In my latest column for Fox News’s opinion page, I write the bold, full-throated speech that I *wish* President Obama would make in support of same-sex marriage. Here’s an excerpt:
Too many young people in our nation are told they are worth less than their peers because of their sexual orientation. If one more young gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered teen commits suicide while I’m president, that’s one too many. I can’t do everything to make them feel whole and confident, but I can ensure that the laws of our land send a clear message that a loving, committed relationship between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is legally and morally indistinguishable from my own marriage.
I realize that in many states in our union, voters have gone to the polls to strike down marriage equality, going so far as to amend state constitutions to enshrine inequality. But we should never, we must never put fundamental rights up for a vote. This invites the very tyranny of the majority that our Founders warned against. Our constitutions and governing laws must be shining beacons of justice, not weapons to wielded otherwise. As a nation, we write our laws not to codify our ugliest instincts but to safeguard against them, to ensure that whatever private impulses we might have whether toward violence or discrimination are not amplified in the public square but tempered, our general welfare and common good protected. As president, I will always strive to reflect the collective spirit of America at its best, not succumb to the divisiveness and fear mongering that lurk in our darkest moments.
Please read the full “speech” here and share it — hopefully someday we’ll hear one like it.
With the Susan B. Komen Foundation’s pink ribbons tied up in knots this past week by a public relations disaster, and Republicans apparently convinced that global warming was simply an attempt by Al Gore to crack a joke, so-called “pink washing” and “green washing” are no longer as attractive to big businesses looking to varnish their public record. And so it was a convenient but very telling move when, just yesterday, the nation’s largest gay rights organization announced that Lloyd Blankfein would be its first “national corporate spokesperson” for marriage equality.
Mr. Blankfein, when not promoting the rights of same sex couples to wed, is better known for his role as head of Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street mega-firm that has made billions by divorcing families from their homes and retirees from their life savings.
My favorite part is when Blankfein says, “Equality is just good business.” This from the man who, in 2010 in the middle of a financial downturn that he helped create, took home $13.2 million dollars in compensation — or more than 266 times the median American household income of $49,445 for the same year. Put another way, in 2010, Mr. Blankfein earned more in a day-and-a-half than ordinary Americans earned in an entire year.
Oh, but you say, he’s running a successful business. Alas, Goldman’s 2010 earnings were down 37% from 2009 and in 2010, the firm paid $550 million to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission fraud suit charging that Goldman misled investors by selling misleading dud mortgage securities — betting against their own clients to make money on the housing market’s collapse. And in 2011, the Federal Reserve fined and rebuked Goldman for so-called “robo-signing” foreclosures, a mechanized process riddled with errors that wrongfully kicked millions of Americans out of their homes.
Meanwhile, pre-crash, Blankfein’s compensation in 2007 was a whopping $68.5 million. It seems inequality and injustice are very much the core of Blankfein and Goldman’s business practices.
But there’s no evil that cannot be undone by a You Tube video of a smiling, jacketless Wall Street executive, right?
Further rattled by the very popular, populist uprisings of Occupy Wall Street, it’s no surprise that Lloyd Blankfein is trying to repair his and his firm’s image by playing activist. And no doubt his support for marriage equality is both genuine and long-held. What is surprising is the willingness of the often disappointing but still modestly principled Human Rights Campaign to celebrate Blankfein as a gay rights hero when he has been so consistently and rightfully disdained as a villain on so many other justice issues of our time. I doubt that millions of gay families facing foreclosure are relieved that Lloyd Blankfein supports them being carried over the threshold of homeless shelters.
Here’s the clip from my appearance on the O’Reilly Factor, discussing the kid who approached Michele Bachmann to defend his gay mom.
Yes, folks, kids know injustice when they see it. And you better believe a kid growing up in South Carolina with a gay mom has seen some injustice against his mom and has an opinion about it.
Meanwhile…. why doesn’t anyone accuse this 13-year-old CONSERVATIVE of being coached??
Greetings all you well-wishers finding your way to my website via my O’Reilly Factor appearance this evening. Please post your comments here for all to see.
Here it the video we discussed:
For the record, those of you straight folks with in-tact families, do ya think your eight year olds realize what a mommy and daddy is? Then what on earth makes you think this kid isn’t aware of what it means for his mom to be gay — and aware of how politicians like Michele Bachmann are constantly attacking people like his mother?
Back in the day, I wrote a piece for the NYU Review of Law and Social Change entitled “Greasing The Wheel: How the Criminal Justice System Hurts Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered People and Why Hate Crime Laws Won’t Save Them” It was provocative then, it’s provocative now. And apparently it’s online. Check it out.
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