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Al Gore’s Evolution on Same-Sex Marriage

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(I saw the Al Gore movie last week.  Three things were clear:  1) Gore’s running in 2008, 2) he’ll be doing it on an environmental platform, and 3) he’s going to need the progressives behind him to win.  Which will probably require backpeddling on some of his more socially conservative positions.  Pam Spaulding checks out Gore’s new position on same-sex marriage. — JH)

Any force that tries to make you feel shame for being who you are, and loving who you love, is a form of tyranny over your mind. And it must be rejected, resisted, and defeated. — Al Gore, speaking at the Human Rights Campaign Gala on March 25, 2006, at the Century Plaza Hotel.

Consider this a pre-emptive 2008 strike against the man who really won the 2000 election. Baptist Press is frothing at the mouth, happy to start a gay marriage-loving smear against Al Gore — and set the tone for attacks on any Dem who tiptoes toward a message of civil equality.

Remember, Gore actually supported Clinton’s DOMA, and has stated that he favored separate-and-unequal civil unions, so it’s a far cry from Russ Feingold’s open support for marriage equality. That said, Gore was a strong supporter of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA).

Former Vice President Al Gore delivered the keynote speech at a homosexual group’s dinner in late March, and while he didn’t directly mention "gay marriage," he implied that he supported its eventual legalization.

Gore spoke March 25 at a gala dinner in Los Angeles for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest homosexual organization. HRC supports "gay marriage."

What the wingers are upset by is Gore’s speech intimates that civil equality is necessary, inevitable and the right thing to do. It will be interesting to see, if Gore is planning to run (he’s stated that he will not), whether he has had an evolution in thinking regarding same-sex marriage. From his stirring speech, Gore really does sound like he’s had a change of heart, ready to speak out, and willing to reframe the message for a party that continually runs screaming from the issue. (IN Los Angeles mag):

It is that love, after all, that is at the heart of why everybody is here. That is what must be honored and respected. Your right to fall in love with who you fall in love with. And your right to expect that that will be recognized with the same dignity and honor that love is recognized for other couples. Love is transcendent and fulfilling and powerful and any force on earth that endeavors to make you feel that you should be ashamed for feeling genuine, deep love for another of your choosing is a form of oppression.

…Much has been made of the second simple truth — the first being that love … that transcendent feeling is at the center of all the debates. The second simple fact is that — it’s been mentioned here — is that when your fellow Americans come to know you for who you are, everything changes. But the so-called Catch 22 that discrimination and oppression put you in, is that the law requires gays and lesbians in the military or in job settings where they have no protection or in other settings where discrimination is rampant — if the law and the culture of society requires you to be closed and secret and inauthentic and to pretend that you are not who you are, then you are not allowed to use your basic humanity to change the minds and hearts of those around you. You must have the right to be who you are, just as I have the right to be who I am.

As I was on the way here, I reflected on why is there so much controversy about the question of equality for gays and lesbians. Why? This fight has been so long and so hard for something that is so simple and so right.

Cross-posted at Pam’s House Blend.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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