imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Obama's Profile in Courage

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Tuesday, May. 29, 2012 at 12:57 PM
mgconlan@earthlink.net (619) 688-1886 P.O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Say what you will about President Obama's overall record, his recent endorsement of marriage equality for same-sex couples was an act of real political courage. It's not going to help him politically because the states in which it's going to win him more votes are large, cosmopolitan East and West Coast states he was going to carry anyway, while it's going to cost him votes in the South and so-called "swing states." It also dramatically contrasts him with Mitt Romney, who supports amending the U.S. Constitution to abolish marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Obama’s Profile in Courage



by MARK GABRISH CONLAN



Copyright © 2012 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved



On May 9, President Obama startled the nation when he gave an interview to ABC-TV stating in no uncertain terms that his long period of “evolution” over whether he was willing to support marriage equality for same-sex couples was over. Obama said, “Over the course of several years, as I talked to friends and families and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous … 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 … because they’re not able to commit themselves in a marriage; at a certain point I’ve just concluded that … it’s important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

It may not have been that big a revelation to long-time Obama-watchers. Shortly after his announcement a quote surfaced from a questionnaire from the Chicago Queer paper Outlines he’d filled out during his first Illinois State Senate campaign in 1996, in which he’d said, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” But it’s one thing to say that as an obscure candidate for the back bench of a state legislature, and quite another to say it as a sitting President facing a tough re-election campaign. It was a stunning act of political courage, especially from a chronically cautious, risk-averse politician like Obama.

Though polls taken since his announcement have indicated that 67 percent of respondents think Obama came out for marriage equality “mostly for political reasons,” versus only 24 percent who say it was “mostly because he thinks it is right,” it’s hard to see much potential gain for Obama and easy to see substantial risk. The same polling indicated that, though most voters said Obama’s support for marriage equality wouldn’t affect their vote in November either way, 26 percent said it would make them less likely to vote for Obama and only 16 percent said it would make it more likely.

The Los Angeles Times reported on May 22 that Gallup’s tracking polls for May 1-7, just before Obama’s announcement showed Mitt Romney leading Obama 47 to 44 percent — essentially a statistical tie — and the same polls for May 15-21 showed an identical 47-44 percent margin for Romney. Times reporter David Lauter concluded that the issue had had “zero” impact on Obama’s chances for re-election, but even that is deceptive.

As we all remember from the 2000 election, you don’t win the presidency by getting more popular votes than anyone else. You win it by getting more Electoral College votes than anyone else, and since they are awarded state-by-state, that means you have to get more votes than anyone else in enough states to give you at least 270 electoral votes. Same-sex marriage is relevant to this equation because Obama’s support for marriage equality is likely to help him in cosmopolitan states like New York, Massachusetts and California — places he was likely to carry anyway and additional votes aren’t going to do him a damned bit of good.

It’s going to hurt him — perhaps even kill him — in the so-called “battleground states,” particularly in the South. Obama made his announcement just one day after North Carolina voters passed a sweeping anti-marriage amendment by a 22-point margin. (Need I remind my readers that every state whose voters have had a chance to vote on marriage equality — including California, twice — has rejected it?) This bill not only banned legal recognition of same-sex marriages, it also forbade domestic partnerships, civil unions and any acknowledgment of legal rights between unmarried partners, straight or Queer.

North Carolina was one of the three former Confederate states Obama picked off from the Republicans in 2008 — the others were Virginia and Florida — and it’s where he chose to hold the 2012 Democratic National Convention. His pro-marriage stance is likely to send the entire South back into the solidly Republican column where it was (with the arguable exception of Florida in 2000) in both of George W. Bush’s elections.

I’m sure Obama is a savvy enough politician to realize that a stand for marriage equality is going to cost him more than it gains him in the electoral arena. About the only good it’s done him so far is shaken a little more money from wealthy Queer donors — and even that’s probably not going to do much to change the financial equation of the 2012 election. Obama’s campaign is still going to have scads of money in direct donations, and Romney will still have the aid of secret multi-millionaire donations to the supposedly “independent” super-PAC’s which crushed his Republican opponents and will more than neutralize Obama’s advantage in candidate-controlled campaign funding. Obama’s stance will also hurt him among homophobic African-American ministers who supported him enthusiastically in 2008 but who this time around, though they’re hardly likely to back Romney, may well either sit out the election (and encourage their congregations to do so) or give Obama a tepid endorsement at best.

So if Obama didn’t come out for marriage equality in 2012 for politically opportunistic reasons, why did he? I think he finally reached his “aha” moment, in which — like other prominent politicians, including San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders — he realized he simply couldn’t go on saying that one group of people in one sort of family were “better” than other people in other families and therefore entitled to greater legal rights. And, by his own account, he reached that moment because he was surrounded by a lot of Queer people in loving, committed relationships that clearly meant as much to them as his own relationship does to him. (In Mayor Sanders’ case, it was his own Lesbian daughter who brought him to that awareness.) If nothing else, this underscores the importance of Queer people being as “out” as possible to their families, friends and employers; as we’ve known for decades, the more Queer people someone knows, the less likely they are to hate and fear us as somehow “other” than them.

I can identify with Obama’s “evolution” on marriage equality because I’ve gone through something like it myself. By coincidence, around the time of his announcement I was looking at my journal notes on a December 2004 screening of a film called Freedom to Marry, and I was stunned that even though I’d been with my current partner (now my lawfully wedded husband!) for nearly a decade, I wrote after that movie that “I don’t feel particularly invested (in either sense of the word — philosophical or financial) in the same-sex marriage issue,” and added that even before the November 2004 election, in which Bush’s victory was often attributed to the religious Right’s use of anti-marriage initiatives to mobilize conservative voters, “I had a weird ambivalence towards the speed with which [marriage equality] had become the defining feature of Queer liberation.”

Yet when the California Supreme Court opened the window for Charles and I to get married in 2008, we both leaped through it — and now I’m a member of the steering committee of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) and, to paraphrase the National Rifle Association’s famous rallying cry, they can pry Charles’ and my marriage license from our cold, dead hands. And I would hope that Obama’s marriage equality announcement will put an end once and for all to the delusion of many of my Leftist friends (including some of my colleagues in S.A.M.E.) that there’s “no difference” between Democrats and Republicans and therefore it doesn’t matter who wins this year’s election. The choice is clear: Barack Obama, who says, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married” — or Mitt Romney, who says, “I will fight for an amendment to our Constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.”

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy