Support for marriage equality is one part of a broader resolution, passed by delegates to DSA's November 2011 convention, that also addressed immigration/citizenship status, schools, the use of religious values to justify discrimination and other issues.
Because the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on California's Prop 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, our attention is focused on “gay marriage.” As socialists, however, we should revisit the statement issued in July 2006 by a group of LGBT and queer activists, "Beyond Marriage." Now nearly seven years old, this statement places the fight for equality in civil rights (marriage, in this case) in the context of a much larger struggle for justice and community.
Our strategies must be visionary, creative, and practical to counter the right's powerful and effective use of marriage as a “wedge” issue that pits one group against another. The struggle for marriage rights should be part of a larger effort to strengthen the stability and security of diverse households and families. To that end, we advocate:
- Legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households and families–regardless of kinship or conjugal status.
- Access for all, regardless of marital or citizenship status, to vital government support programs including but not limited to health care, housing, Social Security and pension plans, disaster recovery assistance, unemployment insurance and welfare assistance.
- Separation of church and state in all matters, including regulation and recognition of relationships, households and families.
- Freedom from state regulation of our sexual lives and gender choices, identities and expression.
The full statement is well worth reading. It is a model of how to position a "single issue" within a wide vision: http://www.beyondmarriage.org/.
Peg Strobel is a member of DSA's National Political Committee and co-chairs DSA's Socialist Feminist Team.
Resolution on DSA’s Position on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Rights, passed at the DSA convention November 2011
1. DSA calls for the legalization of same-sex marriages in all the States and Territories of the United States of America; the enactment of anti-discrimination laws in housing, jobs, education, and health care; and the repeal of state sodomy laws and anti-lesbian and gay restrictions.
2. DSA is committed to confronting anti-gay prejudice in its ranks and supports all efforts toward fostering understanding and cooperation among persons and groups of differing sexual orientations and identities.
3. DSA supports making public schools safe and bias-free for LGBTQ students, defending their free speech in school and allowing students to start gay-straight alliance clubs.
4. DSA advocates for local and federal non-discrimination laws and insists that religious beliefs cannot be used to justify bias.
5. DSA supports the rights of LGBTQ parents and endorses challenging discriminatory laws that restrict the rights of LGBTQ people to parent.
6. DSA advocates for changes in the immigration system to recognize same-sex relationships including marriages, domestic partnerships and long-standing relationships on the same basis as heterosexual relationships in approving visas, residency and citizenship.
7. DSA welcomes the creation of a Commission to advocate for LGBTQ rights, coordinate efforts with like-minded groups, publish papers and pamphlets, and support legislation to abolish discrimination against the LGBTQ community, among other activities.