Late last week, former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore posted a video on Current TV, where he very matter-of-factly said, “The loyalty and love that two people feel for one another when they fall in love ought to be celebrated and encouraged, and shouldn't be prevented by any form of discrimination in the law.” Gore then goes on to explicitly express his support for lesbian and gay couples to have the right to marry.
Better late than never I suppose. But I can’t help wondering if we had Gore’s support all along, and if it was the ugly truth of political life in this country that forced him to deny such support.
When Gore was vice president, he supported the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and we have felt the reverberations of that ignominious support as 35 states through statute or constitutional amendment, have enshrined discrimination into state law.
While I believe folks can change and evolve, I also know that being politically relevant in a country still divided on LGBT issues requires not just finesse, but, at times, outright untruths. I also believe that regardless of his opinion 10 years ago, Gore’s recent statement is a perfect illustration of how far we have come, of the power we have when we live our lives openly and authentically.
We do change minds and open hearts. We also, over time, erode the strength and intensity of our opposition.
We all know that Al Gore is a smart guy. He won a presidential election (yes, I know, but he did in fact win), an Oscar, and, most recently, a Nobel Peace Prize. He is a leading voice and activist working to address our imperiled planet. What most impresses me is how he has chosen a life of stewardship, of showing how individuals can make a difference, and how, when we come together, we can change the world.
Maybe he finally had an epiphany on marriage, maybe he was with us all along, but still imprisoned by handlers and pollsters, whatever, he is with us now.
So, thank you Al Gore. But also, thanks to all of you who, by example and effort are changing the world by being who you are—by being out and open, by being committed, politics be damned.