I got my California General Election pamphlet in the mail yesterday, and read the text of Proposition 8 – which, in case you don’t know, is the proposition to amend the California constution to define marriage as solely between a man and a woman. I’ve been caught up in other things lately, namely my obsession with Sarah Palin, but the arrival of our voter guide reminded me of something that’s been bothering me for weeks.
Obama’s speech at the DNC was remarkable. He is an extraordinary orator, with a powerful message. It was really easy to get caught up in the energy and excitement of that phenomenal night. Follow that up with the mean-spirited RNC, the shock and dawning horror of Palin’s nomination, Hurricane Ike, and the collapse of the US economy… and I kind of forgot about something. I forgot about the great big ol’ slap in the face Obama delivered to the LGBT community in his speech:
I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
Granted he also supports a life “free of discrimination.” And, I’m sufficiently clued in that I understand he is trying to strike a compromise between “us” and “them.” He needs to put divisive issues into perspective to pull the party together. The man’s trying to get elected, I get it. The alternative is unacceptable.
But, putting aside my understanding of the election machine, I’m pissed off and I know why. Whenever I get confused by political rhetoric, or side-tracked by people trying to convince me what he said was for the greater good, I remind myself of a trick. Substitute “black” (or fat, or disabled, or Muslim) for gay in a sentence. If it doesn’t work, makes your skin crawl and sticks in your craw… you shouldn’t be saying it. It’s that simple. Here, try it:
I know there are differences on black-marriage, but surely we can agree that our African-American brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
That is ridiculous, appalling, disturbing… right? I don’t think I’m totally off base thinking this is hardly a commitment to supporting the rights of the LGBT community. I expect if from McCain and his ilk, but Obama?