Marriage, Cruising, and Life in Between: Clarifying Organizational Positionalities in Pursuit of Polyvocal Gay-Based Advocacy
53 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2010 Last revised: 4 Jul 2021
Date Written: May 1, 2003
This Article explicates a model of LGBT rights advocacy that focuses on pluralism and representation across a broad range of constituents. Drawing on cause lawyering work on the interactions among donor, client, and lawyer goals, I propose a model of representation that values intra-group debate, representation of constituents across the LGBT population, and the maintenance of multiple organizations equipped with divergent political and theoretical postures. With this model in mind, I analyze four LGBT rights organizations to explore the extent to which they embrace and facilitate a pluralistic model of representation. More specifically, I use the issue of marriage for same-sex couples as a way to understand each organization’s position and its relationship to a range of LGBT issue areas. If a goal of LGBT rights advocacy is to encourage competing discourses and representational moves, the ideal organization is neither one that advances normalization (through marriage) in a wholesale fashion nor one that rejects marriage as anti-progressive and limiting. Instead, the ideal organization, or combination of organizations, occupies both ends of the internal marriage debate and provides representation for constituents along a broad spectrum of LGBT life.
Keywords: LGBT, gay, advocacy, social movements, same-sex marriage, marriage equality
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