Bil Browning

Statement from Barack Obama on the death of Lawrence King

Filed By Bil Browning | February 23, 2008 7:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, election 2008, gay kids, hate crimes against LGBT people, Lawrence King, LGBT youth, murder, students

Just in from the Obama campaign:

“It was heartbreaking to learn about Lawrence King’s death, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. King’s senseless death is a tragic example of the corrosive effect that bigotry and fear can have in our society. It’s also an urgent reminder that we need to do more in our schools to foster tolerance and an acceptance of diversity; that we must enact a federal hate crimes law that protects all LGBT Americans; and that we must recommit ourselves to becoming active and engaged parents, citizens and neighbors, so that bias and bigotry cannot take hold in the first place. We all have a responsibility to help this nation live up to its founding promise of equality for all.“

Obama joins Clinton in condemning the murder of gay student Lawrence King.


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Michael Bedwell | February 23, 2008 7:25 PM

Also well said.

"We all have a responsibility to help this nation live up to its founding promise of equality for all.“

Especially the Democratic Party nominee for President.

He needs to understand and help others to understand what it is demeaning to create a separate and unequal institution for a minority group in order for them to have (what he calls) equality.

If it is logical and fair to exclude GLBT people from 3 different constitutional considerations in the name of states rights, then why would he expect "this nation" to live up to "promise of equality?"

It sounds more like he is doing just what many others in the country (and his party) do - try to find a way to maintain superiority while appearing to be advocating equality.

I choose to take him at his word, though he is a day or two late in noticing the outpouring of grief from our community over the death of Lawrence King.

First and foremost, he is a politician, and has many constituencies that he has to represent. It was a long and bitter struggle for race based civil rights to take hold in this country, if I remember correctly, the last law forbidding marriage between races wasn't struck down until the late 70's or 80's. I remember in the early 70's still seeing seperate facilities for whites and blacks on a trip to east Texas and Louisiana.

If you want marriage equality Now, move to Europe. It is going to take another generation or so for America to finally grow up, if it ever does.

Oh, ok diddy...that makes sense. Marriage equality will just happen all on its own. I'll move to Europe and these politicians will just do the right thing eventually.

Aren't they silly?

Loving v Virginia was the supreme court case that ended the ban on interracial marriage in the 1960s.

Interracial couples didn't move to europe - they stayed here and fought for their citizenship.

I think Ill follow their example and not issue excuses for weakness that comes from the mouth of a man that is the direct beneficiary of people that fought until politicians stopped being cowards.

No, it isn't going to happen on it's own, but it will happen when the time is right for it, and I hate to say this but, at this point in time, it isn't right. Not in this country at least.

The groundwork for full equality has yet to be laid down, and the ideas of acceptance have not been developed to the point where most Americans will support our struggle. Look how easy it was for our opponents to get anti marriage amendments passed in the states that put them on the ballot.

The LGBT movement has a lot more work ahead of it in getting the average American as seeing our lives and families on an equal footing as theirs. The RR is very effective, and we do not always help ourselves, in positioning the struggle for equality in human terms. They have the strongest weapon on their side, faith.

As long as they can paint the struggle in terms of religion and faith, they will continue to win.

It is not right, it is damn unfair, but unfortunately, it is a fact.

Well, it certainly is a struggle in terms of religion (aka faith) and family. And people like Obama pretend that we don't have any faith or any families.

And he (and the rest of them) get away with it. The LGBT movement (as it were) is doing what it should do - supporting the people that have the courage (and fortitude) to press the courts to explain why the city, state, and federal governments think it is acceptable for them select which citizens are eligible for due process considerations and which are not covered by the concepts of equal protections and full faith and credit.

Obama by default - or intentionally depending how you interpret his position on marriage - supports the concept of states rights. If states were allowed to choose which citizens could vote and/or enjoy full liberty as they wanted to 50 years ago, Senator Obama would not be running for President.

Don't allow the resistance to equality blind you to the irony of his lack of courage. He hasn't once said anything about the states amending against LGBT citizens. He hides behind the idea that states can do what they want - even if that hogwash was dismissed decades ago as corrupt garbage.

The groundwork for equality has been building for over a century. People didn't just throw their hands up and say - it'll happen when everyone decides it is time. They rolled up their sleeves and they didn't take NO for an answer.

He might be candidate du jour, but that doesn't mean he is given a free pass.

None of the canidates have come out for marriage equality, not even Hillary, for whom I voted. How much of a chance do you think they would have of getting elected if they did?

Blaming a politician for pragmatism is like blaming a pig for wallowing in the muck. It is in their nature to avoid such controversies if at all possible.

At this point in time, as has been shown by the states which passed anti marriage amendments on strong majorities, the American public is not ready to support full marriage equality, and any canidate who comes out in favor of it is going to run into a backlash worst than anything seen in the pro-choice or gun rights issues. It is a devisive and perilous issue for any politician to take a positive position on at this time.

