Pity President Obama. He’s done more, more quickly, for gay people than any president in history but it’s clearly not enough. The leadership, the old heads, are trying to restrain and redirect their people. But gay Americans have imbibed the heady rhetoric of equality — not just any equality, they are the civil-rights movement of this century.
How can they be content with a president who on the one hand orates that he will end “don’t ask don’t tell,” but on marriage says only, obliquely:
”Are we a nation that can transcend old attitudes and worn divides? Can we embrace our differences and look to the hopes and dreams that we share? Will we uphold the ideals on which this nation was founded: that all of us are equal, that all of us deserve the same opportunity to live our lives freely and pursue our chance at happiness? I believe we can; I believe we will. (Applause.)
And that is why — that’s why I support ensuring that committed gay couples have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country. (Applause.)
And I’ve called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act. (Applause.) And we must all stand together against divisive and deceptive efforts to feed people’s lingering fears for political and ideological gain.”
Calling on Congress? Words, words words. On DADT, the old heads know: This means the field will be free to use the military, the way that public schools are being used, to reshape the culture of the nation.
But it’s not enough, no longer enough. The leveling wave of equality demands more, more, more, from government.