OCALA, Fla., January 21, 2014 — The gay rights movement continues to score victory after victory. While this has been the case for some time, LGBT activists are now finding success not just along the coasts or in landlocked progressive strongholds, but the reddest of red states.
Late last month, a federal judge ruled Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. Same-sex couples were granted marriage licenses until a stay was placed on the decision.
During the first weeks of 2014, another federal judge deemed Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage prohibition unlawful. Unlike in Utah, though, he prevented his ruling from taking effect immediately. It is currently pending appeal.
Whatever one might think about all this, America’s recent, and no less remarkable, expansion of LGBT rights cannot be ignored.
Some say that the gay rights movement has gone too far in challenging social norms. They believe that this might cause societal destabilization.
“Marriage is a social norm; gay Americans merely want to get married,” Gregory T. Angelo, the Log Cabin Republicans’ executive director, tells Communities Digital News. “Non-discrimination is a social norm; gay Americans merely want their employment to be judged on their merits rather than their sexual orientation.
“Marriage equality has existed in the United States for nearly 10 years; employment protections for gay Americans has existed in some states for decades. The notion that giving gay Americans equal rights could lead to ‘societal destabilization’ betrays a lack of knowledge of United States history. It’s a canard floated by anti-gay socons.”
Fred Karger is a career Republican political operative. His most famous cause is not for a single politician, but same-sex marriage.
Karger brought much attention to the matter when he ran for the GOP’s presidential nomination during 2012’s primaries. In doing so, he became the first openly gay candidate for the presidency. These days, he furthers the interest of not only LGBT rights but moderate Republican politics as a commentator.
“Our founding fathers wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights to ensure that all Americans are treated equally,” Karger explains to CDN. “Parents want one thing for their kids; they want them to be happy. LGBT Americans contribute so much to this country and as they receive full equality, even marry and raise children of their own, they are finally able to fully realize the American Dream. That is good for all families and good for the country.”
While much is discussed about the gay rights movement’s present, little is mentioned of its past. In America, how did today’s cause for gay rights begin?
“The modern gay rights movement historically began the night of the Stonewall Riots in New York, when gay men tired of being targeted by the police rose up to assert their right to individual freedom,” Angelo says.
He continues: “A lot of gay Republicans were a part of the Stonewall Riots, incidentally — I know a few of them myself. Log Cabin Republicans emerged in the late-1970s, as a group of gay Republicans based in California who united to support Ronald Reagan, who was then a former Governor of California who still had ambitions of running for President of the United States. At the time, a referendum was before the people of California which would have made it illegal for openly gay individuals to be teachers in California public schools.
“The referendum — known as ‘The Briggs Initiative’ or ‘Proposition 6’ — was supported by a majority of Californians, until Ronald Reagan — at incredible political risk — came out against it. As a result, The Briggs Initiative failed. In support of Ronald Reagan, and as an homage to Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party’s roots in equality for all, the name ‘Log Cabin Republicans’ was chosen to represent gay conservatives around the country. In the more than 30 years since, we’ve grown to have Chapters across the country and thousands of members, as well as a National Headquarters in Washington, DC.”
Karger states that “(s)ome very courageous heroes in [the gay community’s] long fight for equality began coming out and speaking out in the 1950’s and founded the Mattachine Society in Chicago. In 1969 the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village really launched the modern gay rights movement. We began fighting back at Stonewall 45 years ago and have not let up ever since.”