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Obama LGBT Rights Stand is a Line in the Sand for the Future

Seven days ago, a calm and collected President Barack Obama, sat down for an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts. An interview with the President, particularly during an election year, but this one became ground-breaking when Mr. Obama declared that it was personally important for him to affirm that same sex couples should be allowed to marry.[1]

In the immortal words of the one who jump-started this public affirmation, Mr. Vice President Joe Biden, this is a big f**king deal!

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) said back in January that he would veto a same-sex marriage bill in his state.  Later, he said that it should be put to a vote:

“The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.” [2]

Following the shining lead of the intolerance and humiliation of having citizens vote on whether or not other other citizens can have civil rights, last Monday, North Carolina, a state not shy about its bigotry, voted 61% to 39% in favor of  Amendment 1, amending their state Constitution to clarify that marriage is between one man and one woman. [3]

LGTB people have been put in their place. Let freedom ring!

Although the President came to this revelation a little late for the North Carolina vote, it seems right in time with where things are going. It may have come to a shock for some, although if they have been following along the last four years I don’t see how. The Obama Administration, from repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) to the warming in the Justice Department to LGBT civil rights issues, has been leaning this way for a while now.

During his first three years, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. He championed the repeal of DADT, which he signed last December. He also signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act. [4]

President Obama has directed his justice to department to stop defending the Defense Against Marriage Act (DAMA) and has changed policy so that same sex couples would no longer risk being split up by deportation.

Many on the Right seem to think that he has done this solely for political gain. I beg to differ. To come out in support of something so irrationally hated by a subset of the American population in a difficult election year may be akin to political suicide.

He did it anyway.

Yes, Joe Biden’s momentary breeze of honesty in a television interview pushed the issue into the spotlight. The Obama campaign probably crunched a few numbers as well, and found out that the same people who don’t like him for his skin color are often the same people who don’t like LGBT differences either.  Not much of a net minus to speak your mind, save, perhaps, with the very religious elements of the black community.

The focus then turned to how the black community would take this type of “betrayal.”

As a member of that community, I, for one, am pleased that the President took the risk, and broadened his public viewpoint from the acceptance of civil unions to the broader right to marry.

This is a matter of civil rights.  LGBT citizens are excluded from participating in what every other American has the opportunity do. Marriage is both a Religious and legal term, used to define the same union. The legal side is what those seeking marriage equality are after; they want to be able to be carried on their partner’s insurance, they want power of attorney and rights to their loved ones in the hospital. They want to adopt children and raise them in loving homes, not to indoctrinate future gays of America.

Those who don’t live in a state of denial know that gay people live and work as part of the community every day. They drive trucks and play NFL football and go hunting along with the more stereotypical occupations which the LGBT community is tagged with.

The black community in general is somewhat religious, but we aren’t intolerant single issue voters either. To many of us, this is another step for equality, period. If I fail to fight injustice for one, I’ve failed to fight it for all…it’s that simple, despite Religion. There are those who disagree, many of whom said that they would not vote for the President now.  This is May, though.  When those black voters hopefully look at the Republican alternative, the anti-union, anti-minority, anti-women legislation promoted by the Tea Party Republicans swept into office around this nation;  the drum-beat by the Far Right punditry that social programs and food-stamps and Head Start are the cause of our deficit woes; the denial of George W. Bush, a couple of wars, and a Wall Street that ran amok, they may think better of staying home.

Jay-Z, (yes, that Jay-Z) recently came out in agreement of President Obama’s position, as did many of those who attended the President’s fundraiser hosted by George Clooney, where he raised $15 million to re-elect the President. Mr. Obama also had a recent fundraiser with Ricky Martin, where I’m sure he raised quite a bit of money.

It is interesting that the public will immediately discount what a celebrity says when it comes to politics, but will take the word of a fellow politician or commercials bought and paid for by corporations to serve their own interests.

That’s been a push by the Far Right, though, which is always a bit celebrity-light. The term “Liberal elite” was spun out of Right wing think-tanks and first popularized by Newt Gingrich to combat the power and influence that celebrities have with their fan base.

When it comes to the government, celebrities are just voters like me and you, with a few million extra to give to causes, and the ability to sway a few voters here and there.

GE doesn’t pay taxes at all, but George Clooney does. Exxon influences the vote, but Jay-Z actually votes. They are the one percent that people will still respect. Many of them didn’t come from money, so they know what it is like to live with a lot less, unlike some people, Mr. Romney.

Celebrities, particularly in regard to the LGBT partnership issue, are very acutely aware of their influence. Ellen DeGeneres has done more to normalize and de-homophobe America by being a positive face of daytime television. When the “Million Moms,” a facebook group of about 40,000 members, started a campaign to drive Ellen out of her contract as a new spokesperson for JC Penney, the company made a smart move and stood their ground:

Those who would teach their children to treat the LGBT community with disdain or with hatred are furthering bigotry and moving this nation backward.

The recent opinion of Bristol Palin in an Op-ed where she blasted the President for respecting what his daughters thought and refused to teach them bigotry. She said this with, I’m guessing, a straight face as she is a single never wed mother, and while I’m not criticizing her for that because some of the best people I know are single parents, her chutzpah on the topic is astounding. It’s almost as if she’s saying “don’t let bigotry die! Continue to remind your kids to hate!” [5]

President Obama’s campaign slogan is simply “Forward.” It is where he is headed, hoping that we as a nation will follow.  The elites that have been responsible for so much ill in this country, from slavery to the exploitation of working Americans, those who discriminate against any difference, and think that any community in America must be silent and subservient to exist, should not enjoy another day of power over our lives.

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About Latrice Phillips Brown

This is a blog created by a working class, tax paying citizen, just like you. I don't pretend to know a great deal about what's going on, but what I do understand I want to break down so that everyone can understand it; this is about all of us, we vote and we all have to live here together. I hope you will find my blogs informative yet entertaining, and please feel free to comment so that we may discuss the issues, sensible and reasonable debate is healthy and gets the ideas flowing.

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