Sweaters

by David Link on May 8, 2012

I take no pride in saying this, but I’m sort of enjoying watching the President and Mitt Romney — and their assistants — convulsing over same-sex marriage.  Lesbians and gay men have spent lifetimes feeling guilty about being homosexual, dodging the most obvious questions, and trying their damnedest to avoid the subject.  It’s kind of nice to see the shoe on the other foot for awhile.

The White House has outshone the Vatican in finesse, nuance and overthinking in trying to respond to Joe Biden’s comments over the weekend.  The Vice President tried to cut through the bullshit, but the bullshit prevailed.  Jay Carney had to devote half of a press conference to argue that the President’s current evolution has not yet brought him from fish to man.  Ironically, this is the one area where Romney’s folks are begging for a same-sex union between their candidate and the President, whose positions, they claim, are identical.

Actions, though, speak louder than words.  Jim Burroway aptly notes that whatever rhetorical symmetries Obama and Romney may share on same-sex marriage, it’s clear that the President won’t pander to the lingering brackishness of prejudice, while Romney not only will, he will do so with vigor. And David Weigel eviscerates any claim that Romney might have some humanity on this issue, having prominently signed NOM’s atrocious pledge against equal marriage rights.

Politics is ugly, and the politics of prejudice is ugliest of all.  Those of us who have had to suffer the prejudice about sexual orientation know that all too well.  But now that we’re comfortable being honest about ourselves and our relationships, I am hoping we can plead for some mercy for the guilty pleasure of watching some heterosexuals have to sweat it out for a change.

{ 21 comments }

Jorge May 8, 2012 at 1:59 am

Apparently “the president sets policy for this administration” means something different depending on if a Republican or a Democratic vice president says it. I don’t remember Bush getting so wacked out. Although, that’s why nobody follows in his footsteps anymore.

Jorge May 8, 2012 at 8:52 am

And David Weigel eviscerates any claim that Romney might have some humanity on this issue, having prominently signed NOM’s atrocious pledge against equal marriage rights.

Wait a minute.

Since WHEN does opposing gay marriage on its own, even with a 100% conservative fervor, qualify someone as being inhuman?

No.

No.

And no. And the guys who say Obama isn’t really against gay marriage laws are wearing blinders.

Tom Scharbach May 8, 2012 at 9:28 am

Ironically, this is the one area where Romney’s folks are begging for a same-sex union between their candidate and the President, whose positions, they claim, are identical.

The line is usually delivered with that sick, sly, little “gotcha” smile that used to accompany “You have the same right to marry that I do. You can marry any woman you want.

I watched the MSNBC interview, and even a slimy little creep like Reince Priebus couldn’t deliver his lines (“Quite frankly, Andrea, the president’s position as it sits today is the same position as Mitt Romney, because isn’t the president saying that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman?“) without that smile.

The claim that Romney and the President are on the same page with respect to marriage equality is a bad play on words, nothing more, and everybody with a brain knows that …

Reince Priebus, in particular, knows. He’s a jackass, but he knows full well that Romney is pledged to support the FMA, is pledged to support DOMA, is pledged to appoint “original intent” judges and justices, is pledged to rescind marriage equality in the District, is on record as supporting anti-marriage amendments in Minnesota and North Carolina, is on record supporting referenda to repeal marriage equality in Maryland and Washington state, and is on record opposing a Maine referendum to bring marriage equality to Maine.

Romney couldn’t etch-a-sketch his way from his positions to the President’s positions if he wanted to … he’d develop carpal tunnel before he got the job done.

Tom Scharbach May 8, 2012 at 9:46 am

And the guys who say Obama isn’t really against gay marriage laws are wearing blinders.

The President has taken the position that he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.

He’s wrong, of course, but his position does not translate into “against marriage laws.

The President has never opposed a legislative effort for marriage equality in any state. The President has never spoken out against a court decision granting marriage equality in any state. The President is on record opposing anti-marriage amendments in North Carolina and Minnesota, and is on record opposing efforts to rescind marriage equality in Maine and Washington state. The President is on record opposing DOMA, and the administration is not defending DOMA in court.

What the President has not done is to come out in support of marriage equality. That’s wrong, but characterizing the President’s position as “against marriage laws” is simplistic and naive.

Jorge May 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

The President has taken the position that he believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.

What the President has not done is to come out in support of marriage equality.

Out of date, of course, still I think your post was a misrepresentation.

When you answer a question on whether or not you believe states should recognize gay marriages with “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman” and not much more, you are expressing your personal position that you would like the result to be No.

About Biden I’d have maybe given the benefit of the doubt. Not Obama.

Tom Scharbach May 8, 2012 at 9:55 am

The White House has outshone the Vatican in finesse, nuance and overthinking in trying to respond to Joe Biden’s comments over the weekend. The Vice President tried to cut through the bullshit, but the bullshit prevailed.

It is time that the President spoke the words “I support marriage equality.” Every day that he remains silent hurts gay and lesbian couples and their children.

The President and his political advisors can talk all they want about how much the President has done to advance “equal means equal” during his time in office. They are right, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact.

We can all talk about the vast difference in the positions taken by the President and Romney on marriage equality. The choice between them isn’t a hard choice. You’d have to be nuts to vote for Romney if you care at all about marriage equality. But that doesn’t change the fact, either.

