Obama’s Poor Showing on the Gay Immorality Question

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This morning, I wrote about Hillary Clinton’s refusal to give a straight answer to a question about whether she agreed Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who got in hot water for saying homosexuality is immoral. Instead of saying, “No, I don’t agree with General Pace. I am a long time supporter of gay rights,” Clinton said, “I’m going to leave that to others to conclude.” Realizing the insanity of the situation, Clinton’s campaign later released a statement saying that Clinton does not agree with the General.

Looks like Obama did the same thing, at least sort of. A Newsday reporter caught Obama as he was leaving Capitol Hill and asked him if he agreed with Pace. Obama said, “I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters. That’s probably a good tradition to follow.” When asked for a straight answer, the senator from Illinois, in an attempt to reframe the question as one about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” said, “I think the question here is whether somebody is willing to sacrifice for their country.”

Actually, the question is, “Do you think homosexuality is immoral?” And the answer is “Of course not.” Recognizing that, the Obama campaign did like the Clinton one and released a statement later in the day saying Obama disagrees with Pace.

I truly look forward to a time a generation from now when America will have politicians who will face questions like the ones Obama and Clinton faced today, and say, “Don’t be ridiculous.” I know homophobia won’t be stamped out, but at least being a homophobe won’t be acceptable publicly and even desirable (!) politically.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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