Something to Look Forward To

Phyllis Schalfly of the Eagle Forum speaks in this uncredited photo from December, 2011.

Michelangelo Signorile brings the least unexpected newsα from the rear guard (ha!) of the Conservative Culture Wars:

Amid battles that have erupted over states banning local anti-discrimination ordinances and moving forward on “religious liberties” laws targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people — seemingly catching some LGBT activists off-guard — Phyllis Schlafly has a message for the LGBT community: Don’t believe for a minute that the Supreme Court’s decision in June on marriage equality, no matter how positive, will diminish the crusade against LGBT equality. In fact, she says, it will only serve to reinvigorate the anti-gay movement ....

.... “The gays have their argument about inevitability,” the 90-year-old author of 25 books told me in an interview for SiriusXM Progress at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, over the weekend, during a book-signing including her new book, “Who Killed the American Family?”

“I don’t think that’s so,” Schlafly continued with a smile, rejecting the “inevitability” argument. “I’m extremely disappointed that the Republican Party, the conservative movement, even the Democratic Party and the churches, have been saying, ‘Well soon the court will decide, and that will be it.’ Well, a lot of people thought that about Roe v. Wade, and we’ve seen the whole abortion movement turned around in the last ten years.”

Suffice to say, madam, we look forward to it. You know where to find us; we’ll be here.

Meanwhile, for those less inclined to lend their voices to the last angry roar of a dying species, it is not worth the effort to be distressed about any aspect of an aged drama queen’s feeble vituperations. It might occur to wonder if maybe that rally call to invigoration sounds familiar; after all, we heard the same thing from others last year when looking forward to the November midterm to smack down President Obama’s progress for transgender rights.

Nor should the overlap pass without mention; we really are hearing the last cries of an ideological species as it fades toward extinction. In June, Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition noted the lack of response to transgender progress. “America is just overwhelmed right now,” she explained. And for supremacists that was at least as true then as it is today.

They are losing.

It is not simply the writing on the wall; it is also the writing on the page. Justice Thomas, not the biggest fan of homosexuals or gay rights we might encounter, went so far as to acknowledge the obvious in his dissent when the Supreme Court refused to stay marriage equality in Alabama, complaining, “In this case, the Court refuses even to grant a temporary stay when it will resolve the issue at hand in several months.” In other words: C’mon, can’t we just give them a few more months to enjoy being bullies?

This revolution is over, and we could not have come this far without the spiteful invitations extended by Christian zealots in Oregon and Colorado nigh on a quarter-century ago. We could not have come this far without Ms. Schlafly and her allies constantly asking Americans to consider and judge the people they knew. We could not have come this far―we could not have won―except for someone else putting the question before people, and proudly showing the hatred that drove them to ask. Gay marriage? When the fight was simply to not be disenfranchised from basic justice, the conservatives lamented, “If we don’t, next thing you know they’ll want to marry!” And pretty much everybody else laughed: Yeah, right. Gay marriage. Tell me another. When anti-sodomy laws came to ruin, conservatives lamented, “If you let them do it without risking prison, next thing you know they’ll want to marry!” And what we must remember is that in between was just fight after fight after fight until instead of, Yeah, right, the response was, Well, why not? Because every time people were asked to consider and judge gays, it turns out they knew a few more homosexuals than they thought they did, and they just couldn’t do that to their friends and neighbors.

And it got so bad the Sixth Circuit had to throw the bigots a bone, almost as if to tell the Supreme Court, “We’re not getting out of this without you doing something.” And, you know, the Supreme Court tried. They really, really did. But as marriage equality comes back for one last show, nobody really pretends any other outcome.

Schlafly’s response to this sense of inevitability is not to reject it outright, but to suggest that somehow the outcome will invigorate the movement. And that would be the movement that cannot muster to its own flank against advancing transgender rights.

We’re here. We’re queer. And we are winning. Ms. Schlafly hopes to mobilize for another charge, as if that can somehow turn the tide? Very well, then. It is our pleasure to receive.


α Quite obviously, we would not complain; more than the news itself is its implications.

Signorile, Michelangelo. “Founding Mother Of The Conservative Movement: LGBT Rights Not Inevitable”. The Huffington Post. 2 March 2015.

Thomas, Clarence. “On Application for Stay”. Strange v. Searcy. Supreme Court of the United States. 9 February 2015.

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