I’m annoyed to see professional NYC gay Allen Roskoff attempting to pick holes in the increasingly visible and viable pro-marriage-equality coalition in New York State. With a coalition of politicians, dozens of celebrities, and now a bunch of rich white people on board, marriage equality is cruising toward real feasibility for the first time. As an actual gay person in New York who would like to marry someone here (I mean an actual identified someone, not a theoretical one) and can’t, I have as much stake in this issue as Roskoff, and I for one am thrilled to see people like Mike Bloomberg and Andrew Cuomo (and Bill Clinton, a Kentuckian, etc. etc.) come down, out loud, on the right side of history.
This is politics. It’s hard, and everyone is caught between competing priorities and obligations. Why dig for reasons to be angry at people? Accept your victories, and be gracious to those who lend their voices to your cause. (Incidentally, thanks, Lynne Cheney and Laura Bush.) Would a stronger pro-marriage-equality stance from Bill Clinton have been better earlier? Sure, but that doesn’t negate his current activities — in fact, I think I appreciate them more.)
The New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign, helmed by the able Brian Ellner (seconded from HRC), is racking up public support and mainstream credibility much faster than anything Empire State Pride Agenda ever did on its own. A year ago ESPA was pressured (by Roskoff, as it happened) to drop Ellner from the running for its own executive director position — apparently Ellner didn’t hate Mike Bloomberg enough, or something. ESPA made a mistake (again: what is the purpose of loyalty oaths that make our coalition smaller?), but it all worked out in the end, as Ellner was quickly picked up by HRC and is now at the front of a strong and effective visibility campaign. (Also note: the donations I used to give to ESPA are now going to HRC.)
My advice to Roskoff: Get out of the way and let success happen. Or, better yet, turn your anger at people who are actually impeding the cause. Who cares what Andrew Cuomo or Bill Clinton feels in his heart? What I care about is what they say and what they do. With demographics inexorably pulling the public in the direction we want to go, this is the moment to welcome and encourage the broadening of the coalition, not to fear it.