Obama, North Carolina, and Change: Is It the Age of Aquarius Yet?

Obama on Same Sex Marriage

If someone says to me, “I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?” I always, always choose to hear the bad news first. I’d much rather be unexpectedly surprised then immediately deflated. So, of course, I’m going to lay this jam-packed info jam session out Bad News, Good News style.

The Bad News: North Carolina Bans Same Sex Marriage…Again.

This week the bad news did indeed come first, with voters in North Carolina passing Amendment 1, the measure that will add language to the state’s constitution banning same-sex marriage and civil unions, as well as domestic partnerships. Same sex marriage was already illegal in the state, but this measure makes it super, super illegal and also unconstitutional. Take that, gays!

So what does that mean exactly? Basically, the law banning same sex marriage can’t be struck down in state courts. For the amendment to be reversed, 3/5 approval would be needed by both the state House and Senate, then voters would have to approve the measure. Or federal government could make gay marriage legal and cause Civil War 2 (hence, not going to happen anytime soon.)

Yeah, but how will Amendment 1 affect same sex families?

With the ban in place, all domestic partnerships in North Carolina will be at risk concerning the validity of agreements between non-married partners regarding finances, wills, property, non-biological parenthood, estate planning, and other contracts. That is because the constitutional language will now read, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.” Translation: No other type of partnership is legally valid. Period.

Now, in retrospect, this vote isn’t exactly surprising. After all, 29 other states have a similar ban, including all of the states in the South. As a refresher, here’s where things stand, amazing infographic courtesy of The Guardian.

same sex rights

But it’s worth noting how much attention the race garnered, with a wide variety of public figures weighing in, from Bill Clinton and President Obama to African-American and religious leaders split on the issue and starting meaningful conversations. And with a similar amendment battle about to strike in Minnesota, one can only hope these defensive measures are a collective, desperate Last Stand in the war on gay marriage. So get your Hate Partying over now, North Carolina, before you have to tell your embarrassed grandchildren about your actions 20 years from now.

NC Victory party against gays
Oh yes, they did. North Carolinians for the Amendment celebrate with a wedding-themed hate victory party. Via Jezebel.

The Good News: Obama Supports Same Sex Marriage (For Real)

There’s no question about it: As North Carolina proves, things are heating up in these United States over gay marriage.

And it got white hot on Wednesday when President Obama finally affirmed his support of same sex marriage.

In an interview with Robin Roberts on ABC, Obama said, “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.”
Obama and same sex marriage

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! And may I add: About time.

I have to admit, I was moved, no matter WHAT his motives were, and despite the fact that it was long-overdue, it was a really emotional moment when the news hit.

Now, on to the backlash!

Some are saying one reason Obama finally got out of the kitchen and on the right side of history on Wednesday is because he was feeling the heat. Others are speculating that his groundbreaking declaration in support of same sex marriage was a planned move all along, it just may have been hurried by Joe Biden’s comments of support for same sex marriage three days earlier. Still others are saying that what was presented as a Biden blunder may actually have been a soft launch of the President’s announcement. The bottom line is: It doesn’t really matter what the circumstances were, I’m just glad Obama has finally spoken up.

The fallout after the president’s announcement isn’t exactly clear, aside from some epically stupid remarks by Bristol Palin chastising Obama for being influenced by his daughters, and, somehow, the show Glee, and some typically wishy washy talk from Romney (He reversed his position of saying gay adoption was “fine” to saying he simply “recognized it” in a particularly painful example of avoidance.)

The real story here, as Jon Stewart pointed out, is the lack of bite from the conservative media (i.e. FOX News) and other Republicans.

Which is why I’m convinced even the rightest of the right wingers are beginning to realize they are in the wrong boat on this issue. (Oh Gee, I don’t know how you didn’t see this coming. *cough* *cough* completely obvious parallels with the Civil Rights Movement *cough* *cough*).

Even ‘ol sweatervest, Rick Santorum, can’t really articulate just what is so wrong with gay couples marrying in the United States. Just listen to his “argument” when he’s challenged by cuddly, toothless Jay Leno on the issue.

So despite a tough week real-laws-that-hurt-gay-families-wise, and a good week groundbreaking-Presidential-support-wise, I’m going to keep believing that, in some way, we’re moving in the right direction.

What do you think about Obama’s announcement? Do you think things are getting better or worse for LGBT families in America? Please share your thoughts!

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