A boca full of uvas for all
Nobody’s perfect and life isn’t perfect, either. I get that. I also get that there’s a lot of mess going on in the United States today. Two wars, economy in the crapper, everybody’s running out of ammo (except murderous fanatics), yadda, yadda, yadda.
It’s all serious stuff. It’s all going to take time, sweat, blood, and tears to fix (fix, I understand, being a completely subjective word in our free-thinking world where anyone can define “fix”).
But all that serious stuff, to me, pales in comparison when I think about civil rights. I truly believe in equality and freedom of choice, and I’ve a good mind to note that much of our Constitution and its subsequent Amendments speak to the same.
Many people refuse to see the rights of the LGBT community as serious stuff. Many people refuse to acknowledge that the citizens of the LGBT community have/should have rights.
Many who manage to even give the notion of LGBT rights critical consideration still cry, “But the economy, the war! We’ve got bigger things to worry about right now!”
Excuse me, but isn’t this America? Wasn’t freedom and equality (and not paying taxes to the King) the whole basis of our founding?
So now we come to the Defense of Marriage Act and Obama’s failure to stand by his word.
What does hindering the recognition of LGBT rights say about our honest pursuit to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense (I guess DADT is the subject for another blog, but it holds the same merit as DOMA) promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty?
I know where I stand on this issue. I know where many in opposition stand on the issue. Yet – where does our government really stand on this?
President Obama’s Justice Department recently let us know.
The Justice Department has moved to dismiss a challenge to DOMA, and the stated reasons for such dismissal are condescending and sheepish at best. Stuff comparing marrying children and incest marriage to same-sex marriage abounds. Nothing considering the rights of two consenting adults to enter into a fully-recognized union is mentioned.
If Obama’s defense of this inequality is, “Well we have to respect the 30 bigoted states that ban same-sex marriage,” what I want to know is where Obama would have stood had he been in Selma or Fort Sumter. Does Obama support separate, but equal? Free in Kansas, not in Missouri?
Alas, campaign-promise amnesia struck again this term, where Obama’s past stated “strong belief” has once again become the supposed victim of politicking and due process.
In 2007, Obama stated, “It is my strong belief that the government has to treat all citizens equally. I come from that, in part, out of personal experience. When you’re a black guy named Barack Obama, you know what it’s like to be on the outside. And so my concern is continually to make sure that the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for all people. That’s why I opposed DOMA in 2006 when I ran for the United States Senate.”
Now, this is what we are told: “Until Congress passes legislation repealing the law, the administration will continue to defend the statute when it is challenged in the justice system," Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said.
So I guess when Obama said he opposed DOMA and was concerned with achieving equal rights for all, what he really meant was, “I’m going to defer to Congress on that one so I don’t get my hands dirty and screw up 2012.”
I hope that’s what he meant, because the alternative – the fact that he, like so many other Americans, doesn’t really see the rights of the LGBT community the same as he sees the rights of blacks, women and other historically-oppressed groups – is at this time too much for me to consider. And trust me, that’s not because of the messiah complex. I dislike messiahs.
The idea that the man who calls himself the leader of this nation – who is the biological product of miscegenation, whose current position depended solely on the past civil rights movement and the slow progression of equal rights for all – could think that there are still other citizens out there just a little less deserving than he, is heart-wrenching.
I hope that’s not that case. Whether or not it is, it’s more than high time to call on the President (and Congress, which has now been handed the torch Obama didn’t want to burn his hands with) to take a different stand.
Before this little stunt (stance, whatever) was made public, Obama had already defined what he believes about same-sex marriage. On the campaign trail – the same one on which he denounced DOMA – he said, “I will tell you that I don't believe in gay marriage... I believe in civil unions but it should not be called marriage.”
That being a religious argument, fine. Obama is entitled to his freedom of religion just as I or any other American citizen is entitled. But as a political statement, without saying “I believe in civil unions for everyone but it should not be called marriage within the bounds of the social contract it is as ordained by the government,” the point falls short for someone who professes to be for equality, for all.
Obama’s Justice Department didn’t have to involve itself in this matter by throwing out its homophobic, nonsensical, same ol’ lip service-legal brief.
But they did. And in doing so, the gauntlet has been thrown down. We, as citizens concerned for the rights of all Americans, should pick it up and fight for what’s right. Not in 2012, not in 2016. NOW.
I urge you to contact our gay leadership in Congress and ask them to break their silence, and I urge you to work hard in your own community to snuff out bigotry disguised in thin legalese.