But Obama the President unfortunately still hides behind same-sex marriage being a local or state issue in the USA, which in my view makes this announcement a big fat election stunt, and renders it for all intents and purposes, and for the GLBT folks in the USA who were hoping to finally be treated as normal human beings with the same rights, essentially worthless, since the majority of US states, like for example North Carolina as recently as Tuesday, have bills that make same-sex marriage illegal.
Here is the full transcript of the interview that Obama gave on the ABC, and I just want to quote you a couple of paragraphs :
I’ve stood on the side of broader equality for– the L.G.B.T. community. And I had hesitated on gay marriage– in part, because I thought civil unions would be sufficient. That that was something that would give people hospital visitation rights and– other– elements that we take for granted. And– I was sensitive to the fact that– for a lot of people, you know, the– the word marriage was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs, and so forth.
But I have to tell you that over the course of– several years, as I talk to friends and family and neighbors. When I think about– members of my own staff who are incredibly committed, in monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together. When I think about– those soldiers or airmen or marines or– sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf– and yet, feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is gone, because– they’re not able to– commit themselves in a marriage.
And the part that has so many people disappointed and shaking their heads in frustration now :
And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what’s recognized as a marriage.
and a bit later :
I think it’s important to recognize that– folks– who– feel very strongly that marriage should be defined narrowly as– between a man and a woman– many of them are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective. They’re coming at it because they care about families. And– they– they have a different understanding, in terms of– you know, what the word “marriage” should mean. And I– a bunch of ‘em are friends of mine– you know, pastors and– you know, people who– I deeply respect.
So he has decided to leave this at the state level because some of the local bigots are his friends ? I don’t know how else to interpret the statement, to be honest.
It’s disappointing in my opinion, it’s really not asking too much in 2012 to come out and say that GLBT people are humans like everyone else and should have equal rights, and that those rights should be guaranteed on a federal level. Mitt Romney has no problem asking for a constitutional amendment to make gay marriage illegal on the federal level. Here was Obama’s chance to do the right thing, and as far as I can see, he has blown it. It’s all hot steam, and ends up being nothing but his private opinion without any actual effect on real politics.
Then again, at least this conservative Christian has the guts to make his personal opinion on the issue known, and the wits and morals to realise that gays and lesbians are people who should have equal rights. Something we are unlikely to hear from any Australian Prime Minister in the near future.