Presidential Equality.


By Isis Win

This past Sunday, I watched Vice President Biden candidly say on “Meet the Press” that he has no issue about gay couples and their desire to marry.

Coming from the second highest office, this is something that cannot be taken lightly. As well, he mentioned that he believed President Obama has been supportive of LGBT people, although Biden did not compromise and assert Obama’s position. This was followed by all the news services and of course, the questions about: “A political mistake? Compromised the upcoming vote? Political maneuver?” popped wildly. However, the press had no clue in regard to the presidential take and position on this issue that had become almost as important as the economy in recent days. Previously, the press reported Obama does not support Marriage Equality.

See excerpt of this interview here: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/obama-sex-marriage-legal-16312940

It is extremely hard to know what is the true level of general support for this effort and as well, the counter movement. Even after the many polls and the numbers skewed to figure the true numbers, there is no true statistic.  This is an issue that covers a spectrum much larger than left-center-right political views. Religion, moral beliefs and the personal state of mind, and as well the feelings of each person have weight in this issue. Homosexuality has been such a stigmatized issue since the earliest days of our history. Although archeological findings have much to say as to how and what changed in certain times, ostracizing homosexuality has grown on its own for centuries.  Homosexuality has been associated mostly with superstition, bad interpretations of the Bible and other sacred scriptures, but as well, through times in our history homosexuality has been considered decadent and sinful, creating a strong animosity against it. Mostly during times when homosexuality was not closeted, many high rank figures were gay and what was considered marriage in those times was common. But as well, those times were times of major tragedy and famine, such as the events during and after the fall of the Roman Empire, both abroad and their country itself. Superstition was used to justify many of those tragedies as well as many of the natural disasters of the times. The “Wrath of God” at work, and of course, religion took part in these times. However, homosexuality before and during those times, if not accepted, it wasn’t fought and committed gay relationships were allowed.

Today, after Obama’s announcement in support of same-sex marriage, this panorama has changed somehow. There is a positive joy going on around not just because the importance of the first US president supporting Marriage Equality, but as well, it is believed that this news will help the movement for LGBT equality. I have a very different take on this and trust me, I am not a cynic in this regard. The very same way discrimination against LGBT people seemed to be fading, discrimination against African-Americans seemed to be a thing of the past.  The reality is that political correctness and politeness were abandoned by many people who in theory were OK with racial equality. Something that somehow changed post Obama’s election. Something that, to my own disbelief, I’ve witnessed personally in many realms walks of life: Many voters despise Obama because he is black. The reality is, while African-Americans were accepted “across the board”, that didn’t include having a black president. A president with different ideology (socialist as alleged by many conservatives), opposition party, etc, is one thing but an African-American that will determine the future of the entire nation? That is unacceptable by many. People do not express openly their views in this regard, unless in the presence of others who they know are in the same place. I heard things such as: The trust and importance of the White House in the world will be severely demerited by a black president. A black person lacks the necessary quality and style of an American president. I even heard people calling him a monkey. The same is the case with homosexuality. Prior to President Obama’s Pro Equality announcement, a lot of people refrained from sharing their opinion openly about same gender marriage. But today, many are infuriated that our president, a Democrat, who in their view “has done nothing for the country and themselves”, has made many serious mistakes and now is supporting something that most people believe is immoral and against the biblical beliefs. I find the hatred against Obama exhibited in many of these conservatives now is a combo of hate against Obama with homosexuality. People seem to fear change more than any previous time in American history and their fear, becomes unproportional to reason and logic. It is no more than shutting the door to both issues, as much as any issue that represents change and tradition that seems threatened.

