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Sarah
Palin’s Average American Family Doesn’t
Support Mine

Sarah
Palin’s Average American Family Doesn’t
Support Mine

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OPINION: As Sarah Palin stood before the average American family Wednesday night, touting hers as one and the same -- her five-months-pregnant, 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, dressed in formfitting fabric appearing to almost accentuate her baby bump while the daddy-to-be, clean-shaven (unlike his rougher-looking MySpace photos), sat alongside adoringly, the picture of Abercrombie perfection -- for the first time, I saw what all this gay marriage fuss was all about.

OPINION: As Sarah Palin stood before the average American family Wednesday night, touting hers as one and the same -- her five-months-pregnant, 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, dressed in formfitting fabric appearing to almost accentuate her baby bump while the daddy-to-be, clean-shaven (unlike his rougher-looking MySpace photos), sat alongside adoringly, the picture of Abercrombie perfection -- for the first time, I saw what all this gay marriage fuss was all about.

I've always understood the practical reasons -- health care benefits, tax credits, custody rights -- but, to be frank, I've been a little perplexed by semantics. Marriage equality versus civil unions -- what's the big deal?

The big deal is it's different, and people like Sarah Palin view us as such. This is a woman who would use her daughter's out-of-wedlock, underage pregnancy as a way to shore up the pro-life vote by touting the decision to keep the baby. This is a woman who cut funding for underage mothers and for sex education programs only to put her daughter on a national stage -- not as an example of what happens when you cut those programs but as an example of how you can "take lemons and make lemonade."

This is a woman who, standing before thousands of "average American families" Wednesday night, lied through her teeth, telling the parents of special-needs children that they would have an advocate in the White House. Never mind that before she gave birth to a special-needs child of her own, Sarah Palin voted to cut funding for special education programs.

On and on, so on and so forth, Sarah Palin painted herself to be the picture of the average American family -- a woman who will fight for the rights of the steel mill worker, the stay-at-home mom, and the family with five kids struggling to make ends meet.

But Sarah Palin doesn't support my family. She probably would have back in the day, when we were made up of two working parents raising two kids in a dual-income household totaling around $70,000 per year. But that was before I came out of the closet and before my 17-year-old cousin (the victim of a brutal rape) made the painful decision to have an abortion. It was before I got kicked out of the Boy Scouts because they found out my father was a recovering alcoholic and an atheist -- never mind that the churchgoing troop leader knocked back a six-pack a night and beat his wife -- and long before grandma entertained a gentleman caller or three after the death of my grandpa.

That just screams "different" -- anything but average -- and as we've seen time and time again with the Republican Party, different equals change, and that just doesn't fly.

To her credit, last night Sarah Palin kept issues like abortion and same-sex marriage out of her speech. The press has dragged out her positions on social issues over the past six days, and it is clear Palin takes an extreme conservative stance on damn near all of them. That rumor CNN bandied about suggesting Palin supported equal benefits for same-sex couples was debunked when it was revealed she did so at the urging of Alaska's attorney general. When asked, she said she personally supports spousal benefits for heterosexual, married couples only.

But in parading out her family, flaws and all, she attempted to convince Americans that what we were looking at was the picture of the average American family, and everything else was different.

Call me crazy, but why does Sarah Palin's knocked-up, 17-year-old daughter have a right to marry the man who got her pregnant -- and man who, until the McCain campaign sicced their dogs on it, had a MySpace page boasting of his a desire to never be a dad, never be married, and spend his life "just fucking chillin'" -- but my boyfriend and I, who sit at home watching Netflix and talk about one day adopting a dog, don't? Is it semantics? Is it the fact that we're the same sex? Is it religion, fear, that Sarah Plain -- who touts that she has gay friends -- has never encountered what a gay family looks like? Or is it all talk meant to appease the religious right?

Sarah Palin got one thing right last night. The only thing different than a hockey mom and a pit bull is indeed lipstick. And perhaps I'm preaching to the choir here, but I sure as hell don't want a pit bull second-in-command for the next four years.

I can throw my weight behind Obama, and it might help. He doesn't believe in full marriage equality, but he gets us closer, and as far as I'm concerned, a step forward is better than a step back any day. But I'm now convinced more than ever that the best place for gay Americans to let their voices be heard -- where we can make the most noise -- is in California, stopping a yes vote on Proposition 8.

Now, I know everyone who isn't in California but is reading this is wondering why. I mean, sure, it'll be nice to summer in California while all of our gay brothers and sisters tie the knot, but what does it mean on a national level?

California has long been a leader when it comes to social issues, and as California goes, so goes the rest of the nation. If gay marriage sails through in California and the right wing loses its fight come November, states nationwide will soon follow suit. But if we fail, it will be years before we get the necessary support to legalize gay marriage once again.

Barack Obama may win the presidency, and that would make me thrilled. But so too could John McCain and his new conservative sidekick Sarah Palin, and if that happens, we need a victory this November.

Support the fight to stop Prop. 8 from passing in November. Whether it's with a check, volunteer time, rallying support, or simply taking that one on-the-fence friend aside and convincing him or her to go to the polls and cast a vote for equality, we can beat this.

And to Sarah Palin and her average American family, I wish you the best. Really and truly. I just wish you could do the same for me and mine.

Advocate Channel - HuluOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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