Today in My History2000: I Survived Mothers Day
2001: No entry--in England
2002: Move Over, Mr. Blackwell
2003: Lame Duck
2004: The Bionic Woman
2005: What Big Teeth You Have
2007: With Six Do You Get Egg Roll?
2008: A Dose of Reality
2010: Our Daughter, the Carpenter
2011: The Brave Little Tailor!
"Little Shop of Horrors"
Books Read in 2012
Most Recent on My Santa Barbara, April 2012
HAIKU OF THE DAY
Twenty years from now --
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NOW THIS IS JUST SILLY
15 May 2012
I was very moved watching Andrew Sullivan on one of the Sunday talk shows. Sullivan, who is the former editor of The New Repubic and five books and is currently known most for his bog, The Daily Beast, which focuses primarily on political issues. He appears frequently on talk shows. He is also gay, and is often the go-to spokesperson for gay issues, especially with regard to the Catholic church, since he considers himself a Catholic.
On Sunday, he was talking, as was just about everybody else, about President Obama's announcement that he feels gay couples deserve the same rights and privileges that heterosexual couples enjoy.
As Sullivan began to speak, he got very choked up. He said he had not realized how emotional this action on the part of our president was going to make him.
Imagine you are Andrew Sullivan. Imagine that for your entire life you were made to feel that you aren't as worthy as everyone else, that your church told you you were going to hell, that you were denied many of the Constitutional rights that all of your straight peers didn't even give a second thought to.
Imagine that all of a sudden the President of the United States says that gays and lesbians deserve equal rights under the law. Suddenly, the most powerful man in the world has announced to the world that you are OK. That you deserve everything that other people enjoy. Can you imagine how emotional it would be to know that the president thought you were just like everybody else after so many years?
The reaction to President Obama's announcement has been predictable. Did he commit political suicide or not? We'll know in November, but the media is certainly having a field day trying to spin this, like the Newsweek cover calling him "the first gay president." I'm sure Michelle Obama will be very surprised to learn that, as will his daughters.
If all it takes to be "gay" is to admit that you think all people are deserving of equal rights, then the ranks of the United States' gay population just increased astronomically. I'm sure there are a lot of straight husbands and wives who will be surprised to learn that suddenly they are gay.
While this is a monumental and amazing announcement on the part of the president, it hardly accomplishes much on a practical level. Though he says he personally believes that gay couples deserve equal treatment, he still says that he feels that those decisions, though, should be left to individual states. That's hardly equal treatment.
I watched GuessWho's Coming to Dinner the other night, where Sidney Poitier plans to marry the daughter of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. The movie was made in the early 1960s and as Poitier's character's father points out, their marriage would be illegal in 17 states and they could be arrested just for passing through those states as a married couple (as would Obama's parents) . That ended in 1967 with the Loving v. Virginia case, where the Supreme Court declared any anti-micegenation statutes unconstitutional.
Now we think nothing of mixed race marriages. I hope that when my granddaughters are grown, they will think about gay marriages the way we now think about mixed-race marriages. What was the big deal?
Obama's stating of his personal views, but leaving final decision up to individual states doesn't come close to solving the problem. Even if every state in the union finally abolished anti-gay marriage statutes (highly unlikely...actually laughingly unlikely!), it still does not make gay couples equal according to federal laws.
I hope I live long enough to see my friend Kathy's son and his lifetime partner, who is the citizen of another country, able to live in the United States legally. They have not been able to come home for ten years now because the partner can't get a green card since their union is not recognized in this country. There are a legion of couples in similar situations who may be able to be legally married in a couple of states, but can't get residency status because of federal laws. There are also 1,138 federal rights that will be denied gay couples even if gay marriage is approved by individual states.
Despite all these problems, I salute President Obama (and
Vice President Biden) for possibly risking his re-election by speaking from his heart.
If only all politicians were so honest.
PHOTO OF THE DAY