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Old 05-09-2012, 11:54 PM   #481
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This I just pulle from Slate, and it's perceptive:

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POLITICS
His Evolution Is Our Evolution
Why gay people see themselves in President Obama.
By Nathaniel Frank
Wed. May. 9, 2012 at 08:49 PM EDT

As president, Barack Obama has supported repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal hate-crimes law, passing a federal law to ban anti-gay employment discrimination, and repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. Why does it matter so much, then, that on Wednesday he told ABC News that he supports the freedom of same-sex couples to marry? Why is this the all-important seal of approval gay people have been waiting for?

Obama’s previous demurral on whether marriage ought to encompass same-sex unions, as a moral proposition, was immaterial as a matter of policy. Marriage law is generally the province of the states, not Washington, and the president had already called his lawyers off defending DOMA. His personal beliefs about marriage did not directly affect the rights and lives of gay people wishing to marry.
But of course, in the end, this was all a giant technicality. The moral power of the presidency may be its most important dimension: What the president believes and says influences how ordinary Americans think and behave and what laws they are willing to pass. It was Obama’s few clear words today that prompted a number of LGBT advocates to announce they’d immediately max out their contributions to his re-election campaign. (My boyfriend and I chipped in a smaller but symbolically significant amount.) Maybe they’re pleased because they think Obama’s announcement will speed legal equality, but equally or more important, Obama’s announcement is a form of affirmation in and of itself. And perhaps to our own surprise, that’s become increasingly important to the LGBT community.

For decades, the gay rights movement fought to create and protect a zone of privacy, where the government would leave us alone to engage in behavior many despised. We asked only for tolerance. Who cared about the imprimatur of the state anyway? “Since When is Marriage a Path to Liberation?” was the title of an influential 1989 essay by the late lesbian lawyer Paula Ettelbrick. Scorned as immoral, shunned as infectious, dismissed as unserious, our legal claims to equality were called “facetious” by the Supreme Court as recently as 1986. It’s no wonder we set our sights on being simply left alone.
But the zone of privacy was never enough, and it was never going to be enough. Just as African-Americans boycotted buses to protest laws that spurned their dignity, LGBT Americans have come to see that anything that holds them apart from the space occupied by other Americans is a separation that is inherently unequal. That’s why the president’s evolution is important. Sharing the word marriage has sometimes been dismissed as symbolism, but it’s in fact about equality at its most basic. When Obama used to say he supported giving same-sex couples all the same rights as heterosexuals but not calling their unions “marriage,” the position was literally nonsensical. Sharing the word is the right. We cannot share in the benefits and responsibilities of marriage without occupying the same space as the rest of America.

We’ve been impatient for Obama to “evolve already,” but it’s worth remembering that the president’s evolution is in many ways an echo of the LGBT movement’s. And some of us are still moving, too: We’re not all clear on why we should be keen, in light of history, to value the moral approval of others.
But check it out: President Obama took a political risk. For us, and for what he thinks is right. He showed moral courage. Yes, he did it with plenty of calculation, at a time of his (or Joe Biden’s) choosing. And maybe he was thinking as much about helping himself with moderates who warm to the idea of standing up for principle as he was about doing the right thing. It will be easier for Obama to cast Mitt Romney as lacking a moral core when he’s not twisting in the wind himself. And embodying the future instead of the past is an asset in any campaign. All of a sudden, Mitt Romney’s support for a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage seems Neanderthal.

How different it might have been had Obama started out where he ended up—a full supporter of genuine equality, affirming gays instead of merely tolerating them. Then again, the same goes for LGBT people themselves. Which might help explain why gay people care so much about the president’s approval—it mirrors our own. In him, we see ourselves.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:00 AM   #482
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Nice to see the Yanks catch up a bit with the rest of us.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:35 AM   #483
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melon! Hi! Good to see you !
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:50 AM   #484
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This guy! How 'bout it, Obama! Looks like I'm registering to vote, you guys.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:01 AM   #485
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Originally Posted by cobl04 View Post
If an Aussie sees this, can the same happen here? Could, say, Victoria and NT legalise it, even if it's not federal law?
There's already variation between state and federal law. Civil partnerships are recognised at the state level in Queensland, NSW, the ACT, Victoria, and Tassie. Though you'll probably recall Campbell Newman making noises about repealing it in Queensland; not sure if he's taken much action on that since his election or not.

