People love that image of Will Smith with the line; “If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.” This week we saw just that. We saw people jumping on the bandwagon of success, how after 15 years of constant struggle, one group threw itself in front of an already charging group of fighters for the cause of Marriage Equality. The Human Rights Campaign has been absent during the entire struggle for LGBT rights. They collect money, align themselves with celebrities and Democratic politicians, and claim to be the voice of a civil rights movement. But they aren’t. They never challenged Democrats who voted for DOMA. They didn’t hold to the fire any Democrat who acted against the cause. They even believed that it would have been better to wait on these issues until society was ready.
But guess what? While they waited for society to catch up, folks like Andrew Sullivan and Gavin Newsome were fighting for our right to get married– and getting raked over the coals by HRC, Democrats, gays, and liberals alike.
Folks fighting for Marriage Equality were criticized until the 2004 Election when W Bush was elected on a wave of homophobic ballot initiatives banning Gay Marriage. Prop 8 was a dramatic turning point, galvanizing the movement– HRC spent only $3.5 million to defeat Prop 8, while other groups raised more combined, and the Mormon Church put $13 million in favor of Prop 8.
The HRC never tried, never cared. After Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, he was invited to speak at the HRC’s annual convention, and applauded. What a slap in the face.
And yet this week the HRC convinced 2.7 million people to use its logo as their Facebook profile picture. After 17 years of absence since the passage of DOMA, they wanted you to use their banner as the official banner of the cause, of the success of the movement in changing sentiment of the country from 60% against Equality in 2004 to 55% in favor of Equality just 9 years later. No other civil rights issue has seen that kind of success. And the HRC was absent during the entire struggle.
How sad. How sad that after years of struggle by so many, the HRC would only show up when it seemed the fight was nearly won.
Fuck the Human Rights Campaign.