Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2012-MAY: Part 2: Reactions by U.S. politicians,
political commentators & religious leaders
We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
We use the acronym "LGBT" to refer to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
This is a continuation from Part 1
2012-MAY-08 and later: USA: U.S. sources' reactions to President Obama's disclosure:
- Mitt Romney, the leading Republican candidate for the Presidency in 2012, repeated his opposition to same-sex marriage., saying:
"States are able to make decisions with regard to domestic partnership benefits such as hospital visitation rights, benefits and so forth of various kinds can be determined state by state, but my view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman and that's my own preference. I know other people have differing views. This is a very tender and sensitive topic as are many social issues, but I have the same view that I've had since running for office." 1
His last sentence seems to be factually untrue. During 1994 he ran for a federal Senate seat for Massachusetts. He wrote a letter to the Log Cabin Club in that state -- a group of gay and lesbian Republicans. He wrote:
"I am more convinced than ever before that as we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent." 2
The term "full equality" would seem to include same-sex marriage. He lost that election to Senator Ted Kennedy (D).
It makes a lot of sense that for him, his preference is for marriage with a person of the opposite gender. After all, he appears to be a heterosexual. But his previous statements and his party's platform go further. Beyond merely preferring opposite-sex marriage, their goal is to prohibit same-sex marriage for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.
Chris Matthews on MSNBC commented about Romney's statement, saying:
"He is traditional. He is for traditional marriage, a nice way to put it. He was for traditional prejudice against gays. That's where he stands, traditionally. Traditionally this country has fired people for being gays [sic]. Traditionally it has kicked people out -- kept people out of the military for being gay. That's tradition. Tradition is wrong on this. The American people are turning gradually against tradition." 3
- Howard Kurtz, writing, in the Daily Beast referred to Obama's revelation as: "... a political earthquake that shakes the landscape by putting a divisive culture-war issue front and center." 4
- Blogger David Brody described the announcement as: "... a solid six-month energy drink" that would probably energize his liberal base through to the November election. 5
- Mark Halperin commented: "If Republicans try to make a big deal about this, the President's advisers believe it will distract from the economy fight and hurt the GOP with younger voters. As David Axelrod made clear the other day, the Obamans will fight back on this issue as needed. Romney now has more questions to answer than the President does on these matters, such as about same-sex benefits. There will be micro-targeting to culturally conservative voters in swing states to be sure, but don't expect this decision to become a major campaign issue." 5
- Greg Sargent wrote: "Whatever the actual impact of this in legislative terms, this is a major historical and cultural moment, and the President deserves kudos for it. Yes, he had to be pushed into taking this step, and those who hammered him ceaselessly on the issue deserve enormous credit for making this happen. But Obama himself has, in various ways, let it be known that he wants people to go out there and make him do the right thing. In this case, he responded."5
- Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize winner and political columnist for the Washington Post, had an amusing comment about the president's "evolution" on the SSM. He said:
"Well, it surely the first time in scientific history that evolution has been accelerated by an upcoming election. I don't think that's never been recorded before. And granting the president the cynicism, you know, the need to do this for electoral reasons, withholding donations from gay rights activists, etc. and the gaffe that Biden made to accelerate this. Granted all that, I give him credit for what he said."
He hopes that people on both sides on the SSM question will treat each other with respect, and avoid demonizing each other. That is a tall order! 6
- Rush Limbaugh jokingly said he saw "pink smoke coming from the White House chimney." He said that "... the president of the United States is going to lead a war on traditional marriage."
- Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York CIty said that the announcement is: "... a testament to the president's convictions. ... This is a major turning point in the history of American civil rights. No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people -- and I have no doubt that this will be no exception. 7
- Comedian Jon Stewart of the "The Daily Show" welcomed President Obama's announcement ." Stewart apologized for initially doubting Obama's motives. He said:
"We may have insinuated President Obama was somehow being disingenuous in giving in to his most base political calculations by not just saying he favors same-sex marriage and equal rights for all Americans—that his position is 'evolving' is weak tea." 8
- The Wall Street Journal asked as its "Question of the Day:" "Will President Obama's support of same-sex marriage help or hurt his chances for re-election?"
