Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gay rights = human rights

This New York Times editorial is totally on the mark in taking the Obama administration to task for its downright offensive lack of commitment to equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans.

The Times criticizes a brief submitted by the Justice Department on a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act in which government lawyers used hurtful and just plain wrongheaded language, comparing gay relationships to incest and adults marrying children.

Personally, I'm offended at having the committed relationships of my friends, of people I love, referred to in such a derogatory manner. As someone who voted for Mr. Obama, this is very disappointing and unacceptable.

The editorial quotes a letter to the president from Joe Solomonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign: “I cannot overstate the pain that we feel as human beings and as families when we read an argument, presented in federal court, implying that our own marriages have no more constitutional standing than incestuous ones.”

The Times notes that the president has a lot of pressing issues on his plate. But it urges the administration to work toward the repeal of DOMA and "don't ask, don't tell" and for a federal law banning employment discrimination. "Busy calendars and political expediency are no excuse for making one group of Americans wait any longer for equal rights."

The president won in a landslide. He has a huge mandate for change. He should use it. It's time for him to acknowledge that this is a civil-rights issue, a human-rights issue, a measure of how committed we are as Americans to equal rights for everyone.

It's time for a Lyndon Johnson moment: this is not a "gay" issue, it's an American issue.


Amanda said...

Well said. I've been disappointed by the lack of action, too.

Esther said...

Thanks, Amanda. You know, as our nation's first African-American president, it would be so meaningful if Obama would speak up forcefully. Leadership from the president means a lot, especially in the area of civil rights.