I liked Obama’s interview and what he said. Particularly when he mentioned the “Golden Rule”: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want to be done with you”. Exactly! Where would the president be if he realizes that one of his daughters is a lesbian and desires a committed and legally supported marriage? What many people fail to see, is that compassion and generosity are some of the most positive and influential forces that make everything better, for everyone. People seem to overlook the fact that freedom is a necessary and mandatory state of life to achieve the best possible growth in life. Denying legal marriage to gay and lesbians, is a form of denial of this freedom. Something that perhaps didn’t matter to them much before, but today is a vital need. Regulations and laws do not permit couples out of legal marriage to benefit from federal and state perks that come along with the accomplishments of their obligations and the necessary requirements to claim legal rights when the partner is unable to decide for her/himself or deal with the legal and necessary rights in case of death, child custody, and divorce. But all unjust civil issues take their place in the roster of what needs to be addressed at some point. Many racial issues somehow have been worked out and only time will decide how much gain comes from it. So far, African-Americans have been able to achieve higher education, predominant places in all industries and fields, including the military, and so having a president of African-American origin definitely changes that perspective for them by many folds. Black people today, especially young generations, increased their aspirations and confidence because America elected one of them.
I’ve heard educated and upper (or more) middle class people wondering if allowing same-sex marriage rights at some point will allow having a gay or lesbian (and couples) elected as an US president. This is a terrible miss and a short-sighted view because what a nation really needs and can benefit from, is having capable people in charge that are willing of giving their very best to the nation. Lincoln was not fully accepted when running for the White House chair because his education and social status. But his mind and heart were much more than brilliant and with his “limited” resources, not only saved the nation in one of the most difficult times in American history, but he pushed the nation better than what many presidents had done. Those shoes will be hard to fill for a long time.
I really hope that this testimony from the President does not do any more harm to his effectiveness and re-election goals, and helps many to persuade themselves that denying a basic civil right to a few – that is supposed to be granted to everyone, does not treat anything or anybody fairly or justly.
Apparently many people opposed to Obama and LGBT rights now – out of the blue – became very vocal and are taking initiative to broadcast their views to fight LGBT equality and president Obama. Perhaps before president Obama’s testimony supporting LGBT people and marriage equality, people who never cared nor believed this right would be granted are reacting to this news, but Obama’s support “awakened” their animosity and in just a few hours past this testimony, they became quite vocal and active to show their true sentiment. The irony of this case is: God didn’t invent marriage. Marriage is a human invention that through centuries and millennia had changed about the reasons to exist. For instance, at some point it was used to halt women from seeking relationships out of marriage and if doing so, they would be executed by law. Men were allowed to do exactly that. As well, during some history periods, this was the tool for fathers to make any claim about their children. Gay and lesbians care for legal marriage simply because they care of having the exact same legal rights all other couples do. Legal rights that will not exist for as long as their marriage is not legally recognized and granting Civil Union rights is not the same. Still is a form of control and discrimination and there is no true reason within the human realm that can justify such aberration. As well, religious beliefs must be left in the hands of the parishes the very same way the government doesn’t have the right to state, regulate, etc, them. The will of the church is free from this. Government and religion are two different and separate entities that by any means should not be mixed, as the US Constitution states. So why do people fight marriage equality as an item of biblical reasons?

The world is not going to become gay across the board because of same-sex marriage equality. There is no way that a straight man or woman is going to turn gay because nondiscrimination laws are in place. The very same way that a gay person cannot switch to being straight, heterosexual people cannot change their sexual or gender orientation; that is innate and unchangeable. Let history speak about this so people can see that homosexuality has existed through our entire presence in the physical realm and never produced any harm to anyone or anything. Nothing has changed, regardless of the many efforts through our history to fight them, and even to eliminate them, such as the genocide of homosexuals in many cultures through centuries. Middle east nations still do that!  Despite these oppressions, no one, absolutely no one is capable of changing what is built-in, what we are born with.

More importantly, it is evident that those who are allowed to be themselves, freely and without concern, have been individuals that fulfilled their role in life and often for the benefit of many others of all ethnic backgrounds, walks of life, social status, etc. regardless of all the limitations and denial of their rights. In fact, this denial is so unfair, unjust, stupid and non-sensical because many of the best contributors in all realms to the American life were (and are) people that had been ostracized by society and their obsolete rules. These people never focused on the unfairness that was imposed in them. Instead, they focused on the talents they were born with and poured all their dedication to render their best to all. And because of their pride of being, they survived all. But no one is “cut from the same cloth”, nor has the same abilities as anyone else. Some need to be supported in order to explore their gifts of birth and to not deal with a lifestyle that needs to fight everyone and the establishment. Let them live freely and join the battle of moving from our ankylosis and bring fortune and well-being to themselves and everyone. Let everyone be free! Everyone must have the right to choose whatever they wish!

I thank President Obama for taking a stand in this issue, although the possibility of making him to lose this coming election now is larger, judging from this reaction. What President Obama has done is to be himself; an honest, fair, compassionate human being and a President to all, including the underdog. Something to celebrate forever.

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3 responses to “Presidential Equality.

  1. I totally agree that we will experience backlash, and that in fact, the path to equality will be long. The deeply-ingrained hate against LGBT peoples may diminish, but it will not disappear from our society, no differently than racists continue to preach their hate against Persons of Color. But racism is being challenged more and more. While it still exists, it is harder to get away with it, because of the Civil Rights Laws, Constitutional Amendments, and the growing body of Judicial Decisions and Opinions that have asserted and defended racial equality.

