Dustin Lance Black: My Obama Comments Were Misunderstood
By Jeremy Kinser
Originally published on Advocate.com May 01 2012 12:10 PM ET
Dustin Lance Black says an op-ed in which he appeared to criticize President Obama's record on same-sex marriage has been misunderstood.
Black, an Academy Award-winning screenwriter and longtime equality advocate whose play 8 has raised $3.5 million for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, wrote an op-ed, "Hollywood & Politics: Dustin Lance Black Blames Obama and Romney for the Mess of Gay Marriage” for The Hollywood Reporter. Black says he was bothered by the headline, written by a Hollywood Reporter editor, saying it is "inaccurate" and changes the focus of his article.
Black addresses a particularly scornful response posted on The Advocate's website from Melanie Nathan, a blogger and CEO of Private Courts, a human rights advocacy firm. In a blog post titled "A Letter to Melanie Nathan" Black writes:
"I was sad to see your review of my piece from last week’s THR as I have great respect for you and your work. I can only imagine we agree on far more than we disagree.
"I regret that many are interpreting my column as a call for our community not to vote for President Obama. That is not my position. I support our President now as I did four years ago when campaigning for him door to door in Nevada and Virginia. My hope is that our President will continue to increasingly embrace our community so that we might continue to fully support him.
"Like you, I too was bothered by the headline THR wrote for the article as I feel it was inaccurate and shifted focus off the critical point of the piece — that as far as marriage equality goes, we don’t have a 100 percent candidate, but that one man could be encouraged to join us (Obama), and that the other is likely forever hopeless (Romney).
"I believe it is clear to most Hollywood Reporter readers that my piece hits Mitt Romney far harder than it does our President. Sadly, those observations were left out of your review, including this: 'Barring a last-minute revelation from the Latter-day Saints prophet that gay and lesbian families should be treated equally, many will be left to bet on HOPE again. It’s simply the safer choice when future heaven babies threaten to rule federal marriage policy.' I believe most readers know that 'betting on HOPE' on this issue means voting for President Obama.
"The hypothetical you do focus on comes much later in the piece, stating that if our President does not eventually land on the side of full equality we must be willing to abandon our support. Let me be clear, in no way is this an outcome I hope to see become a reality and I will continue to work to tell our stories and humanize our struggle to insure that it doesn’t. What I never want to see is our vote being taken for granted. Our vote is our voice. United, it is our power.
"If you have a moment, I would love to talk with you on the phone about this. I believe we are better united in our efforts than divided."