As John Aravosis writes, at AmericaBlogGay, “This is a big deal.”
OFA was originally the Obama campaign’s “Obama for America.” As Aravosis recalls, that original OFA created a “DNC-connected offshoot,” Organizing for America, in 2009. In January of this year, that “off-shoot” became “an independent non-profit,” Organizing for Action. The Obama connection, of course, remains solid.
That background is necessary in understanding why Aravosis, among others, sees the latest OFA’s actively supporting marriage equality in Illinois as a “big deal.” He provides details of the change from 2009, when
… a measure to repeal marriage equality was being voted on in Maine. OFA sent an email to Mainers urging them to vote the next day, but not telling what was being voted on, a hugely important assault on gays and lesbians in the state.
And Aravosis is absolutely correct in stating this:
It wasn’t that long ago that a common complaint in the gay community was that the large Obama’s campaign apparatus was avoiding the issues of gay and trans rights entirely.
See his article for more details about the transition, or maybe that’s evolution, to the current OFA’s overt and explicit support for marriage equality in Illinois.
Recently, in writing about Hillary Clinton’s now overt and explicit support of marriage equality, I included this (and it’s far from original):
Yes, I wish she had said this earlier, as I wish Bill, and for that matter, Barack Obama (among many others), had done so. But we celebrate steps toward equality when they come, and keep on advocating for the future.
Aravosis addresses this concern, too, related to OFA.
Now, I know some will argue that OFA is late to the ball, as it were. The same criticism was lobbed against former RNC chair, and now openly-gay, Ken Mehlman when he came out and started working publicly on gay rights issue. And the same criticism was lobbed at GOP Senator Rob Portman when he announced last week that his son was gay, and as a result he was now in favor of same-sex marriage. And it’s understandable that people are skeptical about, and angry at, those who weren’t with us before, but are now.
But that doesn’t change the fact that … we’re better off with their support than without it, and as a former Log Cabin spokesman wrote to me on Facebook recently, we can’t keep urging people to ‘do the right thing’ and support our civil rights, but then when they finally do what we ask, criticize them for it.
(Organizing For Action logo via OFA)