Liberal activist Dan Savage is respected for his work as founder of the “It Gets Better” campaign. Make no mistake that this organization has had a huge role in the rapidly changing public opinion of GLBT equality. As a country, we are all better for important projects like this one. But Mr. Savage is also well-known for his “colorful” language from his advice column, and for a long-standing vendetta with GLBT people that are known to be either in the closet, or working against equality.
Just this week the board at GOProud, one of the most prominent GLBT Republican political organizations, officially endorsed Mitt Romney’s candidacy for President. Like many political groups, this was a decision which required a vote. Some members, such as co-founder Chris Barron, admitted to voting against the endorsement, but as a member of the organization he chose to support his party and their candidate.
As a fellow Liberal, I do not agree with GOProud’s endorsement. Mitt Romney has already pledged to toe his party’s far-right line against same-sex marriage and civil unions. He’s even flirted with the possibilities to end or reverse the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. These are terrible setbacks in the fight for equality. Knowing all of this, GOProud’s endorsement was sure to garner attention. Mr. Savage attacked GOProud and has started a bitter war of very foul and disrespectful language. Though I do not support the organizations actions, I also cannot support Mr. Savage and his immature behavior. Ultimately, his actions will do more to harm the fight for equality. He is being used to further existing stereotypes to show how “out of control” the GLBT community is. By attacking organizations like GOProud, Dan Savage fuels the fire that Conservatives can use against the movement.
Before we get caught in a “civil war” within the gay community, it’s important to pause and look at the accomplishments made under the Obama administration. As of this year, we now live in a country where more than 50 million Americans in 8 states recognize same-sex marriage as full and legal. Military soldiers can now serve their country without of dismissal regardless of their sexual orientation. More GLBT couples than ever before are having children and families without fear of scorn from their neighbors. Even in a state like Texas, the city of Houston elected an openly gay mayor, and the GLBT voices in our government continue to grow. And despite what you hear inside the Washington spin zone, support for same-sex marriage is rapidly increasing the country, including within the GOP.
But where we’re also losing ground is in the actions of people like Dan Savage. As a community, we must remember that our fight for GLBT equality is for people of all political stripes, including GOProud. Even if Liberals disagree with them and their decisions, we have to find a way to do so respectfully, and show that what’s most important is that the work for equality moves forward, regardless of which political ideology wins the election. If Mr. Savage took a moment to scroll through his “It Gets Better” site, he’d be reminded that the gay community is the most diverse community on the planet. By design, that diversity also includes politics. For the rest of the Liberals, let’s not forget that there are very real and tangible threats to the struggle for equality, and they lie in the Right-wing fringes. Every minute that the GLBT community spends attacking each other, is a minute more that terrors like Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association and One Million Moms can plot against us.