    The christian Dominionists who seek to turn this country into a theocracy will always attempt to oppress us with laws intended to legislate us out of existence, will continue to portray our identities as “lifestyle choices”, will continue to patronize us with “forgiveness for our sins” even as they condemn us. They will continue to use their churches to perpetuate lies, fear, and hate about us. They will attempt to minimize and erase our identities, the crimes against us, our contributions to society as leaders and as individuals.

    What we can hope for, and work for, is the passage of Federal laws and Constitutional Amendments that ensure our standing as equal citizens under the law, and for the enforcement of those laws, up through the Supreme Court of the US, so that those laws, and the principles of Equal Protection are defended as the laws of the land, binding on everyone, whether they hate us, accept us, or embrace us. Laws such as Gender Identity-Inclusive ENDA, LGBT-Inclusive Respect For Marriage Act, LGBT-Accurate and Inclusive Education. We can and must learn our legal rights, and test laws and challenge violations in the courts, so that non-discrimination laws are put to work.

    Our nation is a nation of laws. We must make sure that those laws that constitute our nation are just laws.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. said
    “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important. “

  2. Thank you for your comment. Just a few hours later and we can see the expected reaction. On one side, excellent it is getting so much attention. On the other one, the attempts to damage this initiative and Obama. Hopefully numbers show soon and are favorable. However, as expected, many Pastors/Priest, etc are replying to it. Everyone with their own view and take. However, the Bible seems to be under “attack” now since among them there is disagreement and based on the interpretations of their own faith. Supporters always relying on the “Golden Rule” preached by Jesus Christ. The New York Times published an article about it: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/14/us/gay-marriage-issue-divides-churches.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120514
    Copy and paste to access it.
    On the other side, it has been said that Obama’s team is working on “damage control”. Frankly, it is surprising, amazing and highly respectful to see a US President near elections taking this risk. I feel it speaks very highly about his dedication to all and the preservation of liberty and human/civil rights.
    On another side, I’ve heard the opinion from a couple of christian lesbians taking side and supporting this ban. Nevertheless, both are single, despise marriage and raising children. Go figure! I forgot to mention this important issue about gal and lesbians parents that care about this legal right for the benefit of their young children that otherwise are non existent. Such as having visitation from both parents if they are hospitalized. Among many other.

    • Thank you for sharing this!!!! Finally, an article that points to an important issue that I think goes unnoticed: the co-opting of the silent majority by the vocal extremist minority, with the tacit complicity of the press. The Christian faith is not a monolithic block. There are bigoted, condemning so-called Christians, who primarily justify their bigotry on PRE-Christian law (especially on the reportage in Leviticus), and there are Open and affirming Christians, who ground their acceptance and love on Christʻs teachings and those that followed, as reported in the New Testament. But when the press reports on groups that use the Bible as a weapon to oppress LGBT people, the use a blanket “Christian” label. This subconsciously makes this a struggle between LGBT and the Christian Faith.
      In fact, as this article rightfully points out, the Christian faith does not take a unified stance against LGBT. That oppression is the product of the thinkings, fears, and hatreds of particular individuals, groups, congregations, and denominations. It should be reported as such. It should be made clear by the press and the larger Christian community that the opposition to justice and equality comes from a limited sector of the faith community. It should be loudly announced by open and affirming Christians that Christianity does NOT condemn our identities, our natures, as “choice”, “lifestyle”, let alone sin.
      And yes, the LGBT community itself is not a monolithic community either. Our positions on the role of government are wide, varied, and nuanced. What we share is the experience of oppression, and as long as the repubican party espouses LGBT oppression as part of its implicit principles, we will continue to be artificially pushed together into the Democratic party, as a matter of sheer survival. If and when we see LGBT rights become a non-issue due to the affirmation in Constitutional and International Human Rights Law, then we will see that diversity of political beliefs split the LGBT community, but that will be a natural split of healthy diversity.
      Actually, I do hope that you will write about the intersection of womenʻs, family, lesbian, and trans rights struggles. I think there is a natural confluence here, that gets buried under the “Gay Marriage” news coverage. It is a dynamic that people increasingly are becoming aware of as the “War on Women”. It is the war by cis-sexualists to reinforce a power structure that oppresses anyone who is not male, and who does not support that power structure.
      Thank you again for the comment! It is great to exchange ideas like this!!!!

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