Op-Ed: The US election seems to be getting embroiled in what it terms moral issues. Contraceptives and now gay marriage have been important issues. They may be relevant in 21st Century America but should they be election winners or losers? We think not. After all the USA in common with other Western countries has a whole range of other issues which need resolving as soon as.
Yesterday, May 9, 2012, Barack Obama was asked his opinion on Gay Marriage. It was always going to be one of those damned either way moments. The more liberal among America as opposed to the more traditional minded voters of the US made it a no win answer for the President, no matter what he said.
You have to admire him for daring to answer this question from the heart. Cynics will simply say that he was appealing to the liberal minded people of America but he really does not need to do that, does he? Surely most Liberals will be voting for him anyway.
The GOP continue to play the righteous saviours of America but they do not practice what they preach. Rick Santorum chose to view women and women's rights from centuries ago. He seemed unable to grasp women's opinions, these days. Mitt Romney edges away from answering uncomfortable questions, unless it is behind the closed doors and in the safety of a Republican meeting. Wouldn't we all like to be a fly on the wall then? Newt Gingrich followed the do as I say and not as I do moral attitude. As a confirmed womaniser his morals appear to be almost non existent.
Yet Mr Obama will feel the full force of right wing media and bigots in the US by agreeing to gay marriage. Should he care about such people? With what is looking more and more like a tight run election yes he must. He will need every vote possible to hang on to the Presidency.
Here is what the President has to say on the matter, "Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer: I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. I hope you'll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality: I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.
But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.
What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.
Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.
So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them."
Now you can slate Obama for taking his time to support Gay Marriage in the US but at least he has finally made the brave decision to do so. It has to be better late than never.
For this blogger it is hard to understand the hate directed towards a gay marriage in the US. A male friend who is a nurse married his gay partner, in the UK, last September. Having been long term partners for years it was a natural step for them. To the bigots it will of course be far from natural. For the couple it was the icing on the cake. It was a commitment to each other. Surely we should be happy for any couples who want to show their love for one another as a long term arrangement?
Perhaps now America can get back to the real election issues such as poverty, terrorism, unemployment, war, warmongering, the collapse of Europe and more.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog