Thursday, May 10, 2012

President Obama was evolving two days ago, and he finished yesterday

President Obama hedged his bets on same-sex marriage while campaigning in 2008, saying that he favored civil unions only, but that his views on the subject were still evolving. Not long ago, the famously blunt Vice President Biden said that he was comfortable with same-sex marriage. The President's press secretary dissembled at a press conference, and got figuratively disassembled by the press.

This put the President in a quandary. Yesterday, he endorsed same sex marriage.

So, Mr. Obama was evolving two days ago (his press secretary, Jay Carney, reiterated that the President's views were evolving at that conference). By inference, Mr. Obama finished evolving yesterday.

North Carolina voted on an amendment to ban same sex marriage, which unfortunately passed. The amendment would likely prohibit civil unions and like arrangements, for same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and there is evidence that voters were not aware of that. Now, the President said that he would like to leave the issue up to the states. However, there's another contradiction he needs to address: leaving the issue to the states would have some states taking sweeping steps to ban same-sex marriage so as to "protect" the institution of marriage, while some states would allow it. This is a bit like him saying he's all for interracial marriage himself but it should be left up to the states - and then idiots like North Carolina and Virginia go and ban it.

So, maybe Mr. Obama's evolution is not complete.

North Carolina is a Southern state, and in many ways is more conservative than other states (although it is one of the more moderate Southern states). It is perhaps unsurprising that this amendment passed. It is also unfortunate: the Republican legislators who introduced it and the people who voted for it have put themselves on the wrong side of both God and history. By the way, the last time North Carolina amended their Constitution was to ban interracial marriage.

If you are conservative, consider that the LGBT community, having been excluded from the institution of marriage, has arguably had a higher prevalence of less-monogamous relationships than the heterosexual community. There has been no demonstrated harm to heterosexuals from allowing same-sex marriages. If you think monogamy is good, open the institution of marriage up.

Your other option: stigmatize LGBT folks in the hopes that they will all go back into the closet and marry people of the opposite sex. The problem with this option: people in the closet will do stupid, destructive things. Like Ted Haggard and like the Hon. Larry Craig. This disrupts marriage. It also drives HIV infection rates - consider that the disproportionately high HIV rate in the African American community is mainly driven by men who have sex with men - men in the closet. Folks in both the closet and in traditional marriages are the real threat to marriage. To save marriage, we should get them out of the closet.

And if you are conservative, consider that on this issue, the long-term trends are not in your favor.

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