Pretend for a minute that you're Barack Obama, and it's January 1, 2008. You're behind in the polls, but you've got a strong organization, lots of cash in the war chest, and a less than even chance of clinching the Democratic Presidential Nomination. I mean, c'mon, your chances are less than even! Why fight a battle you'll possibly/probably lose? Why not give up, throw your support to Clinton, and say, "Hey, Hillary? Since I'm helpin' you out here, how about the Vice Presidency?"
It'd be a hell of a lot easier, wouldn't it? After all, progress/change is only achieved in small steps, right? Why not go for the sure thing, instead of struggling so hard for the tough challenge?
Well, my friends, that's exactly what many GLBT Americans do when they say they'd be satisfied with something that looks like marriage, feels like marriage, benefits like marriage, but isn't CALLED marriage.
If it's called anything other than marriage, then, by default, it's something LESS. There are those who say "marriage" applies to Christianity, not to state sanctioned commitments. If that's true, then why can agnostics and atheists marry? And what of Muslims, Jews, and a host of others? Why THEM, but not Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders?
If you'll settle for a "civil union" in place of a marriage, and be satisfied with it, then you're only after equality. Note the lower-case E. It's my way of saying "equality-lite." All the great taste of marriage, but without the M word that offends so many wingers.
Me? I want EQUALITY! Equal in every respect. No room for condescention from our pious right-wing friends. EQUALITY! is within our grasp, my friends! As of TODAY, five states have legalized same sex marriage, through various means, but with the same result. . . EQUALITY!
Let's use this momentum to call our Democratic legislators and prod them to action. . . demand our EQUALITY! Let's insist upon full and equal rights in the eyes of the law, just as we are equal in the eyes of the Gods of our understandings. It's POSSIBLE! If we keep pushing forward, the opposition will soon be overwhelmed and unable to muster the strength or the funds to fight back. And by the time they are able to start retaliating, the American public will be able to see for itself that the institution of marriage has NOT crumbled. They'll see that their children are not being recruited into lives of sin and gratuitous sex. And maybe, just maybe, they'll begin to understand. Okay, allow me a little latitude for dreaming! :)
EQUALITY! It's more than just a slogan!