“I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
- Barack Obama on Meet the Press, May 9, 2012
When President Obama visited San Francisco this past weekend, he failed to reiterate the preceding words. His visit to the home of The Castro, Harvey Milk, and one of the oldest pride parades in the country did not have marriage equality on the agenda. True, he has evolved towards a more liberal and accepting view of gay marriage, yet he falls short of what the LGBT community needs right now: radicalism. Obama has yet to make marriage equality a more significant issue on the campaign trail. Where’s the passion?
I see this paradoxical lack of action, this fear to touch marriage equality, happen too often with politicians. The legality of gay marriage is best described, in my opinion, as cyclical. A “liberal” politician will spontaneously announce his or her support for same-sex marriage, the LBGT community rejoices, yet no real action is taken. The issue is pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, resurfacing sporadically.
How do you stop the cycle? You act, you speak, you defend gay marriage. Obama—now, more than ever before—needs to clarify his views on everything in politics. People cannot trust a politician who is faulty, hesitant or qualmish. He’s spoken loud and clear on the the Affordable Care Act and on the availability of women’s contraception, but he hasn’t reaffirmed the subject of marriage equality. In the 2012 election arena, there are untouched topics like gay marriage: unsolved, cursory problems that never find a strong voice.
We can blame it on the plethora of issues America has on her hands. There are graver issues of concern—terrorism, the economy, our vile obsession with The Bachelorette. Gay marriage is put on the back burner. Although 54% of Americans defend marriage equality (according to a June CNN/ORC International poll), it is still dismissed as merely a state issue. The freedom to marry whomever, regardless of gender, apparently falls short of being a federal concern. Land of the free? Not so much.
I’m asking Obama to be a hero. Be the president who makes tangible progress on marriage equality. Be the president who condemns the Boy Scouts of America for discrimination. Take a hint from your mantra four years ago: change.