The Institution of Marriage Is Stronger Today Thanks To President Obama

The impact of President Obama’s support for same sex marriage will be felt for years to come and in many ways.

Prior to the interview on ABC where he affirmed his support for SSM, I honestly didn’t realize just how much impact it would have. On my drive home from work, I heard Andrew Sullivan on NPR discussing his reaction and the full impact hit me hard as I began to cry.

ANDREW SULLIVAN: I did have mixed feelings, but I thought beforehand that this is a state issue. The president’s role in this is really circumscribed. One interview doesn’t make a difference. And then I watched the interview and the tears flooded. There is something about hearing your president affirm your humanity that you don’t know what effect it has until you hear it. And I think of all those gay Americans over the centuries who never heard that, never believed it could happen. And I have to say I’m immensely proud of this president for doing what he did.

I think he let go of fear today, the fear that somehow by embracing this natural, obvious and I would say conservative development he was sometimes – somehow embracing political calamity. He wasn’t, he isn’t, he won’t. And exchanging fears for hope on this and affirming what we all know who have met him and seen him that he thinks of gay people exactly as he thinks of straight people, as human beings and Americans first. That’s a great moment. (emphasis mine)

Hearing Andrew’s words brought home to me how important this is for the LGBT community.

The President’s words also went a long way towards strengthening the institution of marriage. I know that is the opposite of what you will read today in most publications that are mining the religious community for hyperbolic quotes and trying to create some controversy. But in my mind, there is no way it can do anything but strengthen it.

News flash – Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people aren’t going away and thank god, they help make our communities rich. The idea that preventing loving, committed couples from marrying will somehow weaken the institution of marriage makes absolutely no sense. In reality, allowing same sex couples to marry can only strengthen that institution. It promotes commitment, stability and family by giving security and a sense of belonging to a group that for far too long has been forced to live on the outside of the circle.

In a world where young people are becoming more promiscuous and the role models for our youth in many instances are the cast of the Jersey Shore, the Kardashians and misogynistic musicians, having two loving adults making a commitment to each other should be welcomed, regardless of their gender.

The religious objections to this idea are rooted in centuries old biases and cultural influence. When I read the Bible years ago, the cultural influences on each writer was very apparent to me. A friend of mine who studied the Bible extensively, pointed out that many stories are repeated in the Bible and each version of the story was different, based on who was writing it and the culture that influenced him. The writers were humans – imperfect humans who brought opinions and biases to what they wrote. So when religious folks refer back to a book written thousands of years ago in a completely different age, I have to wonder why it is they feel the need to live by the biases of a long ago people. In effect, they are ignoring everything that humans have learned since then.

The idea that allowing LGBT people to marry somehow hurts heterosexual marriages is just a mystery to me. I can’t seem to connect the dots of their argument and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever really seen anything but platitudes when it comes to this idea. There is no argument to be made other than an appeal to emotions, fear and homophobia. My wife and I spent a couple minutes trying to figure out how it has anything to do with our marriage. We basically just shook our heads back and forth and said, WTF.

President Obama’s interview with Robin Roberts where he affirmed the humanity of LGBT people was an important moment in our history. And even though the Federal government has a limited role in defining marriage, the courage of President Obama to speak honestly about his feelings and to speak up for equality for all people can not be diminished, no matter how hard people try.



2 thoughts on “The Institution of Marriage Is Stronger Today Thanks To President Obama

  1. Thanks for taking the time to prepare such a sensible blog. Your perspective and fact-based conclusions are a great response to the lies and bent tyranny of the Right Wing. I often wonder what the very educated people of Germany could have done while their Republic was being torn down by a minority of thugs. This is our task today, to keep the Republic. So grateful.

  2. This is Pfingsten weekend in Germany, a 3-day national holiday always held over Pentecost Sunday. It is always the date for our family reunion which I have attended. There is always a memorial service for family members lost in war, no different than what we hold here over Memorial Day. My great grandfather, who emigrated to America while a teenager (from Hesse during the Franco-German War), died in 1936 just before I was born With his death, my American family lost all communication with German cousins. As a child during WWII, I was ashamed of my German name and playing “war” with older kids, didn’t like that I always had to be a “Gerry” or a “Jap” while the bullies got to be G.I. Joes. Going to school in the late 40’s was even more upset to hear teachers talking about the 6 million Jews that Germans had murdered. So I was ashamed of my German-American heritage growing up, although I did study the German language in college.

    I lost my shame living/working in Israel in 1975, seeing many Israelis visit the same cruel practices upon the Palestinian people as had been visited upon their people by the Nazis. I bought a 2-week Eurailpass before leaving Tel Aviv, stopping on my trip from Rome to Amsterdam to look up cousins in Hesse I didn’t even know. I only had a few names and places and thankfully my first phone call from the Darmstadt rail station was to a cousin who spoke very good English. I spent 3 days then with cousins around Frankfurt, Marburg, and Kassel. I was treated with so much hospitality, like a long lost relative.

    In 1976, when many Americans were painting fire hydrants red-white-blue to commemorate the Bi-Centennial, I decided to write to all of my American cousins as my “project”. I spent every weekend for about a month at the Houston Central Library that had phone books from about every part of our nation (with the Internet now that job would take very little time). I found over 400 cousins from coast-to-coast, most of whom I didn’t know. I am blessed with a very rare German surname and it is believed we all descended from one man in Frankfurt in the 11th century who took on that surname, at a time in history when people began using such names.

    It was hard for me at first to believe that my German cousins had been part of such a ruthless nation, as they were so well educated, so many in professional fields (I think it was just the poor cousins who did most of the emigrating leaving the rich family members behind). I would never be the first to bring up the touchy subject of the war, but getting to know cousins now on 4 trips to Germany, have found some are willing to talk. I’ve been told that at our reunions, among the oldest folks there are still some tensions between those who supported the Reich and the majority who hold great resentment but most of that generation is quickly dying out now. Seemed most got caught up in the propaganda of the Nazi Party and fell victim to what they heard, were being taught. Plus, the Nazi war machine brought back jobs and the country was booming on a war economy. Heard the expression that they “had created a monster for a loaf of bread”! The general attitude was that by the end of the 30’s, many realized their nation could be hell-bent for destruction but it was too late to leave as the borders had been sealed. One either went along with the government or became a dissident, which often meant being sent to the “work camps” and executed. They realized that political prisoners were being executed including Jews who were often socialists/communists, but claim to not know of wholesale racial genocide. So for many Germans, they felt like prisoners in their own nation whether in their homes or sent to a camp.

    What happened in Germany could easily happen here. In fact, I recommend Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 fiction, “It Can’t Happen Here” that describes the USA being taken over by fascists (and eerily describes the Bush/Cheney administration).

    Right-wingers like Prescott Bush wanted Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler to lead a coup to remove FDR from the White House. Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh were great Hitler admirers and both were decorated with a medal from the Nazi government.

    We have become a nation ruled by corporatists, IOW a fascist mentality. We have a propaganda machine like Fox News and Clear Channel’s monopoly on talk radio (owning 90% of such hate radio outlets) that would have made Joseph Goebbels proud. Just as Jews and Gypsies were made scapegoats, the right-wing here has their scapegoats in people of color and those from the GLBT population.

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