Marc Solomon

Marriage Equality: How We Won New York

Filed By Marc Solomon | June 30, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: gay marriage, marriage equality, New York, same-sex marriage

gay-marriage.jpgOn Monday June 13th, I arrived in Albany for what turned into a two-week marathon. From the first day when I - along with fellow advocates - made the recommendation to Governor Cuomo to move the marriage legislation forward, to this past Friday night when I had the honor of standing behind him as he signed the marriage bill into law, the two weeks were full of intensity and nervousness, exhilaration and frustration, and, finally, tremendous joy.

How did we pull this historic victory off? Fresh from this triumph, and with lessons from my work in marriage battles from Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and California to draw on, I want to share my best thinking on the components that enabled us to win and what this means for the freedom to marry campaign moving forward.

Years of Sharing Our Stories

First and foremost, this victory came about as a result of years of work and myriad conversations making the case for the freedom to marry. The Empire State Pride Agenda has been leading the way in New York, helping elevate the voices of same-sex couples in every part of the state, engaging hundreds of clergy through their Pride in the Pulpit effort, enlisting organized labor and business leaders to speak up for marriage, cultivating relationships with electeds at every level of government. It's that persistent, hard work that moves hearts and minds over time, and in New York it had been well-executed.

New York also benefited from the work of advocates in neighboring states to secure the freedom to marry - Connecticut and Massachusetts in particular. New Yorkers saw that marriage supported loving and committed couples and families in those states and hurt no one at all. As a result, by this year, a full 58 percent of New Yorkers supported the freedom to marry.

Demonstrating Electoral Strength

The Fight Back New York effort in the 2010 State Senate elections was a definitive game-changer. After the gut-wrenching 2009 loss in the Senate, Fight Back New York - an independent entity led by Gill Action Fund donors and staff - took on both Democrats and Republicans who voted against the freedom to marry. The levels of funds invested ($800,000), the strategic approach used to identify targets and capitalize on their vulnerabilities, and the success in unseating three incumbents, demonstrated that we would be relentless until we had a pro-marriage majority in the Senate. While anti-gay opponents like the National Organization for Marriage and the Conservative Party threaten, our side produced real results - results that we've demonstrated we will replicate until the job is done.

Governor Cuomo's Leadership

Andrew Cuomo's leadership in advancing this legislation was nothing short of masterful. Never before has a governor taken charge of marriage legislation and steered it through a legislature with such determination, conviction and political skill. During the final intensive two-week period, we met with Governor Cuomo multiple times. Every time, I walked away feeling that we'd win - he was at once a calming force, and a determined leader who developed plans, back-up plans, and contingencies to the back-ups to give us the best shot at ensuring victory.

It's been especially heartening to read in these past few days that Governor Cuomo's leadership on this issue has bolstered him as a Democratic frontrunner for the presidency in 2016 in the eyes of pundits - we've sure come a long way. Yet embracing this cause was clearly important to the Governor at a deeper level than the political. To me, nothing demonstrated that more than the fact that he invited his two daughters to the Capitol to witness the history that he was championing.

Quite simply, had the governor not taken this cause on as his own or worked it so skillfully, we would not be celebrating right now.

Executing a Republican Strategy

When the Republicans regained control of the Senate in the 2010 elections, the conventional wisdom was that the marriage bill stood no chance. LGBT advocates led by Gill Action assembled a top-notch Republican advocacy team, hiring Jeff Cook - a veteran GOP strategist - to manage the effort, as well as Mike Avella, former chief counsel to the Senate Republicans, to mount the Republican lobbying effort. Freedom to Marry partnered in this effort by, first, engaging John McArtle, the former top adviser to Senate Majority Leaders Bruno and Skelos, to supplement the communications effort and, second, conducting in-district polling using the Republican conference's main pollster to help show certain Republicans that a pro-marriage vote would not be harmful.