- 60.3% Help;
- 39.7% Hurt. 9
My personal thought is: "Don't know." So I didn't vote.
- Bishop William Sheals of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church was interviewed on CNN Newsroom on the morning of MAY-10. He said that he disagrees with President Obama's position on SSM:
"... not on political reasons but on biblical reason. It is not anti-gay this or anti-person this. It is pro-marriage. It is a 5,000 year institution." 10
He seems to take a position found on the Sirius Catholic Channel and among many other religious and social conservatives: that their prime motivation is not to prohibit same-sex marriages, but to preserve opposite-sex or traditional marriage. Many appear to disagree that a person can be simply "pro-marriage" and work towards encouraging all loving, committed couples to marry, whether they are of the same or opposite gender. They seem to believe that in order to be in favor of traditional marriage, a person must also work to exclude same-sex couples from the institution.
- Carlton Pearson was also interviewed on CNN Newsroom. During the 1990s, was one of only two African American pastors to appear on national TV. His Higher Dimension Evangelistic Center was one of the largest churches in Tulsa with an average weekly attendance of over 6.000 members. After watching a documentary on the genocide in Rwanda, he had what he believes to have been an epiphany from God; he concluded that Hell after death did not exist, that Hell exists on Earth, and that it is created by humans. He started to teach a Gospel of Inclusion -- which includes the LGBT community. For this, he was declared a heretic by the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops. Membership at his church fell drastically to under 1,000. He lost his building to foreclosure. He was widely condemned for stating that the church must confront and change its beliefs concerning human sexuality and homosexuality. 10
On CNN he compared President Obama's statement to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation that, in theory, freed the slaves. Lincoln was heavily criticized at the time by many Christians for deviating from the Bible's teachings. The Bible states that slaves were to obey their masters. The Bible set up regulations to control slavery and does not contain even one statement condemning slavery.
Pearson believes that many African American Christian pastors would like to stand for LGBT equality as he does, but dare not because their churches would also condemn them and threaten their jobs. Pearson stated that the Church in America needs to act as a head light and not a tail light.
This topic is continued in Part 3
These information sources were used to prepare & update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Ian Schwartz, "Mitt Romney: Marriage Is Between A Man And A Woman," Real Clear Politics, 2012-MAY-09, at:http://www.realclearpolitics.com/
- "Mitt Romney says he's been against marriage equality since running for office, for Pete's sake," Daily KOS, 2012-MAY-09, at: http://www.dailykos.com/
- Ian Schwartz, "Chris Matthews: Romney Is 'For Traditional Prejudice Against Gays'," Real Clear Politics, 2012-MAY-09, at: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/
- Howard Kurtz, "President Obama, in a Dramatic Shift, Backs Same-Sex Marriage," 2012-MAY-09, at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/
- Taegan Goddard, "Reaction to Obama's 'Evolution' on gay marriage," Political Wire, 2012-MAY-09, at: http://politicalwire.com/
- "Krauthammer: First Time In History Evolution Has Been Accelerated By An Upcoming Election," Real Clear Politics, 2012-MAY-09, at: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/
- Mitch Potter, "Obama’s backing for same-sex marriage called historic, risky, Toronto Star, 2012-NOV-09, at: http://www.thestar.com/
- "Jon Stewart Applauds Obama's Gay Marriage 'Evolution'," NBC Bay Area, 2012-MAY-10, at: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/
- "Question of the Day," Wall Street Journal, 2012-MAY-09, at: http://online.wsj.com/
- "Carlton Pearson," Wikipedia, as on 2012-MAY-06, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
How you got here:
Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2012-MAY-09
Latest update: 2012-MAY-10
Author: B.A. Robinson