I must confess, Wednesday I found myself quite depressed because of the news about the bigots in North Carolina. Fortunately, later in the afternoon, my friend and social justice super hero, Eva Hoffman grabbed my arm and told me President Obama just endorsed Marriage Equality. I will tell you I broke down in tears of joy. Never did I imagine that in my lifetime I would witness a U.S. President have the courage and integrity to push civil rights even further.
In an eloquent, clear statement during an interview with ABC news on Wednesday, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to fully endorse marriage equality for LGBT Americans — something I never thought I would witness in my lifetime. There are those who try to diminish this statement as a cynical plot for votes. Or perhaps its no big deal because we all really knew how he felt and he just had to use the “evolving” smokescreen to find the right moment. Some even say it was a mistake, risking the mythical undecided independent swing state voters. All these claims miss the point.
Harry Truman once said, “When in doubt, do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” Given his “evolving” stance, the President has been in doubt. Wednesday, he did right. Let’s be clear, no civil rights issue articulated by a sitting president has failed to become national policy within a generation. That’s huge. Whatever the additional hurdles, whatever the setbacks (like North Carolina), however carefully constructed the declaration, the President weighed in on a critical issue of civil rights and made his opinion, likely to lead the direction of his party, clear.
Same-sex couples should be able to get married.
Thank you, Mr. President. Count me both astonished and gratified. Regardless of what happens, President Obama has sent the world a clear message regarding equality and civil rights. He will now and forever be on the right side of history, unlike the lying bigot that is Mitt Romney.
Very honorable mention goes to two members of the Obama administration for their support of equality. Vice President Biden stumbled into the debate with his trademark speaking style, but made it clear he personally supported equality over the weekend. President Obama has even credited Biden’s interview as a catalyst for his statement. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gets points for clarity. When asked on MSNBC’sMorning Joe if he thought same-sex couples should have the legal right to marry he said, without hesitation, “Yes, I do.” Nicely done, Mr. Secretary.