“…I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” President Obama
I had started down this path earlier this week in response to Vice President Joe Biden’s comments from Sunday May 6th edition of Meet the Press, “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.” But I never got around to writing it up.
At that point it was obvious the VP Biden was sincere and heartfelt in his declaration. But it still was uncertain whether it was a trial balloon from the White House or just his personal opinion. And of course the White House initially clarified the Vice President’s position, so the waters remained muddy.
But on Monday MSNBC asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan if same sex couples should be allowed to marry, and his response? “Yes, I do!”
So was this just a clever plan to roll up to the President’s interview revelation or was the general lack of opposition to Vice Pres. Biden and Secretary Duncan’s candor enough to convince President Obama that the time was right to come out so to speak?
I don’t know the answer to that, but it certainly is an early and clear differentiator between the President and Mr. Romney who had to instantly make a stand against Marriage Equality. “I have the same view on marriage that I had when I was governor. I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” Romney said. “I have the same view I’ve had since, well, running for office.”
So, for the 2012 Presidential campaign, that line is clearly drawn…
Now for a little housekeeping:
I really prefer the term marriage equality to same sex marriage…same sex marriage still makes it sound different…equal but different? separate but equal? It mustn’t be different; it needs to be MARRIAGE EQUALITY!
There has been some push back on the Presidents continued statement that he still supports concept of states’ deciding the issue on their own. Well as a Constitutional scholar he is probably right. The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is indefensible on a civil rights basis. It does not provide equal rights at the federal level and should be abandoned post haste. And the licensing and oversight of marriage has traditionally been reserved to the states. Now granted from what we have seen in North Carolina and a few years ago in Wisconsin, the states aren’t enlightened enough to understand the real issue at hand. Civil rights are civil rights and should not be abridged at any level. Marriage equality needs to be the accepted law of the land.
And then there is the concerted echo that the ‘imposition’ of marriage equality violates the freedom of religion for those who define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. This whole process would actually affirm religious freedom. Governments would provide for marriage equality on a civil level and wholly allow the religious organizations to discriminate against gay couples at their own pleasure, within their own belief structure. Why having the government protect civil rights for all Americans, including religious freedom is a violation of religious freedom is beyond me.