Tag Archives: separate but unequal

Biden’s endorsement of same-sex marriage is not nearly enough

So Vice President Joe Biden today on “Meet the Press” said that he supports same-sex marriage.

When host David Gregory asked Biden, “You’re comfortable with same-sex marriage now?”, Biden replied: “Look, I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual [men and women marrying] are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. …”

That to me sure sounds like an endorsement of legalized same-sex marriage — full marriage equality for same-sex couples — in all 50 states, but the White House was quick to back-pedal and say that no, Biden actually still is “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage just as President Barack Obama is.

Whether Biden’s nationally televised endorsement of same-sex marriage is just a calculated political game of good cop-bad cop, or whether Biden was, at least in the Obama White House’s opinion, just shooting his mouth off again, I’m not sure, but in either case, I am not moved, perhaps especially in light of this fact:

MSNBC quotes a White House “aide” as having stated: “The vice president was saying what the president has said previously — that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to roll back those rights. That’s why we stopped defending the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges and support legislation to repeal it.  Beyond that, the vice president was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country.”

Um, no, Biden did not say that “he too is evolving on the issue” of same-sex marriage. He said, “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual [men and women marrying] are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.” He said “men marrying men” and “women marrying women.” He did not say, “Committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans.” He did not use such mealy-mouthed language that public-relations hacks love to employ, believing that they are word-magicians who are bamboozling all of us with their ingenius hocus-pocus. He was not talking about the separate-and-unequal, second-class, unconstitutional substitutions for marriage, such as civil unions and domestic partnerships. He was talking about same-sex marriage.

Obama’s pussy, trying-to-have-it-both-ways public political stance is that each state reserves the right to determine whether or not to institute legalized same-sex marriage, and he very apparently sees no problem with forcing non-heterosexual Americans to drink from different drinking fountains by offering them only cheap imitiations of marriage, such as domestic partnerships or civil unions, which he supports. Publicly, at least, he very apparently thinks that these unconstitutionally separate-and-unequal substitutions for marriage are A-OK. (He used to teach constitutional law, too. He truly must have sucked ass at that as much as he sucks ass at being president of the United States of America.)

This “states’ rights” “argument” is the fucking coward’s way out, and if President Abraham Lincoln had adhered to such cowardice as the “states’ rights” “argument,” slavery probably would have lasted a lot longer than it did. (Funny that Obama’s official kick-off of his 2008 presidential campaign in February 2007 had him mimicking Abraham Lincoln at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois:

Associated Press photo

Barack Obama is no fucking Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had balls. Big balls.)

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not nearly enough that Joe Biden supports same-sex marriage. He’s just the vice president. I and millions of other non-heterosexual Americans are to hope for Barack Obama to die or to otherwise become incapacitated, so that President Biden can fight for our equal human and civil rights, since President Obama refuses to do so? Is that it? Is that the kind of change that we are to hope for?

No, fuck Barack Obama.

Nothing short of his full endorsement of same-sex marriage in all 50 states could induce me to give him my vote in November or to give him a fucking penny toward his re-election.

Obama also has been a dismal disappointment as far as labor rights are concerned. Early next month, Wisconsinites will decide in a recall election whether or not to allow Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker to keep his job for his decision to try to destroy the state’s labor unions, a project that he apparently started immediately after his election in November 2009 (if not even beforehand).

(Walker claimed that the labor unions were making the state go broke, but he had had no problem giving the state’s plutocrats tax cuts. In bad economic times, you see, it’s the working class and the middle class who are to suffer even more — not the plutocratic elite, who, like on the Titanic, are the ones who get the lifeboats while the rest of us are to drown in the icy sea.)

In November 2007 at a campaign rally in South Carolina, Barack Obama said this: “And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself; I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America, because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.” (Here is video of that promise.)

Yet when Wisconsin became a battleground for the life of its labor unions in early 2010, when national media attention was focused on the state’s capital, where the fuck was President Barack Obama? He couldn’t find a comfortable pair of shoes? Despite his clear promise to stand up for — in person — “American workers [who] are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain,” Obama showed his face not once in Wisconsin. Not once.

How about the British Petroleum debacle? Obama sat on his hands as BP’s oil well in the Gulf of Mexico filled the gulf with crude oil for months in the summer of 2010, making it the largest marine oil spill ever. Clearly the corporate-ass-kissing Obama White House took a back seat to BP and to Big Oil in the environmental catastrophe.

Yet despite his colossal failures of leadership — and these are just three of them — the sweet-talking Barack Obama, who is as slick as the millions of barrels of crude oil that have filled the Gulf of Mexico, wants, even apparently expects, the money and the votes of gay men and lesbians (and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming Americans who want equal human and civil rights right now — none of this “evolving” bullshit), the money and the votes of the members of labor unions, and the money and the votes of environmentalists.

Barack Obama does not deserve this money or these votes. He makes promises and he breaks them. He asks you to put him or to keep him in power, yet once you do, he does not deliver for you, but tells you that in the future, in the future, in the future, he will use his public office for the public good.

You have absofuckinglutely no reason to believe that Barack Obama the sweet-talking and self-interested two-faced coward will be any more effective in a second term than he has been thus far. None.