Additionally, our coalition enlisted prominent Republican business and political leaders including former Republican National Committee chair Ken Mehlman, financier Paul Singer, and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg (who though an Independent is a strong supporter of the Republican conference), to make the moral and political case for marriage to Republican senators. We worked overtime to enlist Republican supporters at the local level to make the case to their own lawmakers. In the end, we together convinced enough Senate Republicans that allowing a vote on the bill and ultimately advancing the bill was both right and politically strategic - the first time ever that a Republican-controlled legislative chamber has voted for the freedom to marry.

New Yorkers United for Marriage Coalition

Freedom to Marry, the Empire State Pride Agenda, and the Human Rights Campaign, along with Marriage Equality New York and Log Cabin Republicans of New York, joined forces to integrate the work each organization was doing on its own. We each agreed to largely subsume our organizational identities to the coalition and combine activities for the greater good of winning marriage in New York. We jointly hired a talented communications firm, SKD Knickerbocker, to coordinate our media efforts; we war-roomed together with the governor's senior team; and we began true integration of all of the work - lobbying, field, media, "grasstops" mobilization, outreach to electeds and allies. For the last few weeks of the campaign, a core group of us spoke on the phone every morning at 8:30 AM and our communications staff spoke daily for the final month of the campaign. We dealt honestly with organizational interests and did our best to ensure they did not get in the way of the bigger goal of winning.

Engaging Lawmakers in the Field

Our field effort needed to have two outcomes: First, we needed to demonstrate to senators who had not voted with us that large numbers of their constituents supported the freedom to marry. Second, we needed to get couples, parents, and families to sit down with lawmakers and make personal appeals about why marriage matters to them. Our coalition did both tasks powerfully.

Led by the Human Rights Campaign's field team, our coalition of organizations worked together to generate those contacts, ultimately ensuring that lawmakers heard directly from more than 125,000 New Yorkers. This was accomplished through boots-on-the-ground organizing, with close to 40 organizers spread out across the state, from Eastern Long Island to Buffalo and everywhere in between, collecting post cards, organizing phone banks and getting people to call their lawmakers from shopping centers, festivals and churches - wherever people congregated. Several lawmakers pointed directly to the quantity of constituent contacts as a primary reason for changing their vote.

In addition, we ensured that each of the lawmakers on our list had sit-down, heartfelt conversations with same-sex couples and their families - a task that Freedom to Marry organizers took on intensively in the last couple of weeks. We prepped family members to ensure they were ready to share their own story with their lawmaker. And as is always the case, these conversations had profound effects on lawmakers as they learned first-hand why marriage is so important to same-sex couples and their families, including those who live in their own communities.

Enlisting Unusual Suspects

New Yorkers United for Marriage made a special effort to demonstrate how mainstream supporting the freedom to marry had become by enlisting some real unusual suspects. From businesses including Xerox, Alcoa, and McGraw-Hill, and the heads of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup, to an unprecedented number of pro athletes including NBA star Steve Nash, New York Rangers star Sean Avery, and New York Giants great Michael Strahan, our coalition was able to put forward counter-intuitive voices, showing how mainstream the issue had become and giving greater license to moderate senators to change their positions.

Creating the Communications Drumbeat

New Yorkers United for Marriage set a very high bar - to have an announcement every day of the campaign - a key endorsement, a new poll, success in the field work - that we would roll out to newspapers and television stations across the state. In doing so, we literally built our own momentum over the course of several months.

We also trained couples in key parts of the state to become media spokespeople so that we could generate human interest stories highlighting the importance of marriage to those couples. We engaged bloggers together and coordinated and shared use of new media tools. In all of this work and our multi-million dollar paid media campaign (consisting of an effective and serious television buy, direct mail into targeted districts, and newspaper ads), the coalition adopted the messaging framework that Freedom to Marry developed based on extensive national research on how to making the case effectively to the "moveable middle" on marriage - messaging that Freedom to Marry is putting into action nationwide through our Why Marriage Matters public education campaign, now shared by partners organizations around the country.

