Build on Gay Marriage Victories

Policy Prescriptions for President Obama's Second Term

getty images

By Jay Michaelson

Published January 08, 2013, issue of January 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

It’s looking like 2013 will be the year of same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court will decide on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (it’s up to Justice Kennedy) and California’s Proposition 8, both of which try to criminalize marriage that is not between a man and a woman.

The Obama administration, already not defending DOMA, may take a more active role in overturning it.

And with the momentum of last November’s same-sex marriage sweep in four states where the issue was on the ballot, look for smaller marriage battles in various contexts (spousal benefits, partner recognition, etc.) and the run-up to more state referenda in the next few months.

And yet, in many parts of the LGBT activist world, there’s less enthusiasm about marriage than you might expect. First – and, shh, please don’t tell anyone – we know that we’ve won. The trend lines are all in our favor, and the demographic and spiritual re-alignments have already occurred. Even Newt Gingrich is telling Republicans to bow to the inevitable.

More to the point, many in our movement are ready to move beyond marriage to focus on the most vulnerable: kids still killing themselves out there, people still being bashed and targeted, and folks in communities of color, rural communities, and other places where not everyone watches “Modern Family.”

Read the Forward’s package, Dear Mr. President, policy Prescriptions for the Second Term.

It’s still legal to be fired simply for being gay in many states. And 2012 saw a wave of lethal violence against transgender people, particularly transwomen, that cries out for more education, protection and prosecution.

Finally, there are increasing efforts to erode our civil rights under the bogus guise of preserving “religious freedom.” This is the “freedom” to bully gay kids, to discriminate against same-sex couples, and to disobey laws of universal application by citing religious precept. Make no mistake: The people behind this approach are the usual religious right extremists — evangelicals and anti-abortion conservative Catholics, along with the fig-leaf of a small handful of Orthodox rabbis used to mask their theocratic agenda. This will be a significant front for the fight in 2013 as well.

Jay Michaelson is the founder and executive director of Nehirim and a contributing editor to the Forward.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.