I think this is exactly what many of us are experiencing in the wake of the Prop. 8 debacle -- and this really is a new world we're living in. A critical mass of straight people, including many who are not immediate family and friends, seem to join us in feeling, quite passionately, that we've been kicked in the teeth and that is not okay. Their recognition has changed our consciousness. No wonder a gay movement seems in full flower for the first time in 15 years.
I heard a terrific example of this recognition in a speech by Eva Paterson of the Equal Justice Society at the Equality Summit, a monster post-Prop. 8 community debriefing in Los Angeles last month. Eva is both brave and honest, so she told us:
The entire Paterson speech is available on this rather long video.
This sort of recognition which, in turn, fuels our assertiveness, from which follows more recognition as LGBT people come out and engage, has set up a feedback loop that has changed the terrain on which same-sex marriage is being discussed.
President Obama has consistently been a little tin-earred when it comes to gay folks. He actually admits as much in The Audacity of Hope, reporting how, in 2004, a lesbian constituent moved him to re-examine some very unexamined, conventional Christian prejudices.
Still, he obviously doesn't hear from us enough or he wouldn't have wandered into the Donnie McClurkin flap. The inauguration invitation to Rick Warren is more explicable as an instance of his determination to be president of all the people including the wackjobs -- but I don't think the Obama people really wanted two weeks of discussion of Pastor Rick on the verge of taking office. They do not yet get that the baselines are moving on gay issues in ways that were unimaginable five years ago. And they don't quite get that we have become both more pained by what were once conventional slights and more likely to pitch a fit rather than sulk in silence or accept crumbs.
The Atlantic Magazine's Washington commentator Marc Ambinder
thinks many politicians are out of sync with gay people's new ordinariness:
I think Ambinder is correct. We are becoming ordinary.