Nadine Smith

It is important to say these things out loud

Filed By Nadine Smith | December 21, 2008 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, gay marriage, marriage equality, Obama and Rick Warren, same-sex marriage

President-elect Barack Obama believes "marriage is between a man and a woman".

Barack Obama does not think gay couples' relationships are worthy of the same stature as his and Michelle's.

He does not believe that gay couples deserve the precise same legal recognition or status that his marriage confers to him and his wife.

He believes we should have a different, inherently lesser, legal framework to protect each other and our children.

It is important to say these things out loud.

President-elect Obama enters the White House with a record of support and a better platform on issues of LGBT equality than any other president this country has known. He opposed amending state constitutions to single out gay couples to ban them from marriage. He supports federally recognized civil unions. He oppose federal legislation and constitutional measures that ban marriage recognition for gay couples. He supports the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, will push the hate crimes bill, and supports an inclusive employment non-discrimination law.

By all accounts he has a laudable record of pushing for equal rights and we must work with his administration relentlessly to manifest these promises.

But he also believes there is a quality to heterosexual relationships that make them worthy of a higher status by society under the law. Barack Obama believes "marriage is between a man and a woman". He says gay couples can have civil unions, domestic partnership, some other, different, diminished copy of an arrangement.

It is important that we not pretend we don't already know this.

I am awed by Barack Obama. His words inspire me. His intellect comforts me. His grassroots campaign was a beautiful, diverse and powerful thing to behold. After years of a Bush/Cheney cynicism, war, arrogance and incompetence I wept tears of joy for Barack Obama's election. For the historic shift and transformational meaning that a Black president heralds for our country, I beamed with pride. Change is coming and I am hopeful.

But when it comes to the issue of marriage, Barack Obama is wrong.

I have criticized the selection of Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration. Warren compares gay relationships with incest and pedophilia and runs a psychologically reckless, "ex-gay" ministry out of his mega-church. His presence on the dais should be challenged vigorously.

But I will not lie to myself. I will not make Warren the proxy for the unspoken disappointment and anger at Barack Obama for his more nuanced insult to gay couples when he says "marriage is between a man and a woman". We must be prepared to help President Obama lead and we must be willing to tell the truth when he is wrong.

When it comes to the issue of marriage Barack Obama is wrong. Gay people deserve equal protection under the law. Our families deserve precisely the same benefits, protection and legal recognition as straight couples receive.

It is important to say these things out loud.

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His intellect no longer comforts me, Nadine.
The slection of Warren to lead off the first event of the Obama administration is either a choice made of indifference to human rights, to international law, or both. Or he is simply an abysmal vetter on a scale beyond McCain's choice of Palin.

To the Europeans, the Inagural programme looks like:

"Invocation by the advocate of assasination of foreign heads of state and violations of Hague IV, as well as supporter of a mass murderer and human rights violator universally condemned in Europe....."

Damn, sometimes I think that a lot of people have lived through and with Bush for so long as to forget what international law is about.

What he says ? what he believes.

Ah damnit. The ? in the above comment was originally a "does not equal". So. Pretend that's there. Not sure why it didn't render.

even intelligent people do ignorant things

obama was a fool when he chose warren!

warren is no proxy

he is a rabid vulgar insane gaybasher!

obama's horrid, ignorant, and indefensible choice
is unforgiveable!

alicia banks

He is also inciting murder and violation of international law, promoting acts of terrorism.

to work of frustration, I wrote the following:

Humanity v. Rick Warren

Petition for Relief by Humanity, Plaintiffs

Maureen E. Hennessey, LL.B, LL.M, PhD, QC
Counsel for the Plaintiffs

Whereas; Rick Warren, hereinafter referred to as the Defendant, residing in and citizen of the United States of America, did commit or conspire to commit the following offences and violations of International Law, the Charter of the United Nations, the Statutes of Westinster 1931 and the subsequent Singapore and Harare Declarations of 1971 and 1993 respectively, and of Hague Convention no. IV:

To Wit:

I. The Defendant did call for citizens of the United States, a government that is a signatory to the Hague Conventions, to assasinate the legal and legitimate head of the governent of the Republic of Iran, a country not at this time being at war with the United States, making such a call a Crime Against Peace, a Violation of Hague IV, in addition to any local prohibitions deterring such behaviour.( See Giraud Affair, UN. v. Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim Ribbentrop,; The European Union Condemnation of Assasination of Sheikh Yassin;)

II. The Defendant undertook in the year 2006 of the Common Era a public defense of the Archbishop Peter Akinola, Archbishop of the Anglican Church and a citizen and resident of Nigeria. The Defendant's missive was published in the magazine Time and in that defense the Defendant did embrace and attempt to engender support for or excuse and minimise Akinola's actions, that include the alleged murders of 700 individuals for religious reasons and the curtailment of and imprisonment of a minority population, LGBT individuals, these actions by Dr. Akinola having been condemned by the Parliament of the European Union as criminal, thereby making the Defendant an Accessory After the Fact and as the repressive measures are still ongoing, chargeable with the count of Conspiracy with Dr. Akinola. In support of the efforts to repress illegally the LGBT populations, the Defendant did further make the statement that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right. "We shall not tolerate this aspect at all," the Defendant said.

Said Acts, parts I and II, being against the peace and dignity of the people of the world.

The Plaintiffs hereby implore and beseech the incoming Government of the United States of America, hereafter referred to as the Obama Administration to desist from becoming complicit in the crimes and offences of the Defendant, Rick Warren, and to exclude the Defendant from any official or unofficial contact with and any role, official or unoffical carried out for that Governement, the Government being a signatory to the UN Charter and subesequent Human Rights declarations and to the Hauge Compacts and Treaties.

On Behalf of Humanity, Plaintiff;

Respectfully Submitted;

Maureen Eileen Hennessey

Crazy times, but this is definitely serving as a proxy for many other battles - barack not supporting same-sex marriage, the power fundies have for no good reason, the way the left always bends over for the right. I think that's what makes this a great issue to be discussing.

...."we can have civil unions, domestic partnership, some other, different, diminished copy of an arrangement."

why do so many in our community continue to speak of these relationships outside of marriage as "lesser"? I can legally get married, but choose not to, and my domestic partnership is not a "lesser" relationship!

The more we frame things like this the more we are going to lose the gains we already have!

Go ahead and speak about the rights that are lacking in (some but not all) of these other systems but let's not bash other families in the meantime. Let's *not* make marriage the line by which LGBT people define legitimate families! Geesh.

beachcomberT | December 22, 2008 9:00 AM

Sorry to burst your bubble, but "domestic partnership," or "civil union," or call it what you will, is, under our present federal laws, much "lesser" than what is defined as marriage. Talk to IRS, talk to Social Security, talk to the military -- see what rights and benefits you and your partner can get as "domestics" versus "marrieds."

Maybe that will change someday, if and when DOMA ever gets repealed, or the U.S. Supreme Court gives a sweeping ruling. But, face it, we domestic couples and unmarried couples (straight or gay) are second-class citizens.

You raise a good point. I agree that people should be able to organize their families without marriage being the only way.

However, when President-elect Obama responds to questions about marriage equality by recommending civil union and domestic partnership, it is proper to make clear that those legal arrangements provide fewer protections than marriage.

Great post, Nadine. It is very important that we keep the heat on Obama and keep track of where he really stands.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 23, 2008 2:56 PM

We may not have agreed much during this one, Bil, but on all three points you've made here, we're in sync.

I am so disappointed.
I keep going back and forth on what to do about this little situation.
The one thing that keeps poping into my head is when you try to please everyone, you can end up pleasing no one.
And waking up with fleas.
and the frozen snake story....

Nadine Smith Nadine Smith | June 6, 2009 1:15 PM

Ah yes the frozen snake story. The best political metaphor ever. :)