After being severely rebuked by American voters over the marriage issue, gay rights activists are taking their case directly to President-elect Barack Obama. Unfortunately, Obama has made his position on gay marriage very clear: he opposes it. And for the time being at least, Obama has the excuse that there are more pressing issues on his agenda, i.e., the economy, the economy, and the economy.
Don’t expect Obama to address the gay marriage issue anytime soon.
In part, Obama’s lack of support is purely political. Most Americans oppose gay marriage. Not known for his political courage, during the campaign it was easier for Obama to go with tradition and not risk losing votes from those working class, white voters he needed to win.
Second, Obama’s beliefs are not unlike the majority of African-Americans. As noted in the L.A. Times, African-Americans played a major role in passing Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.
An exit poll of California voters showed that black voters favored the measure by a ratio of more than 2 to 1. Not only was the black vote weighted heavily in favor of Proposition 8, but black turnout — spurred by Barack Obama’s historic campaign for president — was unusually large, with African Americans making up roughly 10% of the state electorate.
According to one African-American interviewed by the L.A. Times, he was motivated by religion in supporting Proposition 8. Civil rights, he said, “are about getting a job, employment.” Gay marriage, he said, is not: “It’s an abomination against God.”
Obama also said in public speeches that he opposes same-sex marriage. In the days leading up to the election, some Democrats received “robo-calls” on their cellphones containing an excerpt from such a speech.
Some who do have the courage of their convictions are those gay rights activists who are not about to take “no” for an answer from Obama or American voters. Earlier today a friend forwarded the following email that included a letter to Obama asking him to reverse course and support gay marriage. His argument to Obama is that states should not be allowed to dictate rights concerning sexual orientation, just as they were not allowed to dictate civil rights and women’s rights. I think he has a valid point. There is no excuse for continuing to punish people because they love someone of the same sex.
Equal rights means equal rights for everyone.
Re: [kelleymorris.net] Important questions
From: firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of Fans of the artist Kelley Morris (email@example.com)
Sent: Mon 11/10/08 9:24 AM
To: robert mcclung (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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I apologize in advance to those of you who don’t know me if you are not happy with receiving this message. Don’t worry, I’m not going to put you on a list, but I hit reply all anyway because my message is topical. Sorry if that offends you. Rob and all, I have sent Barack Obama an email (read below) outlining why I believe gay marriage is a national issue, a civil rights issue, and one that must be addressed by his administration. If you agree with me, do something about it. If you disagree, do something about it.
I have never been more proud of my country than now. After 8 years of being embarrassed by our country’s leadership, I finally have someone that I can believe in. There is one issue that is still gripping thecountry post-election that I do not believe you are doing enough to address, and that is the issue of gay marriage.
Our nation has made tremendous progress on the civil rights issues of race, but we are trailing far behind on sexual orientation rights. Were the issues of civil rights for different races and for men and women decided by state? If we as a people allow voters and judges, state by state, to decide this issue, we have no decisive answer.This must be an issue of national importance decided by our nation’sSupreme Court because it is a matter of creating equal opportunities for all citizens of this nation.
A gay person in a red state still deserves the same rights as anyone else in the country, yet it is unattainable until the leader of our country speaks out for equal rights. I know you disagree with the idea of gay marriage, but please find it in your heart to separate your personal beliefs with what this country’s defining documents really say. This is a nationwide issue supported by the Declaration of Independence and cannot be influenced by anyone’s religious beliefs. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
You may also remember some terminology thrown around in the civil rights era, “separate but equal.” After it was implemented, it became clear that in practice, separate could never be equal. Civil Unions are not the same as Gay Marriage. Separate but equal allows discrimination to live on. That these new laws, voted in by the majority voting against the interests of minorities, seek to amend state constitutions, speaks to the fact that as currently written, these documents DO provide for equal rights for everybody. How can we sit idly by waiting for the nation to be “ready?” Many in our great nation were not “ready” for blacks to have equal rights. Many in our great nation were not “ready” for women’s voting rights. This is not the so-called “gay agenda.” This is the ushering in of a new era in a country that willnot only have righteous ideals, but the laws to support them.
Your election shows that the American people are ready to look past the stigmas of prejudice but they need to be led on issues that stilldivide the nation. Until we stand together for equal equality despite our differences, we will forever be a nation that does not live up to its founder’s values. We saw with our last president some of the dangers of allowing religious beliefs and influence to govern. I urge you to reconsider the issue of gay marriage to be one of national importance.
Thank you for your time and your vision for change in America.