Mewsflash: Obama Embracing LGBTQ Rights
I received an e-mail from Barack’s campaign manager Jim Messina today alerting me to the fact that today Obama and the military service chiefs certified the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” meaning that it will go into effect in 60 days.
Now, I celebrated the repeal of DADT way back in December when the Senate voted on it (see my initial post), and if anything, I’m a bit saddened at the speed out bureaucratic government moves. Still, it’s an achievement.
I was even more excited by the rest of the e-mail though, which read:
This week the President endorsed a bill to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, a discriminatory law that forces the federal government to ignore the rights of those in same-sex marriages…
It’s no secret that the President has long opposed this law. In February, he directed the Justice Department to stop defending a key portion of it in court. And this week, he endorsed the first Senate bill that would repeal the law in its entirety.”
Obama has flipflopped many times on the issue of gay marriage. As a New York Times article notes, Obama expressed support for gay marriage in 1996, when running for the Illinois State Senate. However,
“In 2008, he visited the Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., where the pastor Rick Warren asked him to define marriage. “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Mr. Obama said. “For me, as a Christian, it is also a sacred union.””
Obama’s definition in 2008 matches that of the Defense Of Marriage Act, namely: between a man and a woman. However, his views seem to have changed. By asking for a repeal of DOMA without asking for legalization of gay marriage, he is marking his position precisely in the middle: supportive of state’s rights over federal dominance, but not coming out as for or against gay marriage himself.
Although as a politician I’m sure he thinks this is strategic, I think he should live up to his principles and reveal his true opinion (not to mention make more of an attempt to re-energize all of the liberals and college students who supported him in 2008 but have since grown disillusioned)
However, there is a bigger problem I have with this e-mail, based on the text below:
“We can already see the direction the other side is headed in response. They called a witness at the Senate hearings this week to testify that repealing DOMA would “pave the way for polygamous and other polyamorous unions.” That’s the type of rhetoric we should be prepared to hear in the run-up to the next election.”
Factually, the opposition is right, repealing an Act that places restrictions on marriage will open the courts to more lawsuits advocating for legalization of polygamous relationships.
Ethically, why shouldn’t polygamous marriages be legalized? The tone of the e-mail suggests that what the opposition says is wrong, is “rhetoric.” However, I agree with the opposition as to what repealing DOMA will do for the nation, and that is why I support its repeal even more.
If we’re going to fight for Civil Rights, why must it be a 2 steps forward 1 step back process? Why must we prioritize who to help and who to hurt? Let’s give the gays AND the polygamists AND all other consenting adults the right to marry.
So in the end, if I could send a message to Obama, it would be this: While you crusade for Equal Rights for some, don’t do it at the expense of others.
UPDATE: Obama has endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA and allow the federal government to provide benefits to married same-sex couples.