Perhaps if the same-sex marriage advocacy story is good for anything, it’s as a great illustration of the power of philanthropy to shape a movement. We have seen what some say started at street rebellions against police violence at the Stonewall Inn and Compton’s Cafeteria turn into advocacy for prosecution and partnership with police. We have seen a movement birthed during and because of the radical politics of anti-war and decolonization resistance of the 1960’s and 70’s become focused on the right to serve in the US military. And we have seen the eclipse of queer, feminist, anti-racist and decolonial critiques of government regulation of sexuality and family norms evolve into a demand to get married under the law. It is stunning to watch, in such a short period, the rebranding of institutions of state violence as sites of freedom and equality.
As the same-sex marriage fight draws to a close in the coming years and conditions remain brutal for queer and trans people without wealth, immigration status or health care, it is vitally important that we support and expand the racial and economic justice centered queer and trans activism that has never seen marriage as an answer.