One year ago today, in my inaugural column for The Huffington Post, I came out of the closet for marriage equality, and encouraged the President to do the same.
While I'm not presumptuous enough to think that my column made any difference (I am a recovering politician, after all), I still believe in my ultimate thesis:
Mr. President, the time is now. Yes, you can... trigger the tipping point. Exercising bold leadership -- instead of waiting to follow the generational tide -- might be your most enduring legacy.
The President's announcement is indeed the tipping point for the most important civil rights cause in a generation.
Because Obama made his voice heard, many other Americans will feel more comfortable in proclaiming their support for marriage equality. Still others will take another close look at the issue. When they understand that most of the counter-arguments are simply illogical -- gay marriage doesn't threaten traditional marriage; it doesn't lead to bigamy and bestiality; it doesn't undermine family values -- they will join our cause as well.
And when support for marriage equality grows from a small majority today to an overwhelming majority in the coming months, there will be no stopping the momentum in state legislatures across the country into making marriage equality a reality for all Americans.
In the 24 hours since the President's announcement, I've already been surprised by some who've joined the gay marriage bandwagon. While I knew that Dick Cheney was on board, I had no idea about Bush speechwriter David Frum, or even that my friend, fellow No Labels co-founder, and Bush-Cheney campaign manager Mark McKinnon was a marriage equality advocate. Mazel Tov, Mark!
Harvey Milk, perhaps history's most influential gay rights advocate, was right: When more gays and lesbians came out of the closet -- and the rest of us began to realize that friends and even loved ones were gay; that gay men and women too can do "heroic things" -- the stigma wore off, and it became politically and personally unacceptable to preach gay hatred. Similarly, when more people discover that those they respect support gay marriage, it will help lead us on a path to full equality.
Unlike Lady Gaga, we're not "born this way"-- in favor or opposed to gay marriage. Our positions can be transformed by the wisdom and examples of others.
That's why it is so critical for each of us to make our voices heard. Speak out on marriage equality -- on social media, at community forums, in private conversations -- let your friends and neighbors know where you stand. Perhaps then, they will change their minds, or even feel liberated to come out of hiding and stand with us.
President Obama got us to the tipping point. It's up to the rest of us to make marriage equality a reality.
Let's get to work.
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