miércoles, 9 de mayo de 2012

Obama, gay marriage, and why this should not be a big deal.

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"At a certain point I've just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."

Those were President Obama’s word today, during an interview with ABC. It’s not precisely a ringing endorsement, but it’s an endorsement nonetheless. And a pretty big deal if you consider he’s the first sitting U.S. president to publicly support gay marriage.

But just the fact that his words have created such uproar should be enough to prove that we still have a long, long road ahead of us. 

This is not about Barack Obama. It’s not about the political ramifications of his words. It’s not about Biden, either, who said pretty much the same thing a few days before. It’s not even about Mitt Romney, who, after President Obama’s words came out and said: “I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman." 

No. This is not about them. This is about the millions of people who share their lives every day, go through the ups and downs, just like we do, but don’t get the same rights because their partner happens to be a person of the same sex. This is about their families and friends, and what they have to go through every day. This is not about politics. It’s about people.

People who live their lives just as we do. Who go to the store, walk the dog, train at our gym. Have kids. 

I recognize that what happened today is a step in the right direction. I know how the world works. I understand that public perception is everything, and that no one should expect such a controversial issue to be settled quickly. 

It just makes me sad.

Because every second that we spend discussing President Obama’s words, or Romney’s statement, is one more second we spend trapped in an outdated way of thinking. It’s another second where this is still an issue because we fancy ourselves different. 

When we can look at this without sentimentalism, and consider just the practical aspects of what two people living together should be able to share, then that’s the day we are truly equal. When we no longer see a difference, then that’s the day the world is a better place. When the word marriage is just one word and the phrase “gay marriage” disappears from our vocabulary, that’s the day this battle is won. 

That’s the day we’re fighting for. And today, even if this looks like a step in the right direction, it seems to me as if that day is very far away.

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