Obama talks about gay issues to Advocate

I’m not very shy in my support for Barack Obama.  I’ve discussed on the pages of this blog and on other blogs how I chose to support him for the Democratic nomination, and was (initially) chided and even derided for my choice because of his spotty public support for gay-related issues.

Truth be told, it has been rather hard to pinpoint Obama’s views on some of the more “hot-button” issues.  He hasn’t done interviews with the gay press, save for an appearance on Logo’s Democratic debate; and the mentions he has made have been vague, at best. 

Still, I sensed a truer honesty coming from Obama, rather than the “Rah-Rah, I’m in your corner” tactic used by Hillary Clinton.  To me, her overly vocal support borders on pandering.  It’s almost TOO much.  I certainly appreciate her support, and recognize that she has done good things in her time as a Senator, but really, saying things like “I want to be first U.S. president to march in gay pride parade” just seems a bit forced to me.

Obama, however, has a more honest approach.  While he doesn’t believe that gay marriage is the answer, he supports civil unions.  He supports equality in terms of benefits for partners of gay people.  He supports the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” and gives very good reasons why it should be repealed.  To me, his views and beliefs seem much more realistic and doable than those of his opponent.  As a gay person, I expect the Democratic candidate to represent me, but I also expect him or her to be realistic about what they can do.  A president can have all the great ideas in the world, but the president doesn’t make all the end decisions– despite what Bush may want us to believe.  Obama is thinking about this, and knows what can pass and what can’t.  Rather than make empty promises, he’s giving realistic promises.  I like that.

Obama sat down for an interview with The Advocate recently, where he discusses these issues and many more.  That interview was published today on their website.  If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth a look. 

I'm now reminded why I am still single…

I had a date on Sunday.  Yes… a date.  It was planned before Thanksgiving, so I revised my schedule with my mom so I could come back Saturday night, rest up and be ready for it.  It was pretty casual– we planned to meet briefly and see a movie.

I met him online, of course.  The pictures all looked good to me and we really seemed to hit it off nicely. We chatted for months… and I do mean months.  So it seemed natural that it was time for us to actually meet in person.

Unfortunately, things weren’t as good in person.

I went to get my hair cut before heading out to meet him.  They were busy and the haircut ran late.  I phoned him just as I got out– 15 minutes before the movie was to start.  Fuck.  I knew this wasn’t going to be good.   I drove as quickly as I could to the theater but it was definitely too late to see the movie.  He was waiting for me in front of the box office.

Now I should add that I have been dealing with a cold sore the last few days as well.  It showed up on Wednesday and is just about gone, but it’s still visible.  I hate those motherfuckers.  I have all the medicines in the world: Abreva, Releev, Carmex, Blistex, and so on.  Sometimes they work great, but this time it’s being difficult.  So I had that headache added to the mix.

Anyway, I got there and he was waiting for me.  And right away I could sense that things were going to go sour.  He just… didn’t talk much.  As in– hardly at all.  I asked him if he’d like to see another movie, and he turned to stare at the movie times for at least 5 minutes without saying a word.  So I asked him, “…anything look good?”

No response.

Then he said, “Well, the next showing (of the movie we were planning to see) is at 3:30 so that’s one and a half hours with nothing to do.”

Well alrighty then, Mr. Glass Half Empty!   So I said, “Well, surely there’s someplace we can go to spend the time.”

More silence… then, “Well, I’m sure there’s a Starbucks nearby.  In fact I think I saw one around the corner.”

So we left to grab a cup of coffee.   We went in, ordered our lattes, and found a seat by the window.  Once we got settled, we actually talked a bit and had some decent conversation.  But it didn’t last long.  After about 10 minutes, the silence started.

And it lingered… and lingered… and lingered.

He sipped his coffee.  I sipped mine.

Hello, awkward!

This roundelay of brief conversation and LONG silences happened at least four times, and each time the slience grew longer and longer.  By the third time I had already planned my escape.  There was a Chipotle across the street.  I was hungry and hadn’t eaten lunch yet.   When we finished our coffee and got up to leave, I would say I was going to run and grab a bite, rather than see the movie.

So when the moment arrived, he said he would like to walk through the Borders across the street for a while.  I gave him my Chipotle story (which wasn’t a lie– I truly was hungry).  He didn’t seem all that disappointed, and Lord knows I wasn’t either.

