My Story

Growing up in conservative West Michigan, I watched lesbian and gay friends and family members struggle to be accepted and be treated equally. There are gains and losses in this fight every day, and it is vital for LGBT individuals and their straight allies to stand up and to pay attention.

09 May 2012

Finally! Obama Endorses Marriage Equality

Today, something truly great happened. President Barack Obama has finally come out and said what many people already knew: he's in favor of marriage equality.

(For some giggles, check out Fox Nation's original response to this, although it has been recently altered slightly).

Why is this happening now? Well, one could argue that this was simply a long time coming. Of course, there are the arguments that this is incredibly political (to which I have to say: what does a President of the United States do that isn't political?)

However, I believe it's actually due to what I like to call THE BIDEN BOMB.

Watch this:

After Biden's comments, the Obama 2012 campaign at first backtracked Biden's statements. After a few more days of uproar by the LGBTQ community, Obama has finally come out in favor of lesbian and gay marriage rights himself.

I have seen so many comments and announcements that Obama is, yet again, using "words not actions." However, it's been nearly the opposite. At the same time that Obama was "evolving" on the issue according to his statements, his administration has:
So, what does Obama's statement mean in context of the rest of his administration? Obama stopped short of the full endorsement I had been hoping for, and I have several issues with his statement. And, it's clear that this is the perfect political storm for this to happen, with "gay money" supposedly replacing "Wall Street money," the Romney campaign's completely egregious stomping on gay people earlier this month, the Biden Bomb, and North Carolina's very recent approval of a ban on same-sex marriage all create the political storm that almost required Obama come forward and say something.

And he did say something. It doesn't matter if it's politically motivated, and it doesn't matter much that it's imperfect. He said something.

What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

Words are so powerful. They are used in campaign ads by both sides to either demonize or idolize politicians. They are used to bully. They are used to give hope and inspire. Words give movements power. They start things and they end things. They are used on both sides to rally around or against an issue. 

So, let's rally. 

Obama's administration has been taking seemingly small actions to further LGBTQ equality for nearly four years, and I've been blogging about them for over a year now. However, until today, there has been no rallying point. People I know are in favor of LGBTQ rights have no idea what Obama has already done because the administration hasn't been willing to broadcast it. I had to read between the lines when Obama slightly hinted at being in favor of gay marriage over a year ago.

Today, he actually said it. People are reading and watching and discussing and rallying. This is what I've been waiting for. Movements around the globe will be energized by having Obama's support.

Grain of salt time: what Obama has said--it's not perfect. And it's dangerous to take these words and assume change has been achieved. Progress has been made, but Obama still says that states should be allowed to make their own decisions, like North Carolina just did. North Carolina is the last of the Southern states to approve a ban on same-sex marriage. Do you know what this reminds me of?

When states were allowed to vote about whether or not people who looked a certain way could be enslaved or not. This is not the same issue, but it's similar. The rights of the minority cannot be decided by an oppressive majority. I urge Obama to jump to the right side of history instead of tentatively stepping over the line. A politician with so much at stake, I understand that he actually has to be reelected in order to take further action on this issue. Nevertheless, I believe that with more than half the country supporting lesbian and gay marriage, it's time for Obama to make that leap. 

So let's rally not around Obama's statements, but around the promise they hold. And let's continue pushing for some change we can believe in.