From the Atlantic:
“With jurisprudence, public opinion, and state laws all seeming to be moving in their direction, the future looks bright for their cause. But the campaigners at Freedom to Marry, the only national group solely devoted to gay-marriage advocacy, believe it is time not to rest on laurels but to fight harder than ever. And they have a plan to do just that.
The group’s new strategic plan, revealed exclusively to The Atlantic and scheduled to be formally announced Tuesday, sets ambitious targets for the near term: By 2016, it says, the majority of Americans should live in states where gay marriage is legal, and national public approval should top 60 percent. (Currently, 30 percent live in such states, and the issue generally polls between 50 and 58 percent.) The group also hopes to see passage of federal legislation fully repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, only part of which was invalidated by the recent Supreme Court challenge.”
One of the most interesting aspects of the gay marriage movement is the way the supporters have been able to organize themselves and simultaneously work towards their goal using the legal system and the political process. In the past, the focus has been exclusively in the courts when it came to matters like civil rights and marriage. The reason was that the public support for gay rights just wasn’t there yet and there was no way they could pressure politicians to vote their way.
But as the famous conservative rabble-rouser Andrew Breibart once said, politics is downstream from culture. By changing the hearts and minds of the general public they have been able to personalize gay rights for millions of Americans. Most of us know at least one person who is gay, and polls show that people who know someone that is gay are more likely to be in favor of gay rights.
There’s a lesson here for other nascent political movements. Already, it seems that the marijuana legalization movement has been mirroring the gay rights groups when it comes to political organizing on the state level while showing that not all marijuana smokers are burned out stoners. And you could even say that the pro-life movement has seen success using similar tactics for many decades via promoting a “culture of life.”
Politics is a fascinating beast.