Bo Shuff

Next We Move Forward

Filed By Bo Shuff | April 08, 2009 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics
Tags: marraige equality, marriage, Oregon

Within the span of five days the supporters of marriage equality have moved forward in three very different jurisdictions in very different ways.

All of this progress is cause for massive celebration. Honestly I think the Iowa decision is the most impactful of the three, but I don't want to diminish anything that has happened. The question that has to be asked is what comes next.

We won in the Supreme Court of Iowa. This decision looks pretty solid in that the very earliest the other side could even try to get this on the ballot is 2014. As we know from Massachusetts, the longer marriage equality is a reality the more people are ok with it.

We won in the Legislature of Vermont. Technically we won twice in Vermont and only had to deal with the human speed bump that is Gov. Jim What's-His-Name. Our upcoming battle in Vermont will be to defend the seats of our supports. I would also like to see the Democrats who voted against us placed in the nastiest primary fights of their lives, but that's just the vindictive side talking. (No, seriously, if there is a better Democrat running against one of these bigots, let me know.)

We won in the City Council of Washington DC. Well, sort of. They have to vote again. Mayor Fenty has to sign it. He has not indicated if he will or not. Then, surely, the Congress of the United States, in the last remaining vestiges of "Taxation Without Representation," will take it upon themselves to review it. Same-sex couples in DC who still have to travel out of their home to get married now also will have to defend that right in front of people like Rep. John Barrow from Georgia. This supposed Democrat was a co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

So the conversation becomes, what comes next?

That conversation is already starting in the blogosphere. has done a very deep examination of when, if present trends continue, we could see marriage equality coming to each state. Their data analysis, which has been pretty damn good on other topics, says Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Nevada, Washington, Alaska, New York and Oregon have the public support and demographics to enact marriage equality this year.

Basic Rights Oregon, an incredibly effective state-wide organization (wow, what's that like), jumped into the conversation with the idea of repealing Measure 36, the Constitutional Amendment preventing marriage equality in Oregon. I will never forget the day when Measure 36 went into effect. Shortly thereafter a friend of mine who lives in Oregon sent me a copy of the form that accompanied the refund of his marriage license fee. No one should have to read that.

The question posed by BRO is, are we ready to turn the corner and begin the process of repealing these horrible measures. The answer is simple - YES.

Our community, even in the wake of three bad pieces of legislation being passed by voters just five months ago needs this. We need to harness the excitement of the last five days - even the last five weeks if you include other wins that have come this spring and put together a smart, tested, effective plan in Oregon to repeal measure 36 and win one on the ballot.

The challenges that we will face, I believe, are more internal than external. Will the national organizations support this effort to the level needed? Will we, as a community, run a campaign that is set-up to win - involving media testing, voter targeting and a real field operation? Will we do the politics right and line up the support within organizations that should be allied to this effort - political parties, unions, places of worship, grass-top leaders, etc? I believe that BRO has the experience and the savvy to pull this off.

It looks, to me, that the data is there to make the electorate ripe for change. Coupled that with the leadership and campaign know-how that Basic Rights Oregon possesses and it's my vote that it's time to vote.

Crossposted at Bear's Left

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Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut.

But transsexual people can still be refused service at a restaurant, or fired for being transsexual there.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts.

But transsexual people can still be refused service at a restaurant, or fired for being transsexual there.

Same-marriage is legal in New Hampshire

But transsexual people can still be refused service at a restaurant, or fired for being transsexual there.

Same-marriage is legal in Idaho

And transsexual people can no longer be refused service at a restaurant, or fired for being transsexual there. Not for almost 18 months now. Before then, they could, though Gays had been protected for a decade.

See a pattern?

What do you think the next step should be?

What do you think the next step will be though?

Just a reminder from those still at the back of the bus. Or under it.

The Aussie speaks with crystal clarity. The next step, apparently is to see how many times trans people get screwed from job protection just so a small percentage of gays and lesbians can get married. Whoop-de-fucking-do!

The damn bus is leaking again.

Vermont, DC and Iowa all enacted gender identity protections before moving forward on marriage. In addition, Oregon prevents discrimination based on gender identity.

Did I mention other states anywhere in this post and I'm just not seeing it?

The "earlier wins that have come this spring" include the huge win in Gainsville specifically on the issue of gender identity and expression.

I personally worked to help pass the gender identity inclusive law in Indianapolis/Merion County, IN. I helped craft the gender identity inclusive Equal Housing and Employment Act presently working through the Ohio Legislature. I am on record with the media fully supporting only gender identity inclusive legislation and a willingness to oppose legislation that isn't.

Can you clarify for me the pattern that you are seeing? It seems to me that we are working on multiple issues on multiple fronts all at the same time.

Totally agree. California isn't the only place that needs some repeal fever!

Small point about the Silver poll: his model predicts the year in which a state would reject a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, if one didn't exist already. Having a state that would no longer pass a marriage amendment isn't necessarily the same as having a state that would proactively enact marriage equality.

It'll be interesting to see what comes. Just a year ago Massachusetts was alone here. A few weeks from now we find out if 5 states have same-sex marriage. Interesting times.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | April 11, 2009 12:59 PM

Bo, it seems like we have the chance to make real progress in Oregon. The question is whether or not we will do what needs to be done in order to be effective.

I had a conversation with a friend a few days ago who said that he was tried of being on the losing side because the organization that he works for insists on doing the same old thing even as it is apparent that that is no longer working.

The LGBT community needs to focus more on doing what it will take to be successful in today's political environment.