At the Human Rights Campaign dinner in 2009, President Obama told the crowd, “I . . . appreciate that many of you don’t believe progress has come fast enough. I want to be honest about that, because it’s important to be honest among friends.” At the same dinner last October, he said, “[Y]ou’ve got every right to push against the slow pace of change.” And so I have pushed the president on his charade-like stance on same-sex marriage in two posts today.
But make no mistake: There is no comparison between Obama and Mitt Romney when it comes to respecting the dignity of gay men and lesbians and their families. Romney’s position on gay rights is about as fluid as the Charles River. It once flowed in the right direction. Not anymore.
In 1994, as a candidate for the U.S. Senate against the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Romney told the Log Cabin Republicans, “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.” He said some other things in a letter seeking the gay group’s endorsement that would put him squarely in the mainstream of political thought today. But running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 is a different story.
Romney put his money where his newfound principles were in 2008, when his political action committee gave $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). This is the same odious outfit that devised a divide-and-conquer strategy to pit African Americans and gays against each other on the issue of marriage equality.
Then, last summer, Romney signed NOM’s noxious pledge to “support marriage.” Among the things Romney promised to do is enshrine discrimination into our nation’s Constitution through an amendment and to defend the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.
These are all actions Obama opposes. In fact, NOM is demanding DOMA be defended against court challenge because the president stopped doing so. He thinks it’s unconstitutional. He also supports Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) bill to repeal DOMA.
So, while Obama won’t say the words I and so many others want him to say with regard to marriage equality, there is no doubt where he stands on equality for gay men and lesbians.