It is time for the President to publicly endorse marriage equality. So long as he does not, he bears responsibility for the price that gay and lesbian couples and their children will pay over the coming years as a result of his silence.

Come on, already: “I support marriage equality.” It is only four words.

Tom Scharbach May 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Michael and I, and hundreds of thousand of other people like us, have been waiting many, many years to hear this statement from a President:

“Over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.” – Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, May 19, 2012

Houndentenor May 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

At least we agree on something. Yes, the one-foot-in/one-foot-out approach from both candidates is a joke. Both candidates are terrified of backlash from the religious right and worse the polling on gay marriage is now too close and too volatile. They can’t focus group their way out of this one.

And to answer Jorge, I thought Cheney was right on gay marriage. It’s a state issue. It’s only a federal matter if a candidate is endorsing a federal constitutional amendment, which Romney and Bush both did.

Mark F. May 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I’m not voting for Obama, but clearly he is very supportive of gay people overall compared to Romney. His “evolving” position is absurd, of course.

clayton May 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Houndentenor, you wrote: I thought Cheney was right on gay marriage. It’s a state issue. It’s only a federal matter if a candidate is endorsing a federal constitutional amendment, which Romney and Bush both did.”

Not quite.

Before DOMA, marriage was, indeed, a state issue, but because of the full faith and credit clause, marriages performed in one state were automatically recognized in the other 49. If you got married, say, in Nevada, without the blood test or waiting period madated in your home state, you were still married at home. Did you cross state lines so that you could marry under the legal age of your home state, or marry a first cousin (not allowed in you home state)? No problem. You were still married–even in your home state. And regardless of the state in which you married, the federal government recognized your marriage, and accorded it all the requisite rights, privileges and obligations.

DOMA created a two-tiered marriage system, in which no states are required to recognize some legal marriages performed in other states, and in which the federal government now recognizes some state marriages, but not others.

Whether DOMA passes constitutional muster is a question only SCOUTUS can answer, but DOMA not only allows the federal government to pick and choose which marriages to recognize, it allows all 50 states to do so as well. Until that constitutional question is settled, marriage has become very much a federal matter.

Houndentenor May 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm

That’s what I used to think full faith and credit meant. I was wrong. I was schooled by some lawyer friends. States do not have to recognize marriages that wouldn’t have been legal in their own state. They almost always do, but they don’t have to. The DO have to recognize legal decisions from other states, like divorce or custody decisions, even if the decisions are quite different than anything that would have been granted in their own state.

You are correct that DOMA federalized an issue that should never have been federalized. (And I’m still pisses at the Clintons over this, btw.) The answer to that is to repeal DOMA. The federal government has no authority to override a state on the marriage issue. None. It won’t stand up in the Supreme Court for that reason.

Mark F. May 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I agree that the Constitution prohibits the Federal government from refusing to recognize any valid marriage.

Doug May 9, 2012 at 12:07 pm

If you believe that try filing a joint Federal Income Tax return.

KK Bloom May 9, 2012 at 3:15 am

They aren’t sweating at all, as none of this really affects their lives. Romney could care less about gay people, he just doesn’t want to look like an extremist gay-hater to independents. Obama wants gay votes, but he is also after swing states and afraid to say too much.

Ultimately though, neither Obama or Romney’s marriage is at stake, so they don’t care which way the wind blows…as long as that wind blows them into the White House.

Clayton May 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm

It’s interesting how dated this thread has become in the last 24 hours.

David Link May 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I know! Now Romney’s the only one who has to sweat it out.

Mark F. May 9, 2012 at 7:09 pm

The Log Cabin Republicans are now criticizing Obama for supporting gay marriage after Dick Cheney did. Geez, can’t people just celebrate some good news for a minute!

Jorge May 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Eh. I think LCR’s criticism is fair, but I do not agree with their decision to voice it at all.

In fact, didn’t Obama say he *supports* the right for states to make their own decisions, and that this is a personal decision? He lent his personal weight, but policywise I don’t think this goes very far. That’s what they really should be focusing on. But I’m very satisfied; I thought Obama’s remarks as reported were excellent (they only showed a short exerpt of video on Yahoo News).

Oh, and count me as shocked.

Houndentenor May 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Except that Cheney ran on a ticket that had a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the platform. But yes, Cheney’s position was not really any different from Obama’s. And it’s the correct one. This is a state issue. People can be mad that it’s a state issue but that doesn’t change the reality. Other than repealing DOMA, this is not an issue that the president has much ability to do anything about. Let me amend that, Romney could fight for DOMA and/or sign a Constitutional Amendment (if they could get such a thing through Congress and 38 state legislatures).

Mark F. May 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Same sex marriage rights will mostly be advanced at the state level or in the courts at this point. Obama could sign a repeal of DOMA, but that is unlikely to pass Congress in the next 4 years.

Tom Scharbach May 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

That’s true, Mark. The President has done just about everything he can do at this point with respect to marriage equality.

But that isn’t the end of the story:

(1) If DOMA is ruled unconstitutional, then a relatively large number of federal issues will arise (tax law, social security, military benefits and so on) but until then, things are more or less at a standstill on the federal level.

(2) A vacancy or two on SCOTUS is almost certain to occur during the next Presidential term.

In either those case, I would not want President-Presumptive Romney making the decisions.

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