This week Atlanta, GA, Mayor Kasim Reed issued a press release showing his new found support for Marriage Equality. From the release:
“Today marks an important day as I announce my support for marriage equality,” said Mayor Reed. “It is well known that I have gone through a good bit of reflection on this issue, but listening to the stories of so many people that I know and care about has strengthened my belief that marriage is a fundamental right for everyone. Loving couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have the right to marry whomever they want. By signing this resolution, I pledge my support to marriage equality for same-sex couples, consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
Mr. Reed is a good mayor and dedicated supporter of President Obama. His “come to Jesus” moment seem to be more political than moral, however, much like the president’s shift on marriage equality.
When president Obama came out in support of marriage equality with Robin Roberts, it energized his gay base. Sadly it did not speak well about what could have been, had he not taken so long to get there, as discussed in “It Is Time For President Obama To Support Gay Marriage Now.”
For a black mayor and a black president to not have understood why gays felt like second class citizens is to deny their own reality and experience. While one can understand a slow walk on the issue or even not doing anything about it for political reasons, stating non-support in the past was likely a slap in the face that gays accepted for the lack of having no other options.
Bigotry is bigotry no matter who are the perpetrators. On this issue both Mayor Reed and President Obama were explicit, if unintentional, bigots, though most know where their morals were internally. If politicians would stop attempting to appease the small, but vocal, racists, bigots and false prophets and instead use their leadership position to educate, we would be in a much better place.
What is most important is that a lesson was learned this election cycle — all Americans matter. If the values, wishes and desires of all Americans are taken into account, irrespective of the economy or other factors, an election can be won. This will be the reason timid politicians will grow a spine.