Friday, November 12, 2004

The path of moderation

Chastened by the passage of constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in 11 states, the gay rights movement appears to be deciding to take the prudent course and limit its court battles to trying to preserving same-sex benefits and securing the right to enter into civil unions. As the New York Times reports:

So challenging the new state amendments by arguing that gays have the right to marry under the federal Constitution is unlikely anytime soon. Instead, gay rights groups will move cautiously, mostly on procedural matters in states whose measures appear to infringe on civil unions and benefits for same-sex couples.

Matthew Coles, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's lesbian and gay rights project, said that groups like his would adopt a measured pace in filing lawsuits.

"The consequences - the risks - of losing are great," Mr. Coles said. "And we're unprepared for the consequences of winning." In his eyes, he said, winning in court too soon could mean losing in the court of public opinion, in Congress and under the United States Constitution.

The last thing the gay rights movement needs is a pyrrhic legal victory like Roe v. Wade, which in the end will do more harm than good to a woman's right to choose. Before Roe, many states were moving to liberalize their abortion laws. But Roe cut off all debate, and left abortion opponents feeling alienated and ultimately able to seize the political and moral high ground. Gay rights advocates are better off trying to sway public opinion in favor of the rights that attend civil unions.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home