Whose Faith?

The next gay march on Washington could be a boon to the Christian right.

What can the rest of us do? Offer the Farrakhan defense and go along for the ride by noting that the folks who show up at the Millennium March will come to be queer in the capital and not to hear the rhetoric from the podium? Organize counterdemos? Stay home and work on state and city legislatures, where the laws affecting us are actually being made? (One such project is being planned for 1999.) It remains to be seen how the gay movement's broad-based left will respond.

Some activists are determined to fight their way onto the organizing committee and make the march more inclusive, its messages more nuanced. But no matter how good their skills and how noble their intentions, if the march plays as being about queers congregating to do penance for wayward penises while seeking blessings for our burgeoning broods, the gay movement will be doing the work of this country's right.

Just the other day, there was a piece favoring gay marriage on The Wall Street Journal's op-ed page, not a venue known for its love of queers. Its reasoning? As long as gays can't marry but can receive domestic partnership benefits at work, unmarried straight couples will be able to sue for the same perks. Let queers marry, the Journal insists, so the rest of America will stop shacking up.

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