Although I'm sure it's politically motivated in a highly contentious election year, I want to go on record as being PROUD of my president for changing his stand on same-sex marriage. Let the fireworks begin!
I'll stick with the minority opinion that there's a little too much emphasis on gay Marriage these days. We've reduced democracy to a struggle for absolutely equal rights for everyone, which I think is a logic that runs up against unfortunate limits, and only increases hostility among the different groups that comprise the democratic society. I think that our emphasis should be on seeking equal protections and benefits for gay people and couples through civil unions. But because recent activism has focused on gaining full symbolic equality through marriage laws, we've actually set back rights for gay people in the majority of the states--like NC most recently--that have hunkered down with full, draconian and hateful constitutional bans on gay marriage. If the activist struggle had been for civil unions and equal protection instead of marriage, more progress for gay couples might have been made in those red states. Instead, we're now going to have a situation where all the blue states are moving gradually toward full gay marriage laws, and most of the red states have imposed, and continue to impose, prohibitions on ALL gay unions which will be constitutionally very difficult to reverse in the future. Furthermore, these setbacks for gay marriage in the red states are often resulting in serious legal setbacks for opposite-sex couples in common law unions as well. "Marriage" becomes a religiously-sanctioned institution glorified by the state political-religious establishment that excludes more and more people and makes more and more couples suffer real consequences.
Personally, I think the state should only grant civil unions, and grant them equally and without bias to both heterosexual and homosexual couples, and then leave the granting of "marriage" to religious and civil groups as they see fit to define in their ceremonies. That's the way they do it in many other countries, like Mexico.
I thought absolutely equal rights for everyone was the assumption that America was based on? "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 and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I agree that it's a game of political identity and divisiveness, but the same could have been said about the Civil Rights movement, feminism, and every other attempt by marginalized minorities to gain full equal rights. I'm with Phoebe on this.
Long overdue. Its a civil rights issue, accent on the word "civil". Because legal marriage licenses issued by the counties are a "civil" matter. If two gay people can get a business license, they should not be denied a marriage license. Its a civil legal matter.
We have separation of church and state. Marriage licenses are issued by the state. Everybody will get used to this change just like we got used to former slaves getting the right to vote and being counted as whole persons in the census (vs. previously being counted as only 3/5ths of a person in the census), we got used to it when women finally got the right to vote back in 1918, and we got used to it when President Harry Truman integrated the military by issuing an executive order. The sky is not falling.
I've been married for 41 years. Tell me again how two gay men or women marrying endangers my marriage in any conceivable way? NC's new law nauseates me: not only are gays denied the right to marry or enter into civil unions but unmarried couples of any sexual orientation have lost any rights as well to visit their loved ones in-hospital, file taxes jointly, or inherit intestate. Bravo to Obama for taking a stand against such homophobia and religious intrusion into government. Only wish he'd woken up and declared his support sooner (at least it's a hopeful sign that he realizes he'd get social conservatives' votes only when hell freezes over anyway).
Wow. I wrote a response to the gay marriage issue last week, and I just noticed that it was removed. (Bill Savage responded to me in his post.) It was just a reasoned opinion on the issue. Many might have disagreed with me, but there was nothing inherently objectionable in what I wrote, and certainly nothing I can imagine would result in removal based on EB's own stated policies. This site is definitely not a censor-free zone. Unless the "no thanks" feature is working as an automatic removal....
Carl G. as I recall it was the first post on the site. I did have the opportunity to read it. Like with most of your posts I enjoyed it and respect your points of view. I noticed that it was removed and did not know why. I am not familiar with how the process works. I do think you and all of us deserve an explanation of the process. That does not mean I always agree with your statements/points of view but as I said I enjoy, respect and yes sometimes even admire your positions. John
Thanks for your kind words, John. I was going to write a little follow-up to my post at some point, but didn't get around to it. In my post I was basically just raising some questions about the way gay marriage seems to be resulting in a harsher blue-states/red-states divide, where gay couples in red states appear to be suffering more because of the marriage rights gained in blue states. It was a debatable point, but again, I can't imagine why the post would have been removed.
Carl, click on the original heading "The Line Has Been Drawn." You will see that your first comment, as well as two other comments, have been hidden, but all can be revealed. I don't understand why they are now choosing to hide that notice unless one clicks on the original post.
ah yes, now I see that, Helen, thanks. It seems a little strange the way this mechanism is working. Not that I'm terribly upset that this particular post was made invisible (it's a complicated issue and I have contradictory opinions on it myself), but I don't like the idea that whenever a post gets more than 6 negs, it virtually disappears. But at least it wasn't a deliberate act of topic censorship on the part of EB.
To Carl G. -- I read your statement when it was first posted. I must say that every time the conflict over this issue comes up in the news, your solution makes more and more sense to me. Of course, I don't think it could ever happen here, but I appreciate your point and have shared it. I was one of the 3 who originally said "Thanks." And Thanks again!
The way the "no thanks" button can henceforth suppress legitimate opinion on here has gotten me strangely depressed about the Everyblock experience. Write something too many others don't agree with, and it will effectively disappear... Since the mechanism in question is user-enforced (the result of anonymously clicking a button) yet not actually desired by users (the ones clicking don't necessarily wish to be censors), it functions so democratically as to be profoundly anti-democratic. Which makes it an interesting and depressing metaphor about America right now, as people keep democratically voting into office politicians and programs whose effect is to chip away at democracy.
There's a nice little essay in today's Salon.com about presidents and the progress of gayness. In response to the exaltation over Obama's "coming out," the piece troubles the notion of "chronological ethnocentrism" in the U.S. (the idea that we started out best and keep getting better). It includes a brief reflection on America's first gay president, James Buchanan, who in 1844 wrote to a friend with surprising frankness about his lack of success in "wooing other gentlemen" following the departure of his male domestic companion. http://www.salon.com/2012/05/14/our_real_first_gay_president/
I think of other ways that Americans keep assuming that their country has always been on an inevitable historical trajectory toward greater social advance: "Wow, the president came out in support of gay marriage, look how much better things are getting!" But at the same time, look how a woman's right to choose has deterioriated over the last several decades of cynical abortion wars; look how corporations and media manipulation have taken democracy hostage; look how Hispanic and Muslim immigrants are more and more treated as pariahs; look how an increasingly privatized prison system is unjustly incarcerating more and more black men....
And gay marriage? I'm heartfelt in supporting the changes in laws that have given gay couples more rights in the blue states. Our own Gov. Quinn came out in support of gay marriage today. As a gay person myself, I can't help feeling supportive of steps that give greater legal legitimacy to gay people and families. But I also keep wondering if what we're celebrating in gay marriage isn't also an excessive veneration of the institution of marriage itself. Is that really just an advance, or might it also be a regression toward conservative family values? Or maybe I should just say that we should remember that one step forward usually involves taking two steps backward. Yet that doesn't mean we should stop trying to step forward...
I want to understand your point here, but am not clear on the following statement. Can you please clarify? "But I also keep wondering if what we're celebrating in gay marriage isn't also an excessive veneration of the institution of marriage itself. Is that really just an advance, or might it also be a regression toward conservative family values?" Thanks.
Sorry for that sloppy phrase, Lynnie. To put it another way, I'm just wondering if all the recent rejoicing (it's happened very suddenly) over the passage of gay marriage laws and over every perceived step toward the universal achievement of gay marriage doesn't also have the effect of raising up the idea of "Marriage" itself to an elevated symbolic or moral position that it doesn't quite deserve.
I'm not by any means questioning whether gay people should have the same legal union rights as straight people do--and if society has something called "marriage" that gay people are excluded from, then there's something very wrong with that. As I said earlier, I think the law should grant civil unions to both gays and straights, leaving "marriage" for religious and social groups to define and grant as they wish and with no effect on the legal protections and opportunities already granted through civil union (you could have gay Mormon churches marrying gay couples, conservative Baptist churches marrying only straight couples, etc.). I'm just wondering whether, in the struggle for gay "Marriage" to be sanctified by the State, we might not be ending up sort of 'worshipping' Marriage itself as an almost sacred civil value for our times, and as the pinnacle of achievement for gay people.
According to the last census, in American cities 70 percent of the dwellings are occupied by a single person. So there's kind of a contradiction between the massive support for "Marriage" going on in the media and the actual realities most of us live! (Then again, ten years ago when almost no one was pushing for gay marriage, I was a big supporter of it--I pissed off most of my conservative family in the process--so maybe I'm just contrarian.)
Yes. I see your point and I totally agree. I hadn't looked at statistics lately, but it seems to me that marriage is a failing institution over all, at least in the straight community. Gays haven't had much of a chance to experience the legal dark side of that so the proverbial jury is still out.
When I was a young girl, marriage was my primary goal in life. It didn't happen for me. Meanwhile, I have watched my two sisters and now two nieces going through painful divorces. My gay nephew was married in California before Prop 8 was passed so he never had to get divorced when the relationship was over. He's now engaged to another man and waiting for the law to change back so they can marry. I am looking forward to that day.
Yet, as you have clearly pointed out, the blending of the civil and religious institutions of marriage into one catch-all right that excludes one portion of the population is very wrong. It's an example of "church and state" gone amok. Your solution of the civil and religious rights being separate makes total sense. I hadn't thought this way before I read your posts and it has opened up a new way of thinking for me. It's a new enough concept for me that I don't think I am saying everything clearly as yet, but I'll work on it. Thanks for putting your ideas out there!
