MSNBC: Obama Held To Higher Standard On Gay Marriage Since He's Black
MSNBC contributor Keli Goff says President Obama is being held to a higher standard by gay Americans because of his race. Goff compares the way Obama is being treated by gays to the way they treated Bill and Hillary Clinton. The following is from her rant on MSNBC's "Dylan Ratigan Show" today.
Goff says if you are holding Obama to a tougher standard it may be because you don't trust him. And if you don't trust him, you're racist.
President Obama has done more for gay and lesbian Americans than any president in history. Not only has he appointed more openly gay elected officials than any other president he called on the Department of Health and Human Services to order hospitals to permit visitation and decision making rights for gay and lesbian couples, one of the primary concerns of LGBT couples unable to marry.
He signed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and ordered the Justice Department not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. His administration even sought for protection of gays and lesbians in other countries.
I would be hard pressed to rattle off an equally long list of accomplishments the president has enacted on behalf of any other minority group, including black Americans. Yet he faces endless criticism from LGBT activists for not embracing the word marriage publicly. He supports civil unions, meaning his position is in line with half of Americans.
What's troubling about the criticism he has endured is that it indicates that President Obama is being held to a different, tougher standard than other leaders. For instance, it was his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton who signed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and the Defense of Marriage Act measures Obama has helped dismantle in his first term. And yet Hillary Clinton enjoyed wider support among gays and lesbians during the 2008 primary. The suspicion that then-candidate Obama faced amongst some gay voters appears to have carried over into his presidency.
The suspicion i'm referring to is the distrust that some members of the gay community have towards African-Americans. Black Americans were infamously blamed for the passage of Prop 8 in California. Only studies eventually showed that it wasn't black voters that were responsible for the passage of Proposition 8 but religious voters in general.
The myth that all black people are homophobic existed before Prop 8 and has lingered since, despite high profile examples to the contrary, from Congressman Rangel and Rev. Al Sharpton, to civil rights legends Julian Bond, Congressman John Lewis, and Martin Luther King's widow Coretta. There are plenty who have demonstrated support for LGBT rights. President Obama is now one of them.
Is there room for him to evolve? Absolutely. But he's not the only one who has room to improve when it comes to tolerance. His critics in the LGBT rights movement can also learn a thing or two about tolerance and patience. Lesson number one, can start with asking themselves the question: Are you holding the president to a tougher standard because deep down inside you don't really trust him? And if the answer to that question is yes, perhaps the next question you should ask yourself is why? Dylan.