Sunday, November 2, 2008
Obama's Position on Gay Marriage is Disturbing
“If Elected: Hopefuls Differ as They Reject Gay Marriage”, New York Times, Nov. 1, 2008.
I’m a supporter of gay marriage. I have a same-sex partner and children, so the issue directly affects me. I’ve never looked carefully at Barack Obama’s position on gay marriage. I’ve always supported him and knew I would vote for him in the primary and, with luck, the general election. His position on gay marriage was not going to change my mind on that score. However, this article in yesterday’s New York Times gives me pause. The article describes Obama and McCain’s positions on gay marriage and why they hold them. I knew that Obama opposed gay marriage and this didn’t surprise me. I don’t think any candidate for national office could support gay marriage and expect to be elected in this country, sadly. But apparently his reasons for not supporting it are religious and I find that kind of disturbing. I suppose because it seems irrational. And Obama seems supremely rational – that’s one of the things I love about him (after 8 years of irrational floundering in the White House). But you can’t reason with “God”. It’s like passing the buck, particularly for an attorney and former constitutional law professor.
According to the article, “Mr. Obama believes that marriage is a sacred union, a blessing from God, and one that is intended for a man and a woman exclusively”. This just seems very inconsistent with his generally liberal views. I’m a little skeptical that his position is simply politically advantageous rather than sincerely held. I’m not sure what to think about the whole thing. Anyway, if one believes in gay rights, that people shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, that people should be able to realize the full potential of their lives, including long-term committed relationships and procreation, why does Obama believe that “God” suddenly draw the line at “marriage”? It’s even more strange when you consider that his own parents were personally affected by anti-miscegenation laws that prevented them from marrying in certain states. The article quotes Obama as saying “Look, when my parents got married in 1961, it would have been illegal for them to be married in a number of states in the South...So, obviously, this is something that I understand intimately. It’s something that I care about.” The article goes on to say that, “At that point, [Obama} veered onto legal rights, saying that — both in 1961 and today — it was more important to fight for nondiscrimination laws and employment protections than for marriage.”
Well, in my opinion, that’s fudging it a bit. That issue goes more to tactics rather than being a rationale for not believing in gay marriage. It’s certainly legitimate to argue that now is not the time to fight for gay marriage. But what Obama is saying is that, for him, that time will never come, he doesn’t believe in gay marriage.
Going back to the religious basis for Obama’s position, the article describes an encounter Obama had with a lesbian: “In one of his books, “The Audacity of Hope,” however, Mr. Obama describes a conversation with a lesbian supporter who became upset when he cited his religious views to explain his opposition. “She felt that by bringing religion into the equation, I was suggesting that she, and others like her, were somehow bad people,” he wrote. “I felt bad, and told her so in a return call. As I spoke to her, I was reminded that no matter how much Christians who oppose homosexuality may claim that they hate the sin but love the sinner, such a judgment inflicts pain on good people.”
Well, duh. And I agree. The “hate the sin, love the sinner” argument is utter crap and completely hypocritical. So...Obama, what gives? How does he square this “God” argument with his reasoning mind, or is he just a typically hypocritical politician who actually does support gay marriage, but isn’t about to say that publicly?
And McCain? Who really cares? Hopefully all of his positions will be moot after Tuesday.