Raising Dollars Locally

New Yorkers United for Marriage expended approximately $2 million on its media and direct mail campaign (not counting the funds that coalition partners put into the push). The vast majority of those dollars came from local, New York sources. New York-based philanthropists observed the governor's commitment and the advocates' coordinated efforts, and rose to the occasion in a big way. While out-of-state funds from our movement's familiar funders were a key part of the effort, they were a relatively small percentage of the total.

Moving Forward in the States

From my own experience on multiple state-level marriage campaigns, I've found that there is no 'one size fits all' campaign model; each campaign must take into account the political context as well as the relative strengths and weaknesses of the parties involved. What is clear, though, is that that successful campaigns need to incorporate most (if not each) of the above components.

A tight-knit coalition capable of building on what the marriage movement has done right and not just reinventing the wheel, consisting of players that are adding real value in accomplishing the crucial elements of the campaign, has proven effective. It's what Freedom to Marry and our partners achieved in New York, what national and local partners built in Massachusetts, and it's proving successful in our collective efforts to fend off a repeal of the freedom to marry in New Hampshire.

At Freedom to Marry, alongside our federal campaign to overturn so-called DOMA and our national public education and persuasion campaigns, we have built (and are still growing) the central capacities needed to elevate and assist state-wide campaigns in each of the crucial areas, from strategy development to new media, lobbying to field. We don't seek to run state-based campaigns ourselves. Instead, we look for state-based and national partners who will join together with us in adding crucial elements to the mix, and work to form tightly knit coalitions to coordinate and manage the battles on each battlefield.

New Yorkers United for Marriage is a terrifically successful model of what that can look like. And while we cannot always control who the governor is, we do know how to put forth our best effort and run smart and winning campaigns. We at Freedom to Marry are eager to carry the New York momentum forward and partner up in the next round of states to bring home more victories. So....let's go!

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Here's another article title for you: "GENDA: How Trans People Never Seem to Win Anything on the State Level in NY." Just a suggestion.

Om Kalthoum | June 30, 2011 12:03 PM

"Cue the outraged...."

Bil said it because it was true. Every post about gay or lesbian equality gets vomited on. Do you hover over your keyboards 24/7 so you can be the first to hurl?

Easy for you to say. Do you run the risk of being thrown out of your home or fired from your job just because of who you are? If not, then just shut up because you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

You evidently forget, don't bother to learn more about gay history or are too young to remember. Gay men were fired and kicked out of their homes for being gay if they were found out. I had to get up a lot of courage to slip into a gay bar. Sometimes I would drive around for half hour to scope out where I could park and no one would see my vehicle. You don't know what you are talking about Rebecca.

What's your point? If anything, that should make people more, not less, sympathetic and supportive...yet that's not what we see, is it? I stand by my previous statement.

And some think it's trans folks who are going Me, me, me"? Give me a break!

"Do you run the risk of being thrown out of your home or fired from your job just because of who you are"?

Here's your statement and as I said, Yes, they do. You have a right to tell someone to "shut up" when your statement is wrong?

A quick point. This is becoming a "Me first! Gimme! Gimme!" type of atmosphere. It's sickening how a bunch of wounded people turn on other wounded people just to be the first to inflict pain again. It's disgusting and tiresome and a small group of people who are doing it.

If you'll remember, I've said the same thing about the idiots who wanted to cut trans people out of ENDA so they could get theirs at the expense of others. While you were up in arms over that, you have no problem dissing someone else's victory to complain about what you want for a state you don't even live in.

So while we're telling each other to "shut up because you don't know what the hell you're talking about," I'd suggest you consider the same. You don't know what it's like to be a gay man in New York. You didn't go through the same issues and you have no idea what the person you're responding to has gone through. Instead, you asked if he lived in a state where he could have been discriminated against. He told you yes. And now you want to come back with venom? How utterly ridiculous, childish, and petty.

Especially when you consider that you don't live in a state where you can be discriminated against in those areas. You live in New Jersey and enjoy those protections. So if that's the dividing line on who can and can't speak in your calculation, you ought to snap those fingers off the keyboard because you're not qualified to speak anymore.

Or you could simply share happiness with those who are happy and work hard for those who need it. But this utterly ridiculous and hateful bitching should end immediately. It wins no allies, it advances no causes, and just stirs up bad feelings for everyone. We are our own worst enemy and this proves it.

I'm prepping for a show right now but I will respond in detail later tonight.

Y'know Bil, you've said some stuff I've disagreed with in the past, but you've really gone off the rails this time. I shouldn't have any right to complain because I don't live in New York? What utter bullshit! You live in DC where they already had gay marriage, so you shouldn't have had anything to say about the New York fight, right?

I was born in New York. I lived there as a young adult. I'm within commuter distance as are many out-of-state trans folks. Those laws can and do affect us too. None of that really matters, though. What does matter is that trans folks who do live in New York deserve the very same rights you and I take for granted in the jurisdictions where we live. The fact that we ourselves aren't personally affected by the New York battle is completely and utterly irrelevant to our own right and responsibility to participate in it.

As far as Om goes, as I said above I stand by what I said. It's easy to rah-rah for marriage when your ability to provide for your family isn't subject to the whim of your boss or your landlord, when you have redress to the law if and when you are wronged. When you can't rely on those things or know that others you care about can't, it makes a difference, or at least it should.

Here in Jersey, we got our trans-protective law in 2006. I transitioned in 1997. I know what it is to live without that protection. You lived in Indiana before DC, so you know what it's like too. I know better than to believe my sphere of concern should end at the borders of the jurisdiction where I live. You should too, and frankly, I have a hard time believing you don't.

And for the record, going along quietly and cheering while others get their rights as we ourselves are ignored helps no one, it simply makes it easier for others to throw trans people under the bus yet again.

Think about it: When did a non-inclusive ENDA become a political non-starter in Congress? Not until trans people started showing up at HRC galas and other political events all over the country to protest! When did DADT start getting serious attention? When LGBT vets started chaining themselves to the White House fence. The squeaky wheel does, in fact, get the grease.

If we've learned anything over the last several years, it's that quietly waiting and hoping for others to do the right thing by trans folks on their own is for fools and suckers. We've been down that road before and it never leads anywhere worthwhile. It's only when we get loud, proud, and refuse to take no for an answer that we get what we want and need.

I support gay marriage, but not at the expense of other people's right to work and live free of bigotry. Food and shelter have to come first because without those things nothing else is possible. Furthermore, I'd argue that if we protect people's right to work (read: generate income) first we also protect our community's ability to fund future efforts.

It's all connected. The reason for all the acrimony and division isn't because of a bunch of angry trans women, it's because gays and lesbians are trying to march for their own rights under a banner of equality on the backs and at the expense of a far more harshly oppressed minority.

You can call that kind of advocacy a lot of things, but one thing it most certainly is not is anything that can credibly be called fighting for equality. Equal means equal, and gays being able to marry while trans people are still being fired and thrown out of their homes just for being trans is not equality, not by a long shot. It's really no more complicated that exactly that.

Personally, I think that the trans so called "activists", and I don't mean that all activists, make people less sympathetic and supportive. You don't get anywhere in repairing a problem with angry accusations and finger pointing. It's time to go to work and fix the problem with all that are involved rather than creating a fight while the ship is sinking. Creating more damage year after year with scapegoating and accusations isn't damage control. It would have been better to have wept at the feet of the gay rights movement than to become combative and vindictive as this has not done anything except create more division in the LGBT. You can't say that the rifts and divisions have not become greater than they have ever been in 50 years.

And, it's trans women pointing out specific instances and people who have done damage to trans people and the trans movement who are responsible for the rifts? That trans people have the job of fixing the issues by pretending they didn't happen or that the damage wasn't done? As if trans people haven't been silently watching as our history and out lives have been used to further a political a social movement that sees scapegoating and bargaining us as a valid and workable option in attaining their rights?

In other words, the only good trans woman is a dead, unemployed, or silent trans woman? It seems that the price of admission to the LGB.

