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The Democratic Party is embracing marriage equality

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Democratic Party is beginning to embrace marriage equality in a significant way.

This week, former President Jimmy Carter, a born again Christian who teaches Sunday school and just wrote a new book on the Bible, came out in favor of allowing gays to wed.

“Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality,” said President Carter. “In all of his teachings about multiple things -– he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.”

In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the notorious Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that still relegates gay couples to second-class citizenship. But in May 2011, Clinton endorsed marriage equality.

“Our nation’s permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ — deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community,” Clinton said.

“That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in New York, with marriage equality. For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York’s welcome must include marriage equality.”

While at New York City campaign stops on Monday, Michele Obama said that LGBT people should vote for her husband because Supreme Court appointees will have an affect on “whether we can … love whomever we choose.”

Unfortunately, President Barack Obama is still “evolving” on this issue. Many people believe that he is simply waiting to be reelected before he makes the leap to a full-fledged supporter.

While I would absolutely love for the President to support marriage equality, it is not the end of the world if he waits until a second term. Michele is correct to suggest that the most critical component in securing such rights is ensuring fair-minded judges sit on the Supreme Court. If any one of the current GOP candidates were elected, it would almost guarantee that the high court would include an intolerant majority hostile to LGBT rights.

Even if Obama won and never evolved, nor lifted a finger to help with other LGBT issues, yet offered four years of friendly platitudes, tremendous progress would still occur. It would mean four more years of our families not being attacked from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This would buy enough time for the younger generation of voters to come of age, shifting public opinion decisively and overwhelmingly in our direction.

The alternatives are Rick Santorum who compares homosexuality to “man on dog” sex and the amorphous Mitt Romney who appears to be so craven that he will do virtually anything to please leaders of the extreme right. Such hostility in the oval office could produce major setbacks and create an unfriendly climate that leads to everything from anti-gay legislation to an increase in hate crimes.

And, there is always the possibility that Obama will make history by becoming the first sitting president to support marriage equality. This would produce worldwide headlines and create enormous momentum to an already impressive march toward justice.

Whatever position Obama ultimately takes, this will likely be the last Democratic presidential nominee to get LGBT votes and money without first embracing same-sex marriage. Now that Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter (and even Dick Cheney) are in favor, any future Democrat running for the nomination will look behind the times if they don’t support full civil marriage for same-sex couples.

The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart reported this week that President Obama may be signaling a new direction:

“For a man who maintains that he is “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage, President Obama is pretty evolved on the matter already. As a guest at Wednesday’s state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron, I know of at least two legally married same-sex couples in attendance…The Obama administration has “an unspoken tradition” of “seating a same-sex couple at the table.” The honor went to Chad Griffin and Jerome Fallon….Griffin is the incoming president of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community…”

Marriage equality is more than coming soon. In eights states and the District of Columbia it is already here. Social conservatives promised Americans that the sky would fall. It didn’t, so instead this ugly barrier is falling – with the former Democratic presidents accelerating the pace.

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22 more reader comments:

  1. My President says he is evolving on this issue. That is all I ask of anyone. It may take 2 terms for him to take on this issue, but I am sure he will fairly consider it. I love my gay and lesbian friends. And you straight ones are pretty good, too. And I LOVE MY PRESIDENT… Obama 2008 and again 2012!!!

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:39pm

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:40pm
  3. Obama sucks.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:42pm
  4. Obama is trying to win more votes with this crap. The legal right to marry in every state does the LGBT community no good if no one can afford the gas to make it to the wedding.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:46pm
  5. The president does NOT control gas prices…..

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:52pm
  6. Edward, I think that is one of the most idiotic things I’ve read. No good? NO good?

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:52pm
  7. hipocrycy… one word

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:52pm
  8. Hypocrisy*?

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:54pm
  9. Unfortunately, Obama talked way too vauge and big last election but would you rather have Romney or… gasp… Santorum as president? Obama may have let us down a little bit but he’s really the lesser of two evils at this point. The last thing this country needs is some ultra conservative republican shoving a bible into classrooms. I’m voting for Obama 2012 just because I’m out of this collasping country if Romney ends up winning.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:55pm
  10. I think of it like this: What are the Republican candidates saying about gay marriage? Oh yeah, they’re all a bunch of idiots who think evolution can’t exist because “monkeys aren’t still evolving into people” and that masturbation should be illegal (how they plan on enforcing a ban on masturbation, however, is something I don’t want to know).

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:56pm
  11. Obama does NOT suck. I think Bobbi and Edward needs to wake up~

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 1:58pm
  12. DOMA was nothing but an act of appeasement towards the Religious Reich; I EASILY trust that Bill Clinton regrets signing it back in 1996.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 2:04pm
  13. bill clinton is a good guy

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 2:08pm
  14. As frustrating to us as it is, for Obama to try and negotiate and accommodate the right, think about it: Would you rather he was like the Tea Party and refused any compromise?

    The denial of compromise is the key factor that makes the Tea Party scary and damaging.

    Obama may frustrate me, but I’d rather that frustration than a president who played the same game as the Tea Party.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 2:10pm
  15. Well I believe it is one of the best and smartest things to come along. Equal rights for all americans.I dont understand why in the year of 2012 we are having to legislate morality( ambiguous) when the Constitution already gives us these rights in Amend 1,4,5th,9th and 14th under UNalienable rights.We dont have these freedoms just because a bunch of so called Majority Right people think they run the country and can dictate to others what they can or cannot do in your own bedrooms. This IS pure BULLSHIT!

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 2:13pm
  16. RaeLana Hilfiger: I fully agree with you. The radical right is desperate and running scared.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 2:16pm
  17. The Democrat party is not a unified party nationally. So, while West Coast Dems and those in the Midwest and Northeast seem to be embracing this, it does not necessarily seem to be ubiquitous across the country.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 2:21pm
  18. I (as a straight man) have been writing my representatives for MONTHS, and convincing others to do the same. The message promotes a specific bill. It would remove ALL language from Federal Law that indicates any detail about people more specific than having reached a legal age (voting, alcohol, included) and level of citizenship, unless more detail is SPECIFICALLY NEEDED (a program for veterans needs to address veteran status, a program for persons with disability need to mention it, etc). What are your thoughts on this?

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 2:28pm
  19. Also, Jill Stein (Green Party) is for equal treatment under the law for all persons (and a LOT of other amazing things). Check her out, sometime.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 2:29pm
  20. He repealed Dont Ask Dont Tell, lets see republicans do that. The democrats brought forth equal rights for women, races, the elderly, and now LGTBQ whereas Republicans were and are against it.

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 3:26pm
  21. Not all republicans are against marrige equality, just the ones land locked in a moral right wing biggotted fag hating constituants, log cabin repulicans and the occassional polotician of any color liberatarian whatevere, to care about LGBT/Human Rights/Equality

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 5:41pm
  22. Always spell bigoted wrong

    Posted on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 5:45pm