In the future, after people see that states which allow marriage equality have not been blasted off the face of the earth for their blasphemy and life hasn't been turned topsy turvey for the poor straight folk, then maybe people will start seeing the issue as one that will not affect them in any way.

Defending the constitution is too divisive and perilous of a position for any politician?

We really are in trouble.

I don't expect them to advocate for marriage equality if it too hard for them to do. I do expect them to make connections between states that separate full citizenship for a minority population and the actions that lead to the murder of a teen age boy.

You can't have one with out the other. If Obama can't make the connection between the bigotry that fosters hate crimes and the bigotry that enacts laws/amendments against an innocent population of citizens, then he has no business being president.

Are there any connections to make between Jim Crow laws and lynching? The Lawrence King murder is the latest example - just the latest - of what happens when politicians wait for people to get comfortable.

'Defending the constitution is too divisive and perilous of a position for any politician?

We really are in trouble.'

We have been in trouble for quite some time now, especially after shrub took office.

There are many who would say that this is not an issue of constitutionality, but of a person's choice to live a lifestyle that is harmful to society. The idea that this is a choice is one of the favorite weapons in the RR's arsenal against us. If we wanted to get married and start a family, then marry a person of the opposite sex. There is no need to change a long standing tradition like marriage to fit the whims of a few who choose to make love to people of the same sex. Since marriage is a sacrament, and of course we all know that same sex pairings are against gods will, then it would be an abomonition for society to allow such pairings to be consecrated as a marriage.

This is how our opponents think, this is the language and reasoning they use against us, and use to argue against marriage equality. Guess what, for most Americans, it works.

'I don't expect them to advocate for marriage equality if it too hard for them to do. I do expect them to make connections between states that separate full citizenship for a minority population and the actions that lead to the murder of a teen age boy.'

This is where we need to work, not leave it up to some slimeball politician who is going to pander to the common denominator.

'You can't have one with out the other. If Obama can't make the connection between the bigotry that fosters hate crimes and the bigotry that enacts laws/amendments against an innocent population of citizens, then he has no business being president.'

Politicians of all stripes would be counted out of the running if this were a serious criteria for election. You would think that, being a black man, he would make the connections, but then again, he did not have the typical upbringing of many blacks in this country, and faced less discrimination than other young black men I would hazard to say.

'Are there any connections to make between Jim Crow laws and lynching? The Lawrence King murder is the latest example - just the latest - of what happens when politicians wait for people to get comfortable.'

Jim Crow laws and lynching were symptoms of the same racist ideology, and provided an excuse rather than a connection, for some gang of rednecks to hold a necktie party for some uppity black person who didn't know their place.

It took education and assimilation, sometimes forced, to bring about the end of the era of Jim Crow and the prevalence of the klan. As long as you can demonize a person and strip them of their humanity, you can treat them as less than equal. As long as people think in terms of stereotypes, rather than a person as an individual, then you get hate crimes and discrimination.

It is not a matter of waiting for people to get "comfortable" with the LGBT community. Some people will never be comfortable with gays. It is a matter of them seeing us as human beings, just like them. It is teaching and showing them that our community is not trying to steal their children, or turn the world into one big sex crazed orgy (no matter how much fun that would be ;-)).

Go out and be a beacon and example of how a gay person is just as human as the next person. Live your life honestly and openly. Educate the people you know, and do not wait for some politician to do it for you. They won't.

They will only become involved in our struggle when enough people get together and point out to them the discrimination and hate faced by our community. All we can really hope for in this election is to get someone who is not an enemy, and is not in the pocket of the RR, like the current administration is.

It is up to us to mobilise and build up support, person by person.

Diddlygrl: I agree with your points in this comment.

There is a song, "If there be peace in the world, let it begin with me." Change happens when we allow ourselves to get out of our comfort zones. If people know we are LGBT, and we are still productive, happy, considerate people in spite of that, they will be more accepting of us. It means refusing to be marginalized. Sure, it takes courage, but while all of us aren't called to be like Ghandi, or Dr. King, we can still change the world one person at a time, starting with ourselves. And, it goes from there.

It’s not a bad thing when Clinton and Obama comment on the murder of Lawrence King. They do it because their GLBT handlers noted our anger and dismay when yet another GLBT youth is slaughtered. But for Obama and Clinton it is a hollow and shamefully hypocritical thing.


Why didn’t Obama, Hillary or most of the Democrats raise a stink and demand that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill, which had passed both houses, be sent to Bush? Why were they silent when fellow Democrats Pelosi and Reid tossed it in the toilet so that the Republicans couldn’t claim, heaven forefend, that Democrats are pro-GLBT?


Why didn’t Obama, Hillary or most of the Democrats stand up for up us when fellow Democrat Barney Frank gutted ENDA? Why didn’t either of them demand the repeal of the Clintons DOMA and DADT while they sat in Congress? Why did they allow fellow Democrat Diane Feinstein to ram through gaybashing Bush nominees for the 5th US Circuit Court of appeals and as Attorney General?

It’s because they’re liars hustling for votes for a right centrist party. They hustle votes from us and then they hustle votes from bigots. Why would anyone believe campaign lies? Why would anyone rely on either of them to do any better in the White House?

A Republican is a baboon in a people suit with a totalitarian christian attached at the thigh. A Democrat is a Republican in Drag.

Eight years olds are forgiven if they believe politicians, divorce lawyers, priests and used car sellers. Grownups have no excuse.

Who needs Republicans with Democrats like these?

I have said before, and I will say it again, politicians are slimebags, and those on the national stage are the slimiest of them all.

However, when it comes down to cases, the democratic slimebags are at least more progressive and likely to work for positive change, than a republican would.

The dems at least pay lip service to the cause of LGBT rights, which is better than the outright prejudice and hatred that the repubs heap upon us at every turn. We will never be able to count on a politician to stand up for equality, but we can at least lay the groundwork and keep after them so they do not forget us.

Both the Hate crimes and ENDA bills would get vetoed as soon as it hit the desk of Bush, so why make a push, especially with the flawed instrument that is ENDA. It is best to wait until after the election, see what ground has been gained, and go from there.

I personally do not expect much help from the Federal government. The place that our efforts should be devoted to is our local governments, working on getting inclusive ordinances and laws on the books at the city, county, and state level. We can make a difference locally.

It is already going to be tough going trying to get defense of marriage amendments repealed where they are in effect. It may not happen in some states for a long time. It can and will happen though, sooner or later. Education and community outreach is our best weapons, and they are best at the local and state level.

It is a tough fight, but if you want equality in your or your childrens lifetime, then you need to work at it. Give a face and a voice to the community where you live.

Thank you, Bill.

Sitting on the sidelines saying "Well, thats just the way it is!" doesn't accomplish anything except making sure everything stays just the way it is...because, "hey! thats just the way it is."

No matter how many times you say it, shit still smells like shit. How exactly is the LGBT community supposed to turn this mother around when we don't even push candidates to make sense - do their job - and at least consider for one moment how the community they belong to has an awful lot in common in with ours? And what is happening to ours deserves their honest and bold consideration.

NOT demanding justice doesn't equate to being a beacon or an educator or a good example. If anything it serves an example of how not to be an activist for your own best interest. Making excuses for politicians that know exactly why their positions are flawed is worse than doing nothing.

It is aiding and abetting.

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."

Frederick Douglass

Diddlygrl and Jeri: You both say the same thing - we have to work for equality and plough the ground. You are right, and there are several ways to go about doing it. The way I've chosen in not confrontational in-your-face with a bullhorn, although it may regretfully come to that some day. My way is quietly behind the scenes, with some like-minded people. Slowly, painfully slowly, we are making a difference. We won't make glaring headlines even here at Bilerico, but we will be successful. We aren't looking for credit for what we do, but we are making changes.
Equality will come. The violence will end.
It must.

"Sweetie, if you're not living on the edge, then you're taking up space." Florynce Kennedy

“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations... can never effect a reform.” Susan B. Anthony

“I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them.” Jimmy Hoffa

LOL Just something to think about! I identify with all of these individuals, but I realize Susan B. died without ever having the right to vote. And if Jimmy Hoffa was so smart, well....

We have to keep trying. The journey is more important than the destination.

Neither of them had to issue any statements. Notice neither McCain nor Huckabee did... President Bush either for that matter.

They may not support full marriage equality, but who gives a shit? The poor dead kid? He'll never get the chance.

We should celebrate that others finally care about whether or not we live or die. That's a step up for us!

It is great to see that Clinton issued a statement a few days ago and Obama did the same a few days later - both of them off by a week, but hey, don't complain about crumbs, especially if there is a chunk of red meat in them.

Lawrence King wasn't the first to die. He wont be the last. Our job (if we are to assume such a bold tactic) is to not allow the ambivalent (and complicit) general public forget about the victims of bigotry.

My point here isn't about Obama's position in regard to marriage (specifically), it is about this statement:

"We all have a responsibility to help this nation live up to its founding promise of equality for all."

That includes him. That includes understanding how the "founding promise of equality" being denied by the left hand while throwing the right hand in the air in a declaration of oratorical splendor about the "heartbreak" of a hate based murder is an incongruous, inept and insincere position - particularly for an African-American candidate.

Can anyone say Sanesha Stewart? Or is this all some kind of selection by Mr/Ms Big G & L who we mourn and who we do not.