Resolution of the Party for Socialism and Liberation: Marriage equality and what it means for the LGBTQ struggle

Fundamental principles, core strategies and tactics

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Resolution of the Party for Socialism and Liberation: Marriage equality and what it means for the LGBTQ struggle

Fundamental principles, core strategies and tactics

Points of Unity

July/August 2015


The following document was written by Sarah Sloan, Radhika Singh and Nathalie Hrizi, and initially circulated on July 4, 2015, as an internal document for discussion amongst members of the PSL. Throughout the course of two weeks of internal discussion, updates were made and it was approved by the Central Committee for publication at its July 19, 2015, meeting.

This document is an articulation of the official position of the PSL, and conforms to earlier adopted resolutions and to the Party Program. We oppose all forms of bigotry and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender.

This position derives not only from the study of Marxism but also accumulated experience over decades in the struggles of the LGBTQ community. From the Stonewall era to the present, PSL members and leaders have been on the front lines in struggles against anti-LGBTQ violence, in confronting right-wing bigots and reactionary laws, during the sharp confrontations of the AIDS epidemic, in early battles for trans rights and inclusion, and in the movement for marriage equality, among others. Within this movement, PSL members have always projected anti-racist and anti-imperialist politics: genuine working-class unity.

This official position is meant to inform Party branches and members in their presentation to others on this issue, for both in-person and online communications, so that all Party bodies and members are functioning in conformity with the principles of democratic centralism.

The recent 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage through-out the United States aroused a storm of opposition by the forces of right-wing bigotry. Some who consider themselves left also attacked or derided the historic achievement of formal, legal marriage equality because it did not solve the underlying problems of oppression experienced by the LGBTQ community. Using this formula, however, would be similar to having assumed a derisive attitude toward the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which legally ended apartheid and the “separate but equal” Jim Crow laws but did not end the underlying oppression of the African-American community, or toward the passage in 1920 of the right of women to vote in the United States, which achieved the legal right of women to participate in politics but did not end the oppression that women experience on the job, at home and in society.

This document is written to clarify that the PSL and its members fully and unconditionally embrace the achievement of legal equality for the LGBTQ community when it comes to the right to marry.

Selected newspaper responses to the same-sex marriage ruling

Points of unity

1. We celebrate the achievement of marriage equality in the United States as a tremendous victory.
2. We recognize that the successful struggle for marriage equality has completely changed the landscape for LGBTQ people in the United States.
3.We recognize that the legal rights and economic benefits that are part of the institution of marriage under capitalism are important to the working class.
4. We recognize the far-reaching impact of the legal victories at the Supreme Court level on LGBTQ rights issues, principally Lawrence v. Texas, U.S. v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges.
5. We do not call for the abolition of marriage under capitalism. We recognize that familial constructs already are evolving through struggle and historical materialist change, and under socialism they will manifest in a dramatically different way.
6. As revolutionaries, we fight for reforms under capitalism.
7. We want to reach the masses of LGBTQ people with our message and be with them as we participate in all levels of the struggle for rights.
8. We reject the notion that there is a scarcity of rights, the counterposing of issues and struggles and the notion that there is a hierarchy of oppression.
9. We work toward the greatest unity possible in the struggle against oppression. We reject and repudiate defeatist, sectarian polemics aimed at dividing progressive movements and belittling the historic achievements of the LGBTQ movement or any mass movement of people fighting for their basic rights.
10. It is our task as revolutionaries and communists to support full political, legal and social equality for all LGBTQ people, women, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, Muslims, immigrants, people with disabilities and all oppressed groups.
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