I was not an ardent supporter of President Obama when he first took office. I was a huge Hillary Clinton fan and I felt with his limited foreign affairs experience he wasn’t quite ready to be Leader of the Free World. I always thought his lofty message of Change was more bark than bite during his first campaign and I was more than annoyed that he remained silent about Prop 8 a few years back.
Don’t get me wrong, I understood the politics and the timing of it. What a nightmare it would have been for Obama to come out publicly in favor of gay marriage and against Prop 8 in California only to have it serve as a rallying cry for conservatives in 8 other states. At least that was some of the thinking at the time. The most disturbing and troubling fact for me in the aftermath of Prop 8 passing was that more than 3/4’s of African-Americans in California voted in favor of Prop 8. We were clearly losing the conversation among Black Democrats in the State that gay marriage was a civil rights issue and I felt the President was in a prime position to use his platform to turn that tide. His silence was just one reason we lost that fight and even though I didn’t like it I understood.
So here we are at the start of Obama’s second term and I couldn’t be more happy with President on gay issues. We saw more advancement and measurable movement towards equality in his first term than we have ever seen before. President Obama has publicly voiced his personal support for gay marriage on national television and this week we saw him wade into the Prop 8 case by filing a brief with the Supreme Court. The President has come full circle, at least publicly, in his support for equality and gay rights. He has gone from silent and passive to public and proactive in the last 5 or 6 years and I can honestly say now that I feel Obama is my President too. Now that public support is swinging wildly in our favor and Obama doesn’t have to concern himself with any reelection issues I don’t see support from the Oval Office waning anytime soon.
So it took longer than any of us liked or would have preferred but I’m guessing better late than never is my motto today. :-)