Look, I’m a straight equal marriage supporter of the “Kill it any way, anyhow” mindset. I’m with you on this. And I’m not going anywhere. But in addition to the above, here’s a few things that I sincerely hope you’ll consider:
1) This may go to a popular vote. You don’t like it and I don’t like it, but the ballot initiative has taken an important step in that direction and that’s just the reality of it. IF that were to happen, cursing the names of those who support SSM but wish to express their opinion via popular vote is not a fantastic way to continue to hold their support. This isn’t a hostage crisis, as some have indicated. It’s just a fact. If that’s where we wind up, we’ll need each and every last ally in order to assure that not only is the initiative defeated but that it is CRUSHED in such a manner that it is beyond reproach.
2) As much as I hate the phrase “process liberal” (Mechanically separated process liberal, buy one get one free in Aisle 5!), we’re all process people, in my opinion. Only our prioritization of processes differ. I travel to every MassEquality rally or counter-rally against VoteOnMarriage that I can with the same sign: “Civil Rights: Not Subject to Popular Vote”. Marriage equality was decided by the court to be an aspect of our civil rights as equals before the Commonwealth. We don’t vote on consideration to take those away, and that’s final. That’s my process. Interestingly enough, I’m sure that many holding the Machiavellian attitudes on this issue would stick closer to process vis a vis changing the Constitution when it suits us, like with the Patriot Act. That’s OK, I’m guilty too and it’s because critical thinking is a valid aspect of wading through this beautiful disaster which is American politics. Just as important though is understanding how people can still be allies even when their views are not identical. This avoids echo chambers, and that’s good too.
3) As mentioned above, your straight supporters are your friends, maybe your best ones in fact. Really! I can really only speak for myself, but I’m not going anywhere. Your straight supporters exist for a variety of reasons: They may have a gay relative or friend whom they don’t want to see treated as a second-class citizen, they may worry about the slippery slope leading to their own rights being taken away, or they may just know it’s the right and just thing to do. I don’t think any of the reasons above are temporary, and I don’t see straight supporters leaving, unless they feel like they aren’t welcome anymore.
I mentioned before that I’ve put a lot into this issue, and I’ve spoken publicly about aspects of it to various mainstream and LGBT media outlets. This has made me a target for criticism, hate mail, harassment, and the like from VOM folks down to my own father, who signed the ballot initiative petition. When I mention this, it isn’t to ask for your pity or admiration. It’s to ask for a basic level of respect, and I guess to show that this isn’t a fad or “fashion statement” to me. It’s something I really believe in.
It’s often mentioned that straight folks have nothing to lose in this battle. I don’t exactly agree, because erosions in civil rights affect everyone sooner or later. But, in the partial sense that this is correct is the piece which I think most bears consideration. Those of us who are active in this fight do so in spite of the fact that it doesn’t directly affect our personal civil standing, and precisely because we still care about equality. I personally do this because I know it’s a fight for justice and equality, and I hope if the tables were turned you would do the same for me.
This isn’t directed towards anyone in particular. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about since yesterday. I never thought that my integrity or the strength of my support would be called into question as it was, based on my sexual orientation and/or my defense of those who are equality supporters of a slightly different kind. I’d imagine some of my ilk and theirs were taken aback by this, I know I was. This is my response.
We’ve got a lot of work to do still. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get started together.