Sara Whitman

Shut the hell up

Filed By Sara Whitman | June 18, 2008 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, California marriage equality, election 2008, gay marriage, Massachusetts, one man and one woman, same-sex marriage

If I hear "Marriage is between one man and one woman" one more time from Obama's mouth- or any Democrat's mouth- I'm going to scream. Last night, while being questioned on California's decision, Obama just had to say it. One man, one woman.

How is this change? Leadership? Hope?

Or do only straight people get to hope?

As historical as having an African-American man run for the highest office in this nation is, it is not the only history being made. The fact that the second state in this country- and a fairly big state- has laid claim to the belief that separate is not equal is just as historically significant.

Imagine that. Two states. More to follow. You can call Massachusetts a fluke but you simply can't ignore California, now can you?

I am sick of people telling me I should be more concerned with other issues- as if I'm not. Please. I can hold more than one thought in my head at a time. I care about the war. I care deeply that we get a Democrat in office- McCain is a nightmare. The list goes on and on.

And I want equality.

And I want it now.

You know, someone should mention to Senator Obama he could simply say, Marriage is for the states to decide. I'm running for a federal office.

Then shut the hell up. Next issue.

Editors' note: Here's video.

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Pardon the pun, but "Damn straight!" I'm with you all the way on this one, Sara. All the way.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 18, 2008 7:00 PM

I agree with everything Sara said except "… someone should mention to Senator Obama he could simply say, Marriage is for the states to decide. I'm running for a federal office."

Equality is NOT a “states rights” issue, any more than voting rights or desegregation were. "States rights" has been a cop out since slavery. We have to insist that federal politicians and judges get rid of DOMA and insure us quality under federal laws. The federal code has to guarantee our basic civil rights, including the right to marry. Plus of course we need hate crimes and hate speech laws and the original version of ENDA (before Barney Frank mutilated it).

The USA is a federal union, not a confederacy. Fundamental questions of constitutional rights cannot be left to the states to decide any more than slavery or women’s suffrage could. Different kinds of drivers license requirements are fine, but exclusionary marriage license requirements are the products of religious bigotry.

Good luck insisting that Obama and McCain stop pandering to bigots. It’s not going to happen.

actually, Bill P., I agree with you.

Better check my medication levels.

Seriously, it is not a state issue but in this presidential election season, I can live with that dodge.

The one man one woman crap is beyond me.

“An individual’s sexual orientation – like a person’s race or gender- does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.” ~California Supreme Court, May 15, 2008

Why is that so friggin' hard for people to understand?

Obama's 'moral superiority' reminds me of Bush's claim to be God appointed. He claims he's for repealing DOMA 'n DADT, why the hell didn't he do something about that while he was in the Senate?

Voting FOR Obama is just a vote against McCain, just voting the lesser of 2 evils in my opinion.

If Obama is elected, he'll soon forget us 'n any help we lend to his election. I'm putting my money on states' fights for rights.

Thanks Sara, but for me Obama should STFU, he's a bigot in his own 'special' way.

David Paterson for POTUS!

I'm looking for Obama saying anything about "one man, one woman" from this cycle. His statement following the decision:

Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as President. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage.

Googling doesn't show a result for Obama saying anything about one man/one woman since June 06. Do you have a link, Sara, to this interview or know where I can go find it?

On another note, I do find it irritating in the discussion here how the issue of same-sex marriage is such a yes/no issue. Either he supports it or he doesn't. No middle ground. No creative solutions. No multiple policy options. It's a strange way to discuss an issue; I can't think of any other like it.

Of course, that indicates that the problem doesn't have all that much substantive value - if the issue were visitation rights, there are other solutions than marriage, some which work better. If the problem is health care, there's one solution I know of that works a whole lot better. If the problem is immigration, then we're treading into a minefield of things that need to be rethought and redressed.

It seems that a few of the people on this thread (and everywhere, I know I'm the minority here) think that the problem is that gays can't get legally married, and the solution is to let the gays get legally married.

I know I'm the sore thumb on this issue, but I find it hard to access the need to marriage in-and-of-itself, probably because of my hard-fast position since the age of 8 that I was never getting married (getting civilly united, on the other hand, might be something I'd be willing to do). The visitation rights, the power of attorney rights, inheritance, health care, etc. are all problems for the LGBT community (and many, many other people) that need to be solved, and most can be solved, better, with creative solutions outside marriage.

