At every step forward in this long process, we should stop and consider how we got here. We didn’t get here because we were polite and our opponents were kind. We got here because we were tough, relentless, and fierce. We got here because we knew our stuff and our opponents were merely driven by hatred. We had tough lawyers—all of them—and we mastered whole libraries of studies of various kinds proving that we’re OK. And, as the New York Times said after the NY legislature voted in marriage equality for that state, “it was clear the church had been outmaneuvered by the highly organized same-sex marriage coalition, with its sprawling field team, and, especially, it’s Wall Street donors.”
In my last posting, “The gifts of time,” I wrote about that day’s Boston Globe, whose lead article’s headline was “Firms call Defense of Marriage Act unfair.” This did not happen because corporate America suddenly decided gay people were wonderful employees and it didn’t want to be mean to its gay employees. Gay people have always been good employees. Those employees have been letting their employers know for years that they wanted to be treated like all the other employees. Instead corporate America has read the future, which was decades of lawsuits from employees demanding to be treated like other employees. We got to this point after suing successfully to have sodomy laws overturned and to have Colorado’s Prop 2 overturned. We got to this point after suing for equal marriage rights in courts at all levels on both coasts and the middle of America, and winning. Even soldiers are marrying each other, and kissing each other on the mouth on the front pages of the national press, and the republic hasn’t fallen and everybody is pretty much over being shocked or even amazed. Every poll says the people are speaking on this issue moment by moment, and the majorities in favor are getting larger and larger with every poll. Corporate America has suddenly realized it had better get in step and catch up. The amicus brief that prompted the Boston Globe’s article was an act of self-defense on the part of corporate America. The last thing corporate America wants is to be separated from its customers. I think corporate America can see the future: When gay people get finished with the courts and the legislatures, they will start with individual companies and organizations—the recent history of gay people and Chic-Fil-A and Boy Scouts of America springs to mind—and I would think that no American organization wants that. The BSA have ended up on the other side of the argument from the Army, for God’s sake.
It didn’t happen because any of those corporations who signed that amicus brief were nice people who had reverence for the Constitution of the United States. They are still driven principally by greed. These victories we are experiencing right now are coming out that way because we are tough and we’re good fighters and we don’t give up. Ever. We have good lawyers, and we have big donors, and we know how to get organized. It’s a winning combination.