5. 24. 12 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
Comments: 0

SteveBlanchardHeadshotFinally, our country is talking seriously about same-sex marriage.

Ever since Massachusetts began handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004, the LGBT community has waited to see the phenomena spread to the other 49 states. While there is a handful of locations where we can get married in the U.S., more states outright oppose us. North Carolina is the latest to add a constitutional amendment barring the recognition of same-sex marriage.

It’s frustrating, but there is a reason for hope. For the first time in history, the President of the United States has voiced support for same-sex marriage. It’s a milestone that just one generation ago seemed impossible.

Not surprisingly, talking heads on cable news networks have debated whether President Obama’s words are a campaign ploy or a response to Vice President Joe Biden’s similar remarks the week before. Different polls all show a majority of Americans support marriage equality although the percentages are different in all of them.

No matter your party affiliation, those who support marriage equality should be ecstatic that an active president has finally voiced support for the LGBT community. Or so you would think.

A day after Obama told ABC News that he believes same-sex couples should be able to get married, the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud, another LGBT Republican group, expressed disappointment with the president. Disappointment that the president supports same-gender couples’ right to get married!

It’s good to see that after intense political pressure that President Obama has finally come around to the Dick Cheney position on marriage equality, GOProud chairman Christopher Barron said passive-aggressively in a statement. This is hardly a profile in courage by President Obama. For years now, President Obama has tried his hardest to have it both ways on the issue.

While I agree that Obama has juggled the marriage equality ball for way too long, the fact that he was finally honest about his support of LGBTs on national television should be applauded. Expressing disappointment with the president’s embrace of marriage equality is like resenting your boyfriend because he didn’t propose fast enough for you or bad-mouthing a friend who sends you a belated birthday card.

Don’t we all wish things we wanted would have happened sooner? Would a young gay man who was turned away by his family be disappointed if his family had a change of heart years later? Of course not.

While many of my political views differ with those of the Log Cabin Republicans, I can respect the work it has done on national issues namely leading the fight for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

But when I read R. Clarke Cooper’s response to Obama’s marriage equality support, I was stunned.

That the president has chosen today, when LGBT Americans are mourning the passage of Amendment One, to finally speak up for marriage equality is offensive and callous.

How can that be? How can you be offended when someone offers you support immediately following news of a win for the opposition?

I get that Republicans may not agree with Obama’s health care mandate, his handling of economic issues or the way in which he tackles foreign affairs. But to be completely blinded by a dislike of a political party even when a member of that party supports rights so far denied to you is asinine.

Why are gay Republicans slamming the president’s support for marriage equality instead of grilling Mitt Romney about supporting a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions?

This June marks 43 years since the Stonewall Riots that launched the modern-day gay rights movement. We celebrate with gatherings in Florida’s theme parks and street festivals in St. Petersburg.

This year we have a new milestone to celebrate. The country’s highest elected official has openly shared that he views our relationships as equal to his own. Pride month is not about the economy or party affiliation. It’s about recognizing our community and advances in equality.

And I can’t think of a better time than now to celebrate.

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