Thursday, May 10, 2012
Thank you, Mr. President
Now, we can get caught up in the fine print of President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality – if we want to. He is late. He is not ending DOMA. He is still allowing states to vote on marriage right for themselves. True, true, true. But, you know what, I don’t care. I mean, I do care. I care a lot. But history gets told with broad brush strokes. The Emancipation Proclamation freed all the slaves. Well, close. Not all of them, just those in states under Confederate control. It wasn’t until two years later with the passage of the Thirteen Amendment that all slaves were freed and slavery became illegal across the country. But, you know, details. The Emancipation Proclamation was the big, brash, bold stroke that changed everything. The fine print work came later.
Now, I’m in no way suggesting that President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage yesterday was our Emancipation Proclamation, figurative or otherwise. But it is important not just because of its optics, but because of what it means on a personal level to every LGBT person in this country and across the globe. Never before has a President stood up and said our marriages are equal to straight people’s marriages. Never. But now, the most powerful man in the free world says we are the same. Says we deserve the same rights. Says love is love. Yesterday, I took a moment to let it sink in. And it felt, well, wonderful.
This is how a man evolves, this how our leaders evolve, this is how a nation evolves, this is how a world evolves. History is happening, don’t get left behind.
NOTE: As mentioned in the post, I am NOT comparing the President’s endorsement of same-sex marriage to the Emancipation Proclamation. They are not equal in historical import or impact. Not at all. I am comparing the historical perception of what the Emancipation Proclamation did (i.e. it ended all slavery in the United States) to what it actually did (it ended slavery in the confederate-controlled states, and then two years later the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery across the nation). I am not comparing the end of slavery to the granting of gay rights. I am saying that history is told in broad brush strokes not fine print. And what President Obama did yesterday was a broad brush stroke.