Sunday, May 10, 2009

Demands for Obama to Act Grow

Three things on the web this weekend have caught my eye that feed into the "Obama needs to say something" line growing around the blogosphere.

First, a Washington Post editorial by Eugene Robinson asks about the semantics of marriage. He takes politicians (and Obama) to task for the language games they are playing:
Obama took the "civil unions" route during last year's campaign and has stuck with it. While I see the political calculation -- that was basically the position of all the major Democratic candidates -- I never understood the logic. If semantics are the only difference between a civil union and a marriage, why go to the trouble of drawing a distinction? If there are genuine differences that the law should recognize, what are they?

It seems to me that equality means equality, and either you're for it or you're not. I believe gay marriage should be legal, and it's hard for me to imagine how any "fierce advocate of equality" could think otherwise...

Does Obama's stance in favor of repeal [of DOMA] mean that he believes the federal government should recognize same-sex marriages? Does he also believe that, say, the state of Alabama should recognize a gay marriage performed in Iowa? If so, what is the practical difference between this position and just saying in plain language that gay marriages ought to be legal and recognized in all 50 states?
Second, a POZ online poll shows that 60% of the readers of that site don't feel that the Obama administration has made HIV/AIDS a high enough priority. As of right now, I cannot think of a major thing the Obama administration has done except to get his act together, put a couple of people into positions, and offered to expand PEPFAR (which there's some controversy over an unfunded mandate there).

Third, there's the Lt. Dan Choi situation. Choi came out on the Rachel Maddow show and was then sent a letter from his employer stating that he would be terminated. "Obama to fire gay soldier" is the headline developing. But Obama has to go through Congress to change the law, you might say. Or, he could put a stop on discharges pending review of the law.

Look, I still support the man. I still believe that he has our best interests at heart, and I honestly believe that, 100 days in, we can't be so quick to judge his actions. And he has even assured Joe Solmonese of the HRC enough to say, "They have a vision. They have a plan." As little as I like the HRC, I'm going to take his word for it. Let's see how the next 100 days go, let's see what happens with the Matthew Shepard Act, let's see what happened in NH...

...I just hope I'm not saying "well, let's see" all the way to 2012. 

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