The state of our unions

The president mentioned gay and lesbian Americans in his State of the Union speech—for about eight seconds—but if you don’t have anything nice to say, Mr. President, please don’t say it at all!

BY Karel

February 06 2006 1:00 AM ET

“Ladies
and gentleman, the state of our unions is
screwed…”

I suppose a
president couldn’t come out and say that. But on
January 31 the president of the United States implied
as much in his obligatory State of the Union address
to both houses, the Cabinet, Supreme Court and invited
guests (except Cindy Sheehan, who was forcibly removed
—well, arrested—for wearing an antiwar
T-shirt. So much for freedom of speech).

The speech went
fine—the usual pablum, spin, partial lies, pledges
that never happen. All of that I’ll leave to
the political pundits. But then, about 50 minutes in,
he mentioned us for eight little seconds, eight
seconds that show once again that gays and lesbians are not
considered Americans by this administration or this
party, and that when Bush or the neocons say
“my fellow Americans” they simply don’t
mean gays and lesbians.

“They [the
American people] are concerned about unethical conduct by
public officials and discouraged by activist courts that try
to redefine marriage,” the president said as he
referred to his coup on the Supreme Court (Alito
and Roberts; enter 40 years of darkness in
America).

First of all,
why? Why on earth take a swipe at gays and lesbians when
it’s not on the political radar right now? Is he
gearing up for the midterms in 2006? Are the
Republicans going to make fags their whipping boys
again, hoping to galvanize public opinion?

And how can he
mix same sex marriage in with unethical conduct? In the
first line he says America is concerned about unethical
conduct by public officials—given the state of
affairs in politics, one could safely assume he was
referring to his own administration. Names like Karl Rove,
Tom DeLay, or Jack Abramoff come to mind when thinking
of unethical conduct. Hell, maybe it’s just me,
but the wiretapping of Americans without a warrant
sounds unethical—so maybe he was referring to
himself.

But then, out of
the blue, in comes the swipe at same-sex marriage.
Appeal to the base, shore them up, grab them—at the
expense of good, taxpaying Americans.

Well, first a few
facts. Mr. President, the state of our unions is
stronger than ever. We don’t need pieces of
paper—never have, really—to validate our love
or our coupling. While your heterosexual counterparts,
including many of your friends on the Hill, have done
all they could to destroy the institution of marriage
through cheating, lying, or divorce (heck, even your
brother, right?), we have formed families and unions
without your approval or your benefits. Marriage, to
us, isn’t about financial gain or keeping up
appearances; it’s about forging a bond that
many, including the government, don’t want to
even recognize. Yet we do it and continue to do it, and
nothing you can say or do will stop us. We, like
everyone else, love. And when we love, we couple. No
activist judge, poll, or vote can change that.

We’re
winning more and more, and you can’t stop it and that
scares you. As I sat in mediation in my wrongful-death
lawsuit just last week, the week of January 23, 2006,
the lawyer appointed to be the mediator wanted to
thank me. For what? It appears my case has changed state
laws in some way, and his cousin, a lesbian, was able
to sue for wrongful death on behalf of her partner
because of my lawsuit. A year ago she would have been
thrown out of the suit. Now she’s in. I did that with
the help of attorney Michael Lotta and the second
district appellate court in Los Angeles. Activist
judges, I suppose, acting on behalf of those who need
it.

Tags: Commentary

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