President Barack Obama praised New York state lawmakers who were debating landmark legislation today to legalize same-gender marriage, saying that’s what democracy’s all about. But the president stopped short of embracing same-gender marriage himself.
“I believe that [same-gender] couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country,” the president said at a fundraiser in Manhattan, his first geared specifically to the same-gender community. Coincidentally, the long-planned event occurred just as lawmakers in Albany were debating legislation that would make New York the sixth state to legalize same-gender marriage.
That served to spotlight the president’s own views on same-gender marriage, a sore point with same-gender supporters who’ve otherwise warmed to him. The president has said his views are “evolving,” but for now he supports civil unions, not same-gender marriage.
“Traditionally marriage has been decided by the states and right now I understand there’s a little debate going on here in New York,” the president said to laughter. He said New York’s lawmakers are “doing exactly what democracies are supposed to do.”
Debate on the measure continued into the night at the statehouse, and the outcome was uncertain.
As Obama spoke, a handful of people shouted out “marriage!” And Obama said, “I heard you guys.”
Painting the LGBT experience as the “story about the struggle to realize that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law,” Obama highlighted the steps his administration has taken for gay rights, including passing the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” legislation and giving the LGBT community more access to federal housing programs.
Obama made the same proclamation in June 2010, picking up where President Bill Clinton left off in 2000, when he marked the month “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.”
President George W. Bush angered many gay rights activists by saying no to the June celebration, and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Justice Department barred a group of employees from celebrating the month.
June was chosen in honor the 1969 Greenwich Village riots at the Stonewall Inn where gay rights advocates clashed with New York City police over alleged discrimination.
Obama noted his administration’s efforts to prevent bullying, especially of gay people, and to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS virus within LGBT circles.
The gay community does not, however, have the month to themselves. Obama also proclaimed June “National Caribbean-American Heritage Month,” “African-American Music Appreciation Month” and “Great Outdoors Month.” via dailycaller.com
Berlin Municipality invited Tel Aviv to take part in the main festival, which will be taking place ahead of the gay pride events. But the Israeli delegation decided to leave out any state symbols at the stand, as well as in any performances by Israeli artists taking part in the festival.
Thus, there will be no Israeli flags and the emphasis will be on Tel Aviv as a global city – pluralistic and liberal, which accepts members of the gay community no matter where they’re from. Moreover, visitors to the festival will receive information about Tel Aviv which will include a map that highlights LGBT entertainment centers.
A source within the tourism industry told Ynet that “in the past it has been proven that the correct and smart way to ‘export’ Israel, especially these days, is through emphasizing brands it excels in, without using anything that symbolizes the state of Israel. Unfortunately, the Israeli flag or Star of David can cause antagonism among many.”
The Tourism Ministry understands this new reality and explains: “Unfortunately, this is the smart way to market Israeli brands abroad.” It should be mentioned that the ministry promotes some Israeli sites and destinations without mentioning the word Israel.
One would think that Israel would (and could) at least appeal for some credit from the gay community for being the only country in this region where gays are not the subjects of ‘honor killings’ just because they are gay. But sadly, that is not the case. And now that we have expediently rebranded Israel into something other than the Jewish state, we aren’t even going to try to get credit for the things that we do for which other countries do get credit.
Now you all see why Carl of israelmatzav.blogspot.com was (and remains) so angry with the Foreign Ministry’s Brand Israel program when it was introduced to bloggers two and a half years ago. Israel’s gay community should be ashamed of itself for accepting creating these terms of participation.
While I agree with Israel Matzav and Zionism-Israel that Israel will not solve anything by selling *T* and *A* to replace the Jewish homeland and repackage Israel as *Sexy*, *Rich* and *Vogue* ….I certainly see the point that any image can be co-opted and it is better to just be about Love, G-d, Community but I also have no problem with *SEXY ISRAEL* existing in parallel marketing, though I sincerely think it shouldn’t be state financed because I don’t think it is in the interests of Israel to turn itself into Los Vegas.