When it is done over and over and over and over, year after year after year and on every thread in the blogosphere, yes, I have to say.
Trans people have the job of networking with those who are successful, working with them and learning from them and feeding off of their success. not maligning folks for years on these threads. Rehashing what happened over and over isn't trying to fix anything. Everyone knows what happened already. When do you begin to work on the future and learn from the past, instead of alienating profitable allies?
I don't believe anyone has used anyone for bargaining to get their rights passed. Sure, the HRC debacle was tragic, and Joe going to Southern Comfort for funds and then reneging on his promises was tragic too, but trans people were not "used" explicitly to get gay rights passed. Sorry, I just don't agree with you.

The problem is that trans people seem to not be able to come to any viable agreements, the broken umbrella. And it will be this war for years. I think the LGB are distancing from it all and personally, on a political level, I can't blame them.

In other words, the only good trans woman is a dead, unemployed, or silent trans woman? It seems that the price of admission to the LGB.

Remember what you posted about Ken Mhelman there Phyllis? Yeah.. insert LGB and you have my exact feelings on the topic. Why should I forgive and forget when the damage Matt Foreman did hasn't been fixed. Either by hm or his ideological political heirs.

So what happened with ESPA in 2002? NH in 2009? Both appear to be very much like bargaining.

Glad you agree what the LGB requires of trans women. Any ideas why most trans women who do real grass-roots activism have very little to do with the LGB? Why every tans woman I know say they get more respect and understanding from straight men them gay ones?

Remember what you posted about Ken Mhelman there Phyllis? Yeah.. insert LGB and you have my exact feelings on the topic.

I completely agree with you about forgiving and forgetting. But if we mirror how that the gay agenda works politically, we can do better than we have in the last five years. I didn't say forget, but learn from the past. What good does it do to continue to fracture the LGBT politically when we could align our agenda along their strategies and ride on their coattails while the tides are rolling in favor of passing legislation. And I agree we should have little to do with any conjoining our fight for our rights with the LGB political organizations. They have screwed us when the going gets tough for them and yes, we can't trust them or even take another chance with them. Our efforts and labors would be wasted again and we can't afford all of our efforts on another debacle with our rights. As I said earlier, gay men are about gay men. At the time HRC and Barney were at work in congress, I was going to a gay bar with my friend from school and yes, your right, I get more understanding from straight men than gay men. It was a hard fact for me to accept but after a year of going there as a trans woman, I came to realize the fact. I had been to the place many times before transitioning and I was treated different then. I don't disagree with you on that point either. But I do say it gains us nothing with hostilities. If the "T" is a separate family there won't be any family fights anymore.

Why every tans woman I know say they get more respect and understanding from straight men them gay ones?

Om Kalthoum | June 30, 2011 8:03 PM

Oh, so you at least admit that what Bil said is true. Thank you for that, at least.

Funny, I was taught as a little girl to never say "shut up" to anyone. I know, quaint.

Some folks seek glory only for themselves....

It is name recognition associated with social and civil activism without ever doing anything except hovering over their keyboards 24/7. I don't think that the Transgender Law Center attorneys are sitting over their keyboards blogging all day long with nothing better to do than to hijack people's blog posts nor hijacking actual activism and social work that others have accomplished. This thread is about Marriage in New York, not trans anything and the post's should be reported to keep these kinds of people from hijacking every thread here on Bilerico. They are a bad example of trans activism. Seems they are inadequate males with something to prove.

"Om," seeing as how you make snide remarks and cowardly hide behind your total anonymity on virtually every trans thread on which I've ever seen you, it's really hard to take your opinion seriously when you continually make negative comments about trans people yet don't even honestly identify your relationship to that community. And considering how many posts I see you on both here and at Pam's House Blend, you have a nerve to accuse people of "hovering" since you obviously search out trans threads on which so make your flip and nasty comments. And I'm sorry for the derail but it seems as if Bilerico is intent on allowing "Om" to say any old ugliness without being reprimanded. :(

Om Kalthoum | July 1, 2011 2:58 AM

"ginasf" I suggest if you have a particular problem with a particular post of mine, you attempt to engage me on the particular issues at that particular time. Coming in now with some sort of tone argument is of no interest to me.