In 2004, the federal Marriage Act was amended to define marriage as between a man and a woman. I'm not clear if this prohibits the states from legalising same-sex marriage at the state level or not; somebody else will have to clarify that. It does mean that there is no federal recognition for same-sex marriages performed overseas, though.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:06 AM   #486
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Whoever advised president obama to say this made a very big mistake. A president needs to represent the entire country and should avoid making statements like this which cater to a certain segment of the population while alienating another. I believe this statement will boomerang on him very badly.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:09 AM   #487
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Originally Posted by AchtungBono
Whoever advised president obama to say this made a very big mistake. A president needs to represent the entire country and should avoid making statements like this which cater to a certain segment of the population while alienating another. I believe this statement will boomerang on him very badly.
Yeah, fuck personal beliefs, just do what the entire country thinks! And the entire country all thinks the same, I'm sure.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:10 AM   #488
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The entire country can't agree on anything, so we might as well have a president who never says a word.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:11 AM   #489
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This guy! How 'bout it, Obama! Looks like I'm registering to vote, you guys.
Glad to have you helping out .

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Old 05-10-2012, 01:23 AM   #490
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Originally Posted by AchtungBono
Whoever advised president obama to say this made a very big mistake. A president needs to represent the entire country and should avoid making statements like this which cater to a certain segment of the population while alienating another. I believe this statement will boomerang on him very badly.
You do realize a slim majority of this country is for marriage equality? Also, since this is a civil rights issue, I believe it is imperative that our President be a leader and stand up for what is just.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:43 AM   #491
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Originally Posted by AchtungBono View Post
Whoever advised president obama to say this made a very big mistake. A president needs to represent the entire country and should avoid making statements like this which cater to a certain segment of the population while alienating another. I believe this statement will boomerang on him very badly.
We should have waited until the whole country was against slavery too, right?
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:50 AM   #492
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Originally Posted by AchtungBono View Post
Whoever advised president obama to say this made a very big mistake. A president needs to represent the entire country and should avoid making statements like this which cater to a certain segment of the population while alienating another. I believe this statement will boomerang on him very badly.
52% of the American population supports same sex marriage, according to the newspaper here. So I'd say that's, even though small, the majority of the population.

You cannot ever get 100% of people to agree with each other. It's impossible. Right now there will still be idiots who claim slavery needs to be brought back. So it would be impossible for him to represent the entire country.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:56 AM   #493
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Originally Posted by AchtungBono View Post
Whoever advised president obama to say this made a very big mistake. A president needs to represent the entire country and should avoid making statements like this which cater to a certain segment of the population while alienating another. I believe this statement will boomerang on him very badly.
Meh. Considering that this segment is also alienated by free blacks, free women, liberals, immigrants, secular education, and anyone who doesn't prescribe to their narrow brand hard-line, flat-earth evangelical fundamentalism, I'm more surprised that we didn't "alienate" these mouth-breathers back into the 19th century where they belong ages ago. These people weren't going to vote for the "fascist socialist Muslim atheist black man" anyway; their tin foil hats don't seem to respond to reason, but do so happen to get perfect reception from FOX News--the network so terrified of progress that they're headquartered in the most liberal city in one of the most liberal states in the country and don't seem to be bothered by that contradiction one bit.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:27 AM   #494
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Originally Posted by melon

Meh. Considering that this segment is also alienated by free blacks, free women, liberals, immigrants, secular education, and anyone who doesn't prescribe to their narrow brand hard-line, flat-earth evangelical fundamentalism, I'm more surprised that we didn't "alienate" these mouth-breathers back into the 19th century where they belong ages ago. These people weren't going to vote for the "fascist socialist Muslim atheist black man" anyway; their tin foil hats don't seem to respond to reason, but do so happen to get perfect reception from FOX News--the network so terrified of progress that they're headquartered in the most liberal city in one of the most liberal states in the country and don't seem to be bothered by that contradiction one bit.
And it's sad, because I think that conservative economic policy is a good voice to have. But it's so wrapped in insanity in the United States right now, it's hard to take it seriously.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:11 AM   #495
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Whoever advised president obama to say this made a very big mistake. A president needs to represent the entire country
Kind of like how Israel's right-wing government continues the systematic oppression of an entire neighboring people despite the fact that many Israelis are nowhere near that conservative or insane?
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