Friday, December 19, 2008

Equality for Everybody?

If President-elect Barack Obama calls himself a "fierce advocate for equality" for gay people, why has he invited Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration? The choice of Pastor Warren signals that Mr. Obama may repeat the Clinton Administration's approach to gay rights. President Clinton, taking gay support for granted, signed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act into law and authorized the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' military policy.

Mr. Obama said he opposed the passage of Proposition 8 in California, which outlawed same-sex marriage. But he also opposes full same-sex marriage rights, demonstrating that he does not believe in full and equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. While Mr. Obama has said that Americans must "come together" even when they disagree on social issues, his choice of Rev. Warren suggests that gay people don't have a place in his vision for America, or are, at best second-class citizens.

Pastor Warren, who supported Proposition 8 in California and promoted its passage, asserts that "in the hierarchy of evil... homosexuality is not the worst sin," an admission that he thinks gay people are evil because they are gay.

He has said that allowing same-sex marriage is like allowing "a brother and sister be together and call that marriage" and added that he is "opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage." Pastor Warren thus compares same-sex marriage and homosexuality to incestuous relationships and pedophilia, which are crimes. He has also said that homosexuality is "not the natural way.... Certain body parts are meant to fit together." Would he invalidate heterosexual marriages in which the husband and wife engaged in sex outside of vaginal sexual intercourse?

Mr. Obama's choice of Rev. Warren for the inaugural prayer coincides with a declaration introduced by 66 countries in the UN calling for universal decriminalization of homosexuality. The US is the only major western nation that has refused to sign on, even though a Supreme Court decision has invalidated US laws against sodomy. Will the new Obama Administration maintain the Bush policy and refuse to have the US sign the declaration after Mr. Obama's inauguration?

The Green Party remains the option for those who believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people deserve all the rights, including marriage and the ability to raise a family that all other Americans enjoy. Support for such rights is enshrined in the Green Party's national platform -- unlike the Democratic and Republican parties.

Obama has asked Robert Gates to stay on as Secretary of Defense, not only continuing the Bush Administration's disastrous policy of military aggression around the world, but also the targeting of gay members of the armed forces for investigation and discharge. The Obama Cabinet appointments have proven disappointing to those who looked forward to genuine change when they voted for Barack Obama. Mr. Obama's invitation to Pastor Warren is especially frustrating for gay people who voted for him and contributed to his campaign.

For those who have had enough bipartisan retreats from promises of human rights and justice, the Green Party remains the party of real change in America.

The Green Party needs you help. Please send this message to anyone you know who cares about equal rights for all; and please support the party which will stand up for equal rights.

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