Why then, as a black activist, deeply committed to the principles of freedom and equality under the law, do I see these developments as dangerous and destructive?
The gay front would like to be viewed as the latest chapter of the civil rights movement. According to their reasoning, gays are America's newest oppressed minority, seeking fairness, justice, and the right to pursue happiness in the same manner as other social groups in the country. Homosexuals today feel they are fighting the same battle that blacks fought 40 years ago.
But, in fact, the gay movement is the civil rights movement turned on its head.
When Martin Luther King came to Washington and articulated his dream on the steps of the Lincoln memorial, he spoke of an America that would live up to the truths and principles upon which it was founded. America then, in all its greatness, was a flawed and troubled place because in our midst there were human beings - fellow citizens - who were not treated as free and equal. The spirit of our principles and the letter of our law were not being applied equally to all.
The civil rights movement of the 1960's was about living up to and applying our principles, not re-writing or re-inventing them. There was no tradition on which this country was founded that Dr. King challenged. It was upon those very traditions that he made his challenge and claim.
Unfortunately, in the wake of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, America became an increasingly politicized society. The sense that freedom is about law and that government is the means by which we protect our citizens under that law was displaced by a sense that government could be used as a political tool.
We can see the trend simply by looking at the federal budget. Non-defense spending, as a percentage of gross domestic product is twice today what it was in the 1960's. Money and political power displaced tradition and law as our framework for justice.
Gay politics is the child of the new political America. In a fashion quite the opposite of Dr. King - who challenged an unjust nation to return to the principles and traditions from which it had strayed - gay political operatives work to re-write our traditions to suit their own proclivities. They say their struggle is about equality, but it's really about the exercise of political power and claims for entitlement.