Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
What if you evolved so slowly that when you finally “arrived” you found out you were behind again? Mr. Obama, the “fierce advocate” for LGBT rights who yet continues to maintain his “evolving” position on marriage equality is being pressured to catch up, or be left behind.
The pressure isn’t just coming from Queerdom. In addition to the growing number of states providing marriage for same gender couples, now Dem Electeds in the Senate are adding their voices.
Mr. Obama, are you listening?
From IB Times:
Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Crashing the Democrats’ Party
… This February, Freedom to Marry launched a drive to get major Democrats on board with adding a plank to the party platform at September’s convention that affirms its support of “˜the full inclusion of all families with in the life of our nation … including the freedom to marry.’ …
“˜I think it’d be easier to accomplish if the president was for freedom to marry,’ (Marc) Solomon (Freedom to Marry campaign director) said of efforts to change the party platform. “˜He’s been talking about his evolution on the matter but I think this evolution has gone on for too long. He needs to make a decision.’
Yesterday, the pressure to evolve increased. Chris Johnson at The Washington Blade:
A group of U.S. senators is joining the wave of LGBT rights supporters calling for an endorsement of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform.
The Washington Blade received statements from the offices of 21 Democratic senators … expressing support for including a marriage equality plank in the Democratic Party platform. The Blade solicited statements from all 53 Democratic senators and will update this article as more senators respond.
The senators follow the lead of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who on Tuesday became the first U.S. senator this year to get behind the idea … . Shaheen, who’s also a co-chair of President Obama’s national campaign committee, said she backs a plank in support of marriage equality … .
The plank includes a call to overturn the Defense of Marriage ACT (DOMA), the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, and opposition to state constitutional amendments preventing marriage equality.
The 21 senators are Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
The Democratic National Convention meets in Charlotte, N.C. on September 3. According to Johnson, the Dem National Committee declined comment on “whether the platform will be “˜marriage-equality inclusive.’
Apparently Mr. Obama isn’t commenting, either. But are you listening, Mr. Obama?
Notice that Sen. Shaheen is a co-chair of President Obama’s national campaign committee. Another recent co-chair appointment went to the Human Right Campaign’s outgoing president, Joe Solmonese. Yesterday HRC named its new president, Chad Griffin, who began his career at 19, in the Clinton White House. Griffin is a political consultant and founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. AFER is the sponsor of Perry v. Brown, the federal constitutional challenge to Prop 8.
Andrew Harmon, at The Advocate:
In its pick of Griffin as president, HRC has chosen someone who was shaped from an early age by Washington political culture yet is not defined by it, having spent the vast majority of his career outside the Beltway. Griffin, 38, is a fervent supporter of President Obama with personal ties to White House officials, but has pushed the bipartisan case for marriage equality … . Griffin has been openly critical of the president’s evolving position on marriage equality, calling Obama’s indicated support for states’ rights on deciding who can marry “˜a step backwards.’
Maybe Griffin will bring an “openly critical” voice to HRC, which surely needs to hear it, as does Mr. Obama. Are you listening, Mr. Obama?
Two more voices to heed:
From Seattle Weekly:
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire … recounts her transition from State Attorney General defending a same-sex marriage ban to spearheading a full-reversal in the legislature culminating in the legalization of same-sex marriage as Governor. …
(Gregoire said) “˜I apologize that it took me so long. I feel better about my head and my heart than I have in seven years. … ‘
Are you listening, Mr. Obama?
Okay, one more voice, via Archie, of the comic book world. In particular, the “Just Married” issue which features a gay couple on the cover. Not surprisingly, the American Family Association’s “One Million Moms” is demanding that Toys R Us remove this issue.
Here’s the voice I hope Mr. Obama will hear, via Think Progress, that of Archie Comics co-CEO, John Goldwater:
“˜… As I’ve said before, Riverdale is a safe, welcoming place that does not judge anyone. It’s an idealized version of America that will hopefully become reality someday. We’re sorry the American Family Association/OneMillionMoms.com feels so negatively about our product, but they have every right to their opinion, just like we have the right to stand by ours. Kevin Keller (one of the gay couple) will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate and narrow-minded people.’
Come on, Mr. Obama, just listen. Then take a copy of Archie’s “Just Married,” pull out the proposed marriage equality plank, and just let yourself evolve. It’ll feel good.
(Archie cover via Box Turtle Bulletin)