(On a related note, when “Meet the Press'” Gregory asked Biden if the Obama administration would come out for same-sex marriage in a second term, Biden replied, “I don’t know the answer to that,” adding, “This is evolving.”)

You know, at least with Mittens Romney we would know what we were getting. The enemy clearly would be the enemy.

Which is worse:

Someone like Mittens, who at least is fairly up front about the fact that as president he wouldn’t lift a fucking finger to help non-heterosexuals achieve equal human and civil rights, that as president he would help further destroy what’s left of our labor unions and our middle class in order to further enrich the filthy fucking rich, and that as president of course he would side with Big Oil and other corporations over the environment — or — someone like Barack Obama, who explicitly or implicitly promises us progressives that he’s on our side, but then, once we’ve put him in office, fucks us over anyway?

And memo to Joe Biden: You also stated on “Meet the Press” today, “I think ‘Will & Grace’ probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has ever done so far.”

“Will & Grace,” Joe?

Really?

It’s a fucking sitcom, Joe. A fucking sitcom. One that ended six years ago this month.

That’s the best example that you can come up with to show how gay-friendly and how politically correctly accepting of non-heterosexuals that you are?

That’s like saying to a gay man, “I have a gay cousin in New York City. Maybe you know him!”

As well-intended as it might be, it’s better to say nothing at all than to reveal that you actually have no fucking clue about the historically oppressed minority group that you’re talking about.

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I am Barack Obama’s ex, too!

Fire and ice!

You come on like a flame,

Then you turn a cold shoulder!

Fire and ice!

I want to give you my love,

But you’ll just take a little piece of my heart…

— from Pat Benatar’s “Fire and Ice”

A younger Barack Obama and his former girlfriend, Genevieve Cook, the daughter of an Australian diplomat, are shown in a photo from the 1980s, when they were a couple.

It was interesting to read the remarks of one of Barack Obama’s pre-Michelle girlfriends about her experience of him in the 1980s. While I didn’t see that anyone else made the overt comparison, it certainly struck me that Barack’s modus operandi in love is the same fucking one that we’ve seen in his politics.

“His warmth can be deceptive,” Obama’s ex-girlfriend, Australian Genevieve Cook, wrote of Barack in her diary years ago, adding, “[Though] he speaks sweet words and can be open and trusting, there is also that coolness. …” AFP reports that Cook’s diary chronicles “how [Cook and Obama’s] romance grew and then cooled when the couple moved in together.”

Fuck. I’ve had the same damned experience with Barack Obama. He courted me madly but then became a cold fucking fish. Does that make me one of his exes, too?

I remember one of my first exposures, if not my very first exposure, to Barack Obama’s first campaign for the White House. When I was visiting San Francisco for the Castro Street Fair (no, that’s not a sex fair [not that there’s anything wrong with that…]) in October 2007, an Obama campaign operative gave me an Obama campaign sticker that had the rainbow morphed into the ubiquitous “O” logo:

I was happy to see a Democratic presidential candidate courting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and non-gender-conforming vote.

But I also remember that the campaign sticker fucking ruined my faux-sueded shirt. (Seriously — the adhesive never came off completely.)

Maybe that was a sign of what was to come.

Barack Obama, you see, despite his rather unequivical embrace of same-sex marriage in 1996, today claims that on the topic of same-sex marriage he still is “evolving.” Today, he refuses to advocate for legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, even though that is the right thing to do. Apparently he believes that to do so will cost him too many “swing votes.”

This issue has an awful lot of relevance to me. Let me give you a fresh example of how I have been relegated to a different drinking fountain because I am gay.

My same-sex partner and I are in our fifth year together. We consider ourselves to be, for all intents and purposes, married. We do maintain separate apartments (largely because both of us hate moving, and also largely because he doesn’t want to move to my city and because I don’t want to move to his suburb), but we are together on weekends and on holidays and on other days that we have off in common, and we speak on the phone every day that we are not together in person. And certainly, there are heterosexually married couples who, for whatever reasons (such as having jobs in different cities, states or even in different nations), see each other in person much less often than my partner and I do, but the validity of their marriages is never called into question — because they enjoy heterosexist favoritism.

Whether or not my partner and I have legal or social recognition of the fact that we consider ourselves, for all intents and purposes, to be married, this fact is our reality, is our truth, and as such, while recognition of our relationship from others is nice — and while such recognition, at least from our local, state and federal governments, is our pathetically and sickeningly unfulfilled constitutionally guaranteed equal human and civil right — it’s not essential for us to have others’ approval or recognition for us to know what we have together. We know that we are, for all intents and purposes, married; anyone who disagrees is a mean-spirited, fucking heterosexist, homophobic bigot who can go fuck him- or herself.

Recently, I claimed some “family” sick leave (time off for caring for an ill family member; in this case, for my partner) in my California state job. Whether I claim sick time for myself or for a family member, it doesn’t really matter, as it comes out of the same sick leave bank. There is not a separate sick leave bank for myself and for my family members.

