On the May 6, 2012 installment of Meet the Press with David Gregory, Vice President Joe Biden told the host he was comfortable with gay and lesbian people getting married. This endorsement presents itself as our nation discusses who will be president in 2012.
In 2010 when asked whether or not gay and lesbian people should have the right to marry, President Obama said that attitudes evolve just as his has evolved, but he did not outwardly support same-sex marriage as part of his campaign.
Many in the gay and lesbian community feel that President Obama and his administration have been far too quiet when it comes to equality for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage should not be a political stepping stone, but an evolution and revelation about the lack of protections millions of families are denied simply because they are not “allowed” the same marriage rights as their heterosexual peers. The ongoing and often damaging commentary from those who believe that marriage is only for “some” and should be excluded from “others” is often based on how it makes them feel – uncomfortable.
As the editor of a popular online news magazine based in Seattle, I experienced a life-threatening moment last week when my co-editor, Sarah Toce, and I were told that “all lesbians should be raped and beaten within an inch of their lives”. The comment was in response to our story: Cleveland’s WMMS Radio Issues Apology Following Rover’s Morning Glory Lesbian Rape Comment.
As disturbing as the anonymous threat was to us at the time, we decided that we would not be deterred by bigotry and would, instead, shine a light on how we might educate those who simply did not understand basic human rights. The hateful comment we received served as a reminder to us just how much we still have to go until all Americans are truly created equal. What struck us was the boldness of someone who felt that their civil liberties were the only liberties that needed to be protected. We made the decision to remain steadfast and released the following written response: There is Help for the Homophobic.
The editorial went viral and Seattle’s King 5 News contacted us to film a segment with them. We were in the middle of the NOH8 Campaign open shoot at the Renaissance Hotel and it seemed like the perfect time to do it. The segment ran throughout the weekend as the top news story and garnered very positive press for the message of love vs. hate…and then we checked out the King 5 News story on Monday and a message from “jazzysport” was waiting (unedited):
“America was never supposed to be a nation where homosexuality would be a civil right let alone the absurd concept of gay marriage. Modern America has turned its back on its own nation game marriage is so not American American as far more about responsibility and morality than freedom. Too bad Americans have no concept of their own nation. America has turned into a sick disgusting sideshow. There is a war going on and it is the war against liberalism. It must be stopped!”
Divisive and hate-filled comments like the ones above speak volumes of the discrimination that millions of tax-paying citizens face simply because the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) stands in the way of equality for all of its citizens.
The ill-conceived notion that marriage should be looked upon as a state issue instead of a federal right is no longer applicable. In fact, I have said it many times and I will say it again: the federal government is the largest stumbling block and perpetrator of the inequality gay and lesbian families face today. Let’s remember that federal DOMA was signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. Had this roadblock not occurred, we would instead be focusing collectively on the more important and obvious issues that are plaguing our country, such as unemployment, homelessness and socio-economic inequality. Instead, we are tasked in 2012 with the duty of deciphering which state has the right to marry which couple – with the individual decision based on, many times, personal religious views rooted in one person’s reality. It’s a crapshoot and the outcome is muddied at best.
As a citizen who loves her country and just so happens to be engaged in a same-sex committed relationship, I am aware of the political compromises and workarounds politicians must make to be re-elected. President Obama never said that he supported same-sex marriage when he ran for election in 2008. He said he believed that civil unions were appropriate. Over the past four years since his election, President Obama has evolved on the same-sex marriage issue and has stated such in the media time and time again. Without the pair stating the obvious, it is clear to me that President Obama and Vice President Biden have every intention of looking at the ongoing issue of the federal gay marriage ban if re-elected for a second term.
The Obama/Biden ticket is smart enough to know that there are elected officials so opposed to equality that they will do anything to see this administration not see another four years in office. For that reason alone, I believe they are playing their cards in this hand appropriately. The hesitation and lack of commentary about what must be done to secure equality is calculated and measured. Let’s face it: same-sex marriage is not a topic middle-America is comfortable with even in 2012. Yes, I agree it’s outrageous that millions of families continue to wait for the same equality and inalienable rights that many are entitled to simply because of their sexual identity. However, I know what is coming around the corner…and I choose to believe.