Unfortunately, for the gay community, such legal victories have been hard to come by in other states. The issue of gay marriage rights has reached a stage now, where more meaningful concessions for the community are a real possibility in the near future. In theUnited Statesin particular, the issue is highly politicized, with the populace divided between liberals and gay-rights advocates on the one hand, and social conservatives on the other. The cause of gay-activists is not only undermined by rightist political elite, but also by members of their own sexual disposition. At almost every rally in support of traditional-marriage, African-American religious leaders have expressed their whole hearted support. Since African-Americans are a crucial electorate, who could swing an election one way or the other, winning over their leadership for the cause is important. Other symbols of implicit support for traditional marriages come in the form of the website of the conservativeAlliancefor Marriage, “which features pictures of African-American families bathed in the glow of happy man-woman marriage. There’s also a not-so-happy picture of the Rev. Walter Fauntroy, the former Congressional delegate for Washington, DC, and one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington, who opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples” (Lisotta, 2004).
There is widespread consensus among liberals at least that gay couple should be given some sort of legal recognition, if not under the purview of marriage laws. There is now an optimistic outlook for gay rights with the emergence at federal level where elected representatives are trying to bring forth equality for all. But the challenge confronting them is to balance community expectations with individual sexual preferences, and this has fostered the emergence of a subculture across racial lines in which men live on the “down low, where straight public life and a private world of gay sex are never supposed to meet” (Lisotta, 2004). Once considered a taboo subject even in gay circles, this subculture has become such a mainstream topic that popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey recently devoted a whole episode of her show to it.
In conclusion, it is fair to say that the issue of granting legal rights to gay couple should be approached by considering the complexities and long term implications. Under the recently concluded tenure of George Bush’s Administration, the Federal Marriage Amendment law was tinkered with to make legal benefits for gay couple that much more difficult. Such reactionary law-making does not lead the society to progress. It is also apt to add that legislatures of the future should fully take into account the historical legacy of homosexuality and the injustices suffered by this community before drawing up new laws. The following passage sets forth what can be expected in coming years:
“With twenty-six states debating marriage amendments, and the fight over the federal amendment looming, the stakes may be higher than most marriage-equality supporters would like. But the debate has helped force the LGBT community out of the closet, and may help redefine its place within the church. Meanwhile, some gay activists emphasize that to win more support the larger gay movement needs to broaden its agenda and political strategy. As gay groups increasingly recognize, one natural occasion for an alliance with progressive organizations is in opposing “marriage promotion” schemes for low-income and disproportionately minority women, which are, not coincidentally, advanced by the very same defenders of “traditional marriage” driving the campaign against gay marriage” (Lisotta, 2004).
Zeller, Shawn. “Dignity’s Challenge: Can Homosexuals Feel at Home in Catholicism?.” Commonweal 14 July 2000: 17.
Lisotta, Christopher. “Homophobia of All Hues: The Marriage-Equality Movement Confronts Antigay Sentiment among Blacks.” The Nation 17 May 2004: 15.
Labi, Nadya. “The Kingdom in the Closet: Sodomy Is Punishable by Death in Saudi Arabia, but Gay Life Flourishes There. Why It Is “Easier to Be Gay Than Straight” in a Society Where Everyone, Homosexual and Otherwise, Lives in the Closet.” The Atlantic Monthly May 2007: 70+.