But the issue of gays not being allowed to get that sheet of paper, which is an important equality issue and important for many people, doesn't speak to me as much as those substantive issues listed above.

So I find it hard to call Obama a monster based on this one issue, even though I disagree with his position, even though his position doesn't do anything on the issue anyway. (He's against FMA and DOMA and will appoint fair judges. I think that's about all we need from him on marriage.)

Well, color me unsurprised about Alex's revelation (well, more like vocalizing something that was already obvious) about being one of those who fight to protect the sanctity of queer culture.

Anyways, mon chéri, I was only able to find such interview on:

Oh Alex, I don't think I'm in favor of making LGBTs jump through special hoops (those creative solutions you speak of) to obtain all the presumptive privileges of heterosexual couples. Surely you jest when you want us to continue to complicate our lives with all those 'special rights' we want to enjoy the same citizenship as other Americans. Marriage is not exclusively a religious matter, nor is it a state of mind, it's a legal status well established for certain rights and liberties which should not be abridged by any individual state in THIS country.

And Alex, I hope you're right when you say Obama will appoint fair judges. I see him appointing judges who share his Christian views because after all, that's how he decides what's right and wrong, what's fair.

On all sorts of levels, Obama is calculating how to best serve all of the people.

Not just the Democrats.

Or to temporarily appease independents.

Much less to tease disgruntled Republicans into flirting with him.

But, specifically to govern a country which includes and embraces all of the above folks.

I'm all for that, as much as it pains me as a gay man.

ABC news...

TAPPER: You oppose same-sex marriage.


TAPPER: Do you think that the fact that this is now going on in California, does that cause you to re-think your pledge to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act?

OBAMA: No. I still think that these are decisions that need to be made at a state and local level. I'm a strong supporter of civil unions. And I think that, you know, we're involved in a national conversation about this issue.

You know, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,"

and on an on Sen. Obama goes, sure of our votes, ready to sell his soul for more.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 18, 2008 11:42 PM

Sara, the time to check your meds is whenever you feel one of those insane urges to vote for a Republican or a Democrat.


Because unreasonable, unhinged, "HAY EVERYWUN LOOKIT ME I'M DIFFRENT" third-party "conscience" voting always works, right?

Change isn't instant. Live in reality.

Perdue, I will find you-- and slap you, hard-- if your post is any promotion of Barr.


On another note, I do find it irritating in the discussion here how the issue of same-sex marriage is such a yes/no issue. Either he supports it or he doesn't. No middle ground. No creative solutions. No multiple policy options. It's a strange way to discuss an issue; I can't think of any other like it.

Alex, I'd submit the following issues as yes/no issues much like the gay marriage debate...
Death Penalty
Doctor-Assisted Suicide
Gun Rights

But the point I'd really rather make is that sometimes there is no middle ground when it comes to equality. When we start thinking like that, we line up behind ENDA without gender identity or other civil rights compromises like counting people as 3/5ths of a person, because it's a practical and creative solution to a controversial topic. As one of my heroes, Richard Dawkins, said, "when two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong."

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 19, 2008 3:34 AM

Lucrece, even by your standards that statement was bizarre. It’s simply not possible for anyone with a drop of political smarts to conceivably confuse my socialist pro-union politics with those of an anti-union libertarian. So how did you manage to do just that?

As I’ve repeatedly said, it doesn’t matter which of the two right centrist parties win – their differences are cosmetic at best. Your inability to see beyond election year hoopla might explain your frantic belief that critics of the Democrat/Republicans are stalking horses for other political groups. But what explains your eccentric beleif that you’ve been annointed to stalk them and punish them for their UnObamian sins? (Don't answer that.)

In any case your hysteria is misplaced. Obama will very likely defeat McCain just as decisively as LBJ whomped Goldwater. The only thing that can stop him is the Bradley Effect, and nobody knows how that will play out.

And don’t be threatening to slap people. Even making the threat is a crime. Don’t worry though, I don’t believe in taking legal action against people, however tormented, unless they're mass murderers named Clinton or Bush.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 19, 2008 4:58 AM

Sara, I really loved your post and your anger level. Perhaps you have been picking up too much dog poop lately supermom. How is that bird poop situation on the deck by the way?

