Friday, May 11, 2012

President Obama's Statement on Marriage

I know there's been a lot of criticism of Obama for not going far enough in support of marriage equality (how he should have done more than just make a personal statement, how it's inconsistent of him to hedge his support by emphasizing states' rights, etc.). But on the ground here where we're fighting an anti-marriage amendment, it looks different.

In his statement, the President gave concrete reasons for supporting marriage equality. He talked about real lives and the impact of marriage inequality on real people. He talked about his own family, and he talked about his personal journey.

These are exactly the kinds of things that the campaign to stop the marriage amendment is talking about here in Minnesota. The president's statement has gotten excellent news coverage and there's been lots of commentary, so everybody's been talking about it. And I am certain that many people who are sitting on the fence about this issue here will have heard the president's statement, and hopefully what he's said will have an impact.

Would I like to see more from the president? Yes! Eventually! But for now, this is an excellent first step. Americans are still heavily divided about this, and I think what we actually need is just more discussion and dialog about this... Not divisive policy proposals, but just sincere discussion. I thought the president set an excellent tone for the kind of discussion I hope the nation as a whole will continue to have.


Knight of Nothing said...

I agree - this is a wonderful first step. And folks who are complaining should consider that, policy-wise, Obama has been the most LGBT-friendly American president ever.

Sure, I'd love to hear a full-throated endorsement of SSM from him based upon legal equality and precedent - after all, he's a constitutional lawyer. But let's face it, Obama already has a reputation as an intellectual egg-head that some folks just don't appreciate. So bringing it down to the level of the personal is a disarming way to open the dialog.

I'm impressed and heartened. I hope that it helps to defeat the MN amendment in November.

Knight of Nothing said...

Here is a list of Obama's first term accomplishments on LGBT issues.

J G-W said...

Thanks, Sam. That's an impressive list... I was, of course, aware of a few of the high profile items toward the top of the list. I had no idea how many policy improvements he'd made across the board. Many of these are things any reasonable previous administration could or should have done a long time ago... But no one chose to do it until this administration.