President Obama made big news yesterday, through Eric Holder, when the administration announced that they would no longer be defending the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court. This, of course, is great news for those us us who hope for marriage equality in our country. Earlier this month, Bill Maher caused a bit of a kerfluffle by suggesting, on his show, that Obama is not really against gay marriage, and that he is not really a Christian. Instead, Maher said, he suspects that Obama is secular humanist, like his mother was. Guest and outspoken liberal Christian Cornel West wasn’t buying it:
It seems that Maher was right, at least on the issue of same sex marriage. I have long suspected that Obama’s hesitancy on issues of marriage equality was an issue of political pragmatism, at which he seems to be a master. In fact, the timing of this shows Obama’s savvy: buried behind headlines of revolution in the Middle East, protest in Wisconsin, a massive earthquake in New Zealand, and the always simmering economic news, Obama drops the first shoe on same sex marriage. A topic that would, in quieter times, make the front page is now below the fold, and will be subject to little analysis. It won’t be on the cover of TIME next week. It’s just another quiet step on the journey to equality.
Meanwhile, Lady Gaga made some headlines here in Minnesota, the headquarters of Target. She had a meeting with that corporation and demanded that they treat GLBT persons with equity, or they wouldn’t get to have a special deal on her new album. The Gaga said,
That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I’ve ever had in a business meeting. Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they’ve made in the past … our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they’ve made supporting those groups.
The mistakes to which she refers are the large campaign contributions that Target made to “pro-business” groups that supported the ill-fated gubernatorial run of Tom Emmer here in Minnesota.
Politicians and mega-pop stars are using their clout to quietly but firmly stand up for marriage equality. Those of us in church leadership should, too, which is why I’ve challenged clergypersons to Stop Performing (Legal) Marriages.