So we said our goodbyes and parted.

And so ends the first date I’ve had in at least 2 years.

The first thing I said to myself as I crossed the street is the title of this post: “I’m now reminded why I am still single.”  Dating sucks ass, and I hate it.  I am so much happier– so much better off being alone.  I have friends.  I have family.  That should be enough for me.  Screw the rest.  It’s not worth the effort, especially when it’s as painful as this was.

Aw but hell, who am I kidding?  I’ll try again when the time — and the guy — is right.

Maybe…

Two different weddings, one common perspective

I’ve been to two different weddings in the past month.

One was a traditional wedding: Bride and groom, church, reception, dinner, dancing, etc. etc.

The other was a gay wedding: Groom and groom, non-denominational minister, held outdoors at a museum, reception, dinner, dancing, etc. etc.

Both were decidedly called “weddings.” There were rings and vows. There were promises made to each other and to their families and friends. There was advice from each of the ministers on how to make their love survive in this world.

I attended the gay wedding as a member of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus. We sang during the ceremony and left afterward. I knew the groom — ok, groom #1– because he used to sing with us. It was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art– a very fancy affair, but with an air of casualness. Both grooms wore modest suits, not tuxes. And the minister was fabulous– a big swath of blonde hair and a bigger personality. The ceremony didn’t mention religion, God or Jesus once. It was purely about love and how true love is a challenge that not only the couple has to face, but all of us. It was completely inspirational and beautiful, without being too over-the-top or in-your-face about anything. Best of all, it was short and sweet. I just wish I got to stay afterward for the big party.

I attended the traditional wedding this past weekend in Michigan. The bride is a co-worker of mine, and I’ve heard so much about her wedding plans (she sat across the hall from me) that I felt like I was co-contributer to her plans. And although it was a far drive for a wedding, I didn’t mind. The ceremony was decidedly more religious, but also short, sweet and to the point. Again the celebrant had words of advice for the couple and his words were quite inspirational. It was a lovely affair overall (though the use of the organ was a little dirge-y for my taste).

The reception, however, was amazing. It was held at a country club, overlooking the grounds in all of their autumnal splendor. The room was beautiful, modestly decorated, and full of people ready to celebrate the big event. And celebrate we did. I actually had fun.

Which brings me to the next point about all of this. When I returned home, I had a chat with someone about my weekend activities and he asked me, “Don’t you feel like you’re being cheated when you go to their weddings?”

I thought about this for a second and said, “No.”

He retorted and said “But… we can’t get married.”

“Yes,” I replied. “I am fully aware of that.” We went back and forth a few times on this, and I then informed him I would be writing a blog post about this soon, so hopefully he’s reading this now.

I am fully aware of the marriage fight being waged on behalf of GLBT people. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to celebrate with those who choose to marry.

In my eyes, we can celebrate a union any way we wish. If that means getting married in a church– fine, go ahead. Find a church that is open to gay weddings and do it. If that means professing your love in front of family and friends, without a minister or a judge to make it ‘legal,” fine.

How we choose to do it is completely up to us. It would be nice if we could get the same thing as everyone else, but in my eyes, I don’t need the ‘blessing’ of a church or a government seal of approval to celebrate that union.

I realize this goes against popular opinion on both sides of the debate, but that is simply how I feel.

Love is a personal and extremely powerful thing. No certificate; no seal of approval is going to change that feeling.

I do want to state that I believe the fight for marriage equality is worth fighting. But to close ourselves off from the supposed “enemy” (straight couples) in the fight for equality is completely absurd. Straight couples are not the enemy in this war. Refusing to attend a wedding on the simple basis that “because I can’t get married, I can’t celebrate your marriage” is being bull-headed and stupid.

Grow up, people. We’re all in this together. If we can’t be supportive of each other, how can we expect them to be supportive of us?

Naturally, I don’t have anything to lose or gain in this fight at the moment anyway. I don’t have anyone to marry, and I certainly don’t have anyone waiting in the wings.

But if I did, and I found myself ready to commit myself to him for the rest of my life; I would do it… whether or not a church or our government decides it’s legal or “right” to do so. Because in my eyes, it’s right. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s all that matters.