While I respect (though heartily disagree with) your decision to endorse “anyone but Obama” for the Democratic primary election, I was left dumbfounded by the extraordinarily archaic reasoning behind that statement (“Endorsements offered in state primary races,” May 16). Using President Obama’s recently declared support of marriage equality in the United States as a reason for which to vote against him is a telling endorsement of a bygone political and moral philosophy that will soon be looked down upon by history. I urge you to reconsider the qualities by which you judge candidates for endorsement.
Fighting to grant every citizen equal recognition under the law, regardless or race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status or, importantly for this conversation, sexual orientation, is a just and worthy goal for which a president ought to be lauded, not criticized. I applaud President Obama for his recognition that “LGBT rights” are no different than human rights, that a gay soldier is no less honorable than any other soldier, and that this nation’s discrimination against LGBT Americans is an ugly stain upon the history of a nation that was founded on the idea that all men (and presumably women) were created equal.
While you mentioned your disapproval of “gay marriage” (I prefer the term “marriage”) only in passing, I find it necessary to point out the power of your words. According to a 2002 study, 36.5% of all LGBT youth have attempted suicide while 58% of LGBT youth have considered suicide. The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network reports that 61% of LGBT youth feel unsafe in school. Words that contribute to LGBT discrimination – including yours – directly contribute to these sobering statistics. When LGBT youth are surrounded by hurtful comments, whether they be spoken by the Westboro Baptist Church, bullies in school, politicians, or written by their community newspaper, they cannot help but absorb them and develop a sense of self-hate that can easily lead to absolute tragedy.
And allow me to make one point: marriage equality ought not be the religious matter that so many conservatives make it. Those of us seeking marriage equality do so only in pursuit of the rights and advantages that come with legal recognition of marriage, including tax benefits, power of attorney, hospital visitation, parental rights and a whole host of other rights. In terms of love and commitment, gay and straight relationships have never been unequal. Those who oppose marriage equality on religious grounds need only recognize that they are free to define marriage as they see fit, but only for those who share their religion. If they wish for their vision of marriage to not be “dirtied” by equality, the solution is simple: repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and the authority it has in defining a national, sectarian institution of marriage. Marriage is not something the government – nor the prejudiced – should have the power to define.
I hope you reconsider your position.