Politics

‘Newsweek’ Ridiculous for Calling President Obama ‘First Gay President’

Mon., May. 14, 2012 9:01 AM EDT
by Terry Shropshire

Newsweek magazine was way out of line and over the time when it portrays Obama with a rainbow halo and proclaims that he’s the “first gay president” on its new cover that was released on Sunday.

The cover features an image of Obama looking angelic with a rainbow-colored halo above his head (or as a HuffPost editor affectionately dubbed it — a “gaylo”). The magazine’s cover story was written by Andrew Sullivan, titled “The First Gay President.”

In his cover story, Sullivan tries to justify his title this way: he writes that Obama went through a similar identity crisis back in his youth. “He had to discover his black identity and then reconcile it with his white family, just as gays discover their homosexual identity and then have to reconcile it with their heterosexual family,” Sullivan writes.

“Obama did more than make a logical step. He let go of fear,” Sullivan continues. “He is clearly prepared to let the political chips fall as they may. That’s why we elected him. That’s the change we believed in.”

Yes, Sullivan, that sounds nice. But this doesn’t make Obama “the first gay president.” First of all, there is a prerequisite being a gay president: you have to be, in fact, gay. Obama, at last check, is not.

Secondly, I’m not so sure that Obama supports same-sex marriage as much as he was pushed into a corner politically and had to come down one way or another on the issue.  Some believe that Obama sold out his principles for votes. Some don’t even think it will have much impact in the general elections in November.

Thirdly, no one dared called Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson the “first black presidents” because they openly supported civil rights. They didn’t call Robert F. Kennedy the “first black attorney general” because he took steps against segregationists from blocking African Americans who sought to exercise their rights to vote, to go to college and to use any public restroom in the South.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the first openly gay congressman says, is one who thinks Obama’s “coming out” in support of same-sex marriages won’t have much impact.

“If you were going to cast your vote based on a candidate’s position regarding same-sex marriage, you were already going to vote for Obama [or] Romney based on that,” Rep. Frank said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday. “I literally don’t think anybody’s vote was changed by this one way or the other.”

Others believe that Obama taking the back way into this issue stole any feel-good moment.

“His embrace of gay marriage was not a profile in courage,” New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd surmised this past weekend. “Even when he does the right thing, by the time he does it and in the way he does it, he drains away excitement and robs himself of the admiration he would otherwise be due,” Dowd wrote. “Why doesn’t he just do the exhilarating thing immediately? Why does he always have to be dragged kicking and screaming to principle?”

Taking these viewpoints into consideration, Obama is a political supporter of gay rights, which he stated four years ago when he first ran for the presidency. But supporting same-sex marriages, defying North Carolina’s stance against the measure, does not make Obama the “first gay president.”
terry shropshire

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