I come down on the side of Federal equality first and foremost. From that tree comes the freedom to move from state to state and know that your rights are intact. Relationships, for those of us lucky enough to have them, are what you define them to be. Originally "Marriage" was an oppression to me to consider as it was used as a way of securing property and a woman was traditionally just part of the land value. She was an extra to clean the house, fix the meals, and plant the vegetables. Marriage and love had nothing to do with one another. The institution is from a time when women could not hold land in their own name, had to ask permission of their nearest male relative to travel and VOTING RIGHTS (HA HA). They didn't even believe in female orgasm.

I have had conversations with a number of women about why I think marriage is a "bad deal" for them. Like joining your credit history and should you divorce losing the credit history you have earned? I have talked more than one woman I have known into keeping her maiden name, and then, the prenup agreements!

In our enduring charge to be equal I think that we should strive to be better. Better than "marriage" at least. Full equality before the law in all matters, but that "M" word sticks in my throat. Perhaps in that I will be partnered 32 years in October makes me see Mattilda's point of view. All those years were not illegitimate to me, and they were about, and continue to be about love.

Thanks for your post Sara.

Sara, I saw that ABC interview you quoted here. I agree with you on this.

Jere, I think the transgender community should start making tee-shirts that say, "3/5 American."

Lucrece~ Queer culture? What in the world is that?

I can't defend the sanctity of something that doesn't exist.

LeslieK, those aren't extra hoops for queer couples at all. There are ways of expanding the individual rights associated with marriage so that unmarried couples (both gay and straight) can access those rights. There's no reason that things like single-payer health care, hospital visitation designation, making declaring power of attorney simpler, etc can't be done alongside expanding marriage.

I honestly don't see why the rights currently associated with marriage should be only for married people.

Jere~ Those issues aren't debated yes/no.
Abortion - Up to what point? Does the public fund it? If so, how much and through what means? Who has to provide it?
Death Penalty - Probably the closest (another sign this issue has been divorced from substantive prison and criminal justice reform), but still - what method? Whom: under 16 ok? 16-18? mentally handicapped? what appeals are people allowed before it happens?
Doctor-Assisted Suicide - Under what circumstances? (and that's a whole nother debate)
Gun Rights - This one opens up all sorts of possibilities for debate - What restrictions are put on gun rights? a license? age? test? tax? types of guns? how many guns? mentally unstable allowed to buy guns? what age? waiting period? (I know the NRA likes to debate it yes/no, no slippery slope, but that's just to make the issue undebatable and satisfy their gun-lust. I don't think they're a model organization).

It isn't about finding a middle ground (I hate bipartisanship and Broderism too! I read Digby everyday, so I have to!), it's about seeing the issue of rights for same-sex couples as more complicated than simply expanding the current system. It's about finding what works for real families, no matter how they define themselves.

I come here after just having read something on another blog about how couples that have open relationships can't call themselves married, that it has to be for life (eep!) or it's nothing at all. They accused gays of trying to expand the institution to include concepts it should not, thus destroying its "taming" effect on men (the writer was gay too).

I don't agree with that sentiment at all, but I think that not opening up the legal benefits of marriage is pretty much sending the same message: all relationships that don't fit into the cultural definition of marriage, whatever definitions people have of the institution themselves, aren't worthy of legal protection. And that's just wrong, IMHO.

Thanks for the link, Sara. I see it's up on Chris Crain's site as well (get a load of that first comment at his place, Lucrece!).

a couple of things... one is, I don't agree completely with Bill... I am voting for Obama this fall. No question.

second, Marriage isn't everything- trust me, I'm married. never in a million years did I think I would ever do such a thing. stupid institution that was the wrath of patriarchy to keep women in their place.

never ever, I believe is what I said.

the reality is I have three kids. (the bird is mysteriously gone, robert. I will not fess up to how/when/or where) I need those legal protections.

it's about choice and opportunity. no one has to get married.

it has been a powerful way to change people's minds about gays and lesbians. Look at the lovely women with children. it is not the sole strategy for rights but it has been effective. it stretches the discussion.

we need a multi-front approach to our rights- ALL of our rights, ALL of our people- marriage is only one. ENDA, Hate Crimes, leadership development, heath care access... so so much more to do.

last, bob barr is an idiot.

Doesn't anyone remember the vitriolic debates in Congress over the hated U.S. Constitutional Marriage amendment?

The argument against it then was that it should be up to the states. California's moving forward with gay marriage is huge because it will put a face on the injustice of denying it to people. There were more than a few tears of joy for the couple who married after being together for 55 years.

I believe that Senator Obama was repeating the position in opposition to the Constitutional amendment, which was a valid one. It worked, and the amendment was defeated.

