Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Obama Announces Support For LGBT Marriage; Question Still Debated Whether Convention Should Be Moved From NC

(Original title for this post: "Obama, DNC Won't Support LGBT Marriage? Move The Convention And Boycott The Campaign")

Apparently, President Obama is attempting the age-old trick of simultaneously having and eating his cake... and not getting away with it. On the issue of LGBT marriage, he's "evolving,"* meanwhile trying to gather votes in North Carolina... where the Democratic National Convention is scheduled to be held. Meanwhile, North Carolina voters just passed Amendment One. Many LGBT groups and activists are urging the DNC to move the convention out of North Carolina.

Please note that there are two separate issues here: supporting gay marriage as an issue of human rights equality, and punishing North Carolina by moving the convention. I support both. But I no longer give any money to the DNC or to Priorities USA, so I don't expect them to listen to me. Money talks... cripples, um, well, some of us don't even walk very well.

For Obama, this is much more than a matter of obtaining the LGBT vote and funding. There is... was?... a tradition in the Democratic Party of supporting human equality for everyone. That saying blazoned on the Supreme Court building... "Equal Justice Under Law"? Old FDR/JFK Democrats genuinely believe that. If the Party wants to keep us liberals around, even on the periphery, the least it can do is manifest clear support for human rights. Marriage is a human right... and if you don't get to choose your partner, then America is by no stretch a free society. Democrats should be behind marriage equality, all the way.

So we can only sign petitions, phone our legislators and create nonviolent holy hell outside the Democratic National Convention if it is held in a state that does not permit gay marriage. Those things are the very least we can do in our pursuit of human equality.

* LATEST: Obama is supposed to endorse gay marriage today. We'll see.

UPDATE: Obama did it. And his language was, as far as I can tell, unambiguous. Good.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Mikko Alanne of HuffPo has a wonderful thought experiment to be performed by conservative "Christians": "Shall We Vote Away Your Rights Next? An Open Letter To America's Conservative Christians". WARNING: do NOT visit HuffPo without your ad-blocker on!


  1. I don't support moving the DNC. Charlotte is blue and passed a motion against Amendment One. This is a beachhead that can offer the chance for continued engagement. I would challenge the party to highlight Charlotte's holding the line during the convention...

  2. ntodd, the DNC twice rejected Houston as a site for the national convention for no better reason than that the then-DNC chair Paul Kirk once felt slighted by someone in Houston. The committee recommended us; Kirk nixed us. That's Democratic rationality for you.

    I don't really give a good damn where they hold the convention; it's all I can do to hold my nose and vote for their candidates. Let's see what Obama has to say later today (perhaps he already has said something?).

  3. Oh, and FWIW, Houston is blue, if you look at percentages of voters, though our Texas Lege delegation is very red because of outright gerrymandering approved by federal courts. Judicial appointments have consequences, more than elections ever have.

  4. The DNC choose NC in much the same cynical manner O'bummer chose preacher Rick Warren to peach at his inauguration. How special that O has evolved and 'personally' believes in GLTB marriage. The devils in the details and those details spell 'States Rights.' which means institutionalized anti gay bigotry ---business as usual.

  5. karmanot, far be it from me to disagree with you outright on an LGBT issue, but I think Obama had potentially much to lose and little to gain by announcing his personal support, but made a calculated decision (cynical if you like) based on current American popular support for gay marriage (especially among young voters, who are his base) and decided to announce. I saw his announcement; the wording seemed to me to leave him little wiggle room.

    As many presidents have found out to their chagrin, presidents have damned little influence on what state governments do. Obama is no different, whatever his personal designs. Some regulations that a president alone can implement would be very helpful to LGBT people (e.g., to gay federal employees), and now he is on record, FWIW.

  6. karmanot, FWIW, Pharyngula (who is, AFAIK, not himself gay) agrees with you totally. Maybe I am overestimating the import of Obama's statement... if so, not for the first time.

    Reminder to self: I don't have to like him; I just have to vote for him...

  7. the DNC twice rejected Houston as a site for the national convention for no better reason than that the then-DNC chair Paul Kirk once felt slighted by someone in Houston

    People and parties do dumb things. That's why I'd like to not do something like move the convention when it provides a perfect opportunity in what was a blue state in '08 to highlight the differences between Obama and Dems and the other guys.

    The DNC choose NC in much the same cynical manner O'bummer chose preacher Rick Warren to peach at his inauguration.

    I'm not sure how you can call either choice 'cynical'. Obama was following Howard Thurman's maxim at a time when national unity was important, so why wouldn't he try to reach out to somebody on the other side in a small way? And choosing Charlotte was a strategic decision to put focus on a state that had surprisingly voted for Obama in '08. It's strategy.

    It's really amazing how a historic moment like the first sitting president, who happens to be the first black president, coming out for marriage equality isn't celebrated more.

  8. It is important to look at the longer arc of history and discern the difference between reality and truth. Cynicism regarding politics is not a character fault, but an essential philosophy that leads one through the crafted illusions of propaganda to the truth. Gay marriage in my opinion will be operable in only a few urban centered states and will never become 'Constitutionally' mandated. We are not a pure democracy, but a republic, which has evolved contrary to the central tenants of the Constitution into a majority which enforces moral and religious orthodoxy on all who live here.



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