County Fair

Activist David Mixner "Disappointed" By Obama’s LGBT Speech

June 24, 2011 10:27 am ET by Kerry Eleveld

Longtime LGBT activist David Mixner, who has at turns been highly critical of President Barack Obama, has recently made clear his intentions to support the president's reelection campaign. Nonetheless, Mixner said Obama's handling of the marriage issue at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Thursday night -- on the eve of a major vote in New York -- was nothing short of "embarrassing":

MIXNER: He handled the whole marriage issue much worse than I thought he would.

The man has done an enormous amount and I’m supporting him for president. But I would be more than delinquent if I didn’t say that I’m more disappointed than I thought I would be with his handling of marriage tonight. I didn’t come with any expectations that he would support marriage. But it was awful, it was embarrassing, and as soon as he reached that point, it was like he couldn’t wait to get off the stage. Everyone I’ve talked to felt that way (gesturing to the people who were sitting around his table and others).

This is one of our big nights of celebration – I mean, we’re going to win this I think tomorrow, but we know this issue could go either way. This was a room full of people waiting to be jubilant.

I knew he wasn’t he going to support marriage, but there were so many different ways he could have let us know that he understood this moment for us and how happy he was for us.

I support him. After all, who wants President Bachmann?

Do you feel enthusiastic?

At this moment? No. I listened to the accomplishments earlier and I got excited a little bit. But he doesn’t get it about this marriage issue. This is our night. This is our moment in history. This was the time that we needed him to share in our jubilation of our pending victory. And even if we lose tomorrow, we needed him to understand what a historical moment this is. If they pass marriage in New York, it will be huge -- there will be ramifications in every corner of the nation. But there was no hint of an awareness of that from the stage.

I’m disappointed and the room was disappointed. You could sense it, you could feel it. It cooled decisively instantly. Even the heckler was caught off guard, it was so bland. I wanted to jump up myself and say, For Christ’s sake, evolve.

There’s a difference between a lack of options and enthusiastically buying into a common dream. This is not a political issue, this is one of the great moral issues of our time. This is the biggest civil rights issue movement of our generation. People will be judged by their leadership later. Those who vote against marriage in the New York legislature will look like the bigots of Alabama in the 1960s.

And the president?

He must step forward and exert the moral leadership that comes with the office of the Presidency of the United States and lead us and lead this nation, into the smoothest transition possible, without violence, without pain, and without agony. And he could make it on easy on himself, or he could be left with no options eventually because he’s going to have to do the right thing.

Fannie Lou Hamer – a great civil rights legend – told me in the 1960s, “Oh honey, courage is just a lack of options.” Well, he’s making clear we have to take his options away. We’re going to make him courageous on this issue.


AMERICAblog's Aravosis: LGBT Community Should Hold Obama's Feet To The Fire

WaPo's Jonathan Capehart: Obama Is LGBT Community's Best Option In 2012

Andrea Mitchell Wonders If Obama Will “Cop Out” Of Supporting Marriage Equality

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