There is a probability that during an Obama administration, DOMA and DADT policies will be rescinded. People will also see that marriage for gays won't lead to the destruction of the family, and that it's better than the incrementalist position of civil unions.

But having said that, I believe there are a lot more reasons why we should get behind his campaign. Senator McCain is not a supporter of our community, and is wrong on the other issues as well.

sara, i empathize and agree with your sentiment. and anything less than full equality is a sham. we are going to have to take this struggle one day and one fight at a time...and sometimes that means fighting for the lesser of two evils.

In the same way that it is possible to have an end to the Iraq occupation AND marriage equality at the same time, it is also quite possible to support Obama's candidacy and LOUDLY disagree with his disingenuous (and incomprehensible) position on marriage.

He is wrong. It is not our place to sheepishly listen to him bash us so he can be the next Democrat to be the "first black President" (remember Bill Clinton) that strolled into office full of empty promises.

When Obama makes statements in support of man/woman marriage only, I respond with full agreement in his support of states' rights to discriminate in public accommodations and I then begin to discuss how I believe that drinking fountains are only for white people.

I would be willing to bet that there are plenty of people in this country (see West Virginia) that would support racially designated drinking fountains. If Obama can't muster an ounce of oratorical splendor to explain a position in support of equal protections for same-sex families, then I wonder if he would also be tongue tied with designated drinking fountains.

...or maybe he thinks drinking fountains are more significant than marriage.

He - of all people - should know that equality is never free given. It must be demanded.

last, bob barr is an idiot.

Something we can all agree on....

And I wasn't implying that you thought marriage was the only aspect of family law that needed to be addressed, Sara. Just some others around here and on other blogs.

Furthermore...Obama will never change (to use his favorite word) one dynamic of America's marriage policy - the union of government and oil - no matter how he chooses to define equal protections.

From today's New York Times

"Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back"

BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production."

Go read the rest of the article, if you can stand it. Obama has a better chance of improving the lives of same sex families in the US than he does of changing our foreign policy. Not even he can stop the Big Four.

Will Superman/Obama say anything about America's war for oil, or is that too dicey a prospect for him too? If he can't defend equal protections and he can't deny our lucrative quest for oil then what can he offer us??

Oh...a palatable Supreme Court justice, that's right. Somehow I think it's too late for that to be a reason to support a candidate without criticism. Its not enough anymore to hope for less erosion. We have to do better than hoping for less destruction. He needs to be pushed into believing that the change we want is more than what we have been hearing from him on the campaign trail.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 19, 2008 12:18 PM

To get the oil out of America's hair you would have to go back to Teddy Roosevelt. You cannot change directions quickly. The market is already changing the direction faster than a politician could. The oil that comes from Iraq will supply Europe and Africa much more than the United States who will still have to bend on one knee to Hugo Chavez.

Now, you want to end the war for oil Patrick? Have you given up your car? I can ask because I do not own one. How cool do you leave your house in winter, and how warm do you leave it in summer?

Are Americans finally ready to cease being Fuelish? I doubt it as long as there are suburbs. We will do better, but just like a drug addict most of the blame goes to the user not the supplier.

Perdue: Despite your monotonic rants and morbid fixation with so-called "cogent arguments" (a.k.a. pretentious rambling), rest assured that I was being facetious. Every queer and his fag hag seem to be running to Barr nowadays, which gets me a little wary. Even the historically socialist queers.

Alex: Maybe a made-up term for the purposes of sarcasm is not meant to be taken at face value ;p.

Oh, and I don't bother to get loads of the commonly strange comments. It just so happens that in my trolling spree I visit the place to see what "barbaridad" ( Cuban-speak, imagine it pronounced without the first "r" and last "d") the cyperspace idiot, NDT, comes up with.

Even though I'm anonymous, Robert, please know it is patrick responding to you. I am at work now and don't have my password, etc registered from here.

I have never driven a car in my 42 years. I live with my fiancee in a large studio apartment in San Francisco. No air conditioning (except for the fog which is provided by nature at no extra cost in lives or dollars). We live without heat in the winter...electric radiator if necessary.

I don't believe that we will live without oil ever...but I do think that we should not pretend that we didn't invade Iraq to get our fix and help our pushers get paid.

