a growing dissatisfaction with civil rights initiatives by the “black tie” liberals directing the movement, as shown by the recent upsurge in small-scale acts of civil disobedience.
From the group that chained itself in front of a marriage registration office the Friday before Valentine’s Day, to the gay man and lesbian woman who received a marriage license to mock the absurdity of current marriage laws, disenfranchised citizens are becoming less and less tolerant of being told to wait for their equal protection under the law.