I strive to remain civil and to abide by the site TOS, but if you truly feel that someone in charge needs to "reprimand" me LOL, please make sure to hit up that "Report" button.

Apologies to the author of "Marriage Equality: How We Won New York" for another interesting article totally derailed by the usual lot.

Some folks don't really know how to get anyone that might become an ally to become an enemy because they won't shut up long enough to listen to anything any one else has to say. And if it doesn't agree with their agenda and their self emulation, they'll censor someone by talking over them, name calling, and outright misrepresentation of the facts and ideology, shutting down any dialog or constructive discussion. They will never agree with someone unless they will agree with them.

Thank you for sharing this post with us Marc. I can not thank you enough for you and all the organizations, people, groups, volunteers, and community voices that played their part to pass the Marriage Equality bill. I look forward to doing what I can to help other states win the freedom to marry.

Jay Kallio | June 30, 2011 10:39 AM

Up until last week, the Marriage Equality people had never won anything on the state level in NY, either, but they worked extremely hard for years and years, and by putting aside huge organizational differences, some of them longstanding, and putting aside rivalries, they won this bit of justice that will help so many families. It was a combination also of a long term grassroots strategy of everyday people coming out and taking the tremendous risks in their personal lives to brave all the consequences of bigotry and exclusion, to educate their local communities about LG people, with the large organizations subsuming their institutional interests to work together. That's when the big money, seeing an opportunity for success, was willing to pledge to the effort. It won because the right to marry carries many life saving economic benefits for the many same sex partners who have been unfairly denied them, and because people who love each other and want the concrete commitment between them honored both social;ly and legally, and an "army of lovers cannot fail". Love is a tremendous inspiration.

When many more trans people come out and fight for our rights with the courage and tenacity that LG people have demonstrated, we will win GENDA. Going stealth and staying in the closet, refusing to identify as someone with a trans past, and expecting others to telepathically understand all our issues without our ever doing the work of communicating them publicly, and even going so far as to attack those tho do as not fully representing every nuance of identity for everyone on the gender spectrum, all this conspires to defeat trans legislation before it is out of the gate. Bitterly opposing each other, refusing to seek common ground, and vicious internecine warfare won't win anything, and scapegoating LG people for that failure only precludes addressing the real issues.

Jay, I have observed the NY proceedings over the last decade and I have a lot of friends who have had to live through it. I heard about Silvia Rivera being lied to on her death bed. I saw (mostly gay me) both in and out of NY screaming about keeping trans people out of SONDA. I saw that their wishes came true when the legislators passed SONDA. I saw a rift in the trans community in NY take place because of SONDA fiasco. And, I watched as the trans community struggled to get much recognitions for GENDA while the LG people worked on marriage.

It's so nice to see the LG people become so magnanimous in wanting to now help their trans brothers and sisters, now that they got everything they wanted. SO, onward to the next marriage issue!

Monica -

I'm not sure what you heard about Sylvia being lied to on her deathbed, but if that is supposed to be about my and Joe Grabarz' visit with her when she was very ill at St. Vincent's Hospital, that is simply a myth. We did discuss trans inclusion in SONDA, briefly, but we certainly didn't lie or stretch the truth or make any commitments of any kind that would constitute a mistruth. In fact, most of the conversation involved Sylvia telling us which trans leaders should not be trusted.

Matt Foreman

Since you were there, then I take it back. Sorry. But, others were not so helpful. And, my issue with those who are ignoring GENDA now still remains.

I agree. I've owned up to my role in all of this but I remain baffled why GENDA hasn't been able to clear the Senate over the last 5 or so years, particularly now that DASA is law with GI/GE included. With marriage equality out of the way, GENDA is clearly at the top of the priority list with everything else (as far as I know) in a secondary, support-building status.

Hey Matt, great to see you posting here. I'd love to have you on the show again and get your thoughts on all this stuff. Interested? I hope so! :)

Matt, you do know how that sounds to me, as a trans woman, right? "Right after Mass Equality get the right to marh in St. Patrick's Day Parades in Boston... then trans job and hate crime legislation will be the most important thing (until we figure out a different "'must have'"...

