Focus on the Family always wants to raise money – and it’s favorite patsy for its fundraising emails is the LGBT community. I’m sure they had a fundraising letter all ready to go out yesterday just in case the Supreme Court in California had struck down Prop 8. I’m sure the email was filled with lies – with hair-on-fire, sky-is-falling rantings about how marriage equality will bring about Armageddon, hair loss and weight gain.
Instead, as we know, the California Supremes upheld Prop 8, so they had to go with fundraising letter, plan B. This one is meant to scare the money out of wallets by screaming about how President Obama is going to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act just any day now. When that happens – all hell breaks loose:
- Some stateseven those with pro-marriage constitutional amendments – will be taken to court by same-sex couples seeking recognition. Those states will face a more difficult legal situation if DOMA is repealed.
- Your federal taxes will begin paying for benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees who identify themselves as homosexual, and President Obama is likely to order Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs to begin immediately issuing benefits to same-sex “spouses” throughout the nation. As a result, nearly insolvent programs will be further weakened by deficit spending.
Oh, gracious, those horrible queers might get legal benefits, just like other human beings. The horror!
To prove this, FotF produces a paragraph from Obama’s campaign site pledging to repeal DOMA:
“I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act — a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does.”
They even trot out as proof a link to the current White House Web site where they say we’ll again find Obama’s support for repealing DOMA.
It’s really too bad that it’s not true. The link they provide will indeed take you to the White House’s Web site where it talks about “civil rights” issues. There you’ll find Obama’s pledge to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and voices his support for “full civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples” and his opposition to “a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.” What’s missing? There’s no mention at all about repealing DOMA. None.
According to Lorri L. Jean, the Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, in an open letter to Pres. Obama, it used to be there (FotF’s footnote says the reference was there on April 2, 2009), but no more:
Your commitment to repeal DOMA has been removed from the White House website. Your promise to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” was removed and then replaced with a watered-down version.
That won’t stop the con-men at FotF from lying to its constituents about what Pres. Obama intends to do about marriage equality. They’ll continue to raise money off our community’s backs and continue to bear false witness against us. That’s really no surprise.
What is a surprise is how the White House has treated the LGBT community. After coming on strong and declaring himself a “fierce advocate” for LGBT rights, Pres. Obama has not just walked away from our community, he has run as fast and as far away from us as possible. We’re no longer on the guest list. He’s just not that into us anymore and won’t return our repeated phone calls and texts. The LGBT community will soon be branded as Obama’s stalker – a spurned lover who can’t seem to take no for an answer.
Certainly, our community is no stranger to this kind of wining, dining, and ditching. We’ve been here before (remember how Bill Clinton broke our hearts) – but this time, we truly had hope that Obama would not abandon us when the heat was on. But, he too, has proven to be a campaign trail friend – saying what it took to get into office and leaving us out in the cold when it mattered.
So, the lies go on – from places we expect, like FotF – and places we had hoped would be different this time.
In the end, I do not despair. Instead, it is time for our community to pick ourselves up yet again, dust ourselves off, and continue our march toward freedom. No one, not FotF or even Pres. Obama, will prevent us from winning our full civil rights. Their lies make the task more challenging – more daunting – but we shall overcome – someday.
Keep the faith.
Whosoever founder and Editor Emeritus Rev. Candace Chellew (she/her) is the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians. She earned her masters of theological studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, was ordained in December 2003, and trained as a spiritual director through the Omega Point program of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She serves as the spiritual director of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C., and blogs at Motley Mystic.