Obama took the “civil unions” route during last year’s campaign and has stuck with it. While I see the political calculation — that was basically the position of all the major Democratic candidates — I never understood the logic. If semantics are the only difference between a civil union and a marriage, why go to the trouble of drawing a distinction? If there are genuine differences that the law should recognize, what are they?
It seems to me that equality means equality, and either you’re for it or you’re not. I believe gay marriage should be legal, and it’s hard for me to imagine how any “fierce advocate of equality” could think otherwise…
Does Obama’s stance in favor of repeal [of DOMA] mean that he believes the federal government should recognize same-sex marriages? Does he also believe that, say, the state of Alabama should recognize a gay marriage performed in Iowa? If so, what is the practical difference between this position and just saying in plain language that gay marriages ought to be legal and recognized in all 50 states?
Second, a POZ online poll shows that 60% of the readers of that site don’t feel that the Obama administration has made HIV/AIDS a high enough priority. As of right now, I cannot think of a major thing the Obama administration has done except to get his act together, put a couple of people into positions, and offered to expand PEPFAR (which there’s some controversy over an unfunded mandate there).
Third, there’s the Lt. Dan Choi situation. Choi came out on the Rachel Maddow show and was then sent a letter from his employer stating that he would be terminated. “Obama to fire gay soldier” is the headline developing. But Obama has to go through Congress to change the law, you might say. Or, he could put a stop on discharges pending review of the law.