The President Disappoints Again
by Charles Lemos, Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 04:08:47 PM EDT
In the wake of the historic ruling by Judge Vaughan Walker that found the California gay marriage ban unconstitutional because it denies gays and lesbians the due process of law and fails to meet the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, President Barack Obama, a self-professed constitutional scholar, has via David Alexrod, his senior political advisor, reiterated his opposition to gay marriage. What's even more bizarre, and frankly, offensive is that the President in the very next breath claims that he supports "equality" for gay and lesbian couples.
He does not. Unless you support gay marriage, you do not support full equality for LGBT couples. You cannot continue to attempt to straddle both sides of the gay marriage fence. It's a shameful act of political cowardice.
From The Hill:
President Obama remains opposed to same-sex marriage despite a federal judge's decision to strike down a ban on such marriages, a top White House adviser said Thursday.
Senior adviser David Axelrod said the president supports "equality" for gay and lesbian couples, but did not address directly Obama's position on Wednesday's court ruling, which struck down as unconstitutional California's Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in the state.
"The president does oppose same-sex marriage, but he supports equality for gay and lesbian couples, and benefits and other issues, and that has been effectuated in federal agencies under his control," Axelrod said on MSNBC.
A line in the sand has been drawn. Either you are on board the equality express or you are just another derailment to overcome and toss aside. Fight for us and we fight with you; equivocate and we look elsewhere or stay home in 2012.
It is horrifying that the Administration is offering what is tantamount to a "separate but equal" treatment for gays and lesbians. It is not just unbecoming of the President to do so but it is a moral affront.
John Aravosis has posted an open letter calling on the President to support full marriage equality. It reads:
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to ask you to come out in support of full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.
In 1996, you were in favor of legalizing same–sex marriage. By 2008, your public position had changed.
“Separate but equal” is wrong. It’s time for you to do the right thing, and come out again for full equality for LGBT Americans.
We are on the march towards full equality. Please join us.
It bears reminding that on this issue, Barack Obama is perhaps the only person in the country who has gone in reverse. During his first run for elective office, Barack Obama told Outlines, a local Chicago paper since merged with the Windy City Times, that he favored "legalizing same-sex marriages would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."
In a January 2004 interview that Tracy Baim conducted with Obama at the Windy City Times, Obama clearly stated that lack of support for full marriage equality was a matter of strategy rather than principle. Still then when a candidate for the Senate, Obama wrote this in a letter to the Windy City Times:
As an African-American man, a child of an interracial marriage, a committed scholar, attorney and activist who works to protect the Bill of Rights, I am sensitive to the struggle for civil rights. As a state Senator, I have taken on the issue of civil rights for the LGBT community as if they were my own struggle because I believe strongly that the infringement of rights for any one group eventually endangers the rights enjoyed under law by the entire population. Since 1996, I have been the sponsor or a chief co-sponsor of measures to expand civil liberties for the LGBT community including hate-crimes legislation, adoption rights and the extension of basic civil rights to protect LGBT persons from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment and credit.
Today, I am a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Unlike any of my opponents, I have a legislative track record. No one has to guess about what I will do in Washington. My record makes it very clear. I will be an unapologetic voice for civil rights in the U.S. Senate.
For the record, I opposed DOMA [ the Defense of Marriage Act ] in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying. This is an effort to demonize people for political advantage, and should be resisted ... .
When Members of Congress passed DOMA, they were not interested in strengthening family values or protecting civil liberties. They were only interested in perpetuating division and affirming a wedge issue. ...
Despite my own feelings about an abhorrent law, the realities of modern politics persist. While the repeal of DOMA is essential, the unfortunate truth is that it is unlikely with Mr. Bush in the White House and Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress. ...
We must be careful to keep our eyes on the prize—equal rights for every American. We must continue to fight for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We must vigorously expand hate-crime legislation and be vigilant about how these laws are enforced. We must continue to expand adoption rights to make them consistent and seamless throughout all 50 states, and we must repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' military policy.
I know how important the issue of equal rights is to the LGBT community. I share your sense of urgency. If I am elected U.S. Senator, you can be confident that my colleagues in the Senate and the President will know my position.
Well, now is the time to act on those convictions. This is no longer a matter of strategy, it is a matter of principles as Judge Walker's decision has so clearly found. Leadership requires actually leading. That time has come. The President can be that unapologetic voice for civil rights or he can be just another politician that disappoints. That choice is the President's alone.