Do Gay Rights Groups Face Catastrophic Success?

A woman waves a rainbow flag during a demonstration to support gay marriage and adoption on January 26, 2013 in Lyon, central France.

Photo by JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images

The movement for gay and lesbian equality is, for a variety of reasons, one of the better-financed social movements in America today both in the sense that gay rights organizations have a lot of money and that gay-focused fundraising is an important part of the larger Democratic Party mix. So something I wonder about is what happens if the marriage equality battle is won very rapidly over the next few years? Lester Feder writes for Buzzfeed that gay equality movements in both the Netherlands and Canada suffered large, nearly immediate losses in donations following marriage equality wins.

Something similar very well might happen in the United States. I do, however, think it’s noteworthy that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act—once viewed as a much easier political win than marriage—has still not passed and the legislative barriers to getting it enacted are rather high. Unlike the case of marriage equality, ENDA features some meaningful economically based opposition from employers who don’t want to see anything passed that could increase their exposure to lawsuits. America’s system of federalism also means that there are a lot of state-by-state fights over adoption rights to be waged.