Search This Blog

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oregon gay marriage advocates focus on the family while religious groups play the victim role

UPDATE Feb. 23, 2014 see previous post Letter on plutocrats and theocrats are not victims of liberals or gay marriage (2/23/14)

I just read an excellent analysis of two proposed Oregon Constitutional amendments by Paul Schindler, "Why Oregon Is 2014's Marriage Crucible," Gay City News (a New York City gay newspaper), posted Feb. 5, 2014. This opinion piece is significant because historically East Coast activists have viewed Minnesota and Colorado as being "out west" and West Coast gay activists, In Washington State, Oregon and California, have felt totally ignored by those who they call the "back East" elites.

In 2004, as part of a national effort by Christian Republicans to bring voters to the polls and reelect President George W. Bush, a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage was placed on the Oregon ballot and passed with 57 percent of the votes. The vote totals for each county showed that same sex marriage was supported only in the few counties with large cities, while gay marriage was opposed by voters in nearly all of the rural counties.

Schindler's analysis of the Oregon ballot measures, combined with my decades of experience watching Oregon politics, made me think of the amazing reversal of roles between 2004 and the proposed ballot measure political strategies in 2014.

Oregon's supporters of gay marriage were put on the defensive by the 2004 ballot measure to ban gay marriage, which was sponsored by national Christian Republican political groups.

In reaction, the gay marriage equality advocates political message focused on the list of rights of marriage that same-sex couples would be denied, which would make them the victims of this constitutional ban. In response, gay marriage opponents were able to successfully recast this list of marriage rights that were being denied to gay couples as being "special rights" voters' should not give to anyone out of fairness.

In an ironic reversal of roles this year, supporters of marriage equality are on the offensive by sponsoring their own ballot measure in 2014, under the banner of "Oregon United for Marriage," to repeal the 2004 State Constitutional Amendment with a political campaign message focusing on the family and commitments, whereas Opponents of gay marriage are on the defensive by sponsoring another Constitutional amendment, under the banner of "Friends of Religious Freedom," which claims to be defending their existing constitutional rights to freedom of religion from being "threatened "by allowing gay marriages.

This new political strategy of the Christian Republican right of claiming to be the victims of liberals waging a war on the religious or the rich was noted in my previous post Plutocrat claims to be victim of war on the rich (2/5/14)

Another shift in political strategy I observed between 2004 and 2014 is that mainstream Democrats, including two U.S. Presidents, are no longer trying to dodge the gay marriage issue by calling for "separate, but equal" civil unions, probably because of the realization that a similarly fallacious argument was historically used by Southern Democrats to justify racial segregation and laws against miscegenation.

On a loosely related note, see the student newspaper opinion piece by Cassie Ruud, "Gay marriage ban should be lifted before vote," posted Jan. 29, 2014 and the regular column by OSU instructor Dr. Kathy Greaves, "Nontraditional anal sex trumps heteronormative preconceived notions," posted Jan. 28, 3014. She is carrying in the tradition of previous OSU professors who sought to bring reason and logic to the study of sex. (See previous post OSU sex molester education 1953 (9/12/08))

Finally, I would like to credit some of the source material for this blog to William Edward Billy Glover, who graduated in 1950, went to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and then later worked with the homophile movement cofounder and former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg. (See "Billy Glover" accessed Feb. 9, 2014) and Billy Glover blog In the small world department, while Billy Glover was attending LSU, my mother would often walk me the tiger in a cage displayed on campus, which was the Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Tigers football mascot.

See my previous posts