The downsides to all of this right now, no matter which side you are on, is that 1) Its polarizing, there is no middle ground, and 2) its bringing out the non-supporters more than the supporters, which makes it a losing proposition for the President in the election.
According to a CBS poll released this morning, Obama's lead overall against Romney disappeared since the announcement, and is now down 3%, but within the margin of error.
On this subject alone (per the poll), only 1 in 4 are supportive of gay marriage, and 3 of 4 think he is doing just for a political position.
So, while it took guts for him to take that position, it might have just ended his presidency.
I do agree with his stance on the issue. However, I feel like it is nothing more than a re-election gimmick. I think the only reason he changed his stance is because he doesn't have a leg to stand on with his economic policies.
There's a tendency to analyze everything in politics as an "A or B" scenario these days--and that's a weak way of thinking. It's more likely Obama had a personal conviction on the issue AND he perceived it as a potential positive for his campaign. (It's also more than likely that he saw the real risks and was willing to make a historic concession for a civil rights issue.) When you consider Obama's character, his personal history and his often surprising disinclination for populist appeals, it doesn't seem very insightful to argue that his decision was *only* cynical strategy.
As Letterman said the other night, "What more do we need this man to do for us, honest to God?"
Ask people who are unemployed, under employed, have an underwater mortgage,/in foreclosure, student loan debt, catastrophic medical bills, etc. if they are concerned about this issue, whether gay people can get legally married. Most people have bigger concerns in their own lives. Legalizing gay (civil) marriage does not cost us any tax money. This is just a "wedge" social issue that the right-winger political consultants use to get middle and working class people to vote against their own economic interests. While the working/middle classes are debating gay marriage, the 1 percenters are stealing our tax money
@Matt -- I am interested in your answer to some questions without bringing in other subjects. I'm asking because I really want to know. Thanks.
Question 1: How does two people of the same sex being allowed to marry each other hurt you personally? What does it take away from you?
Question 2: If it is a re-election gimmick for Obama to say that he supports gay marriage, do you think it will work for Obama and gain him more votes? Will it work on you or your friends? How many people who were not planning to vote for Obama will now vote for him because of this gimmick, do you think?
No, that's not all you're "merely" pointing out, Matt. You're not just saying that this issue has stolen the spotlight; you're also claiming that Obama's stance was a cynical "gimmick." On top of that, you're also now critiquing Obamacare.
It stole the spotlight for one week. We have already moved on to dumbass Cubs owners and their bigoted hypocritical plan. Next week it'll be something else. It's a long election season. By the time the debates start it'll be back to the economy .
@Matt -- I think Romney is the one who is trying to distract us with untruths. He says "jobs, jobs, jobs" but what plan does he present? He says he will fix the economy, but the strategies he presents are those of Reagan and Bush that have only made things worse. The numbers of jobs Romney has said he added to the economy are gross exaggerations/lies. He has also said how much he enjoys laying off people from their jobs. Watch him next time he laughs on camera. Cover up his mouth and look at his eyes. They are not laughing at all. He gives me the creeps.
And claiming that Obamacare is going to cost nearly 1.76 trillion over the next decade is simplistic, inaccurate and irresponsible of you, Matt. This particular issue is even closer to my heart (literally) than gay marriage/union, since I'm about to join the ranks of the uninsured myself, because of a health precondition that is making it impossible for me to get private health insurance--even though I would have no trouble affording it. (I also can't get married, but that's considerably less of a concern to me.)
Here's a link to a piece that completely debunks your claim that Obamacare would contribute so drastically to budget costs (basically, you're citing an innacurate right-wing analysis being promoted by the Republican caucus that uses an artificial baseline of calculation for a number of social program cost calculations):http://tinyurl.com/7eodzht
You're also not considering the ongoing cost of having 40-50 million uninsured people (i.e., the people I'm about to join) continuing to get their medical care in hospital emergency rooms, a number that will only grow over time, since even as unemployment declines, fewer employers are providing health insurance: http://tinyurl.com/7wrq43j.
And according to Bloomberg (hardly a partisan source), repealing Obamacare would cost insurers $1 trillion over the same period you are citing: http://tinyurl.com/6us8nup.
But who do you think you are, throwing out bad statistics without even citing any sources? Are you a thinking, caring, reflexive member of this democracy, or a member of the resentful, nihilistic class?
ANYWAY......We are now being distracted from the original post. His coming out in support of gay marriage was a distraction for a week. If he was really using it for that purpose don't you think he would wait till september or october? Its a REALLY long time away and Americans have the attention spans of mice. Theres going to be A LOT more BIGGER distractions
Agreed, lets just make sure EVERYONE has the correct facts and then weight what is most important to you. I am Pro gay rights, pro choice, anti war and pro gun control therefore, I would NEVER vote republican. Thats what makes this country so great.
Mike, when you're debating someone and fail to acknowledge their arguments--or their critique of your own--in any way at all, and then you look up with fawn eyes and ask, "Are you mad?" that's kind of an adolescent thing to do, don't you think? What I'm mad about today is the health insurance market that is refusing to cover me. So when someone cites a grossly inaccurate argument against Obamacare (a program with its flaws, but nonetheless--in my opinion--a step in the right direction, in the face of an opposing party that will do nothing about the healthcare problem), yes, that makes me mad, too. And it annoys me that you're not offering more than vague, fluffy and ill-thought arguments. I'm annoyed that you're just not trying very hard to think and reflect as a political person.
When you cited the Republican policy committee website as your expert source on the failures of the Obama administration, well that's a little absurd, don't you think? About as absurd as if someone else linked to the Obama campaign website in attempting to argue the opposite. Almost none of the failures on that list you cited are credible as actual arguments against Obama. Gas prices? Really? And the fact that Obama couldn't completely turn the economy around in 4 years after the biggest recession in post-war history and two decades of rebellious corporate excess (permitted by both the Reagan and Clinton administrations) and in the face of rigorous tea party obstructionism, that's only a sign of his failure?
If you really want to critique Obama, talk about his bad record on personal liberties in the context of the war on terror. Blame him, if you want, for not increasing employment as fast as you want him to, or for his draconian imigration policies. Talk about his failure to reign in Wall Street. But cite something other than tea party talking points when you call him a failure. You're an intelligent human being, so let that show.
Carl, is it as adolescent as resorting to personal attacks? I have better things to do than dig up a bunch of sources up to your standards. Honestly, It was the 1st thing that popped up on a google search.
It wasn't my impression that I was resorting to personal attacks, Matt, but I'm sorry if that's how I came across. I thought I was criticizing your language and argument, not your person. But speaking of what's "personal," healthcare coverage is a very personal issue for some of us, and you seemed a little callous to that fact. Healthcare reform isn't just an ideological debate like any other; it's one of the most radically "personal" issues right now, because many people are finding themselves in situations where no matter what they do, their lives might be ruined due to lack of coverage. It's a subject that has always made me angry, even before I was completely taken by surprise to find myself looking at the prospect of being uninsured myself. But I know I'm capable of coming across a little strong sometimes. I don't feel hostility toward you or anything you've previously written here on EB, so we can shake hands and end the discussion--just promise me you'll take a little more time with your Googling in the future! (:
Our entire health insurance system discriminates against sick people and their employers. The escalating cost of health insurance is a tax on every job. The incentive is to send jobs offshore, lay people off, hire private contractors, temporary workers or reduce hours so employees are part-time. Furthermore, the dirty secret is to "dump" employees off of payrolls who have high medical bills, or who have family members on their health insurance plan with high medical bills. Another dirty secret: that employees with high medical bills become strangely unemployable. This system is unsustainable and cripples our economy. If we had Medicare for all, it would relieve employers and employees of this unbearable burden, then employers could afford to hire new employees, those employees would pay taxes, buy goods and services, stimulate the economy and there's the economic recovery right there. Medicare for all should be paid for by taxes, spreading the cost over the entire population the same way all of us pay taxes for public schools whether we have children in school or not.
What about what happened to the workers of GST Steel? Romney came in, ravaged it with debt, and it ended up filing for bankruptcy. 750 workers lost their jobs and health care. Romney's managers left their pension fund $44 million short. The 113 year-old steel mill closed its doors and Romney's company made a 150% profit on their initial investment - much like he would do with America.
I don't see it as an election gimmick. He didn't want to take an official position on the issue at all. He feared alienating moderates and swing voters. It would have been safer for him to keep his cards close to his vest on this one, but Joe Biden w/ his personal statement forced the president's hand. It did take some guts to do it. I respect him for that. I do agree though that the vast majority of voters care about the economy, not gay marriage. Yes, the economy/ unemployment and associated problems are a mess. But let's not forget how things got this way. It didn't happen on Obama's watch. He inherited this mess from his predecessor. If Obama could put all the remedies he wants in place, it would take years before the benefits would take hold--that is, IF, they were to work as hoped. But he can't push through the changes he would like to see because the Republicans have stymied his efforts at every turn. We will never know how well his desired changes would have worked. I will tell you this though: if Mitt Romney is elected, who can say how much worse things will get? The small gains and inroads to recovery there has been will be washed out completely. I greatly fear what's coming if the same mindsets that brought on this calamity get full control back.
@ Marianne....I signed on to EB over two years ago to give me info, not everyones political opinions and I'm sorry if that was a riddle to you. Was hoping for more interaction with 50th warders (not enough of them on this site) and, quite frankly, tired of just "hearing" from the 49th. Don't mean to offend, but this site HAS become a blog. May you all have a safe and wonderful summer.