At first this seemed too silly to bother with, but it’s getting attention from both LGBT and religious right media, so it warrants some acknowledgment.
In an interview with YouTube personality (if that’s the right word) GloZell Green (pictured here), Obama said he hopes the Supreme Court makes the “right decision” on marriage rights for same-sex couples, adding: “I think people know that treating folks unfairly—even if you disagree with their lifestyle choice, the fact of the matter is they’re not bothering you.”
President Obama deviated this week from the language considered acceptable for talking about gay people when he described the lives of same-sex couples as a “lifestyle choice”—but virtually no one cares.
The Washington Blade reached out to various LGBT groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force and GLAAD, to ask whether they objected to Obama’s use of the phrase. None of those groups responded to a request to comment on that language, which is widely considered unacceptable and offensive because it suggests that sexual orientation is a choice.
Well, apparently the religious right cares. The religious conservative website WND reported (if that’s the right word):
His answer, which seemed to undermine the foundation for claims across America that homosexuals are a class of people with defined characteristics and deserve minority protections, came recently during a recorded interview with GloZell Green, a green-lipstick-wearing, milk and cereal bath-taking YouTube personality who was picked by the White House to visit with the president after his recent 2015 State of the Union address. She begins her videos asking, “Hello this is Glozell! Is you OK? Is you? Good, ’cause I wanted to know!’”
As to treating people fairly because “even if you disagree with their lifestyle choices, the fact of the matter is they’re not bothering you,” one commenter on the WND site wondered if Obama was “finally telling the homosexual lobby to stop suing Christians?”
A few days later, the Blade reported that the White House responds to Obama ‘lifestyle choice’ remark. But it was actually a nonresponse:
In a news conference that marked the first time an openly gay person conducted an on-camera White House news conference, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz addressed questions Wednesday over President Obama’s remark that being gay is a “lifestyle choice.” In response to a question…on whether Obama regrets using the phrase, which he used in a YouTube interview with GloZell Green last week, Schultz replied he hasn’t talked to Obama about the matter.
So, a linguistic tempest in a teabag? Obama probably was revealing, off the cuff, his personal view, and it doesn’t help. That’s what happens when he doesn’t have a teleprompter. But it essentially is inconsequential. The only point worth remarking on is how even inconsequential minutia becomes fodder for media buzz these days.
On the other hand, if a prominent GOP politician made such a remark, there would have been a firestorm of criticism, while the Blade couldn’t get any of the big LGBT activist organizations to call Obama out on this.