I’ve been a good soldier. Like many LGBT Americans, I did my part to elect President Obama in the 2008 election and since then I have been an ardent supporter. I understand that things take time in Washington and I have exercised patience with the President’s incremental approach on LGBT legislation.
I am quite confident that by the time the 2012 election starts to heat up, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will be law and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will be officially gone. We will be able to look back at the first Obama term as a defining time in our journey toward equality.
There is just one thing that I still cannot get over. Every time I think about it, it makes me perplexed and angry: President Obama does not support marriage equality.
I have never understood his public position of supporting civil unions, but not full marriage rights, because it is so out of character. I’ve always hoped that it was more political maneuver than personal feeling. I sometimes find myself daydreaming of meeting the President and introducing him to my husband. I then look him deep in the eye and ask if he truly feels that his love for Michelle is more deserving of rights and recognition than my love? Can he look me in the eye and say that marriage should be reserved for people like him and denied to people like me? I hope the answer is “no.” I hope it is all a political calculation, but it doesn’t matter why he is against marriage equality, what matters is what he does next.
My message is clear: Mr. Obama, you need to support marriage equality by 2012.
In politics, there is sometimes a sense that once the position is stated it can never change out of fear of being labeled a “flip-flopper.” I dearly hope that President Obama is not afraid to change his mind. As Richard Socarides, former aide to President Clinton, points out in the Wall Street Journal, many other big names have changed their minds on marriage including Bill Clinton, Laura Bush, Cindy McCain, Al Gore and Dick Cheney. Surely standing up for the marriage rights of LGBT Americans is no longer political suicide.
Socarides astutely points out that the Supreme Court will more than likely be hearing a case on marriage equality in a few years, so he asks, “will Mr. Obama be one of the few left on the wrong side of history?”
I sure hope not.
Photo credit: Ron Hudson