OCALA, Fla., January 7, 2014 — Whether one likes it or not, America is becoming a far more LGBT-friendly nation.
Specifically in terms of the gay rights movement, astounding victories have been made over the last ten years. Exactly why this is, however, remains a bit more elusive.
“The victories in the movement for equal rights for gays and lesbians over the last decade is no accident, nor is it the main result of lobbying by Gay, Inc,” Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo tells The Washington Times Communities.
“The real reason we’ve come so far, so fast in this movement is because more and more gay Americans have been living their lives openly and honestly, and showing their straight colleagues, friends, and family members that they are just as deserving of the same rights, protections, and responsibilities as anyone else,” Angelo says.
Fred Karger is America’s first openly gay presidential candidate. A political operative who consulted on the campaigns of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole, among others, has a similar perspective.
“It has been a long time in coming, but with all the public discussion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in this country over the last 10 years more and more LGBT Americans have come out,” he tells TWTC. “As people learn that their friends, family members or coworkers are LGB or T, then opinions change and change fast.”
The lynchpin of gay rights advocacy is same-sex marriage. In a remarkable turnaround from as late as the 2000s, most Americans now support legalizing gay marriage. What might account for such a drastic change?
“Massachusetts legalized marriage equality for committed same-sex couples in 2004, so we’re coming up on 10 years that same-sex marriages have been recognized in at least some parts of this country,” Angelo says. “And in the 10 years since Massachusetts, we’ve had nearly 20 states recognize the right of committed gay couples to marry, so we’re no longer in uncharted territory here; we have 10 years of history and case studies that show that allowing committed same-sex couples to marry is no threat to religious liberty, and serves to strengthen — rather than weaken — the institution of marriage.
“In fact, studies show that states that recognize same-sex marriages actually have lower rates of divorce than those states that do not allow gay couples to marry. Same-sex marriage is nothing for anyone to fear, and Americans across the country are coming to that conclusion.”
Karger has similar views. He, however, adds one key point: “As Americans continually see news coverage of loving, happy gay and lesbian couples getting married and given the same rights as everyone else, they see that the scare tactics of the religious right have not come true.”
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