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Rachel Maddow: Pride and the LGBT Landscape

Chris Hampton,
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June 20, 2008

In her contribution to the ACLU’s online symposium in celebration of LGBT Pride, Rachel Maddow, Air America host and MSNBC commentator, talked to Chris Hampton, Public Education Associate for the ACLU’s LGBT Project.

Happy Pride! What accomplishments do you think the LGBT community should be most proud of this year?

So far the state where I grew up (California) and the state where I live (Massachusetts) and the state where I work most of the time (New York) have legalized, legalized, and agreed-to-recognize-other-states’ same-sex-marriages, respectively. I am accepting applications now from other states that want me to relocate, since apparently I am to second-class gay citizenship what Saint Patrick was to snakes.

What are some of the issues your listeners tell you are most impacting the lives of LGBT people right now?

LGBT people that I hear from are mad about the same things as everyone — the war, the Constitution, gas prices, health care. We’re just also mad that Democrats think we’re politically disposable.

Marriages for lesbian and gay couples in California start this week, although that state now faces a ballot initiative that may take it all away. You live in Massachusetts, where couples have had that right for four years now. What would you tell people in California they should do to hold on to that victory?

The anti-gay-marriage movement in California, as it was in Massachusetts, is ideologically splintered, poorly organized, unpopular, inexperienced, intellectually incoherent and therefore fundamentally vulnerable. But they won’t go away on their own. Oppose them directly. Confront their message, their tactics, and their organization — they’re utterly beatable, but they can’t (and shouldn’t) be ignored.