Snap Fact #196
President Obama Has Consistently Championed Equal Rights For Gays and Lesbians!
President Obama rose to the heights of moral leadership in declaring his support for full legal recognition and social acceptance of the marriages of gays and lesbians. Acknowledging that his position has evolved over the years, the President took the final step in his evolution. Previously, the President had led the reversal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” hypocrisy in the military, and had ordered the Justice Department not to enforce DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, on the grounds that he believed it unconstitutional. Newsweek depicted Obama as the first “Gay President,” on the cover of its May 21, 2012 issue. The controversial cover credited the President thusly because of his consistent championing of gay and lesbian rights during his term in office.

The paramount civil rights issue of our day is securing equal rights for gays and lesbians. Although public opinion has been shifting rapidly, “homophobia” - prejudice against gays and lesbians – is deeply rooted in Western culture, and especially in the United States. Thirty States in the Union have passed constitutional amendments and other laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. Earlier generations fought anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, anti-Catholicism, misogyny – prejudice against women – and even prejudice against left-handed people. Laughable as it now is, lefties used to be forced to write right-handed, within the lifetimes of many of us. 

More and more, scientists recognize that homosexuality is a genetic trait, as is race or gender, or left-handedness.  Homosexuality has characterized a percentage of the population of every society in history, and is found similarly in nature. It is the very essence of democracy to encourage people to be who they are, as long as they don’t hurt others. In a democracy, citizens freely celebrate who they are by birth and freely choose their mates, their religions, their occupations, their interests, etc.
Someday, people will look back on the widespread homophobia of our day and wonder how anyone could have held such prejudices. In our day, Mitt Romney typifies the mindless bigotry of so many. Not only does he voice his opposition to same-sex marriage, he advocates a Constitutional Amendment to the US Constitution to prohibit same-sex unions. So much for Romney’s advocacy of states’ rights! He would prohibit even his own State of Massachusetts from its legal recognition of same-sex marriages. 

Furthermore, Romney succumbed to pressure from religious fundamentalists and fired one of his senior advisors because he was gay. Another incident happened when Romney was in high school; he led a posse to bully a classmate whom everyone assumed was gay.  Confronted with the recollection of his high school classmates of the bullying which he led, Romney claimed he didn’t remember, and offered a weak apology if he hurt anyone – not exactly the kind of moral leadership one expects of the President of the United States. Romney missed his opportunity to condemn bullying or to defend fair treatment of all his fellow citizens. Mitt Romney’s bigotry is deeply rooted.

When we go to the polls this November one element that should weigh heavy on our minds is the character of the next president. Do we want a man who understands the fundamental values of the Constitution and religious teachings and leads the country down the path of respect and equality for all of our citizens; or do we want a man who’s ingrained prejudices prevent him from representing some of the people?