Again, sorry - I'm really tired of having to buy all that.

I merely stated the facts of the current situation and where things stand now, not in the past. I did not suggest anything remotely suggested in your response.

Matt Foreman

Matt - if MassEquality can have 22 years of gay-only protections as well as marriage, one would think that trans protections would be the next big win. Alas, it is openly marching in the Boston St. Patrick's Parade. It seems the top priority keeps switching - so why should anyone believe that GENDA in NY won't be replaced by marching in the Macy's Parade or some other "critical" issue as the new real top priority?

I'd love to believe you that after getting all the big wins for LGB we'd then work on bringing T up to the same legal status. I've yet to see that happen, and ESPA's handling of both issues this year gives me zero faith that it actually will.

Matt wrote

I remain baffled why GENDA hasn't been able to clear the Senate over the last 5 or so years, particularly now that DASA is law with GI/GE included.
Yes, it's a complete mystery isn't it? Utterly inexplicable.

Yeah, right.

Did you compare the resources put into marriage equality with those put into GENDA?

With marriage equality out of the way, GENDA is clearly at the top of the priority list with everything else (as far as I know) in a secondary, support-building status.
But it's not out of the way. First, there's DOMA repeal. Then another 44 states to get full marriage rights in. There's getting Gays the rights to march in the St Patrick's day parade. Not until everyone who matters gets full equality in all areas will we have the time and resources to deal with other issues of lesser importance.

Lesson learnt.

Notice it wasn't mentioned what she "heard"? It's just a smoke screen of "privy" information for self emulation.

Going stealth and staying in the closet, refusing to identify as someone with a trans past, and expecting others to telepathically understand all our issues without our ever doing the work of communicating them publicly, and even going so far as to attack those tho do as not fully representing every nuance of identity for everyone on the gender spectrum, all this conspires to defeat trans legislation before it is out of the gate. Bitterly opposing each other, refusing to seek common ground, and vicious internecine warfare won't win anything, and scapegoating LG people for that failure only precludes addressing the real issues."

You are so very right Jay. Thank you very much for being brave enough to say it so rightly. There are some here that won't hear anything you have to say because they only know how to use their mouth and if you don't agree with them, they will tar and feather you, slander you, and call you all kinds of names.

Phyliss while I mostly agree with everything your saying I think something people aren't taking into consideration is maybe some people don't want to be involved in all this or they are so alienated by what the LGBT is pushing they're doing everything they can do to distance themselves from it. That isn't just a Trans issue that is also an LGB issue. The recent estimate done on the total estimate of same sex attracted people and sex and gender diverse people clearly shows the vast majority of people who have some form of same sex attraction don't identify as LGB. You know why ? I think I do its the politics and the message being pushed they simply don't agree with it. I guarantee you its the same thing for those who would fit into the transgender umbrella the vast majority simply don't agree with the politics of it and want no part of it. The big questions are if the LGBT is the minority of same sex and sex and gender diverse populations why are they allowed to claim to speak for the majority who are clearly ignoring them and want nothing to do with what their pushing? Then the next logical question becomes why does the LGBT wield such political power over the majority?

Jay - I get more done for trans people as a "supportive straight" woman among LG folks than I do as a "trans" woman. So I've found that I'm way more "out" in the general population than I am in LG offline spaces.

Any "scapegoating LG people" is done with very specific people and groups and actions. None of which you ever address in your unending need to exempt LG groups and history from the exact same level of scrutiny they place on the mainstream. The LGB has a collective bowel movement over a comedy routine and lights the torches and calls for someone to lose their job - over a JOKE! (and I agree that it needed addressed). But, as far as I know, the best we have ever gotten was a limp kinda apology from Matt Foreman.

It isn't even about feel-good apologies - it's about actions. If MassEquality can state that the next big agenda item is open participation in a parade... that does indeed speak loudly.

