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02/04/2008

'Yes we can,' Barack? Not until you 'change' your position!

by Jeremy Hooper

Well, we've decried it in the past.  But Barack Obama is still working a position where instead of showing the American public how civil marriage and church marriage are different concepts, he emboldens those who think that God is a marital prerequisite:

(Gay marriage part begins around 9:45)

Alright, we get it -- full marriage equality is considered a third rail on which no White House hopeful can dare to tread.  But come on, Mr. O!  Whereas in Hillary's stance we have her acting like a civil union-supporting caterpillar who is simply waiting to evolve into a marriage-supporting flower, in Barack's we have misinformation being propagated and false claims being heartened.  We gays have been trying to detach religion from this issue, and to show people how it is ALREADY an optional (even if widely utilized) component. And it's more than a little infuriating to hear our effort being hurt by someone who should know better, especially when the only people he is suggesting take part in this alternate religious-free system are not bound by faith or a lack thereof, but rather by sexual orientation.   His stance makes no practical sense! 

Polls are torn - gay marriage vs civil unions [Logo's Visible Vote]

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Your thoughts

Jeremy,
I read your site a lot and respect you for it. However, the position shown by Obama is the same one also advocated by H. Clinton. Your post makes it sound like he is worse, but that is untrue. Clinton's response to Melissa Ethridge in the Logo panel still echos in my ears. Her husband threw us under a bus, and still we treat them like the second coming (don't ask don't tell and DOMA were Clinton, what positive steps/legislation did he or she get through that supports us). She talks a good game to the community, but it is talk, and only to us. In national audiences or to audiences that wouldn't agree with a gay inclusive message, she doesn't talk about us (i.e. political expediency, just like her husband). Obama, while I have had doubts like in the Mclarin (?sp) mess, consistently talks about gays in his speeches to audiences that actually could turn away from him for those statements (MLK church, the Kennedy endorsement, his stump speech, etc). That is courage and belief. I have no doubt Clinton will sell us up the river for her own sake, I don't think Obama will. His pledges are public, hers are private. Visibility, accountablity and saying what you believe in a potentially hostile audience gives me more hope that he will help us while Clinton will follow her husband and easily turn away. Matt.

Posted by: Matt | Feb 4, 2008 9:36:54 PM

Matt: You're bringing up a whole slew of issues concerning Clinton, but the post was about Obama's particular marriage stance. And it IS, in fact, different from Clinton's.

It's not a matter of whose pro-civil unions stance is better or worse -- I agree that the generalities are the same. But it's a matter of what message the particular stance is sending to the public. I'm not going to rehash what I said in the post or what I've said on earlier occasions, but the basic gist is that Obama always makes a point of handing the concept of marriage over to religion. That is what I find concerning. It is intellectually short-sighted, considering that religion is a 100% OPTIONAL component of civil marriage. The civil part is not an option -- everyone wishing to obtain the rights and benefits needs a certificate. But the church ceremony is already an option, and this will to change if gays are granted equality. Yet Barack suggests completely handing marriage over the people of faith, and giving gays civil unions. But WHY should the issue break down this way (by orientation)?

You seem to think that in criticizing Obama, I am vouching for Hillary. This post is not meant to endorse either candidate, but rather to say that I find Barack's strategic lines (and I say "strategic lines" b/c I truly believe both he and Hillary DO support marriage equality) to be hurtful to the fight. We always see religious conservatives claiming unfair ownership to the concept of marriage. His positioning of the issue would seem to embolden their ideas.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Feb 4, 2008 10:04:02 PM

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