So President Obama has finally done it: “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”
Overdue for some, challenging for some and greater increase of their visceral disgust in others.
What this means in terms of actual legislation, change of laws, acceptance back into families, additions to story-lines in children’s books, teen novels or TV shows is yet to be seen. Though the commentariat is fully at predicting:
Jonathan Rauch: Brookings
Three Right Wingers
Wall Street Journal Readers
Forbes: 5 Reasons
Generationally, it’s been clear for some time,that couples hanging out together, whatever their looks, or preferences in privacy, are simply part of everyday life. If they are best friends at 17 and 19 why shouldn’t they be able to cohabitate, marry and divorce, bring up children, go to PTA meetings, care for each other in old age as they get older? To think otherwise can only be explained by the weirdness of being brain dead.
Of course this tolerance didn’t arrive simply because of youth itself. The young can be notoriously intolerant, as the recent movie Bully shows, or any middle school teacher can tell you from the epithets thrown around the school yard.
It arrived because of decades of insistence by brave souls who were willing to take on abuse by saying publicly that they were gay; decades of public display of togetherness and numbers in parades and demonstrations; decades of people telling their families and co-workers that they were gay, they loved someone with the same equipment as themselves. Decades to be able to understand that love and heartache were pretty similar, regardless. Decades to realize how many important, culture shaping people were gay. Decades of individuals and companies instituting their own changes in perception of what is normal. A management team realizing ‘We need this programer, or that designer, for her skills, his talent, regardless what is done is places we don’t want to know about.’ Soldiers realizing that reliance on one another in danger did not stop because of the precise person another loved.
In this case, as Biden, Duncan and finally Obama have spoken publicly they are following many other political leaders who themselves have come from constituencies that are changing. Attorneys General in many states are women; it goes without notice now. CEOs of major companies are women. CEOs are gay. Senators and Representatives are gay. Beloved teachers and mentors are gay. It’s a good thing more voices are added to the chorus: the times are a changing..the old road is rapidly aging….
Now, for my part, if only some energies that have advanced both racial and sexual rights, the organizing, the militancy, the personal testimony, the incremental and major changes, would be released to work on climate change, on the right to live itself — before it is too late. Civil Rights will mean little in world wide water wars — too much rain, too little rain, cities sunk beneath rising seas, populations pushing up against each other trying to survive.