Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gay Marriage, The States, and Pitchforks


I am staying as far from the fray as I can in regards to the post-victory letdown of the passage of gay marriage in New York. From what I gather, a certain self-made martyr and an intelligent, if not emotional and often too myopic, journalist, have decided to dampen celebrations with hyperbole that suggests, in a roundabout way, that Obama hates gay people. They haven't come out (pun intended?) and said he does, as far as I know, but the implications gushing forth from a certain faction of the Angry Left is that Obama doesn't ever want gay people to get married.

Now, he has said he doesn't support gay marriage from a personal perspective (totally paraphrasing but pretty spot-on) but has never taken actions as President to prevent it. Many articles have illustrated how he has actually done MORE than any other President to advance the rights of the LGBT community so I am not going to try to reinvent that wheel.

What I want to focus on is an angle many people miss on many issues. This is just the latest example of the issue I call the "I want unrealistic perfection" syndrome. And this syndrome usually manifests itself in a form of rewriting 2008 campaign history. It results in the Angry Left misrememberstanding (yep, I made up a word) who was running and what our choices were. It results in some la la land delusion of "we could have had someone better" or "(insert candidate) wouldn't have betrayed us".

Here's what Obama said last week that got panties in a bunch:

And since I taught constitutional law for a while, I felt like I was in a pretty good position to agree with courts that have ruled that Section 3 of DOMA violates the Constitution. And that’s why we decided, with my attorney general, that we could no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA in the courts.

Now, part of the reason that DOMA doesn’t make sense is that traditionally marriage has been decided by the states. And right now I understand there’s a little debate going on here in New York — (laughter) — about whether to join five other states and D.C. in allowing civil marriage for gay couples. And I want to — I want to say that under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, with the support of Democrats and Republicans, New York is doing exactly what democracies are supposed to do. There’s a debate; there’s deliberation about what it means here in New York to treat people fairly in the eyes of the law.
That has been debated as hypocrisy because that's the argument used against his bi-racial parents, yadda, yadda, yadda.

But this isn't only Obama's rationale. Nope, someone else said almost the same thing:
Well, I prefer to think of it as being very positive about civil unions. You know, it's a personal position. How we get to full equality is the debate we're having, and I am absolutely in favor of civil unions with full equality of benefits, rights, and privileges. I want to proceed with equalizing federal benefits.
And I've also been a very strong supporter of letting the states maintain their jurisdiction over marriage. I want to repeal Section 3 of DOMA, which stands in the way of the extension of benefits to people in committed, same-sex relationships. I will be very strongly in favor of doing that as president.
That's what Hillary Clinton said while running for the job we elected Obama to do.

So, be grumpy that Obama has issues with gay marriage that don't sound liberal enough to you. Fine. But let's not pretend someone else in the Oval Office, and I mean a real person and not some imaginary one, would be handling this differently.

My friends here at Broadway Carl have a perspective on this. Some consider us irrelevant or gay-bashing for disagreeing with SOME people who happen to be gay (while at the same time agreeing with many people who happen to be gay -- go figure). But when the facts are clear and when Obama has shown, repeatedly, to be progressive on gay rights, then the hyperbole and exaggeration and speculation are what I consider irrelevant.

And frankly, Obama has acted in the most honestly separation-of-church-and-state way possible. If his personal beliefs on gay marriage are based on his religious studies and thought, and yet he is moving toward more and more rights for gay couples, then he is demonstrating, repeatedly, that he knows how to keep his personal beliefs separate from his professional responsibilities. He has created two silos -- one with a man's views and one with a President's views.

What should matter is what he puts in the Presidential silo. What should matter is that he doesn't allow personal beliefs to affect how he governs. And that is precisely what I think he is doing.

No comments: