God, this was a long time in coming. And did anyone seriously believe that Obama didn’t personally believe this a long time ago? And why now, why not weeks ago when it could have made (some) difference in the North Carolina Amendment One debacle? Is it a brave thing to do? Yes and no. It would have been braver yesterday and less brave tomorrow. That is the way history is. The President is clearly calculating that we have finally come far enough as a nation that this stance will no longer hinder him. Although I highly doubt anyone strongly opposed to same sex marriage would ever vote for Obama anyway, it could hurt him somewhat. And it could help him, certainly by energizing some on the left. Obama is a cool, calculated thinker, I have to give him that even when I disagree with him. This was a smooth political act with all that implies.
And yet, even knowing all that, I sit here with tears in my eyes. Today the leader of our nation stood up for equality. I have spent the better part of my adult life forging my own path, and a lot of that is related to the fact that I am gay. Would I have felt the wanderlust I did had I been raised in a part of the world or a time that was more accepting? (It is interesting to note that of the several members of my extended family that are gay, none of them live in our home state of Indiana. My family there is as wonderful, progressive and supportive as any family anywhere in the world, but I would not say the same about the state in which they live.) At this point in my life, I truly consider being gay to have been the single biggest gift I was ever given by the universe. It has forged in me a strength and curiosity about life, and a respect and fascination with difference that would never have blossomed in the same way. It has given me a terrible appreciation of the use and abuse of power, and a strong ability to follow my own moral compass. It has not been easy, and there were many times that I felt the petty hatreds and misunderstandings of people living in ignorance and fear. But these things ultimately made me stronger, and hopefully more compassionate towards those with outsider status. And although I have long seen this struggle as a blessing, I yearn for the day when being gay will make as much difference to how someone lives their life as being left-handed or having green eyes. When the choices they will make will be based fully on their own hopes and dreams, and not at all on the irrational bigotry of others. I have seen a lot of movement towards this goal in my own lifetime, and today is another step along that path. Thank you, President Obama.