If you haven’t done so already, take a few minutes to read Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s Geneva speech on LGBT rights as human rights. It is powerful, and important, and the administration deserves real credit for giving it.
It is so powerful, in fact, that it undermines the arguments Obama has put forward for opposing gay marriage.
For example, Clinton says:
progress comes from being willing to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. We need to ask ourselves, “How would it feel if it were a crime to love the person I love? How would it feel to be discriminated against for something about myself that I cannot change?”
Right. Gay marriage may not currently be a crime in the US, but many states have gone out of their way to proclaim it unconstitutional. And it surely is a form of discrimination against LGBT individuals.
Later, Clinton notes:
To the leaders of those countries where people are jailed, beaten, or executed for being gay, I ask you to consider this: Leadership, by definition, means being out in front of your people when it is called for. It means standing up for the dignity of all your citizens and persuading your people to do the same. It also means ensuring that all citizens are treated as equals under your laws…
Ah yes, leadership. An act of leadership by the Administration would mean being “out in front of your people when it is called for” and “persuading your people.” How can that NOT apply to gay marriage? I could be wrong, but in my heart i feel certain that the Obamas (and most other senior administration officials) support gay marriage. They are simply unwilling to bear the political costs of supporting it. They are, to be blunt, unwilling to lead.
That having been said, perhaps this speech signals that a new road has been taken, that we will soon seen (in a second term most likely) some true leadership on a human rights issue here at home: LGBT marriage equality.
The President’s speech today in Osawatomie, Kansas — where Teddy Roosevelt gave his “New Nationalism” speech in 1910 — is the most important economic speech of his presidency in terms of connecting the dots, laying out the reasons behind our economic and political crises, and asserting a…