Recently, at a book party at the Harman Center of the Arts in Washington DC, that Michael Kahn, the head of the Shakespeare Theater gave for Double Life, a book that my partner Norman Sunshine and I had written together, we spoke about our fifty year relationship. As the Washingtonian reported the next day: "When" the authors "read from several letters they'd received from readers, especially parts that dealt with their years together, coming out, and being able to marry, several of the male couples held hands, or put arms around each others' waists, or put their heads together." There were straight people as well as gay and yet we were delighted to see how comfortable everyone was with each other -- it was a community of equals.
As we went about Washington, we found the same total acceptance of gay people everywhere. Of course the capital had legalized same-sex marriage in 2010 but we were still surprised to see how integrated the city already was. We were staying at the Hay Adams Hotel from which we could see, across Lafayette Square, the White House where we imagined President Obama was sitting at his desk with his thoughts on same-sex marriage still "evolving," as he had put it many months before. Why, we wondered, was it taking so much time for him to decide whether or not he was for marriage equality?
It's obvious to all of us that President Obama wants to be reelected and will do whatever he can to insure it so possibly he is afraid that by coming out for same-sex marriage he will lose some votes. Yet at this time a majority of Americans, according to the polls, are in favor of same-sex marriage and the ones who aren't probably won't vote for Mr. Obama anyway. The young people in the country are vociferous in their recognition of the right of all people to love and to marry, and they are the ones who championed Obama in the first place because he was strong, vital, and determined to change our country for the better. But what happened to that person who now sits thinking, "evolving" and not making the strong decisions he promised us all?
There are many people who agree that he will not take a stand on same-sex marriage now, for fear of losing votes, but will do so once he is elected. But who knows what happens to a president in his second and final term? Perhaps, as he spends time readying his library, as so many of his predecessors have done, his major contributors may not like the idea of same-sex marriage and refuse to give him money unless he forgets it. And he may -- it's not impossible. But why doesn't he take a stand now? Why not go down in history as the president who not only rid the world of a monster and who fought to bring health care to everyone but who secured love for everyone as well? Why not add Obamalove to Obamacare as a legacy? And it won't even cost the taxpayer any money. If anything it will make money for the community as same-sex couples marry, have children, set up homes with mortgages, buy furniture, food -- everything that goes into the process of couples living together.
There are two current books that I think can point the way to President Obama: one, Catherine The Great that tells of the Empress's desire to free the serfs and her endless thinking about it year after year but then never doing it. Wouldn't her legacy be different if she had? My other recommendation is the new book on Lyndon Johnson who fought for Civil Rights until he was able to secure them for the country. Isn't it time, President Obama, that you too fight for what you believe is right? If you stand for equality and the greatness of our country come out now; don't procrastinate any longer. Make Obamalove a part of your reelection campaign and endorse same-sex marriage. What could be more appropriate than doing it in June for Gay Pride month? Show us the man we all voted for who was going to make our world different.
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