I was thinking about Obama mentioning gay marriage in the State of the Union. Of course, the thing is, that he didn’t mention it. He skated around the issue noncommittally, instead talking about equality, regardless of “what you look like or who you love.” The SOTU is the ultimate bully pulpit, giving the opportunity to stand strong on matters of principle and matters of conscience. Considering to status of DOMA in the Supreme Court, with the matter thoroughly out of his hands, POTUS has little to lose by re-establishing the position of the Administration. Frankly, his limp, post-facto support for gay marriage never included any indication of the steps that would be taken to make real progress. That dearth of progress is a shallow reward for the efforts of a community which had so galvanized itself in Obama’s support.
His nod to the LGBT community in the SOTU was only just barely that. He never used the word gay, and his only commitment to changing our lives only counts if we’re in uniform. One would never begrudge our brave service people the (relatively minor) expansion of benefits for same-sex couples, but they aren’t the only people who urgently need change. The Federal Government is the country’s largest employer, and doesn’t extend any health benefits to gay couples; now would be a perfect moment to include rights for same-sex couples in comprehensive immigration reform. Obama needs to stop worrying about what the GOP and the very thirsty Marco Rubio have to say. I think that’s the larger point: we’re into the second term – there are no real political consequences for the President for leading the nation, and standing up for his beliefs and stepping just left of center. I was hoping for some change this time around – weren’t you? What we were given instead is some watered down language from an ambivalent administration, and a long shot at the judicial overturn of DOMA – frankly no real progress from the President on gay rights.
Jared Bieschke is a certified Project Manager, etiquette specialist and calligrapher. He also owns J. Bieschke Events in Washington, DC, specializing in same-sex weddings and other life events. You can see more advice, ideas and “tips of the trade” on his website, www.jbieschkeeventsetc.com, Tumblr, Twitter and Pinterest.
Jared and his partner divide their time between Rehoboth Beach and Washington, DC.