Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    02 Feb '11 23:15
    (Editor's note: LZ Granderson is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com and has contributed to ESPN's Sports Center, Outside the Lines and First Take. He is a 2010 nominee and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism and a 2010 and 2008 honoree of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for column writing.)

    (CNN) -- Now, I'm not so cynical as to believe Barbara Bush does not believe in the words she said in her PSA supporting marriage equality in New York.

    Maybe George W. Bush's daughter has always supported marriage equality and finally feels strong enough to say it; maybe she has gay friends; maybe she downloaded the first season of "Modern Family" and decided gay people are not as scary as she thought. Who knows? I'm just happy to see her use her platform to introduce civility and fairness.

    But I am also aware that her little revelation follows roughly 18 months of gay rights support coming from the mouths of some fairly surprising sources. People such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, former first lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain. I also see that despite Obama doing more for the GLBT community than any other president in this country's history, it only took a 22-second PSA to suggest he is still somehow behind the eight ball when it comes to gay rights.

    After all, if Bush's daughter supports gay marriage, what's Obama's problem?

    If Cheney supports gay marriage, what's Obama's problem?

    Now I'm sure sowing seeds of doubt was not Bush's intent when she agreed to do the PSA. On second thought, considering the amount of Cheney exposure she might have had over the years, I'm not sure if sowing doubt was her intention or not. But what I do know is that with each Republican-linked face that speaks out against discrimination based upon sexual orientation, the more President Obama, the supposed face of change, appears dogmatic and antiquated by comparison.

    The more the president remains silent or unchanged on the marriage equality issue, the more he runs the risk of alienating his base. However, if he speaks out the way Bush did in her PSA, he provides the GOP with the kind of sound bite Karl Rove can only dream about.

    "I support gay marriage"

    Yeah... that's not going to go over well in the Bible Belt. That's part of the reason why Mary Cheney, Dick's openly gay daughter, kept her opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment to herself until after her father was re-elected. It's the reason why 2012 hopeful Mitt Romney moved from being a supporter of GLBT rights when he was a state level politician in the 1990s to a position far right of that when he developed national aspirations

    It's a brilliant scenario for conservatives because once again the Republican Party is positioned to dictate the national conversation on a matter of importance. If the 112th Congress is unable to tout an improved economy or jobs within the next 10 to 12 months, a presidential candidate may be able to resurrect the gay marriage debate to help fuel a run at the White House. This is why in 1996, Illinois State Senate candidate Obama said, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages," but the 2008 presidential candidate Obama uttered no such words. In fact, despite all the good he has done, the best Obama can say about the all-important marriage equality debate is his opinion is evolving.

    But that's politics, and at the end of the day everyone who holds office -- even a man as earnest as Obama appears to be -- must walk this morality tightrope at some point. Everyone tables their own sense of right and wrong and uses rights, benefits and policies as bargaining chips for measures they want more -- or to save their own butt. A wise man once said, "you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain." That wise man was Harvey Dent. A short time later The Joker helped him prove his point. And somewhere there's a GOP presidential hopeful having a good ole laugh at the predicament Obama now finds himself in.

    Amazing what 22 seconds can do, isn't it?

    The Bushes and Cheneys are free to support marriage equality all they want, because their time in the White House is over and no GOP presidential hopeful wants to be too closely associated with them anyway. They can appear to have turned a new leaf when in reality they probably didn't have a problem with marriage equality in the first place. It just wasn't politically advantageous to say as much.

    So, Barbara Bush, if you're reading this, welcome to the party. And I do hope you stay a while. I would say "Better late than never," but the truth is marriage equality is one of those parties hardly anyone in your position shows up early for anyway.

    That's why despite all the great things he's done for the GLBT community, I don't expect to see Barry here anytime soon.

    (The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.)


    http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/02/02/granderson.barbara.bush/index.html?hpt=C2

    _________________________

    I thought Granderson did a good job capturing political nuances of the situation. Are Bush's remarks indicative of a national shift toward tolerance (and consequently away from conservative fundamentalism)? Should we plan to wait until after Obama's (potential) reelection before we see more progress for gays' rights?
  2. Standard member joneschr
    Some guy
    03 Feb '11 00:09 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    Are Bush's remarks indicative of a national shift toward tolerance (and consequently away from conservative fundamentalism)?
    I'm not very familiar with Barbara Bush, but I don't put much weight on her comments. She's not her dad. Her dad pushed an amendment to "protect marriage" in 2005.

    Now if George were on that video rather than Barbara, it would have been a little more interesting. But at the moment I feel like the author is jumping to false conclusions about a shift in GOP position.
  3. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    03 Feb '11 00:50
    Originally posted by joneschr
    I'm not very familiar with Barbara Bush, but I don't put much weight on her comments. She's not her dad. Her dad pushed an amendment to "protect marriage" in 2005.

    Now if George were on that video rather than Barbara, it would have been a little more interesting. But at the moment I feel like the author is jumping to false conclusions about a shift in GOP position.
    I definitely agree with you that this may not be the quintessential example of any sort of "shift."

    But, if I may, I would like to point out that I didn't see nearly as much emphasis on "protecting the sanctity of marriage" among 2010 Republicans' platforms. It may very well be that I was not adequately exposed to Republicans' campaign ads, but even those ads that did run along those lines seemed more implicit than explicit.
  4. 03 Feb '11 02:00
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    [i](Editor's note: LZ Granderson is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com and has contributed to ESPN's Sports Center, Outside the Lines and First Take. He is a 2010 nominee and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism and a 2010 and 2008 honoree of the National Lesbian and G ...[text shortened]... eelection before we see more progress for gays' rights?
    Here's a thought. Instead of talking about the government sponsering gay marraige ad nauseum, or any other human being that may wish to wed, lets take away the state involvment altogether!!!

