Those Left Behind When #LoveWon

Hugh Ryan in The Boston Review:

My partners and I were not the only queers, though, for whom gay marriage fell short of the Promised Land. More than many realize, a hefty share of the LGBT movement’s radical potential was lost or traded away so that they could say #LoveWon. For instance, in 2012, queer Minnesotans enjoyed a unique success when activists beat back an attempt to ban same-sex marriage in their state constitution, becoming the only state ever to defeat such an initiative at the ballot box. However, queer studies scholar Myrl Beam paints an instructive and troubling picture of the victory.

In his essay “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”, Beam describes what he calls the “love pivot”: in 2012 gay marriage activists across the country shifted from arguments emphasizing equality to arguments emphasizing love. According to focus group research funded by the major national players in the marriage movement (primarily the organizations Freedom to Marry and Third Way), a “focus on discrimination and equality simply did not resonate with straight voters.” Or, in the words of political strategist Richard Carlbom, “when you talk about equality people STOP listening.” Instead, activists were told to play up their life-long dreams of getting married and their desire to fit into the straight marriage mold—regardless of how authentic those desires were.

More here.