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08/25/2011

Cash for clunker of a marriage stance? Not from me, not right now

by Jeremy Hooper

I just can't open the wallet. I still very much support the President and can't foresee a 2012 scenario in which I won't support his re-elect. I also hold on to the undeniable positives of this administration, recognize the unique set of challenges that have compounded (or confounded) this administration's work, celebrate the historic victories that we've achieved together, express gratitude for the administration's supportive statements and efforts to create a more inclusive world, and remain thankful that the LGBT community is in a better place than it suspect it would've been under a McCain/Palin term. Plus, as someone very much focused on the judiciary and who thinks the courts are the proper place for the equality fight to play out, I also keep an eye on the Supreme Court, the two picks that President Obama has already made, and the theoretical picks that will come down between the Januaries of '13 and '17. I do not lose sight of the good, even as I strive for the perfect.

But for me, in terms of support, I just can't fork over any cash. I've been hit up by phone, email, regular mail, etc. Each time, I've considered coughing up some coin. But then I stop myself. I look at my wedding ring. I think of my family. And when it comes down to whether or not I actually commit the sixteen digits of my credit card to the top race of twelve? I don't know -- just can't pull the trigger.

Screen Shot 2011-08-25 At 11.01.46 AmFor me, that's the line that President Obama's unfortunate refusal to support full and unqualified marriage equality has prevented me from crossing. And my inability is just as unfortunate as the President's reluctance. Because while my funds may not matter on the small scale, the pro-equality crowd's piggy banks certainly do matter on the larger one. And right now, there are countless supporters or would-be supporters who are determining what level of commitment they can, in good conscience, contribute over the next fourteen or so months. For some, it will be a monetary reluctance to parallel or exceed my own. For others, it might be rally non-attendance or some other non-engagement. Some prominent voices will decide they can't lend their platforms to this campaign in the way they did in '08, and others may go so far as to advocate for another option (be it GOP, third party, or voting apathy). But everyone will make choices. I just can't see any scenario where the President -- this President, who the right wing already accuses of being pro-gay-marriage because of DOMA non-defense and other principles stands -- will be better off with his current "civil unions only" stance.

It may sound short-sighted, negligent, or even naive to attach so much stake to the marriage equality question. But for those of us who live in, advocate for, and have poured over the constitutional rationale attached to same-sex marriage, this one matter is simply huge. Even bigger when one considers the force of the opposition movement -- one whose practitioners even use the President's own stance against us! With the stakes as high and deeply personal as they are, this matter transcends the realm of politics and cuts right into the human soul. Those of us who are so focused on it might be accused of being myopic or single-issue or whatever. Though when it comes to something as crucial as our lives, loves, families, and equal citizenship? Well yeah, you damn well better believe that I and others will place a premium on this conversation!

I would love to also place a momentary premium on a President who I know wants to do the right thing. But first, he must uphold his end of the bargain.

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