Letting Obama build coalitions


The Rev. Rick Warren … community, get a grip! Or, to put it more diplomatically, give the president-elect room to create a coalition that will allow him to pursue his campaign promises to this community, who overwhelmingly supported him and of whom he is “a fierce supporter” (his words).

This can be viewed as a misstep or a shrewd political move, depending on how much you trust the candidate you worked so hard to elect. So do you want to believe you were correct in your support or that you were fooled? This is a trust issue.

Personally, I believe this is a small issue. One minute at the inauguration will not amount to political change, but instead leave the impression that the man who promised to bring us together is making an attempt to show those who didn’t support him he’s reaching out to them. President-elect Obama’s move might result in our president, when pushing legislation to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or pass the nondiscrimination bill, being able to go back to that group and say, “I know you’re against this — please voice that concern publicly — but I’d appreciate it if you did not lobby so hard against this legislation that is very important to me.”

And just a side note, Obama and Warren are friendly. Haven’t you known homophobes and, through your friendship, changed their views? Think parents and friends here. Any of us who have fought for gay rights have been there. In this city, we have domestic-partner benefits because not one but two very public homophobes changed their views as a result of personal relationships.

So what’s more important, sucking up what will most likely be the last gasp of homophobia on a national scale and, at the same time, ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and stopping discrimination against LGBT citizens in the entire nation — or getting our way now? This last gasp will be viewed similarly to Alabama Gov. George Wallace standing in the school doorway blocking integration and, like Wallace, will give our community a moment in history to point to as an example of oppression and mark its end on a national level.

So if you’re still angry and feel a need for compromise, let me offer two. On Inauguration Day, there will be official inaugural balls, and an LGBT ball is in the planning stage. Why not have the Inaugural Committee designate that as an official ball and, for the first time in history, have the president and first lady stop by? That would send a louder signal.

Or have a religious figure from the LGBT community give the invocation at the inaugural breakfast or lunch? Two names come to mind: the Rev. Gene Robinson or the Rev. Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Church.

Shouldn’t we be constructive rather than destructive?

Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at [email protected].