Thank you Andrew Sullivan for your radio interview on NPR's All things Considered today. Everyone in American needs to hear this beautiful, heartfelt, and nuanced response to President Obama's statement calling for marriage equality.
The interview lasts only a few minutes, and the moment that grabbed me emotionally is in the first few seconds. So please, LISTEN TO THIS!!
I dare not quote from it because I want the words to sneak up on you as they did for me. Mr. Sullivan's voice helped crystallize the issue for me (even though I've been outspoken on equal rights for the gay community since I was in high school).
Let's not look to televangelists, politicians, or high-priced media campaigns in order to share in the cultural shift that we are making as a nation toward equality for all Americans. Let's not rely on our President either, even though his words today are welcome. Let's look into our hearts, our very own human hearts, and ask ourselves how we feel when we hear a fellow American, and a fellow human being express himself this way. Andrew Sullivan! You nailed it.
Below is the blog Sullivan wrote on this historic day, "Obama Lets Go of Fear."
I do not know how orchestrated this was; and I do not know how calculated it is. What I know is that, absorbing the news, I was uncharacteristically at a loss for words for a while, didn't know what to write, and, like many Dish readers, there are tears in my eyes.
So let me simply say: I think of all the gay kids out there who now know they have their president on their side. I think of Maurice Sendak, who just died, whose decades-long relationship was never given the respect it deserved. I think of the centuries and decades in which gay people found it impossible to believe that marriage and inclusion in their own families was possible for them, so crushed were they by the weight of social and religious pressure. I think of all those in the plague years shut out of hospital rooms, thrown out of apartments, written out of wills, treated like human garbage because they loved another human being. I think of Frank Kameny. I think of the gay parents who now feel their president is behind their sacrifices and their love for their children.
The interview changes no laws; it has no tangible effect. But it reaffirms for me the integrity of this man we are immensely lucky to have in the White House. Obama's journey on this has been like that of many other Americans, when faced with the actual reality of gay lives and gay relationships. Yes, there was politics in a lot of it. But not all of it. I was in the room long before the 2008 primaries when Obama spoke to the mother of a gay son about marriage equality. He said he was for equality, but not marriage. Five years later, he sees - as we all see - that you cannot have one without the other. But even then, you knew he saw that woman's son as his equal as a citizen. It was a moment - way off the record at the time - that clinched my support for him.
Today Obama did more than make a logical step. He let go of fear. He is clearly prepared to let the political chips fall as they may. That's why we elected him. That's the change we believed in. The contrast with a candidate who wants to abolish all rights for gay couples by amending the federal constitution, and who has donated to organizations that seek to "cure" gays, who bowed to pressure from bigots who demanded the head of a spokesman on foreign policy solely because he was gay: how much starker can it get?
My view politically is that this will help Obama. He will be looking to the future generations as his opponent panders to the past. The clearer the choice this year the likelier his victory. And after the darkness of last night, this feels like a widening dawn.
Please join our on-going national conversation at Coffee Party Equality.