An Open Letter to President-Elect Obama
Dear Mr. Obama:
Itâ€™s happening again. That sickening feeling. That combination of incredible joy with gut-wrenching anguish. Every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender person in America â€“ and our friends and supporters â€“ felt it on Election Night, 2008. The election of the first African American to the presidency of the United States. And not just that, but a man of your caliber, a man who would be extraordinary under any circumstances. What a joy!
And then that crushing agony â€“ the passage of Prop 8. We had so much hope that we would win at the ballot box, that our marriages and families would be protected. That our basic humanity would be recognized by the voters of California.
Well, we know how all that turned out. The Obama Dream and the Prop 8 Nightmare.
So imagine our surprise â€“ and horror â€“ when you named one of the leading architects of the Prop 8 campaign as the minister to deliver the invocation at your inauguration.
And now we have a man who has actively campaigned against us, who has publicly equated our relationships with incest, bestiality and polygamy, and whose church does not allow gay people to become members (wow!) providing the spiritual leadership for the ceremony to install the new president?
How sickening is that?
Why on earth should we have to take this?
(And for all of Warrenâ€™s recent insistences that he â€ślovesâ€ť gay people. Stop, already! You do not, Mr. Warren. Weâ€™ve all lived through that love-the-sinner-hate-the sin BS. Itâ€™s homophobia wrapped up with a pink ribbon, but it stinks just as much as the in-your-face kind - even more, for all its dishonesty. We are not sinning when we love each other. We are loving. Why on earth are you so threatened by that?)
In your immediate response to the issue, Mr. Obama, you seemed surprised by the intensity of the GLBT reaction â€“ stating that you clearly support full equality for the GLBT community.
In all due respect, Mr. President-elect, you do not.
Do you imagine for an instant you would have had someone deliver the invocation who had a track record of being, say, anti-Semitic? Or someone who had a history of using the â€śN-wordâ€ť â€“ publicly and without remorse? What is it about allowing such a platform to a rabidly homophobic anti-gay activist that sits well with you? Why are you comfortable with this choice?
In a parallel situation, would you be comfortable explaining to your children, say, why a man who hates you for being black is saying the national prayer before you take office? Do you have any suggestions for how lesbian and gay parents should explain this to their children? I have kids. I havenâ€™t been able to speak about this to them for the five days since it was announced. Our family was thrilled by your victory. And now? I donâ€™t know what to say to my kids.
Once again, you say you support full equality for the GLBT community, yet you say you believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Most of us during the campaign accepted that rhetoric from you. But you know what? Since Prop 8â€™s passage, weâ€™re not going to take that anymore.
Why donâ€™t you believe that a man should be able to marry the man he loves and the same for a woman? Why donâ€™t you believe that the children of LGBT parents deserve the same protection for their families that marriage provides the children of heterosexual marriages? Why donâ€™t you accept and affirm that our relationships are equal? You say you support our full equality and yet you do not support full recognition of our relationships under the law. Itâ€™s time you put an end to that charade. Look inside, Mr. Obama. Figure out what it is that doesnâ€™t allow you to support our full equality.
And then deal with whatever it is. If you do, youâ€™ll be able to do the right thing with the Warren situation, and you will understand why this is so offensive to us.
You really donâ€™t get it: we were hurt, badly, deeply, on Election Night. Donâ€™t put us through the same garbage â€“ which will be so much worse because itâ€™s coming directly from YOU â€“ on the day of your inauguration.
The word in the media is that your team is hoping this will just go away as an issue. That weâ€™ll be good little boys and girls and just suck it up.
But we will not let this slap go by without a response. We know what lies ahead when weâ€™re silent in the face of bigotry.
And if you donâ€™t do the right thing? If you donâ€™t rescind the invitation?
Those attending the inauguration in Washington should turn their backs on the stage as Rick Warren delivers the invocation. Everyone in the crowd should turn their backs â€“ those who support GLBT equality, those who support a womanâ€™s right to choose, those who support public policy based on science and not an individualâ€™s religion. Those who want to see change in America. We will be turning our backs on the heavy-handed bigotry weâ€™ve been subjected to from the likes of Warren. That bigotry has no place at the table.
At public celebrations around the country â€“ in San Franciscoâ€™s Civic Center, and any other location where the ceremonies are publicly broadcast - people should turn their backs on Rick Warren if he speaks.
We have no problem with everyone having a seat at the table and working out our differences. We do have a problem with blatant bigotry directed our way under any guise, much less the guise of organized religion. We have been hurt, maimed and killed in its name.
We are so proud of this election, and the hope your presidency represents. Donâ€™t make us suffer again, the way we suffered on Election Night. Do the right thing, and we can all celebrate with nothing but joy on the day of your inauguration.