Of course, that's short sighted. By the time that happens, perhaps in the form of a federal amendment, it could be too late. Waiting and doing nothing has never been a particularly great option in the history of battles for civil rights. Continuing to push the envelope and advance rights inch by inch has, interestingly enough, been a recipe for success. Who wants to wait for marriage equality to be threatened, when we could be spending that time protecting all glbt people - at least by giving them the same sort of basic protections and equalities every other American enjoys.
The sad thing here is Isaacson's recognized the key fact surrounding glbt rights in Massachusetts: we've now fought the biggest battle, the one that caused the bells to chime across the state and sent people like Marc Solomon riding horseback screaming "the bigots are coming." Just listen to Isaacson's own words.
In an Oct. 22 State House News Service article, Isaacson called marriage a "white hot issue" that united the state’s LGBT organizations and said, "We will never, ever again rise to that level."Out of that storm, MassEquality grew and became the go-to organization for gay rights lobbying in the state. They grew trust and relationships with both legislators and constituents that, as Isaacson correctly noted, may never be formed again. And she wants to shut the organization down?
There's a simple truth to life - it's easier to build off a foundation than from scratch. MassEquality's directions and mandates may need change after we successfully defended marriage equality in Massachusetts, but that doesn't mean its job is over. Now, we need to use MassEquality as a strong foundation to use for any number of other important issues, especially those that will require work done at Beacon Hill. Take away MassEquality and glbt people in Massachusetts will need another state-wide, glbt-rights organization, but this time it'll have to be built from scratch. This time, all those relationships now lost will have to be rebuilt. Yet, the new organization could never reproduce the same sort of energy, buzz and focus that existed since Goodridge - and thus, it would be much harder for it to ever become nearly as successful as MassEquality.
Thankfully, Arline Isaacson isn't the only talented woman with ideas on what MassEquality should do. Susan Ryan-Vollmer, editor of Bay Windows, luckily has a thing or two to say. Instead of allowing MassEquality to die, it should take on an expanded role in the GLBT community, fighting for more than just marriage equality. She brings up two great models for MassEquality: Empire Pride State Agenda (ESPA) and EqualityCalifornia. ESPA has used its legislative influence to help deliver millions of dollars to worthy, non-profit glbt organizations that clearly need it. They've shown that no smaller organization should fear the existence of a broad-based MassEquality, because such an organization could end up making all glbt organizations stronger and more successful.
EqualityCalifornia, on the other hand, has been very successful in getting dozens of laws and protections passed and signed by none other than Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. With things like 1913 still kicking around, along with a severe lack of protections in the Bay State for transgender people, MassEquality has a lot to learn from its Californian sister. Whatever MassEquality becomes, we'll all know soon: November 3rd is the date they'll decide. Let's hope they ignore Isaacson's suggestions and embrace everything Ryan-Vollmar has to say.