My employer — the state of California, which should know much, much better — this past week mind-blowingly questioned whether or not my partner really is a family member. After all, my employer essentially stated to me, my partner and I do not have a domestic partnership. (The only legal protection that same-sex couples in California have, outside of such legally protective documents as wills and living wills, is the domestic partnership. [The marriages of those same-sex couples who married when same-sex marriage briefly was legal in California* remain legal, but today, all that same-sex couples in California have in terms of seeking state recognition of their partnership is the domestic partnership.])

My employer also, unethically if not also illegally, asked whether my partner and I live together full-time, and suggested (or at least implied) that because we don’t, my partner is not actually my family. Of course, California’s domestic partnerships, one of which my employer at least semi-faulted me for not having, don’t require that the two individuals share the same residence all of the time, and allows them to have two residences yet still be registered as domestic partners, so the invasively personal question was way out of bounds. And again, whether or not two heterosexually married individuals share the same residence all of the time never is used to determined whether or not their marriage is valid.

Sure, I told my heterosexist employer, my same-sex partner and I could get a domestic partnership, but to do so, of course, is to give tacit support to something akin to having to drink from a different drinking fountain or having to swim in a different swimming pool.

Real marriage, you see, is reserved for heterosexual couples. Non-heterosexual couples in the United States are lucky to get even second-class, separate-but-unequal marriage, such as a civil union or domestic partnership.

This bullshit is blatantly unjust and unfair in a nation that promises “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and “liberty and justice for all.”

If I were heterosexually married and stated that my wife were ill, or even if I just claimed to be heterosexually married and claimed that my “wife” were ill, would my employer have asked to see the marriage certificate? Would my employer have questioned the validity of my heterosexual relationship/marriage?

Fuck no, because of widespread heterosexism, even within the supposedly “progressive” and “liberal” California state government.

(My employer advised me, by the way, in the future to claim sick time for myself only, whether or not the reason for my use of sick leave was for me or for my partner. In other words, my partner, according to my employer, the state of California, is not my family because we have not bought into the separate-but-unequal institution of the domestic partnership. I have a real fucking problem with my employer dictating to me who is and who is not my family. Especially when California state government explicitly prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation.)

I still am torn on the subject of getting a domestic partnership. The legal protections that come with it are good, and all couples deserve such legal protections, but it still rankles me that in the supposedly “liberal” and “progressive” state of California, my partner and I, if we want those legal protections, are forced to drink from a different drinking fountain than the fountain from which heterosexual couples drink. It’s unfair, it’s un-American and it’s fucking wrong.

To bring all of this back home: Does Barack Obama give a flying fuck about any of this?

Hell fucking no.

He is, indeed, as Genevieve Cook described him to be: a cold calculator. He says what he figures he should say in order to get what he wants from you.

He lures you in with pretty promises, such as of “hope” and of “change.” He gives you a pretty rainbow sticker. Then, once he has your money and your vote, he leaves you high and dry.

Instead of delivering upon his relentless, ubiquitous campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” Barry for the most part has maintained the status quo and has told us dreamers of full equality for all that our dream must be deferred.

No, it doesn’t have to be deferred. It’s that Barack Obama lacks the character, the courage and the moral conviction to deliver upon what he promised (explicitly and implicitly, and it goes beyond much more than just same-sex marriage; it goes into such other areas as combatting poverty and the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots, and combatting the corporate thievery that is responsible for this growing gap, and ceasing the bogus warfare for the military-industrial complex, which is looting the U.S. Treasury while Americans go without adequate health care, higher education, environmental protections, etc.).

Barack Obama has found going along to get along to be the easier, more politically expedient route. He is a moral sluggard. He can trumpet what the right thing to do is — like a trumpeter on crack. He just can’t bring himself to actually do the right thing.

Which is why, like Genevieve Cook, I broke up with Barack Obama a long time ago.

I gave him hundreds of dollars in Round One. His sweet talk swayed me that he’d be a significantly more progressive president than would Billary Clinton, but he turned out to be just another Clintonista, a Repugnican-ass-kissing Democrat in name only. I’m giving him not a single fucking penny in Round Two.

I also gave Barry my vote in Round One. He made me regret that vote, so in Round Two I most likely will cast my vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

I don’t care that she can’t win the White House. I would much rather vote for the person I actually would like to see in the Oval Office than be punk’d by Barack Obama, the sweet-talking cold calculator, once again.

*The California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on May 15, 2008, that the state’s Constitution as it was written at that time guaranteed legalized same-sex marriage to residents of the state, so Proposition 8, in response to the state’s highest court’s ruling, wrote the prohibition of same-sex marriage into the state’s Constitution after the proposition passed narrowly on November 5, 2008, and became effective the very next day.

The window period during which same-sex couples could legally marry in California in 2008 — after the California Supreme Court’s ruling until the passage of Prop H8 — was less than six months.

My partner and I had been together for just over a year when the window for same-sex marriage in California slammed shut on November 6, 2008. While we consider ourselves essentially married today, it was too early for us to get legally married then. We wanted to know each other for longer than just a year before making such a serious commitment, a commitment that we take much more seriously than do many heterosexual couples who marry and divorce willy-nilly — and whose marriages’ validity is never questioned simply because they are heterosexual.

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