Today I was planning to write about hot trends in wedding food or this season’s must-have registry items – two subjects worthy of serious consideration, in my opinion. But then President Obama had to go and make history by announcing his support for gay marriage.
I’ll admit that I cried when I watched Obama’s interview with Robin Roberts. I cried because we’ve been waiting too long for this. I cried because watching our country’s first African-American president endorse separate but equal treatment of citizens has been too painfully ironic to bear for the last four years. I cried because this isn’t a hypothetical, ideological political debate for me. I’m getting married in eight months and if my marriage could be legally recognized, it would have a tangible and measurable positive impact on my life. I know many of you are in the same position right now.
In fairness, I probably cried because I was on my third glass of wine and it was that time of the month, but I digress. I also laughed a little bit at the thought that it took a 69-old white guy who looks like every other silver-haired politician on Capitol Hill to push Obama – who is young, black and arguably the coolest, most progressive president this country has ever seen – into coming out in favor of same-sex marriage.
A few days before Obama voiced his new view on gay marriage, an outspoken Joe Biden unequivocally voiced his support for marriage equality. “I think the good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about is a simple proposition: “Who do you love?” Biden asked rhetorically on Meet the Press. He went on to say: “That’s what people are finding out, what all marriages, at their root, are about – whether they’re marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals.”
Bravo, Vice President Biden!
I know that Obama’s brief public statement doesn’t mean that legalization of gay marriage on a federal level is around the corner. Sadly, I imagine it will be many more years until we can put this issue behind us once and for all. I’m sure we will continue down this slow-as-molasses path of states legalizing same-sex marriage one by one. Even as he made his historic endorsement of gay marriage, Obama, in his next breath, said he believes the legality should ultimately be decided by the states.
On that point I think the president (and everyone who agrees with him) is dead wrong. Does anyone remember the civil rights movement? Leaving a matter as important as gay marriage that has such a real impact on people’s lives is just politically irresponsible. For one, people travel! A marriage that is only valid in the state that granted it is worth about as much as the paper it is printed on.
Secondly, I’m sitting in Tennessee as I write this, and I have to say that some states just shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions a big as this one. (Sorry, Tennessee! I love your biscuits and your scenery!) If we leave it up to the politicians in red states to legalize gay marriage when they feel comfortable with it, we’re going to be waiting a very long time, and we will leave the queer people who live in those states in a lurch. We can’t expect gay people who love the red states where they live to move to safer, blue states just so they can be legally married.
That all said, I do sincerely commend President Obama for telling the world he thinks gay people should be able to get married. It was a bold and brave move. Obama enjoys widespread popularity, and frankly, he doesn’t need us to get re-elected. And, I highly doubt he’ll lose any votes as a result of his new stance on gay marriage. Sure, he’s ruffled some feathers, primarily among African-American religious leaders, but those people are unlikely to cast a vote for Mitt Romney.
I know Obama’s declaration won’t magically make gay marriage legal in all 50 states (I wish it would!), but his opinion has tremendous power to change hearts and minds. In the days that followed his announcement, the national dialogue about same-sex marriage was reopened, with public figures sounding off everywhere from Washington DC’s newsrooms to LA’s streets to Alaska’s backwoods.
In case you missed any, here are some of the most loveable and hateable reactions to Obama’s historic interview.
Obama’s favorite rapper, Jay-Z, was quick to step up to the plate with support.
“I’ve always thought of it as something that was still holding the country back,” Jay-Z told CNN. “What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. It’s no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple.”
Well said, Jay-Z, well said.
As if you need one more reason to love her, Rachel Maddow gave a whip-smart interview on the topic in an interview on the Today show. “I’m an openly gay person who works in the news media, covering this, but also feeling this as a gay person,” Maddow said.
Ellen DeGeneres, looking adorable in a plaid tie, gave President Obama a moving, heartfelt thank you on her show. “There have been moments in history when someone has had the courage to stand up for what they believe in and that one action changes everything,” DeGeneres said. “I hope that this is one of those times. It takes a brave man to take a stand like this especially in an election year.”
Of course, Obama’s announcement brought out the haters, too.
In an interview with the National Conservative Examiner, boxer Manny Pacquiao incoherently weighed in: “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other,” Pacquiao said.
Huh? What does that even mean?
And he continued, “It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of old.”
Whatever. Please stop talking and go punch something.
Why anyone even lets this gal speak is beyond me, but Bristol Palin had a lot to say about the president’s gay marriage announcement on her very intellectual blog. Palin zeroed in on Obama’s statement that his discussions with his daughters, Malia and Sasha, have helped to shape his views on gay marriage. I’ll ignore for a moment that I’m positive that Malia and Sasha, despite being several years younger than Palin, could kick her Alaskan ass in a political debate.
“While it’s great to listen to your kids’ ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads. In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage. Or that – as great as her friends may be – we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home.”
You know “a mother/father home” – just like the one where Bristol is raising little Tripp.
It’s Monday, and I don’t want to bum you all out by leaving you with Bristol Palin’s inane ramblings, so we’ll end on a high note. Here’s a link to tweets from celebs and other public figures chiming in with support for Obama’s gay marriage endorsement. Ricky Martin, Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Lynch, Suze Orman, Andy Cohen, and many others all added their voices to the chorus. And say what you will about Kim Kardashian and her 72-day marriage, but she was quick to voice her support for our right to tie the knot.
Thank you, President Obama!bit.ly/LQDzYF No more living in the past!
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) May 9, 2012
OK, now it’s your turn. What do you think about President Obama’s announcement that he supports same-sex marriage?