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The Gathering Storm Over Gay Rights

Whatever their differences, fundamentalists work together. This cohesion has allowed them to direct their resources toward cultivating majorities, state by state. The gay movement, on the other hand, is proudly amorphous and famously schismatic. This culture may be changing. Nadine Smith's federation is dedicated to sharing information among local gay activists. On July 21 it met with national marriage-advocacy organizations, exploring something like a coordinated strategy. When major gay groups hold black-tie dinners to support the Rural Organizing Project, we will know that the movement is rising to the challenge ahead.

The fight over same-sex marriage may seem like a moment of truth for gay rights, but it's bigger than even that. We are moving toward a decisive juncture in the culture wars, with queers—those consummate creatures of modernism—directly in the line of fire.

"This campaign is going to be about much more than freedom to marry," says NGLTF's Matt Foreman. "It's going to be about the demonization of our people, and about legislating our second-class citizenship forever. When this battle is joined, the only way we will prevail is if everyone in the community unites. Whether people are for or against gay marriage, everyone has a piece of this fight. We have to understand the peril we're facing—and the promise."

Illustration by Jonathan Barkat
Illustration by Jonathan Barkat

So open your queer eyes.

Research: Matthew Phillp

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