President Obama’s appearance before the Human Rights Campaign last Saturday night in Washington, D.C., came less than two weeks after the military ended its ban on openly gay service members. Obama championed that change, and celebrated his victory before 3,0000 enthusiastic supporters, which included Lady Gaga, at the dinner.
Having now won the right for gay soldiers to serve and die for their country, many gay leaders were quietly hoping that the President would take the next step and support same-sex marriage. Many were thinking the HRC dinner would become the platform in which he would do it. They were disappointed. It was not to be. The president circumvented the issue.
In politics, perfect is the enemy of good. You sometimes have to accept incremental steps. So it is with gay rights in the Obama Administration; so it has been with civil rights in America. When you are being wronged, no time is fast enough to correct the injustice and repair the wounds. The president has taken us farther than most, with over 200 LGBT appointees to federal positions. He won’t enforce DOMA, but he won’t go beyond civil unions for now. That is too bad, because with the bully pulpit on his side, the president can speed the change, which will surely come anyway tomorrow.
America sides with those who endorse amplifying liberties for all. Public sentiment is moving in the direction of supporting gay marriage, with most polls showing people are now about evenly split or narrowly in favor. Gay marriage is on the right side of history, a slowly evolving process that will be law in America one day down the road. Even without Obama's backing, a few states have passed legislation legalizing gay marriage; New York was the most recent.
Politicians leap on trends and statesman help create them. We call on President Obama to be the statesman for gay marriage that he was for gay soldiers. You have done too much for us for you to lose our support. We applaud the achievements of your administration. Don’t stop now. The battle is still not won. You can be more than our partner. You can be a leader. Take the next step, and endorse the justice we still wait for.