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Video: Dems continue to overanalyze a very simple matter

by Jeremy Hooper

From last night's CNN/YouTube debate, here are two gay marriage-centric Q&A's. First up, Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd, and Bill Richardson:

Oh, Dennis Kucinich. How much safer we'd feel if we lived in a world where you had a snowball's chance in Hades. Maybe someday straight talk, peace, and true freedom will be more important that money, sound bites, and political connections. Until then, keep on hustling. We're listening even if many are not.

Next up, John Edwards (answering the question from Rev. Longcrier that we posted last week) and Barack Obama:

Alright, so more of the same from Edwards and his "struggle with this issue." That's to be expected. Though he did say he wouldn't impose his own faith-based "personal conflict" on the American public if President. So that's at least something.

But Edwards aside for a second, will someone please tell us why nobody will call Barack Obama out on his non-stop bastardization of the civil and religious marriage concepts?!? He said, and we quote:

"Now with respect to marriage, it's up to the individual denominations to make a decision as to whether they want to recognize marriage or not."

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO IT'S NOT!!!!!!! It's up to the individual denominations to make a decision on the RELIGIOUS ASPECTS of marriage. However, that component is not a marital requirement for anyone, straight or gay!!! We are talking about CIVIL MARRIAGE, which, despite popular Dem candidate belief, is not the same thing as a separate "civil union" system! We will not settle for this alternate route to pseudo parity. And we sincerely wish that instead of continuing to muddy the waters for the American public, candidates like Mr. Obama would help us point out the difference between a Catholic priest's refusal to perform a church wedding for a gay couple, and the American government's refusal to allow a civil marriage certificate to the same. A justice of the peace ceremony is just as legal and valid as an elaborate Biblical-based wedding. The dots need to be connected for the American public, not scrambled!!

But all in all, there was lots of gay content during and after the debate, which is a very welcome development. A conversation on our issues is always a good thing, as our message is the one that is right. Here's just hoping that as this campaign season rolls along, our potential civil rights "heroes" will realize that did, in fact, learn to walk years ago, therefore making these baby steps that they're taking towards full equality both silly and unnecessary.

Kucinich answers gay marriage question [YouTube]
John Edwards is asked about gay marriage [YouTube]
(H/t: HRC Back Story)

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Your thoughts

Don't have time to watch the clips before I trudge off to the salt mines, but I read that there was MAJOR news in the debate in Edwards being the first and only to declare that, regardless of what he believes and why, his administration would not do anything to oppose gay marriage:

"I think [wouild be] is absolutely wrong, as president of the United States, for me to [use] that faith basis as a basis for denying anybody their rights, and I will not do that when I’m president of the United States."

Considering DOMA and the FMA, that is a sensational advance from the other candidates, and, if effect, bitch slaps Obama for, as you eloquently say, substantially not just mingling religious and civil recognition but endorsing denying the latter for the reasons of the former.

BRAVO TO YOU for calling him out on that while so many other gays and nongay liberals are still declaring him the Messiah or giving him a pass on his Nixon Speak about "full equality."

Yes, any Dem running is better than any Repug period, but it seems to me that Edwards has pulled ahead of the pack at least in terms of separating church from state. Alas, I fear that would only lose him votes in the general election if he were the candidate as most Americans still WANT the government to actively block gay marriage.

ARGGGGGGG! [tearing hair out]!!! Are dead brain cells the NEW "gay plague"? Kucinich is achieving nothing but giving the childish "all or nothing" queens and Lesby Anns an excuse to throw their vote away on him or not vote at all. That REALLY worked for us in 2000/2004 didn't it?!

It's absurd [and a bit suspicious—it's more likely he "had some help" from an Edwards opponent than the any man/woman/beast "upstairs"] for the Rev. to single out Edwards. All but the grinning loon from Alaska and the Munchkin from Ohio have the exact same position he does on marriage and for the same reason. Ya think Obama opposes gay marriage because he read about it on the back of a pack of instant oatmeal? It all comes from religion, and, in fact, of the leads, Obama, based on all of his references to god, religion, ministers, churches, etc., in his book and elsewhere, is the one to suspect ACTUALLY opposes it on religious grounds rather than Richardsonian political practicality.

And fucking Christ of the Andes, will someone PLEASE pie the Rev. Obama the next time he shits another one of his intellectually dishonest "separate and unequal" lines. What a LOAD!!! All the more insulting because it comes from the mouth of a man of color whose different race parents could have been sent to prison had THAT law not been overturned. If YOU don't get it, Bitch, then what's the Rev. Longcrier pot-shotting Edwards for?

Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jul 24, 2007 11:58:33 AM

Michael: Why would you ask if "dead brain cells" are "the NEW "gay plague" in regards to Kucinich?" I really don't get that. Nobody is endorsing him or thinks he has a real chance in winning. However, if he's saying some very right-on things, why shouldn't we support that at this point in time?

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jul 24, 2007 12:13:48 PM

Listening to Obama stumble through that answer was more painful than the sound of someone scratching a chalkboard. I cringed when he inserted that "denominations" comment. UGGHHHH. Just as disappointing was that there was no follow-up to Obama's statement and the focus shifted to Edwards (come on -- Anderson Cooper was the moderator!). The UPS debacle would have been a great follow-up (come on Logo, don't let us down!). "Now that you've completed your stump speech, what do you have to say now that there's concrete evidence that what you support DOESN'T WORK?" "Ummm, ummm..."

It goes without saying that we need to work much harder in separating the religious traits from the secular application in the minds of everyday people. I think his comments entrenched that further in the minds of the average citizen (or at least reaffirmed what is assumed to be accepted fact). I always thought it useful to think of it as a corporate merger, whereby the two parties combine their assets and responsibilities and become the executives/managing partners/trustees of this new entity (i.e., the marriage).

Our right-wing foes have proved to be skilled wordsmiths, redefining everyday words to suit their agenda, and we need to learn how to beat them at their own game. I think we inadvertently hurt our cause by referring to it as "civil marriage", if only because it sounds too much like "civil union". If we have to qualify the 'type' of marriage it is, we should at least find a way to describe it that isn't so loaded.

Posted by: George | Jul 24, 2007 1:20:19 PM

I don't care if Kucinich doesn't have a chance, I'm going to vote for him in the primary.

Posted by: Scott | Jul 24, 2007 2:07:10 PM

I agree on Obama. He disgusts me every time he opens his mouth on this issue. The deliberate obfuscation in his answer was sleazy and intelligence-insulting. Someone ought to ask him if a separate-but-equal system of civil unions would have been fine for his black father and white mother, or whether his answer means he supports deleting the word "marriage" from every law that applies to heterosexuals and replace it with "civil unions," which I'd support but he assuredly does not.

Edwards' slick personal-struggle answer has worn thin on me. At first I liked it. But the more you press Edwards, the more incoherent he sounds. His position now, apparently, is that while he struggles personally over the issue, that personal struggle will not affect his administration's policy, but that policy will oppose same-sex marriages, although now for no articulable reason at all. Kudos to Anderson Cooper for pressing him on it; I guess it isn't all bad having an openly closeted man host the debate.

Hillary will simply say anything, so nothing she says on this issue merits any serious analysis.

Dodd's pathetic attempt to say I endorse full legal equality and then saying as low and quickly as possible "through civil unions" is also unworthy of any consideration. Does that manipulation actually work with anyone? It sort of negates all that blathering about "what if my daughers were lesbians" when he goes on to announce that he'd discriminatorily deny equal marriage rights to his own children. Now, he just looks like a bad father!

But finally--finally!!!--someone has stumbled upon the non-insulting, obvious answer, and it was Bill Richardson. That answer, paraphrased and expanded, is: My view of same-sex marriage is a moot point because the political reality is that same-sex marriage is not achievable at the federal level in the near future, but I will try to attain everything that is achievable, including comprehensive civil unions that afford all the legal rights of marriage. Unlike all the other contrived answers, there is nothing in this answer that is untrue or manipulative. Some of us may not like to hear that same-sex marriage is not achievable at the federal level in the near future, but that assessment is absolutely correct. And this answer is respectful, does not insult anyone's intelligence, and does not get into cagey distinctions between personal views and political positions (Edwards) or secular law and religious doctrine (Obama and, at one point at least, Clinton).

Let us at least hope that the John Kerry days of hypocritically opposing same-sex marriage because it is non-procreative, while spending millions from the assets of one's new, post-menopausal wife are over!! And let us never again have a Dem nominee stand before a group of gay voters, as John Kerry did, and sniff with infinite arrogance, condescension, and disdain that he has no obligation to offer us any explanation whatsoever, just declare marriage to be between only a man and a woman because "that is just what I believe," a wave a dismissive hand to make clear he would not engage in further dialogue. And let our organizations never again sell out their members and sell their souls endorsing someone willing to exhibit that degree of utter disregard.

Posted by: Steve | Jul 24, 2007 3:59:31 PM

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