Today is May 9, 2012. I have had the pleasure of hearing President Barack Obama announce his support for marriage equality. I feel a since of esteem and overwhelming respect and joy at this time. Back in the early years of his presidency he was asked about his stance on marriage equality. President Obama at that time noted that he believed marriage was between and man and a woman, however, he was evolving. Throughout his presidency he has included same-sex couple and families to the White House for various events. As the years progressed he disbanded the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell legislation as well as gave the Attorney General the directive not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In the course of four years he has let his actions show his overwhelming support of the SGL community.
As a SGL African-American man this day is very important. I have lived to see one President all but overlook the HIV/AIDS epidemic and not even utter the words of the virus while many of mothers, fathers and partners were burying their loved ones. Another President signed into law the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell legislation as well as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell resulted in service men and women being forced back into the closet as well being discharged from the service because of their sexual orientation. DOMA is a federal law signed in September of 1996 that defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.
The President noted in his statement of support that he has evolved because of conversations with his wife and children. He noted that he has come to know same-sex families in committed relationships up close and personal. These individuals were no longer “those other people” but people with whom he work, became friends and those that serve in the armed forces he command. As SGL men and women and our heterosexual allies, we must take the time to converse and take a public stance on this issue to assist others evolve as well and not be shy about taking a stance. Evolution is a great thing for it means to develop, grow; progressive change. Evolution is a very positive process. While this announcement by the President does not give every SGL man and woman the ability to marry the person they love it does make a HUGE statement on numerous levels to not only the citizens of this country but to everyone on this earth.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort or convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.