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.



It Gets Better – Dr. Susan Rice And President Barack Obama

I’m sure most of you have heard or seen this awesome project of Dan Savage and Terry Miller’s called “It Gets Better”, where people record messages to young people who are suffering through circumstances associated with their sexuality. To me, this is an example of how we can all make a difference in young people’s lives – by talking to them, reassuring them and letting them know that there are people who care. I found the link to the below clip and transcript on Twitter, my apologies to the sender for not noticing their name and giving them credit. I am thankful that the Obama administration cares about all people in our country.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And here is the transcript as it was delivered.

Excerpt from remarks delivered by Ambassador Susan E. Rice on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2010:


Let me conclude by saying, as both a public official and a mother, a word about another key area: the bullying and the taunting that our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth sometimes are forced to endure in school and elsewhere. That bullying can range from casual slurs to relentless torment—and in some tragic cases, it has even driven young people to take their own lives. Such bigotry isn’t some normal part of growing up. It’s vicious, and it’s wrong. Every student ought to able to go to school without fear. And so our Administration is working hard on a national anti-bullying strategy. Too many of our kids are hurting, and so we are working to ensure that for young Americans who’ve been picked on or singled out, that it does in fact get better.

Ladies and gentlemen, some still believe that the different ways in which we were made can be used as pretexts to divide us. But I believe deeply in what President Obama calls America’s “patchwork heritage” and that it is a profound source of our strength.

Today as we celebrate the birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we must recall that its drafters insisted that it be truly universal—that its reach encompass each and every human soul. But while those rights are universally held, they are not yet universally enjoyed. We must not rest until the expanding circle of liberty and equality takes in all of us, gay and straight alike. We must all do our part, here at the United Nations and in our own countries, to ensure that no gay man need fear persecution, that no lesbian need fear discrimination, and that no transgender person need fear assault.

It’s a powerful legacy that we celebrate today. And together, we renew our commitment to fight against discrimination in any guise and to embrace diversity in all of its forms. The struggle is not yet over, but I am confident that our victory is assured.

Thank you so much for your continued commitment and your extraordinary leadership.

And here is our awesome President and his message.

Real Change For LGBT

I’m very proud of our president for taking the steps to permanently change the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy of the military. I thought he was bold during the campaign to say that he would and have believed all along that he was going to do it. Many in the LGBT community have been impatient with his lack of movement on it…until recently. I figured he was trying not to have a repeat of President Clinton’s first year, where the gays in the military issue completely distracted everyone, the media, the public and the legislators. Those type of social issues get people riled up and with our dysfunctional, sensational media, I’m sure it would have been even worse this time around. Our media likes to obsess about these type of social issues, it sells magazines and increases ratings, so I think it was a tactical move to focus on the economy and health care. It’s terrible that some have had to suffer over the last year because of the delay, but when you look at the long term prospects, he is doing it right. Admiral Mullen’s testimony a couple of weeks ago sent a very strong message to the world that it will change. From a TPM story….

“The fact that the military’s senior leadership (both in and out of uniform) sees no significant threat to unit cohesion and combat effectiveness from permitting openly gay men and women to serve will make it all but impossible for Congress to articulate a rational basis for excluding them,” they wrote.

Mullen’s testimony, alongside that of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, was unequivocal.

“No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens,” Mullen said. “For me, personally, it comes down to integrity, theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”

Things are moving pretty quickly since Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates spoke out.

On the Senate Armed Forces Committee, for example, Sens. Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and George LeMieux have all said they are open to repealing DADT if the military study concludes they should.

Sen. John McCain, the ranking member of the committee, also says he will define his stance by the results of the review. It’s a bit of a backtrack from previous statements, in which he said he’d only support a repeal if military leadership does too. McCain contends that because Mullen spoke on his own personal behalf, it’s not enough for McCain to rescind his support of DADT.

But it seems unlikely that Mullen and Gates would have put themselves on the line for a repeal if they expected the review to show that DADT should remain.

Now I hope those bloggers who have attacked the president so relentlessly over the last year about this issue, will come back to reality and give this administration some credit for delivering the change he promised. I don’t necessarily think that will happen, but I’m hopeful.