Thursday, June 23, 2011

Time to Keep the Promise

Politico Arena Topic: Is Obama Being Pushed Into Gay Marriage Support?

The president will feel pressure to weigh in, and he should feel it. Candidates run for office to do a tough job, and he has the toughest one, but he is up to the task. He is the president for every American, and if two American adults decide they want to unite themselves in matrimony, they should be able to make that choice.

Every American child grew up with the Pledge of Allegiance; if two people want to pledge themselves to another, let them. There is absolutely no reason, no reason at all, that in the greatest nation in the world, in the 21st century, that an individual cannot say publicly that this is who they choose to love, and make the leap that millions of straight couples have made.

As a country we should be ashamed we are still debating this. Marriage is not, and never has been, under attack from gays and lesbians. Marriage and families have had many foes: jobs with longer commutes, lower wages, less health care, the need for two paychecks, high education costs, taking care of children and sick parents, etc. But out of all the divorce decrees granted, I am willing to bet a clerk of courts has never had to type these words: "Reason for divorce: neighbors are gay."

With DADT on the precipice of ending, this is the time to knock down the walls of intolerance. Gays and lesbians were a solid voting block for the president in the last election, and even if they do not get all the campaign provisions they may have wanted, they will be behind him in this election. When soldiers and sailors are finally able to be open while serving, it will not be lifting a barrier to serving, because gay people have been protecting their fellow citizens since this nation was just an idea in the minds of the framers (which again is amazing that straight chicken hawks rail against how morale will fall in the military if men and women can serve openly when they have never worn a uniform and flag officers and the Sgt Major of the Marine Corps is saying publicly everything will be fine).

Marriage equality is not like being for an issue that you can live with if it is not in the forefront. If renewable fuels are not passed, you may, as an environmentalist be upset, but it is something you can wake up to and continue the fight. But if the country you love continues to tell you that who you love is wrong, then that cuts to the core of not only the individual, but to the core of our nation. America is not a tangible object: it is a promise. It is a promise that hard work, tenacity and fidelity can make any dream come true. It is a promise to every individual that biology is not biography, in that the station in life where you start is not where you have to end. It is a promise that while income and education levels vary, the value of a person does not. It is time to keep that promise. Let's not wait for it to get better; let's make it better. Cue the president.