Pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s right up there with lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, apathy and anger. And thanks to it, I’m a big old sinner!
Yeah, I’m proud to be gay. But I’m also proud to be American, proud to be of Greek descent, proud to be my parents’ kid, proud of my nearly 25-year relationship with Kelly, and I’m really, really proud to be a dad. And this Pride season I’m giddy with … well, pride!
I was two-thirds done with my column for this month when something amazing occurred, something that made me burst with pride: President Obama announced that he has changed his mind and now fully supports same-gender marriage.
What a remarkable moment for our country and for our community: a sitting president, facing a tough re-election campaign, came out in favor of gay marriage. To me this showed great integrity and courage.
Yes, cynics will tell you it was a political move, something Obama needed to do to shore up the left wing of his base, for which this is an important issue. But they forget that because of this announcement, the presidential race in some key swing states has become a lot tougher for him.
I know that coming out for gay-marriage rights is a far cry from a stroke of the pen making it the law of the land. And naysayers will argue that more than five times as many states have laws barring same-sex marriage as do allow them – Utah among them – but the tide is turning. Marriage equality is very much a generational issue: older folks think it’s the end of the world; young people don’t understand what the big deal is all about. According to The Economist that’s true even among Evangelicals; the younger generations of the hallelujah crowd don’t care who marries whom.
What really thrills me about this all is how he came to his decision. One of the most eye-opening experiences for me about being a dad has been how much my children influence and teach me. Well, Obama credits his daughters, Sasha and Malia, with helping him come to support gay and lesbian marriages.
In his comments, the president said that during dinner, the first family discussed the very same topics that millions of other families around the world discuss every night at the dinner table – school and friends. Like many other kids in this country, the president’s daughters have friends with gay or lesbian parents. The girls couldn’t understand why these families were any different than their own, why their friends’ parents were denied the same rights the president and first lady enjoy. And slowly, the president began to wonder those same things.
So I’m proud of the contribution my family made to helping the president understand and finally support the equity of same-gender marriage. No, my kids don’t hang out with the Obama girls. We aren’t one of the families discussed over the dinner table at the White House.
But we’re doing our part by simply being a happy, average family – that happens to have two dads in it. By doing so, we help increase awareness that translates into support for gay/lesbian marriage, which in turn reflects in the polls. You may say our little family in Utah helped give the president some political cover to come out as pro-gay marriage.
And every other openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender person should also take credit. It’s only my theory, but I bet pollsters would find a correlation between support of gay marriage and actually knowing openly LGBT people.
So, what better time for the president to make his announcement than on the cusp of Pride. The conservative right is in the midst of a campaign to retake the word “gay” because they contend homosexuals cannot be happy. They argue we’re sad, sad people, who have stolen a positive word in order to bamboozle the world about our sorry lives. Never mind that no one has used the word “gay” to mean happy in 60 years.
The president is sending a message that gay men, lesbian women, and bisexual and transgender people are just like everyone else: happy, loving, supportive people, who deserve all the rights and privileges everyone else enjoys. I think we all need to send the man a thank you note!
So as you revel in Pride this year, please remember to celebrate the changing times, the evolution of society’s opinions, and the promise of a better, brighter and more equitable future for our community.
In other words, sin a little and be proud!