by Max Brantley
I made an erroneous prediction about where Hope, Ark., native Chad Griffin, a California political consultant, would be active in the aftermath of the California court ruling upholding Prop. 8, the ban on same-sex marriage.
Rather than lead another referendum fight (he was a prominent strategist in fight against Prop. 8), he's president of a new organization that is behind a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans. This is the suit brought by an unlikely legal couple, David Boies and Ted Olson.
It's a strategy that unsettles many gay rights activists, who believe a state-by-state strategy is safer than forcing a premature federal court ruling that could set back the cause.
Some reading for those inclined: LA Times here. A discussion of legal issues here (this article includes a link to a website for Griffin's new foundation, but caution. It has crashed my browser twice.) A profile here on Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black ("Milk") in which he talks about his work with Griffin on an emerging federal strategy.
Now Black has another dream. In the writer’s vision of the not-distant future, gay men and lesbians will have “full and inclusive civil rights in all 50 states.” With the idealism of a political neophyte and the blind drive of someone who’s recently tasted dramatic success, he rejects the state-by-state strategy long employed by the marriage-equality movement and proposes to “take the fight federal” by pushing for a gay and lesbian civil rights act. “Martin Luther King didn’t say we will have freedom in Georgia and then maybe we’ll go to Connecticut,” Black says. “It was always about the entire nation.”
He’s teamed up with Jones, activist Chad Griffin, and Milk producer Bruce Cohen to form an organization, now in its early stages, that hopes to harness the momentum of the film and the reaction to Proposition 8 to work toward marriage equality. “The only ways we’ve ever made advances are when we’ve named the dream,” Black says, confidently using a metaphor first articulated by Milk: “Not the crumbs, not the little pieces around the edges. You have got to name the dream or you’ll never get it.”