Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"I'll Take It."


Well, Barack Obama's proclamation of his support for gay marriage is old news, and my reaction is not as fresh as it was when he made his announcement, but I did want to write how I felt about it.

After Joe Biden's interview where he voiced his support for gay marriage, and then the White House spun its wheels in response, I found myself thinking, "Do I prefer a president who supports gay marriage but is waiting until reelection to publicly avow it so that he has more leverage to do something about it or do I prefer a president who has the integrity to publicly support what he actually believes even if it possibly endangers his chances for reelection."

Once I heard President Obama's remarks on gay marriage, I realized I preferred the latter.  Now when he came out in favor of gay marriage, I had several friends, some of them gay, who said his hand was forced by Biden and that he should have declared his support for gay marriage earlier in his administration when he had more of a majority in Congress.  Some speculated that it was simply a campaign ploy to get more votes suggesting that, after all, those who are against gay marriage are probably not in Obama's corner anyway.

My response, echoing the response of another gay friend, is that, whatever Obama's reasons,  "I'll take it."  I suspect that Obama has privately supported gay marriage for a while.  I do think Biden's statement probably pushed him to make an announcement he was going to make anyway, only perhaps sooner than he intended.  I do think his statement is probably both a mixture of political and genuine.  But this issue is still a very polarizing one, and the fact is that Obama is the first and only sitting  president thus far to publicly declare his support for gay marriage, and I think that deserves some respect.  I also think it's a brave thing to do even if it is partly political.  And because gay marriage and equal rights is an issue I care very much about and which affects me, I am proud to have a president who stands behind me.

The fact is, President Obama alone doesn't have much power to directly change the laws that govern whether gay people can be legally married.  Judges, legislators, senators, and voters have more power than he does on this issue, I think.  But I do think that such a high-profile figure coming out in favor of it does have an effect on others.

I've said many times in my blog that I think equal rights for gays is just a rolling stone that can't be stopped.  Whether or not Barack Obama is re-elected (and I hope he is; I find Romney artificial, out-of-touch, and untrustworthy, not to mention the fact that his politics (today at least; who knows what he'll profess tomorrow) are not at all in line with my own), I'm glad that he (Obama) will be on the right side of history as far as gay rights is concerned.  The reasons he supports gay marriage aren't even as important to me as the fact that he supports it, period.

I think this is an exciting time for the gay rights movement.  We are watching history unfold, and eventually we will have the same rights our heterosexual counterparts have.  I don't know when, but we will.  I guarantee it.  It's exciting (and sometimes frustrating and other times gratifying) to watch the fight for equality.  It will be interesting when history shows who was on which side.

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