So, it was merely a cherry on top of what was pretty much already known that just 18 hours after the bigots claimed victory President Obama came out on national TV for gay marriage. The segment, an interview with the President by ABC news correspondent Robin Roberts, was not meant to air until 10 pm Eastern time Wednesday night, but it broke with viral videos almost immediately upon completion of taping on Wednesday afternoon.
While the President has claimed to be “evolving” on his beliefs about marriage for the past four years, everyone knows that was just political double-talk for “I don’t give a rat’s ass who gets married, but….” The “but” in the room was always bigger than the rat’s ass, until yesterday.
In true new media fashion, by the morning after Obama’s support for marriage equality, another story took over the headlines. Turns out, Obama’s presumptive GOP rival in the November election, Mitt Romney, was a teenaged homophobic bully.
The “wow factor” there is about as surprising as Obama’s statement that he supports gay marriage. What may dominate the news cycle for the rest of the day today is just how nasty little Willard (Romney’s given first name) was.
His antics include sneering from the back of the classroom “Atta girl!” at boys who displayed even the slightest hint of femininity and being so troubled by one classmate’s dyed blonde hair that he led an attack that resulted in the blonde student being pinned down while Romney cut off the offending locks.
We are reminded by more than one story about Romney’s high school behavior that this occurred in 1965, which doesn’t make it okay, but….
But, in 1965, children’s book author Maurice Sendak was illustrating a book called “Let’s Be Enemies” (written by Janice May Udry). He had already written and illustrated a few children’s books of his own like “Where the Wild Things Are” and would continue this successful career until his death on Tuesday morning at the age 83.
His obituaries are making a point that his passing occurred at the same time North Carolina was passing its hateful anti-gay law because a little known fact was that Sendak was gay. So gay, in fact, that he had been in a 50-year loving and committed relationship with one man, who died in 2007, just a year before the state they lived in (Connecticut) passed a law that would have provided them with marriage equality, at least in the eyes of residents of the Nutmeg State.
Sendak is on record of how personally difficult it was for him to accept himself as a gay man in the 1950s, at the same time his children’s book career was taking off. Who can blame him? After all, it literally was only yesterday when the leader of the free world said it’s okay to be gay, and you should be able to marry the person you love.
Pundits and pollsters doubt that Obama’s support for marriage equality will hurt his chances for reelection. Those who lose sleep at night over denying equal marriage rights to all Americans were never going to vote for him anyway. Those who are going to vote against Obama won’t be deterred by Romney’s high school hijinks either. They think they are forgivable because they took place in a time before new media existed and are being rehashed and judged online by a set of standards we once could conveniently ignore.
But the tide has turned despite passages of hateful laws like Amendment One. The President will accept the Democratic Party’s nomination in Charlotte, North Carolina in September. Voters in Charlotte, as well as other major North Carolina cities, overwhelmingly opposed Amendment One. That’s a part of the story that’s had about 2 minutes’ worth of the 24-hour news cycle so far. It will get more.