If Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s recent flood of campaign literature can be believed, then his recent media buys in Ohio and Texas might be a sign of “a change of heart” or, as we say in religious language, a “conversion,” as he demonstrated at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, where he shared his thoughts on same-sex unions.
“I think that it is a legal right that they [homosexuals] should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans,” Obama said, which was then used in advertisements in the four largest LGBTQ markets in Ohio and Texas — Columbus, Cleveland, Dallas, and Houston.
According to Obama’s LGBTQ Steering Committee member Eric Stern, purchasing of these ads was “the icing on the cake” leading up to today’s primaries.
But before the Obama campaign have their cake and eat it too in celebration of their outreach to these targeted queer communities, perhaps they need to chew on this as well: What about the queer newspapers in Rhode Island and Vermont that run throughout the New England states, one of which I write for?
Perhaps the LGBTQ populations are two small in numbers to matter and the states too weak in delegate power in helping Obama clench the presidential nomination?
But let me refer Obama to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus says in Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they too shall inherit the earth.”
And our community here needs to hear this from you as well if we’re going to ever believe that you want to be part of us.
This timely conversion might appear more faith-driven than politically motivated, but the language of Christian equality was non-existent in Obama’s “Open Letter from Barack Obama to the LGBT Community” as a guest blogger here on The Bilerico Project just last week, in which he said:
I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage.
The differences between civil union vs. civil marriage for same-sex couple is approximately 1,049 benefits and protections that are conferred upon heterosexual marriages. And the differences have been explained and expounded upon to Obama and his campaign ad nauseum. However, his repackaging the same pro-civil union rhetoric since his run for the White House is like re-gifting your undesirable Christmas presents. Sooner or later, when these gifts are passed around enough, someone will take them.
But, Obama, not everyone is buying your re-gift.
A commenter at Pam’s House Blend wrote:
Obama not only thinks that separate-but-equal is just ducky for LGBT couples. It was a gimmick from an era in which Obama could have aspired to no position in the White House higher than that of head janitor…, Once he’s in office, LGBT citizens will be forgotten. Fast.
Obama is also in favor of the “States Rights” approach to the whole marriage equality issue. This was a principle sacred to the White Citizens’ Councils a half-century ago and is just as unconstitutional now.
This isn’t a compromise or incremental approach to marriage equality; it’s flat-out opposition to it — and on the basis of old segregationist tricks at that all.
But there’s no limit to the ability of some voters to believe whatever is presented to them in a slick package, apparently.
Another commenter there wrote:
People are very galvanized by Barack (who is my Senator) in a way that surprises me. I am all for hope and change and then the question becomes what will the change be on the issues I care most about. My husband and I have two kids and face constant challenges, great and small, by not being treated as legally married (which we are in Canada) so protecting my family is critical for me. Here, Barack advocates something less than marriage (and since he is very popular and very persuasive, this reassures a lot of people that they, too, can be against marriage). This has particular sting because he presents himself, as Karen noted, as a constitutional law expert. As such he knows that the right to civil marriage is constitutionally protected and has been held to be so important it cannot be denied even to convicted serial killers (who can lose the right to vote and other civil rights). Why do we deserve less? No one ever asks him.
Since Obama doesn’t often defend his position on civil unions to members of the GLBT media, it is politically prudent for him to buy ads speaking to us because doing so lets him control his interactions with the LGBTQ community and the topics on which he doesn’t want to be challenged.
Let me suggest that Obama take his time and read the entire Sermon on the Mount, chapters 5-7, from which he referenced recently. It contains the central tenets of Christian ethical teachings on which he claims to base his campaign. And I strongly suggest that he reads all of Matthew 7, the concluding chapter. It emphasizes the difficulty of doing what is right, but the moral imperative to do so nonetheless.