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08/27/2008

Wherein Michie makes Lafferty frownerty

by Jeremy Hooper

So you might have heard that Michelle Obama addressed Denver's LGBT delegates with an inspiring speech on what an Obama presidency would mean for the queer community.  If you haven't seen it, here's a video:

Pretty inspiring and hopeful stuff if you ask us.  But one person who decidedly did not ask us is the Traditional Values Coalition's Andrea Lafferty, who today shared these silly musings on Michie's speech:

Michelle Obama and her husband apparently believe that defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman somehow ‘stains’ the Constitution,” said TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty. “This is a frightening revelation of the thinking that motivates Michelle and Barack. We face a frightening future with Michelle Obama as First Lady and Barack as Commander-in-Chief.
 
Barack Obama says he will work to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, which protects states from having to recognize homosexual marriages, but also says he thinks marriage is a union of one man and one woman. And his wife now says a marriage amendment will be a stain on the Constitution. They’re talking out of both sides of their mouths on this issue. They’ll apparently say whatever it takes to get elected.

200802201058 Okay, so it's of course in no way surprising that Andrea, someone who spends her days as the grape juice to the constitution's protections, would question Michelle's positioning of the FMA as a "stain."  But those of us who understand that the nation's most precious governing document is not a weapon meant to divide its people fully understand that the attempt to ban marriage equality would, in fact, be an ugly blemish.  Even among those Democrats who are not ready to publicly support full marriage equality (Barack chief among them), this nasty, cruel, biased amendment is almost unanimously off the table.  Because one's refusal to come out and support gay couples without any qualifiers doesn't mean that they wish to devalue their love and civil equality.  It simply means that they need to shake a little more of the learned bias (with which most all of us grew up) before they reach the mindset that should pervade any ideal society: a peaceful acceptance of all inhabitants. 

What folks like Andrea Lafferty just cannot see is that mainstream acceptance of their movement is over and done with.  Their moment has largely passed.  Now, they will certainly continue chugging along for a few more years, and will likely still retain sizable numbers.  But the days of extreme bias are dying off with past generations.  A tipping point has been reached.  And why?  Well, because the beauty of their heightened presence during Bush '00-'08 has been, well -- their heightened presence.  In this past decade, fringe groups have been given a national spotlight, giving those of us who challenge their rhetoric an equally spotlighted platform.  So not only have the folks on the supposedly "pro-family" side have had a chance to make a public case for discrimination, but we on the pro-gay side had a chance to chip away at the fallacies and fanaticism that has kept us down. And what has happened?  Well go to your local supermarket and check out Ellen and Portia smiling at you from the cover of People magazine.  Or better yet: Check out the many everyday Joes and Janes who thumb through the mag without even batting and eye!

Do we wish the Obamas would step up and support equality without any qualifiers?  Without a doubt!  And do we wish that our equality was less a puzzle that must be put in place slowly and more a no-brainer that would happen overnight?  Absolutely!  But because of the unceremonious work of folks like Andrea Lafferty, we unfortunately still have piles of B.S., spin, and misrepresentations through which to muck before we can even talk about our issues.  But the point is that the ball is rolling in our direction.  And while folks like Barack and Michelle Obama may not be putting it on their backs and carrying it directly to Joe and Steve's honeymoon, they are certainly helping to push it towards a brighter day.  And you know what?  The American people are more than ready for the shining rays of LGBT freedom, even if they've yet to fully realize it!   

Michelle Obama says Constitutional Amendment Protecting Marriage is a “Stain on the Constitution.” [TVC]

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Your thoughts

"Well, because the beauty of their heightened presence during Bush '00-'08 has been, well -- their heightened presence."

I (absolutely) concur that they (themselves) have been among the worst of their enemies. And, all of their years of bashing and battering away at us, has certainly heightened our case, not only in the courts, but also in public opinion.

Over those years we've had a president who greatly abused the power of his office. He, along with a willing, supportive and equally abusive legislature, were elected based (at least in part) on false promises and pandering to the radicals on that side. That those same radicals overwhelmingly supported this current administration hasn't helped their cause either.

The one thing that is absolutely true is that when their lies and distortions are challenged, they crumble. Thanks in no small part to you, JH, and the legion of other dedicated and compelling advocates for our cause, they are losing these discussions. That is precisely why they refuse to allow dissension in their discussions. The faithful are sold, but even they are susceptible to the truth. So they make every effort to control the discussion.

But, I think you may be right. The battle may still be far from over, but it certainly feels like the momentum is shifting toward our side. And this may never have happened, had it not been for the rabid (foaming at the mouth) rhetoric coming from those on the radical religious right; the very ones who have been emboldened as a result of these last seven plus years.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Aug 27, 2008 10:43:56 PM

You mention the grocery checkout line. It seems that gradually over, maybe, the past year or so, when my partner and I are at the grocery store or, maybe, Target the checkouts seem, more and more, to be subtly acknowledging that we're a couple and not just two old guys shopping. There's just a nuance in the way they, more and more, say, "You guys have a nice night," that gives me a greater feeling of acceptance. It's the little things that add up and the little things are adding up.

Posted by: Bill Herrmann | Aug 28, 2008 8:58:34 AM

Bill, I've noticed that too at my grocery store. A couple of the regular cashiers always address us as a couple, "Hey guys, how's it going today, you two have any big plans this weekend?" We often seperate the groceries so that the cost is split more equally --- he just doesn't feel right about me paying for "his" coffee. When they bag our stuff up they throw it all in the same basket and even tell the baggers that "no, this is all together" when they try to seperate us like they would any other two customers.

I agree that the fundies are sinking their own ship. They figured out after Matthew Shepard that they couldn't be openly hostile like the Phelps clan and have their side be taken seriously, but lately they are getting more and more desperate and careless with their words. They're also actively denying reality, which makes them look all the more looney. This is the case where all we have to do is give them enough rope and they'll hang themselves.

Posted by: Jason D | Aug 28, 2008 11:35:30 AM

How do you guys get your other halves to go grocery shopping with you? :-)

Posted by: tjc | Aug 28, 2008 4:37:01 PM

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