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Ilene Angel

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The Courage to Speak Up -- Obama on Gay Marriage

Posted: 05/10/2012 10:24 am

I won't beat around the bush. I think that it is monumentally historic that the first black president came out (pun intended) in favor of gay marriage. I think it is Rosa Parks historic.

While President Obama's statement doesn't change anything legislatively, and it realistically will take some time for that to happen in all 50 states, his statement is something that is long overdue for his liberal base, and I think it distinctly marks both a new day in his candidacy as well as a new day in his presidency.

While I do not pretend to understand any religion that claims to be predicated upon unconditional love and yet finds a way to justify bigotry against a particular group of people, this is not a discussion of religious viewpoints. It's a discussion about human rights and civil liberties.

Legalizing gay marriage does not deny a heterosexual man or woman any of the legal rights they currently enjoy. It does, however, grant those same rights to a group of people heretofore denied equal treatment in the eyes of the law. And those equal rights for everyone are true to the spirit in which this country was founded.

Growth and transformation are most often a messy business fraught with resistance. But that doesn't mean that it is not incumbent upon us to change and mature both as human beings and as a nation. The thing is that in order to do that, it begins with someone having the courage to utter the words out loud. Even those against gay marriage on biblical grounds know that there is power in speaking the words. After all, "God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." That is why the president's statement is the beginning of what I hope will be a turning tide in equality in our country.

As one who does not shrink or cower at being called a liberal, I have had my disappointments about what I perceived to be squandered opportunities in this presidency. I wanted a leader with the courage to do what was best for America regardless of the political fallout it might cause. I wanted a public option and some real attention paid to a public school system that is precariously holding the future of this country in its crumbling hands. We are too short on time, and the stakes are too high for anything less.

So how do I feel about him now? Relieved mostly. Glad that the man I voted for and put my faith in is showing evidence of the gumption needed to come through on the words "hope" and "change" and "forward."

While I'm sure the Republicans are thrilled at the potential flip-flop finger pointing they can now do, I think President Obama's statement in favor of gay marriage is just the thing to re-energize his base and change the discourse in this country.

To quote comedian Craig Ferguson, "It's a great day for America." It truly is.

 
 
 
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