Gay Marriage Isn't Racist

Jasmyne Cannick may not admit it, but marriage equality benefits all gays and lesbians -- not just the white ones 

BY James Kirchick

June 17 2008 11:00 PM ET

I never thought I would have to write a piece defending same-sex marriage from the accusation that it’s “racist.” (Socially conforming? Yes. Racist? Never.) Especially on the first full day of gay marriage in California. But Jasmyne Cannick’s characteristically angry and fact-free piece (Jasmyne Cannick Doesn't Give a Fig About Gay Marriage ) compels a response.

“The gay marriage struggle is the perfect example of white gay America’s ‘superiority complex’ in action,” Cannick writes. How so? She never fully explains. In California and Massachusetts, any gay person can get married, regardless of skin color. If black gays are not taking advantage of their newfound right -- and Cannick never bothers to do any research to discover if this is actually the case -- there is probably an underlying social explanation. My hunch, however, is that white people are not behind it.

Again, without any evidence, Cannick claims that the gay marriage movement “has been about obtaining marriage for the white gay men and lesbian women who were also willing to fund it. Bottom line. Everyone else has just been along for the ride.” Cannick is correct in asserting that she has “been along for the ride.” Except she leaves out that it’s been a free ride. As a lesbian (er, “same-gender-loving person”), she has benefited enormously from the struggle for gay marriage (even if she chooses not to take advantage of it) all the while not only failing to contribute an ounce of effort to the cause but assailing it all the way.

When not decrying gay marriage as a white conspiracy, Cannick minimizes its importance. “Almost everyone I know,” she writes, “is concerned with the economy, the price of gasoline, unemployment, whether or nor they can pay their mortgage. … Plainly put, regardless of sexual orientation or citizenship, most people are more concerned with those domestic bread-and-butter issues … except for within the gay civil rights movement, where it has been full speed ahead on marriage.” Well, duh. The purpose of the “gay civil rights movement” is to lobby for gay civil rights. Does she expect gay activists to protest the “price of gasoline”?

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