I think it's important that the media and other observers understand a key point of the grand strategy pursued nationally by the right wing. We know the strategy has phases.
The First Phase: Rigging Constitutional Minefields
We know the first phase is to progress as far as possible in as many states as possible in explicitly voiding any claim same sex couples may have to Constitutional guarantees of equal protection or religious freedom, empowering a conservative judiciary to void legislative and executive acts that would confer on same sex couples any incidents of marriage. (An early stage, attempting this on a national level, failed when even a Republican president expressed discomfort with the attempt and when even a Republican Senate refused to participate.)
The Second Phase: Rigging Secondary Mines
While the first phase is under way, we know a quiet, second phase is in progress, that of rigging mines throughout the legislative code timed to detonate once the third phase begins. (An example of this quiet effort here in Indiana is the bill filed by one legislator to transfer the employees of the State University hospitals to the State employee's health care plan. )
The Third Phase: Detonating the Mines
We know the the third phase will begin only when the first phase is complete. In the third phase, the full force of the state constitutional amendments will be brought to bear, as the mines detonate during a coordinated national legal assault on citizenship rights and benefits for gays, conducted on a state by state basis. During this phase, we expect organizations of the right to file suit against every instance in which a benefit or protection to a same sex couple appears to be conferred by or dependent upon a law, including municipal domestic partnerships and University domestic partnerships. They will begin where their cases are strongest, and build upon those precedents. Even domestic partnerships of companies that operate on state contract, funded by state tax dollar, will find their day in court.
It is then that we expect the mines rigged during the second phase to detonate. (If the Universities in Indiana think they have negotiated a pass, they will find, for instance, that their hospital employees must be stripped of domestic partnership employment agreements, for they will have been transferred to the State employee's program.)
As these mines detonate, gays will find no legislative or constitutional protection, for our rights as citizens to equal protection of the laws will already have been voided. The courts will not only be denied to us, but the courts will become willing or unwilling agents of the right, as even legislative acts extending incidents of marriage explicitly are rendered unenforceable when brought before judges.
The third phase must wait until the first phase is complete, precisely because these attacks on gays may prove troubling to reasonable people. The strategy is to wait until every last possible amendment is passed, every minefield laid, so that when they begin to detonate, it is too late for states to reconsider their amendments.
A Lamb Sacrificed to the Minefield: Exposing the Strategy
For this reason, it was a national glbt organization, not a conservative organization, that filed the suit against the Michigan State Universities by which their domestic partnership agreements were ruled unconstitutional under Michigan's new amendment. In effect, this national glbt rights organization sent a lamb across the minefield, detonating a mine prematurely, so that you could see for yourselves its full force.
In Michigan it is too late. The minefield was laid, and has been revealed, but it will be a long and painful journey out of it, a journey that will take generations.
The right wing is rigging a minefield here, but their strategy depends on your not discovering it until it is complete. The mine was detonated prematurely in Michigan so that reasonable people in Indiana could see the devastation that awaits us once the third phase commences. Our future as citizens depends upon you seeing.