I don’t recall a presidential announcement to proclaim support of straight marriage. I don’t recall waking up one morning declaring I am straight. Why are we still talking of marriage equality in 2012? Please don’t talk to me about the sanctity of marriage. The likes of John Edwards, Larry Craig, Mark Sanford, Mark Souder, and Tim Mahoney have already made a mockery of marriage vows. Don't talk to me about homosexuality being a sin. I have seen firsthand the worst iteration of this mentality. Have we not yet determined that all citizens of the United States deserve the same rights? Keep in mind that I am in an interracial marriage, one that my state did not see as legal until 1976 when the Supreme Court forced it to. As a North Carolinian, the gay marriage wound is raw for me. It shall be interesting to see how Obama's recent support of gay marriage turns the election in my state, one that he narrowly won in 2008.
My home state just voted to pass Amendment One, banning gay marriage and all other unions other than the marriage between a man and a woman from our state constitution. Note that gay marriage is already illegal here. Amendment One hurts heterosexual couples too, not to mention the small issue of the populace voting for civil rights. Let's just grant all our citizens rights and move on to other important issues like healing our economy, caring for our citizens, bringing home our troops, educating our children, and cleaning up our act! We cannot in good conscience move forward to put our economy back on track in an age that reeks of discrimination. In light of Obama's "evolution" to support gay marriage, I should think that the topic of equality is front and center of citizens' minds as they cast their ballot. The tenets of freedom and equality are ones we take for granted until we are stripped of them ourselves.
I believe in providing and protecting equal rights for all of our citizens. I applaud President Obama for stating the same. Marriage is more than a religious or cultural declaration. Despite what reality televisions tells us, marriage is certainly more than a white dress and over-the-top catered affair. With marriage come certain benefits, rights, and privileges that are being denied to our gay citizens. If marriage were simply “in the eyes of God,” then by all means, to each church its own. But the matter is not so cut and dry. In fact, religion plays no role whatsoever in our government. The separation of church and state afford us all the right to worship and pray and believe what we wish with no repercussions.
The President took a risk speaking in favor of gay marriage. Politicking colors everything in an election year, and it’s no secret this was a calculated maneuver. Heck, as President, everything is calculated. Obama has leaned as far left as he can on this topic, alienating some while bringing others into his fold. I am curious if the black churches that supported him in the last election will favor or flee him now. Many historically black churches led the charge in North Carolina to vote for Amendment One, but many of those congregants are (were?) Obama supporters. This shall add another layer of election year drama to an already heated year. No wonder North Carolina is a battleground state.
I hope my sons come of age at a time that one’s sexuality has nothing to do with rights, civil or otherwise. There was a time women could not vote. There was a time African Americans could not vote. There was a time that blacks and whites could not marry. With the President’s declaration in support of gay marriage, there will come a time we say “There was a time gay couples could not wed.” We are taking the first step, with our President leading us down the aisle.
I am confident that Americans will see through the rhetoric and hate and judgement from Romney's camp to see that equality and freedom are the cornerstones of what makes this country unique. President Obama's risky, yet applaudable, move to speak out in favor of gay marriage will hopefully make people think about the very principles that make us the land of the free. I think with every conservative he turns off, he gains an independent and will drive even more people to the polls in November.
Image via Ryan Georgi