'It's Halftime in America'

By EDITORIAL  |  February 8, 2012

Banking on the support of a large swath of the top 40 percent, the GOP has been able to hoodwink enough of those in the bottom 60 percent into believing that if they vote Republican, their jobs and lives will be safe.

Eastwood threw a monkey wrench into that formulation: don't fight each other; work together.

If Obama's successful State of the Union was a lesson in how to resell responsible economic nationalism to Americans, then "It's Halftime in America" was an equally effective video poem carrying the same theme.

What makes this a man-bites-dog story is that, in a quiet and unspoken way, a big corporation is acknowledging its debt to the federal government and the American taxpayers. That's what's driving Rove crazy.

Ask Michelle

The San Francisco–based Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals this week rejected the 2008 voter initiative known as Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriages in California.

This welcome judicial action increases the likelihood that the US Supreme Court will be called upon to issue a definitive opinion on same-sex marriage sometime in the near future.

Even if the Supreme Court were to decline to hear the case, or if it chooses to rule against same-sex marriage, the movement to equalize marriage rights for all will not lose steam.

More than 70 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 support same-sex marriage. These are potent demographics that all but assure that, one day, gay and lesbian couples will enjoy the same marriage rights as heterosexuals.

But until that day dawns, an entire generation will be living as second-class citizens unless they reside in the handful of states, such as Massachusetts, that recognize same-sex unions.

The Ninth Circuit was clear and concise in explaining its decision: "Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status of human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples."

In even plainer language, that means that lesbians and gays are first-class citizens, and to deny them marriage rights is to demean them.

If ever there were a time for President Obama to abandon his intellectually bankrupt position in favor of civil unions, it's now. Why should Obama support the right of each state to individually decide for itself this basic issue of human rights? As a national leader, Obama should abandon his politically convenient opposition to same-sex marriage. Until he gets his courage up, the least he could do is eviscerate the Defense of Marriage Act by executive order.

Women and African-Americans were once constitutionally unequal. Perhaps the president should ask his wife, Michelle, who is both, what she thinks? Our guess is that the First Lady would be on our side — the right side, the just side.

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