To Terry Gross’ immense credit, she had Jo Becker back on her radio show to defend the ridiculous premise and framing of her book, namely that the revolution of marriage equality began in 2008 with an epiphany by Chad Griffin. Gross tries repeatedly to get Becker to withdraw her idea that the “revolution” “began” in 2008. But Becker won’t. Money quote:
GROSS: So getting back to that first paragraph in your book, if you had it to do over again, would you have written this is how a revolution starts?
BECKER: I would.
BECKER: Because I believe that this was a revolutionary step that they took, and not to say that it hadn’t been considered, but they were the ones that took the step.
But the case that actually made the difference federally was the Windsor case, argued by Roberta Kaplan, and not the case Becker has to hype because of her sources. And challenging Prop 8 was not a revolutionary step. It was risky, sure. But taking the issue to the federal courts had been part of the strategy for the previous twenty-five years. The idea that this was first dreamed up by Chad Griffin – after all of us had been clueless and cowardly beforehand – is absurd as well as insulting. She has no clue what she’s talking about.
Becker also describes 2008 as “a really, you know, dark moment in the gay rights movement.” Seriously?
In 2008, we had higher levels of national support for marriage equality than in any previous year – and close to double the support we had when the revolution actually began; we had won in California and Massachusetts; we were on the verge of winning in Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and DC. And we had elected Obama, who was about to end the HIV Travel ban, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and remove the federal government from supporting DOMA. A terrible campaign in California (Griffin was right about that and I was too) lost us that state in a close race in the fall election. But momentum was clearly with us. Before the Perry decision, we had also won New York, Washington, Maine, Maryland, Delaware, and Minnesota. All those victories came through the more democratic process of state legislatures. Before the Perry ruling, we also had marriage equality in 13 countries – and a wave of others followed that had nothing to do with Olson or Boies or Griffin.
The book is an attempt by a tiny few to co-opt and claim credit for a movement they had previously had nothing to do with. No one with any knowledge of the movement has defended it. And, judging from her Fresh Air interview today, Becker can’t either.