C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Frank Rich: La Cage aux Democrats

On account of my trip last week, I missed posting this excerpt from a great NYT op-ed by Frank Rich - go read the whole thing, he really tells it like it is. After noting the growing acceptance across the nation of gay rights, gay marriage, and even, golly, Adam Lambert, Rich says:

This rapid change has been greeted not by a backlash, but by a national shrug — just as a seemingly gay “American Idol” victory most likely would have been.

And yet the changes aren’t coming as fast as many gay Americans would like, and as our Bill of Rights would demand. Especially in Washington. Despite Barack Obama’s pledges as a candidate and president, there is no discernible movement on repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy or the Defense of Marriage Act. Both seem more cruelly discriminatory by the day. . . .

Worse, Obama’s opposition to same-sex marriage is now giving cover to every hard-core opponent of gay rights, from the Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean to the former Washington mayor Marion Barry, each of whom can claim with nominal justification to share the president’s views.

In reality, they don’t. Obama has long been, as he says, a fierce advocate for gay equality. The Windy City Times has reported that he initially endorsed legalizing same-sex marriage when running for the Illinois State Senate in 1996. The most common rationale for his current passivity is that his plate is too full. But the president has so far shown an impressive inclination both to multitask and to argue passionately for bedrock American principles when he wants to. Relegating fundamental constitutional rights to the bottom of the pile until some to-be-determined future seems like a shell game.

As [Evan] Wolfson reminds us in his book “Why Marriage Matters,” Dr. King addressed such dawdling in 1963. “For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait,’ ” King wrote. “It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ ”

The gay civil rights movement has fewer obstacles in its path than did Dr. King’s Herculean mission to overthrow the singular legacy of slavery. That makes it all the more shameful that it has fewer courageous allies in Washington than King did. If “American Idol” can sing out for change on Fox in prime time, it ill becomes Obama, of all presidents, to remain mute in the White House.

David Mixner posted a copy of the 1996 letter on his blog a while back - signed by, you know, that guy who made all those speeches about Change We Can Believe In - ? Read it for yourself:

Mr. Obama, you want to be Lincoln, but are you just another Buchanan? Adam captures my feelings on this:

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails