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Co-Opted: Marriage Equality's Civil Rights Rip-Off

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Earlier this year I interviewed noted Gay author, Andrew Sullivan for a story I wrote about same-sex marriage in More Intelligent Life, the Economist's culture website. Although one of the deepest thinkers in the homo-sphere, Sullivan immediately succumbed to the kind of shallowness parroted by every other pro-Marriage mouth-piece with whom I spoke. Invoking the legacy of the Civil Rights movement, Sullivan quickly equated the legalization of same-sex marriage with the end of miscegenation laws in 1960s America. Much like the Civil Rights movement battled to allow Blacks to marry Whites, Sullivan noted, the Marriage Equality movement seeks similar freedoms for Gay men and Lesbians.

I was immediately struck by the chutzpah of Sullivan's statement -- both because of its erroneousness and because he had the audacity to make it. Like many before him, I'm certain Sullivan never considered that despite my Jew-boy sounding name and Valley-Boy sounding accent, my Black father attended a segregated high school while his sister was hosed down by haters when she dared enter a mixed-race college. 

Trust me when I say that the man thought I was White!

As for that Jungle Fever Sullivan so confidently invoked -- those were my parents back in hippie-dippie San Francisco. And while I am clearly pleased they were allowed their union, mixed-race coupledom was a benefit of the Civil Rights movement -- not its goal (See: voter rights, an end to lynching, desegregation, economic empowerment, etc). Stating otherwise not only reflects a fundamental confusion about Civil Rights successes -- but disses the very people who made them happen.

Particularly African-Americans.

Indeed, since the defeat of Proposition 8 last year, the Marriage Equality movement has been in a problematic pas de deux with Black America. On one hand, LGBT Inc. demands the right to appropriate the Civil Rights struggle wherever and whenever possible. Yet at the same time, it constantly blames Black folks for every same-sex marriage set back. From the Black church to Black singers to our Black president, somehow a mere 13.5 percent of the population is responsible for 100 percent of the problems. 

The math alone should render this philosophy farcical. Yet reinforced by the mainstream LGBT media -- and regurgitated by their parasitical blogger proxies -- the blame-the-black-guy rhetoric is reaching an increasingly-heated fever-pitch.

Take November's gay-marriage defeat in Maine -- a state where Blacks comprise barely one percent of the population. Despite this miniscule number, major Marriage Equality leader David Mixner still found it necessary to single-out non-White voters even before election day. Tenuously linking them to the Obama administration, Mixner framed the vote in an "us and them" discourse which left little room for shades of grey. 

So you fully understand the consequences of this administrations actions in the last week, just look at the statistics for Maine voters.  In the latest Public Policy Poll yesterday which show us falling behind, they said that 54% of the voters say they supported Obama. Over 9% of  the voters described themselves as 'non-white'. In that poll 28% of the Obama supporters say they were voting against marriage equality.  More importantly, 56% of 'non-white' voters said they planned on voting against marriage equality.

Like much of Marriage Equality's great Civil Rights rip-off, Mixner's missive is nearly muddled beyond comprehension. Yet amidst all the mess, his conceit becomes clear: Marriage-Equality is a zero-sum battle in which the only "no votes" worth scrutinizing are those cast by minorities and Pres. Obama is Public Enemy Number One.

Yet in between bashing the Blacks, Mixner and Co. saw no problem borrowing from their heroic history -- both in the US and abroad. Post-Maine America was immediately declared a "Gay Apartheid" state, while sacred totems such as "separate-but-equal", "second-class citizenship" and "the African-American struggle for freedom" were gallingly invoked. It was all echoed by endless commentators who latched on to this movement-mooching across the Internet.

Beyond the sheer racism involved, the most troubling elements of this Civil Rights co-option is its divisiveness and anti-intellectualism. Black America -- much like Gay America -- is a large, varied, pan-cultural and trans-historical entity that defies easy definitions of ethnic, economic and (yes!) sexuality. Mindsets like Mixner's deny this complexity simply to promote their misguided mandate. Along the way, they shut-out African-Americans from this crucial Civil Rights movement by blaming them for its failures and excluding them from its agenda.

Most crucially, this entire sham renders Black LGBTs unnecessarily disheartened, conflicted and increasingly invisible. As for those who are seen, they're rarely heard unless puppeting the mantras of larger LGBT Inc. like some white-washed army of assimilationist Homo-Toms. Black Gay leaders who merely suggest a more nuanced narrative -- one where HIV treatment, social justice and economic equality are as important as marriage rights -- are immediately pounced upon by the cyber-Homostocracy and denounced as radicals and racists.

The most tragic element of Marriage Equality's Civil Rights rip-off is that it's simply so unnecessary. With 40 years of post-Stonewall activism behind it, Gay America has its own legacy on which to further its fight -- one that is effective, inclusive and triumphant. It also has AIDS and the bittersweet bravery of groups such as ACT-UP. Not only did they literally fight to save their lives, they changed the entire medical system in the process -- something even a sitting President cannot seem to accomplish.

The endless defeats plaguing the Marriage Equality movement should serve as a wake-up call to its impotent leadership and encourage a period of post-mortem introspection. Moreover, it confirms the ineffectiveness and disingenuousness of their divide-and-conquer tactics. After all, the most prominent marriage equality victory this year was (ironically) in Washington, DC -- the one city where same sex leaders couldn't ignore the Black folks.

Everyone loses in the battle for "most-oppressed" status -- believe me, it's a battle I've been waging my entire life.

The Blacks. vs. Gays battle is no exception.