The internet has been on fire since Wednesday’s announcement that President Obama supports marriage equality. I’ve received several IMs, texts and email messages cheering the news, with several friends and family members pointing out that I must be so elated over this development. Actually, I don’t really give a shit.
As I mentioned two weeks ago, I’m not looking for the government to validate my relationship. I’ve long maintained our state and federal governments shouldn’t even be involved in the whole messy business of marriage (and it’s messier alter-ego known as divorce). Don’t get me wrong…I believe it’s an important issue because it’s a matter of right and wrong. I’m just saying that my world doesn’t revolve around whether I feel legitimized in my relationship. Would I get married if the option was available to me? It’s likely, but for purely practical reasons, such as shared health insurance benefits, less complicated/costly survivor benefits and to make the whole income tax thing a lot easier for both of us. But, not because I want the government, or my President, to look at my relationship as “valid.” For that, I look to my partner, my family and the close circle of people in our lives who actually matter.
So, unlike many other gay men and women in committed relationships, I don’t feel vindicated nor affirmed by this latest revelation that President Obama’s opinion has evolved another step. Frankly, I think he’s full of shit. We all know he’s supported marriage equality all along, but he couldn’t say that because he was busy playing the games required to get elected. The whole “evolving opinion” was a load of crap we could all see right through. But, since Biden “came out” (so to speak), Obama had to make a call one way or the other.
The only thing that really pisses me off about the whole situation is how the White House spent five days insisting Obama doesn’t support marriage equality before finally saying, “Well, OK, now he does.” Is it too much for us to ask that the people we elect as leaders actually lead? I hear over and over from friends who work in Washington and on campaigns tell me, “This is how you play the game. This is how you get elected.” I get that…I really do. I don’t like it, but I do get it. The issue I have is that once these people are elected, they aren’t done playing their game. It’s simply on to the next match, even if that match is four or six years off. Meanwhile, the rest of us are paying their salaries, providing them with free health care and supporting their travel habits and lifestyles most of us can’t afford for ourselves. At what point do they stop playing their games and actually get down to business, which includes clearly stating a position because you believe in it, regardless of what that stated position will do to your ability to “play the game?”
Whenever I ask that question, it’s quickly pointed out to me that supporting marriage equality during the last election would have cost President Obama the race. While it’s possible, I doubt it. We all knew he supported marriage equality even if he wouldn’t come out and say it. And, just look at California where the President was handily elected by a populace that also passed Proposition 8. Clearly one’s position on marriage equality is not definitively linked to being elected or defeated. With a nation that is basically split 50/50 on the issue, an opinion one way or the other probably has less an effect on national electability than most of us think. So why not be genuine and just say where you stand on things? Let the people make real choices based on real positions, rather than tap dancing around them in a way to get the most votes. I prefer to know now who I am getting with my vote, than be kept in the dark only to find out later.
Sadly, at least Romney‘s position on this matter has been clear from the start.