Saturday, December 20, 2008

It is important to say these things out loud.

President-elect Barack Obama believes "marriage is between a man and a woman".

Barack Obama does not think gay couples' relationships are worthy of the same stature as his and Michelle's.
He does not believe that gay couples deserve the precise same legal recognition or status that his marriage confers to him and his wife.
He believes we should have a different, inherently lesser, legal framework to protect each other and our children.

It is important to say these things out loud.

President-elect Obama enters the White House with a record of support and  a better platform on issues of LGBT equality than any other president this country has known.
He opposed amending state constitutions to single out gay couples to ban them from marriage. He supports  federally recognized Civil Unions. He oppose federal legislation and constitutional measures that ban marriage recognition for gay couples.
He supports the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, will push the Hate Crimes bill and supports an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination law. 

By all accounts he has a laudable record of pushing for equal rights and we must work with his administration relentlessly to manifest these promises.

But he also believes there is a quality to heterosexual relationships that make them worthy of a higher status by society under the law.
Barack Obama believes "marriage is between a man and a woman".
He says gay couples can have civil unions, domestic partnership, some other, different, diminished copy of an arrangement.

It is important that we not pretend we don't already know this.

I am awed by Barack Obama. His words inspire me. His intellect comforts me. His grassroots campaign was a beautiful, diverse and powerful thing to behold.
After years of a Bush/Cheney cynicism, war, arrogance and incompetence I wept tears of joy for Barack Obama's election.  For the historic shift and transformational meaning that a Black president heralds for our country, I beamed with pride. Change is coming and I am hopeful.

But when it comes to the issue of marriage, Barack Obama is wrong. 
I have criticized  the selection of Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration. 
Warren compares gay relationships with incest and pedophilia and runs a psychologically reckless, "ex-gay" ministry out of his mega-church. 
His presence on the dias should be challenged vigorously. 

But I will not lie to myself. I will not make Warren the proxy for the unspoken disappointment and anger at Barack Obama for his more nuanced insult to gay couples when he says "marriage is between a man and a woman". We must be prepared to help President Obama lead and we must be willing to tell the truth when he is wrong.

When it comes to the issue of marriage Barack Obama is wrong. 
Gay people deserve equal protection under the law. Our families deserve precisely the same benefits, protection and legal recognition as straight couples receive.

It is important to say these things out loud.

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