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Ear to the Ground

Obama and Gay Rights: 2012 Edition

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Posted on Dec 30, 2011
Flickr / laverrue

To the consternation of many, President Obama has managed to avoid taking a strong position on potentially polarizing issues like same-sex marriage without completely losing the support of the GLBTQ constituency. But will his strategically noncommittal stance work in the next election cycle? Let’s consider the key variables in the political mix this time around.

The New York Times:

Some gay rights advocates believe that Mr. Obama will declare his support for same-sex marriage before the election — both because polling data shows a sharp increase in voter support for it among crucial groups, and because two pending court rulings on marriage rights will make it harder to justify the president’s position that his views are still evolving.

“My core argument is that you’ve got a lot to win and not a lot to lose,” said Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, a group that campaigns for marriage rights. “It would remove a constant irritating false note, and it would allow him to tap into an unmitigated good stream of energy.”

Interviews with administration officials, however, suggest that the president believes he can stand pat and still win a large majority of gay votes, based on his track record, which includes his decision not to defend a 1996 law that defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.

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By jrundin, January 1, 2012 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

You know, this article has forced me to crystallize certain vague apprehensions that have been dogging me for a while about Obama.

Ultimately, as a gay man, I feel very patronized by Obama, and not in a good way. He grudgingly doles out crumbs to people like me, who worked for him and gave him money in the last cycle (even though I never really trusted him and he only got my support once he had the nomination in the bag). Instead he spends all his time courting people who have always despised him and who always will despise him.

Of course, he expects me to vote for him because the Republicans have some chance of nominating a nut.

But, really, would Romney be that much worse for me? I see no material evidence that Obama’s presidency would be much better for me than Romney’s. Obama is completely in bed with the bankers who are destroying our country right now. He has been horrible on civil liberties. He is presiding over an unprecedented level of extralegal violence while asserting his right to tyrannical powers of oppression. Obama doesn’t even support unions. While I find Romney personally repellent—he represents everything that I am not and that I do not want to be—he’s ultimately a pragmatist and would probably wind up doing his own version of triangulation with Congress. It is a bit hard to tell, however. It’s quite clear that not a word that comes from his mouth can be believed.

The Democratic Party has been handing out s—t sandwiches for years and expecting me to eat them because the alternative was so bad. Obama may be one that I finally don’t bite into.

And, one final note in response to Lisa’s comment: “Buggery”? Really, Lisa? Puh-lease.

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By heterochromatic, December 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Handbird, your Bible is still as full of immorality as it ever was/is/will everlastingly
be.

whereas if you’re still hanging around advocating your immorality in a hundred
years, drop a line.

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A Bird in the Hand's avatar

By A Bird in the Hand, December 31, 2011 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

mrfreeze:: We are not dying off and Homosexuality is still as morally wrong as it ever was/is. Read your Bible..Its just the usual media spin that grows worse every year..You know what you can do with it I am sure..

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By heterochromatic, December 31, 2011 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

jrundin~~~~ without completely agreeing with them, I’m completely pleased to
read your comments. thank you.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, December 31, 2011 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

jrundin - “It’s just a matter of waiting for a few old farts who oppose gay rights to die off now.”

Thanks for that! And the sooner they’re gone the better!

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By lisa, December 31, 2011 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The are no rights of any kind if there’s no right to habeas, none, zero. What’s that you say? You have the right to buggery? You’re mistaken, because no right exists except as “permission” unless you have the right to be free from state kidnapping.

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By jrundin, December 30, 2011 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment

(First off, that should be “depredation” not “depradation.” I’m always my own worst proofreader.)

But I want to react to this comment:

“Join the club jrundin….....the game is over for everyone….why should you be any exception?”

I have never thought myself an exception. And that was my very point. It’s probably true that when I was young long ago and an out and militant gay person I thought I was doing the good work of history. But I think the battle over gay rights has been won. It’s just a matter of waiting for a few old farts who oppose gay rights to die off now.

The Democratic Party in the 60’s had a difficult choice. Should it support unions or the secure children of the bourgeoisie? The latter opposed the Vietnam War because, unlike now when we have an all-volunteer army, they knew that they could be drafted. Moreover, secure from the the post WW II prosperity, they felt secure enough to support civil rights for women, ethnic minorities, and even homos.  Somehow those two options were incompatible. There’s history there that I’m too lazy to go into right now.

But I think it is now time for issues of identity politics to again play a subservient role to class politics.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, December 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment

jrundin - “But I’m actually far more worried about my retirement and my economic well-being now…....Obama, has no interest in protecting my material, economic needs against the depradations of the corporatocracy.”

Join the club jrundin….....the game is over for everyone….why should you be any exception?

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By jrundin, December 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

I’m a gay man, and, frankly, my support for Obama will not be affected by his stand on gay rights.

While, personally, I’m offended at his lack of senstivity—actually, I think it’s probably not a lack of senstivity but a lack of courage or just craven fear of political backlash.

But I’m actually far more worried about my retirement and my economic well-being now.

For decades, Democrats have tried to substitute identity politics—support for minorities including gays and women—for actual support for people who work for a living in less than stellar jobs. They have continued to sell out the middle class while championing things like civil rights, women’s rights etc.

I’m afraid that game is over. It is abundantly clear that the national Democratic Party, particularly as led by Obama, has no interest in protecting my material, economic needs against the depradations of the corporatocracy.

After that, any support for my rights as a gay man is small potatoes.

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