    Of course, that may force them to deal with other issues such as illegals pouring across the border and spending twice the GDP, so I guess in that sense I'm just being a killjoy.
  5. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    03 Feb '11 04:35
    Originally posted by whodey
    Instead of talking about the government sponsoring gay marraige ad nauseum, or any other human being that may wish to wed, lets take away the state involvment altogether!
    So you would be supportive of federal validation of marriage between homosexuals?
  6. 03 Feb '11 06:12
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    So you would be supportive of federal validation of marriage between homosexuals?
    No, what I'm saying is that the state has no business validating anyones sexual/marriage preferences.
  7. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    03 Feb '11 06:45
    Originally posted by whodey
    No, what I'm saying is that the state has no business validating anyones sexual/marriage preferences.
    Until the state does withdraw from 'validating' heterosexual unions, do you think it should continue discriminating against homosexuals?
  8. Standard member joneschr
    Some guy
    03 Feb '11 06:52 / 1 edit
    Their business or not, the states have very much been the place the issue is being legislated. And I suspect that has a lot more to do with the lack of discussion at a federal level, from conservatives, than a change in conservative viewpoints.

    If conservatives are "winning" in the states (only 5 states legally allow gay marriage) and haven't had a lot of success at a federal level, why would they advertise their position. It's quite a bit like the authors observation of Obama; If it's not one of your higher priorities, and it's politically risky...
  9. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    03 Feb '11 07:24 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    No, what I'm saying is that the state has no business validating anyones sexual/marriage preferences.
    So then you would be opposed to a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual relationship? That would invalidate some peoples' preferences - should that be acceptable?
  10. 03 Feb '11 11:08
    Originally posted by whodey
    Here's a thought. Instead of talking about the government sponsering gay marraige ad nauseum, or any other human being that may wish to wed, lets take away the state involvment altogether!!!

    Of course, that may force them to deal with other issues such as illegals pouring across the border and spending twice the GDP, so I guess in that sense I'm just being a killjoy.
    "Spending twice the GDP"? Hahahaha.
  11. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    03 Feb '11 13:29
    Originally posted by FMF
    Until the state does withdraw from 'validating' heterosexual unions, do you think it should continue discriminating against homosexuals?
    We should replace marriage with two things: a "recognized" couple and a "recognized" family. Any two people can be "recognized" as a couple. Any person or persons with legal custody of a child are a "recognized" family. Couples would have a few (minimal) rights/privileges w.r.t. one another. Families would carry the bulk of the rights/privileges we normally associate with marriage.

    I don't think homosexual marriage solves the issue at all. In fact, all it does is open up more. For instance, if banning homosexual marriage is arbitrary and discriminatory, then telling Mormons they cannot engage in polygamy is also arbitrary and discriminatory.

    Many of the positive aspects of legally recognizing a marriage are tied to the presence of children. So the best solution is just to make that part explicit.
  12. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    03 Feb '11 14:05
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    if banning homosexual marriage is arbitrary and discriminatory, then telling Mormons they cannot engage in polygamy is also arbitrary and discriminatory.
    I agree. And government should not be involved in enforcing arbitrary and discriminatory policies. It should get out of the 'marriage business' and simply require people to honour legal contracts and protect people from being forced to do things without their informed consent. But until government withdraws from this whole business of "recognizing" and "not recognizing" unions it should, in the meantime, stop being arbitrary and discriminatory about it and stop discriminating against homosexuals and polygamists and - instead - protect them, where necessary, from discrimination.
  13. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 Feb '11 14:17 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by joneschr
    Their business or not, the states have very much been the place the issue is being legislated. And I suspect that has a lot more to do with the lack of discussion at a federal level, from conservatives, than a change in conservative viewpoints.

    If conservatives are "winning" in the states (only 5 states legally allow gay marriage) and haven't had a l vation of Obama; If it's not one of your higher priorities, and it's politically risky...
    Gay marriage advocates have had very little success on the federal level. The Defense of Marriage Act still stands, which allows states to deny other states' same sex marriages.

    At the state level is where they have had the success that they've had, mainly judicially (Mass, Cal, Iowa, etc.) Federal action to recognize same sex marriage is too politically risky (you alienate more than half of the electoral college votes by coming out in favor). The way it will happen, if at all, if be getting same sex marriage going in enough states so that people around the country see it can work and is no big deal.
  14. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 Feb '11 14:19
    Originally posted by FMF
    I agree. And government should not be involved in enforcing arbitrary and discriminatory policies. It should get out of the 'marriage business' and simply require people to honour legal contracts and protect people from being forced to do things without their informed consent. But until government withdraws from this whole business of "recognizing" and "not reco ...[text shortened]... exuals and polygamists and - instead - protect them, where necessary, from discrimination.
    I think polygamy is different. The benefits of marriage are largely financial and tax related. Allowing 4 or 5 people into one marriage gives that marriage an unfair advantage and the ability to take advantage of tax programs and other social rules that are meant to benefit 2 people.

    Could all three file as one "married filing jointly" unit? Could they all claim each other as dependents? Would their family health coverage have to cover all wives and all children? etc.
  15. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    03 Feb '11 14:24
    Originally posted by sh76
    I think polygamy is different.
    I don't. I live in a country where polygamy is legal. It does not infringe upon me at all. And I have no wish to see the government infringe upon polygamists in my name. I advocate an end to financial and tax related benefits for unions and the withdrawal altogether of government from "recognizing" them, except in so far as civil and criminal law is enforced.