ESPA as well as MassEquality and Love Makes a Family have shown trans folks what trusting gay and lesbian marriage-drunk activists gains us: Left to fend for ourselves once the money gays get what they want and move on to the next marriage battle. How many times does it have to happen before we learn to expect and anticipate it?

When will we learn? How many more repeats of the same story have to be told before we get it? These people cannot to be trusted stand up for anyone but themselves.

Trans Person: "Remember a decade ago, why we got cut out of that law? Right, the one where you then actively labeled our re-introduction as a 'poison pill'".. right... so can we revisit that so we are all on the same level legally before moving to the next big item?"

The reply: "NO!!! I have this stuff that I want and I totally need it yesterday! Stop being selfish and work on the stuff I want!.. and you can use it to.. because I'm an ally!"

Seems that the trans people who have actually had boots-on-the-ground, grassroots activism for the last decade or more are the ones getting pissed on for being upset that the marriage win in NY has opened wounds that have been here for a long time.

I was one of the first to jump up and scream for joy when they Senate voted for this. Darlene and I are thinking of getting married in NY.

The problem isn't the marriage win and never has been. The problem is the fact that those reporting the so-called "next moves" is deliberately or unintentionally leaving out the need for the passage of GENSA. They seem to show an uncaring attitude, whether on purpose or unintentional, each time GENDA is brought up and that is where the problem lies. It is the underlining issue that has made the GENDA fight painful again.

If just one gay man (and it has only been gay men so far) came out and stood up for GENDA and made it first on their "Ta-do" list, it would help a great deal. If one gay man would admit that he should have added GENDA to his list, this comment section would not be this long. With no one willing to admit that GENDA is important, then it does nothing but enhance the stereotypical thought that gay men don't give a shit about trans people. I know that's f---ing wrong and everyone here knows that's f---ing wrong. But, it's not the message we're getting so far. And, dumping on us further isn't going to slow down the process.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 1, 2011 12:07 AM

The fight for same sex marriage continues to be a defensive fight against right wing bigots like the leadership of the Democrat party, Dixiecrats like the Clintons and DLC/DNC rightists like Obama, and the leadership of the Republican Party, the Bushes and the Bachmann's or whomever they vomit up to run in 2010.

Defending same sex marriage is imperative because we have to shield ourselves from the assaults they've been hammering us with since Democrat Bill Clinton championed, signed and boasted about DOMA in 1996. DOMA and the dozens of state DOMAs have been demoralizing and bitter defeats and all of them have taken their toll.

That said, and noting that we have to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers who want those tax breaks and who actually want to change diapers SSM is simply not important at all to many in our communities because the tax breaks aren't - though they should be - universal and because many object to state regulated partnering.

And we have to insist that they stand in solidarity on other more important issues like ENDA or even better a comprehensive and inclusive Civil Rights Amendment that guarantees equal protection in employment, closed union shops, and equality in housing and public services and accommodations. I understand the historic development of what became ENDA and think we should fight for it as a temporary measure but I think an inclusive CRA is better. Especially one that legally establishes procedures to sue bigots, racists and misogynists and that provides punishments ranging from confiscatory fines to draconian jail sentences.

Great synopsis Marc! I agree that Cuomo's charge and leadership was instrumental to the quick passage of this bill. I'm very proud that NY has set this important precedent, and the entire world was watching!

Now onto a different issue. Being openly transgender myself, I would ask somebody to PLEASE explain to me why these marriage topics have to be hijacked and derailed by trans issues. I'm all for equality. I'm even an activist for bi and trans issues. But this is extremely embarrassing for the cause. Instead of trolling Bilerico news articles, I would hope that we are focusing our energies on the people who can make a difference.

I think we are doing a remarkably good job at alienating ourselves and engendering disrespect and disrepute from our peers online.

I respect that the marriage victory is upsetting to some, but how is ranting continuously about GENDA, HRC, and so forth on Bilerico going effect change in politicians and lawmakers?

PS. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your graphic for this article and posted a copy of it on my office wall. I also shared it on my Twitter and FB page, and will probably make a YouTube video featuring it as well. Many, many kudos for summing up all my frustration in a single artistic masterpiece :)