Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A nod from the President...I'll take it!

While I was in synagogue yesterday for Yom Kippur, the President proclaimed the day "Family Day 2009." Amid the platitudes on the importance of strong families in keeping adolescents from substance abuse and electronic device overdose came a nod to us...same-sex couples raising children. Here's the quote:

American families from every walk of life have taught us time and again that children raised in loving, caring homes have the ability to reject negative behaviors and reach their highest potential. Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things.

We've heard Presidential rhetoric before. When Bill Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination for president in 1992, it was the middle of a family values war. Clinton's contribution in his acceptance speech was the following:

I want an America where "family values" live in our actions, not just in our speeches. An America that includes every family. Every traditional family and every extended family. Every two-parent family, every single-parent family, and every foster family. Every family.

At the time I was thrilled. He didn't mention us by name, but he didn't exclude us either. He said every family. I believed him. That was before the Newt Gingrich Congress of 1994 and a Congress that handed him the Defense of Marriage Act just before the 2006 election.

Obama is three years from reelection. It looks unlikely that he will get DOMA repealed before then. But he's willing to include us in the list of families. And when his administration defends the constitutionality of DOMA, it now makes clear that we make good parents.

It's not enough, but it's progress.


Little Rainbow Comics said...

I was happy too...baby steps...we're gaining some ground!

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

I agree with you “It's not enough, but it's progress.”

My name is Fr. Marty Kurylowicz, I came out publicly, as a gay priest to my parishioners in March 1997. Sparta, Michigan (Grand Rapids, MI). I did so because I felt a strong moral obligation to draw attention to the serious harm caused to very young children who grow up to be gay, who are raised in social environments influenced by antigay social and religious norms.

Next to Benedict XVI, Obama could be canonized today. I was so struck by Benedict XVI Christmas message 2008 underhandedly knocking homosexuals, transgendered people, and the fact the world community of people remained silent. I wrote a post about it for the blog I started the Thalamus Center Auschwitz - Christmas 2008 - Brokeback Mountain - http://fathermartykurylowicz.blogspot.com/2008/12/auschwitz-christmas-2008-flashback.html
So, through 2009, I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of world leaders who came out in support of LGBT people. Agreed it is not enough, but it sure is progress! Even Sarah Brown led the LGBT Pride Parade in London. I do not remember LGBT leaders being invited to the White House ever before or someone like, PM Tony Blair telling Benedict XVI it is time to rethink his thoughts about gay rights.

However, on another level I am glad to see the enthusiasm of the LGBT activists being strong and persistent.

I have been actively supporting Marriage Equality. After I came out in 1997, for some reason I could not do any more weddings in the Catholic Church. I felt hypocritical to do so that I was condoning the harm of denying marriage to a gay couple. And to do a marriage while some were denied would be a sacrilege in a building believed to be dedicated to the highest form of love known to humans.

Now in 2009 I have been supportive of Marriage Equality more fiercely, presently with Bishop Malone of Maine. The Roman Catholic hierarchy could not pass graduate course exams on human sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity or biblical studies. I know that they would all fail miserably, including Benedict XVI. I would like them to prove me wrong!!! Instead of educating people they speak out in ignorance and fear spreading hatred and violence that indiscriminately is severely harmful to all children. There just are not any civil laws to prevent them from doing this kind of harm, yet. This helps to explain why I am quite pleased with Obama when you compare him the hierarchy.

I am quite intrigued by the title of your book BEYOND (STRAIGHT AND GAY) MARRIAGE. I look forward to reading it.

With all best wishes, Marty