By Mark Engler and Paul Engler for Tom Dispatch - A recent article in the Atlantic summed up this perspective with the tagline, "At this polarized moment, it's incremental change or nothing." This view, however, leaves out a critical driver of social transformation. It fails to account for what might be the most important engine of progress: grassroots movements by citizens demanding change. Social change is seldom either as incremental or predictable as many insiders suggest. Every once in a while, an outburst of resistance seems to break open a world of possibility, creating unforeseen opportunities for transformation.
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance - David Moore and his partner, David Ermold, confronted Kim Davis on September 1 when she refused to grant them a marriage licence. Davis told them that the clerk's office would not be issuing any marriage licenses today, when asked under what authority she was denying them a license, she claimed to be acting "under God's authority." Those seeking licenses told her she was welcome to have her personal religious beliefs but they did not belong in a county building and should not be used as an excuse for denying them their legal rights under law. In the heated exchange, couples being denied a license accused Davis of bigotry. Moore said to everyone in the room "You should be ashamed of yourself. Everyone in this office should be ashamed of themselves. Is this what you want to remember? Is this what you want to remember — that you stood up for this? That you children have to look at you and realize that you are a bigot and that you discriminated against people?"
By Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept - In the 1970s — just 40 years ago — the existence of gay people was all but unmentionable, particularly outside of small enclaves in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. If your first inkling of a gay identity took place in that decade, as mine did, you necessarily assumed that you were alone, that you were plagued with some sort of rare, aberrational disease, since there was no way even to know gayness existed except from the most malicious and casual mockery of it. It simply wasn’t meaningfully discussed: anywhere. It was so unmentionable that Liberace, of all people, long insisted to his fans that he was a “bachelor” due to his inability to recover from his tragic break-up with his fianceé, the Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie.
Amazement mixed with anxiety and cautious optimism. That’s how I felt nearly twenty years ago when the U.S. Supreme Court granted cert. in Romer v. Evans, a case in which I was co-counsel for Lambda Legal. In that moment, it was hard to be confident that the Justices would strike down Colorado’s ban on antidiscrimination protections for gay people, given Bowers v. Hardwick’s antigay moralizing, which upheld Georgia’s sodomy law in 1986 and remained the law of the land. Even still, gay rights advocates reasonably feared that efforts to strip basic antidiscrimination protections from gay people would escalate if the Court did not step in to review Romer. Indeed, similar measures had been or were actively under consideration in more than a dozen states during that period.
Not long ago, same-sex marriage in America was not merely an unpopular cause; it was a politically fatal one — a third-rail issue that could end the career of any politician foolish enough to touch it. The idea that gay and lesbian couples would be able to legally exchange vows in states throughout the United States was regarded, at best, as a far-off fantasy and, at worst, as a danger to the republic. It can be difficult to remember how hostile the terrain was for LGBT advocates in even recent decades. As of 1990, three-quarters of Americans saw homosexual sex as immoral. Less than a third condoned same-sex marriage — something no country in the world permitted. In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman and denied federal benefits to same-sex couples, passed by an overwhelming 85-14 margin in the U.S. Senate. Figures including Democratic Sen. Joe Biden voted for it, and Democratic President Bill Clinton signed the act, affirming, “I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages.”