The Next Civil Rights Movement

The New York Times reports that the leaders of the gay rights movement are debating how to alter their strategies and tactics in the wake of the apparent recent backlash against homosexuals. Apparently some groups are moving away from trying to legalize same-sex marriages and toward more moderate, inoffensive, and uncontroversial policy stances.

This strikes me as unfortunate.

Yes, a plausible case can be made that the gay rights movement cost Kerry the election. And clearly, the majority of Americans fear or feel threatened by homosexuals to a sufficient degree that same-sex marriage is not politically possible right now.

But that is exactly why I think that the gay rights movement needs to raise its profile, not lower it. In fact, I would argue that the main change that the gay rights movement needs to make is to cast itself as a civil rights movement – one that is no less morally valid than the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

The task that the gay rights movement faces now is to change people’s minds. And that will not be accomplished by becoming meeker and milder.