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President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC’s Good Morning America, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, May 9, 2012, in Washington. Obama declared his unequivocal support for gay marriage on Wednesday, a historic announcement that gave the polarizing social issue a more prominent role in the 2012 race for the White House.
Being an ally on full LGBT equality has been, and continues to be, an important part of my faith journey as a Christian. Welcome, President Obama. Ally to ally, let me tell you, it is an enormous spiritual gift to be a part of this struggle.
Mr. President, your announcement of personal support for marriage equality for LGBT Americans is historic. But in addition to stepping out decisively on this issue, I think you modeled the way forward for many other Americans who may also be evolving on full civil equality for their fellow lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender citizens.
As I talk to people in seminaries, churches and communities around the country, I have learned that faith and family, as well as friends, are what move people to evolve and embrace full LGBT equality, including marriage equality.
Christian conservatives have done their best to “brand” Christianity as anti-gay, but as with so many civil rights struggles, it is the message of love of God and neighbor that Jesus taught that is decisive for overturning prejudice.
It was so important, therefore, Mr. President, that you explicitly cited your faith as a Christian and the “Golden Rule” as a basis for making this decision. The Golden Rule is the instruction to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31).
When you love the neighbor as yourself, you cannot deny to that neighbor the same rights you have yourself.
But you also talked frankly and openly about how talking to your wife Michelle was important. You talked to “friends and family and neighbors.” You said it was important to know “members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together.” You said you thought about “those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage.”
This is it. This is how people evolve on LGBT equality. You ask yourself whether your faith supports prejudice, or the love of God and neighbor. You know family and friends who are LGBT and your love and friendship for them is unchanged, or sometimes even becomes even stronger as you realize how they are discriminated against.
And if you are a person of decency and courage, you become a vocal ally. As you did, Mr. President. Thank you.
Faith. Family. Fairness. It’s how we all evolve.