William and Michael. Sharon and Cheryl. Chris and Chris. Kevin and Bill. John and Billy. Ulysses and Gary. Elaine and Lauren.
These are not pseudonyms or hypotheticals — they are actual gay and lesbian couples in my life, people I cherish, good Christians in long-term committed relationships, some of them for 30 years and more. Today the New Jersey Senate spat on their relationships, and I am pissed.
The Web Goddess and I voted for different candidates, but on this issue we are united, standing proudly to the left of our President. We’re confident that our marriage will not be damaged if our friends are allowed to marry as well. The idea is so bizarre that I should not have to type those words, but there they are.
Same-sex marriage is a straightforward civil rights issue, and the only acceptable outcome is full marriage equality. I believe I’ll see it in my lifetime. But New Jersey took a step in the wrong direction today, and I weep for my friends.
As top Democrats rush to huddle behind closed doors to craft a health care “reform” bill without Republican input, keep in mind that Candidate Obama promised a new era of openness and transparency in Washington. The video embedded above captures eight different times when Obama promised that the health care negotiations would be on C-SPAN.
Now, actually holding public negotiations for reconciling the House and Senate versions of the bill may sound good in a grand-standing campaign speech, but it’s not practical. As John Steele Gordon points out at Contentions, real negotiations are never held in public. “The give and take, the thinking out loud, the tentative suggestions, the horse-trading that are so much a part of any negotiation would be impossible when every casual phrase, recorded on C-Span’s camcorders, might be turned into an attack ad for the next election.”
But the offensive part of this is not the breaking of a misguided campaign promise to hold public negotiations. What’s offensive is that the legislation that results from those negotiations will be rushed through the Congress with zero Republican support, or close to it, and undoubtedly before anyone can even read the final bill. Gordon again:
When they are done, a vast bill will be rushed to each congressional floor and voted on with just as much dispatch as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can manage. If no one except the negotiators even has a chance to read the bill, let alone consider it in depth, before the final vote, so much the better. It will then pass, unless some Democrats — looking over their shoulders at the increasing number of their fellow party members who have decided to spend more time with their families — figure out that their political survival requires defying the party bosses.