Is Gay the New Black? Marriage Ban Spurs Debate
Posted By: on June 27, 2009 |
The gay rights battle is viewed by some as the last frontier for equal rights
AP: Associated Press updated 10:53 a.m. PT, Sun., Nov . 30, 2008
NEW YORK - Gay is the new black, say the protest signs and magazine covers, casting the gay marriage battle as the last frontier of equal rights for all.
Gay marriage is not a civil right, opponents counter, insisting that minority status comes from who you are rather than what you do.
The gay rights movement entered a new era when Barack Obama was elected the first black president the same day that voters in California and Florida passed referendums to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying, while Arizonans turned down civil unions and Arkansans said no to adoptions by same-s*x couples.
Obama's victory a triumph against racism
Racism was defanged by Obama's triumph, leaving gays as perhaps the last group of Americans claiming that their basic rights are being systematically denied.
"Black people are equal now, and gay people aren't," said Emil Wilbekin, a black gay man and the editor of Giant magazine. "I always have this discussion with my friends: What's worse, being a black man or a black gay man?"
"Civil rights have come much further than gay rights," he said. "A lot of people in the gay community have been condemned for their lifestyle and promiscuity and drugs and s*x, so it's odd that when they want to conform and model themselves after straight people and have the same rights for marriage and domestic partnership and adoption, they're being blocked."
In a cover story for the Advocate magazine titled "Gay is the New Black," Michael Joseph Gross wrote, "These past few years we've made so much progress that we'd begun to think everybody saw us as we see ourselves. Suddenly we were faced with the reality that a majority of voters don't like us, don't think we're normal, don't believe our lives and loves count as much or are worth as much as theirs."
Yet even some gay leaders are reluctant to directly tie their fight to the African-American legacy. They acknowledge significant differences in the experiences of gays and blacks, ranging from slavery to the relative affluence of white gay men to the choice made by some gays to conceal their s*xual orientation, which is not an option for those with darker skin.
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