During the election last year, we were reminded again and again that Barack Obama was in the vanguard on gay rights, while John McCain was incredibly anti-gay. Nevermind that both candidates had basically the same position on gay marriage: they were against it.
When Obama became President, many liberals and not quite a few Republicans believed that he would advance the cause for gay rights. So far, he hasn't done that much. He has dragged his feet on allowing gays to serve in the military and basically defended gay marriage in terms that make you wonder if we elected the late Jesse Helms to the presidency.
And yet, as James Kirchick writes in Sunday's Washington Post, many liberals still maintain that the President is "secretly" supports them.
This is nothing new. As Kirchick notes, gay Democrats have long maintained that President Bill Clinton supported gay marriage and was forced into signing the Defense of Marriage Act back in 1996 to keep the Republicans from attacking him. Nevermind he then talked about it in radio ads and even counseled John Kerry to not support gay marriage in Kerry's 2004 campaign.
Many liberals tout the passage to work for gay marriage as well as serving in the military as the civil rights issue of our time. On that, I agree. But where I disagee is that while many of liberal friends talk about how this is the new civil rights struggle, in reality this is nothing more than partisan politics dressed up in civil rights garb.
As Dave Andesik notes, if a Democrat was spouting racist talk in public no one would say that such a person secretly supports a certain ethnic or racial group. But yet, when a Democrat opposes gay marriage, he is viewed as a secret supporter, while a Republican who has the identical position is not viewed with such kindness.
If this were truly an issue of human rights, then gay Democrats would demand that their Democratic politicians would support their cause of face the consequences. They would not only castigate Republicans, but their own candidates in the cause of the greater good of gay rights.
Which is why I think that the cause of gay rights will be impeded as long as gay leaders confuse party loyalty with human rights. As long as the gay community sucks up to Democrats that won't support them, we can expect a long hard road towards gay equality.