And I do believe that Obama is the next enabler. We shouldn't abdicate our responsibility to demand equality under the false assumption that he will be different from the rest. He will be slightly different, of course, but not nearly enough.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 20, 2008 12:35 AM

Patrick, you are a commendable non hypocrite and I hope that you know I was not being personally critical of you, but of our society generally which still uses 25% of the energy in the world. In that our society has been created around suburbia over the last seventy years I foresee the market creating alternatives that respond to the necessity of diminished oil use.

Perhaps all the wealthy will return to the cities and banish the poor of the inner city to the pristine countryside. (I kind of doubt that one)

I am glad that you live in a balmy climate in a city with excellent public transportation. Vast stretches of America are horribly deficient in fuel saving public transport alternatives. Here is an example you can get your teeth into revealing the degree of disconnect between reality and what people are willing to do to others. Those in Palm Beach (the Island) placed a request to the county of Palm Beach to remove public transportation bus routes that included them. It was felt that public transport brought too many undesirable types onto "the island."

Fortunately saner heads ruled when the multi millionaires and billionaires were reminded by the county council that there would be no one coming to this expensive island to serve them food. Due to the value of the land there is little public parking and the wages that service workers earn is still low relative to the cost of transportation. Along the richest highway in Florida, A-1-A, you routinely see day maids waiting for a bus in uniform. Luxury yachts of all sizes and lengths cruise serenely up and down the intercoastal waterway to get to the open sea. Amazing amounts of fuel are wasted on the pleasure of so very few.

I know that our Bilerico contributor Patricia Nell Warren loves Nascar and has written about it. It celebrates a love of speed I believe we can no longer afford. It also causes huge amounts of fuel waste, not just on the track, but all those people who go one or two to a car to attend.

We cannot destroy this monster until we take major steps to alter our consumption and attitude about how we use resources. I am perhaps in the minority, but I don't think fuel costs nearly enough, yet. If you doubt this have a friend drive you down an open freeway at posted speed limit.

It is easy to just demonise the oil companies. They are supplying product to meet the market demand, and unlike yourself, most Americans are very content to waste. Thank you Patrick, you are a noble soul. Our enemy remains ourselves.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 20, 2008 11:55 AM


The untamed profiteering in oil, foodstuffs and housing has produced financial bubbles in those sectors and is having a seriously bad effect on the standard of living of millions. The same crooked financial traders are active in all three situations. They can get away with it because these corporate predators were ‘deregulated’ by Clinton and other politicians eager to make their own millions.

These are NOT problems caused by consumers. Blaming it on consumers and working people is a Chamber of Commerce deception, a bald faced lie. This developing financial crisis is caused by the owners and managers of (big) business and their hirelings, a social layer that can best be described as the toxic waste of capitalism, greed, and the imperial warfare state.

You quoted the NY Times of the 19th of June as saying “The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry…” but not so unusual for a country invaded and occupied by US troops.

German companies got similar sweetheart deals while the Nazis occupied Europe in the 1940’s. Both were backed by the reality of genocide.

thank you mr. perdue for proving Goodwin's Law true

"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one"

I think it's time to stop.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 20, 2008 7:12 PM

Whitman, thanks for proving that Wikipedia is a useful tool for those who want to avoid the issues by defecting the discussion.

I said that the Iraq invasion, colonization and genocide are based on the greed of Clinton/Bush policies of deregulating predatory corporations, and enforced by genocidal attacks on the Iraqi people. If I’m wrong prove it. Please. What is the ‘liberal’ spin on the war? While you’re spinning remember to find some way to make us forget that that Sadaam Hussein’s regime nationalized Iraqi oil and that, after the invasion, it’s being given to US companies. The NY Times says that’s “unusual”: what do liberals say?

If you think there's no comparison with the Nazis, particularly their policies in Poland and the USSR, please, prove it. Do your best to explain the similarities in the use of the Big Lie techniques of Goebbels, Clinton and Bush. They lied about threats to German and US “national security.” Goebbels claimed the Poles were massacring German speakers and Clinton and Bush tried to convince us that Hussein and Bin Laden were partners. Maybe even nuclear partners.

And if you can't prove it, or if liberal spin about the genocide turns out to be the same as conservative spin maybe you can come up with some new witticism to hide behind.

Meanwhile GI’s and Iraqi keep dying because Obama and McCain are for phased withdrawal. Which means no withdrawal.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 21, 2008 3:58 AM

Excellent post Sara, (what I read of it)

hey, only my old boss gets to call me "Whitman." I called you Mr. Perdue so as not to get confused with the one "l" Bil...

not trying to deflect your comments, Bill, just saying this is pretty darn far off topic now.