Evolution complete.

9
May
2012

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.

Comments

  1. David says:

    That was one of your best posts, start to finish. I love you and am proud you are my brother.

  2. Stephen says:

    Now I’m getting choked up again, thanks. I love you too!

  3. Mom says:

    Now I’M getting teary….you are both wonderful sons, and I’m so proud of both of you!

  4. Ben says:

    This is a wonderful post, and a lot of what you say about how being gay has affected the person you’ve become I think also applies to me. In fact, I wonder if we won’t actually lose a little something when our gayness becomes as unremarkable as eye color. If we had grown up in a society where gays were fully accepted and integrated and normal as can be, would we have turned out to be the fabulous people we are? Something to ponder.

    But more substantively, perhaps, I have to quibble with your title. Obama’s evolution is not quite “complete.” He still believes it’s a state-by-state issue, when in fact it’s a fundamental constitutional right that should not be subject to public vote.

  5. Stephen says:

    You are absolutely right Ben. After watching the full interview this morning on GMA, I was a little saddened to note that he still carves out an exception for states to decide the issue on their own, which is on its face ridiculous. Why not let states decide on their own about interracial marriage or slavery for that matter? Inalienable rights are those that the states may not legislate away, under any circumstance. I should probably revise the title of this post to read “Evolution continues”, but I still think it is a very big deal for the President to affirm his belief in our equality.

  6. Lane says:

    Love it. You can feel and you emote many feelings other Americans+ feel