Rick Warren, Gay Heartbreaker

What to do when your political party is just not that into you


Oh LGBTers. Don't cry. I know President-elect Barack Obama's breaking your heart. It sucks, doesn't it, when you hitch your wagon to a political party, but the party is just not that into you?

Obama's selection of Rick Warren to do the invocation at his inauguration is a tough blow. After all, Pastor Warren is the guy who recently compared gay marriage to incestuous, polygamous, and pedophilic marriage. Sure, he's not as bad as Jerry Falwell, but it's cold comfort to be told that even though homosexuality is "not the natural way" and is a sin, at least "in the hierarchy of evil…homosexuality is not the worst sin."

And all this had to happen so soon after the whole Proposition 8 fiasco in California, too. It's been a rough couple of months hasn't it, gay and lesbian buddies? Everything looked so cheery on November 3. Obama was about to win, and there was all the excitement of a new relationship. He even let you put his face on your buttons.

But you know who your real friends are, LGBTers. And we're going to help you get through this. Besides, who knows better than libertarians what it's like to be in a long-standing lopsided love affair with a mainstream political party?

After all, we libertarians have given the Republicans our best years, and what do we have to show for it? Nothing. Worse than nothing. Bailouts. For crying out loud, Congress even gave the bailout program a cute nickname (TARP!). It's like they're doing it just to spite us. Sure, opposition to high taxes and regulation brought us together at first. Remember how we used to go red-baiting on dates? It seemed like we had so much in common with the Republicans. But ever since the PATRIOT Act, things just haven't been the same between us.

Those Republicans talk a big game. The bailout is a one-time thing, it means nothing to me, says President George W. Bush. "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system." You actually expect us to buy that?

Why do we let ourselves get pulled into these dysfunctional relationships over and over, LGBTers? It's not like Barack and Vice President-elect Joe Biden didn't warn you. It was during Rick Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum that Obama said, "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian….it's also a sacred union." But he also said he wouldn't support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and that he'd repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, both of which sounded good. We always hear what we want to hear, don't we?

Anyway, your relationship with the Democratic Party isn't abusive, you just fight sometimes, right? Obama doesn't beat you up, does he? I only ask because of what I heard from that big gossip Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade. He said Warren's "presence on the inauguration stand is a slap in the faces of the millions of GLBT voters who so enthusiastically supported him."

I know what you're thinking, LGBTers. Obama and Warren aren't even right for each other. California gay rights activist Rick Jacobs, who chairs California's Courage Campaign, sounded so right when he said, "It's a huge mistake. He's really the wrong person to lead the president into office."

But I've got to tell it to you straight: For a Bible-thumper, Warren is pretty low key on the whole civil unions thing, plus the issues of visitation and inheritance rights. What if Warren and Obama are both actually just nice Christians who still feel a little squeamish about letting gays go all the way? Obama seems like he's such a nice, liberal guy. He can't really oppose gay marriage, can he? Ugh. Are all relationships plauged with such doubt?

There, there, LGBTers. Remember who was there for you in Florida on the gay adoption thing? Libertarians. Remember who stood by you when Virginia tried to pass an anti-gay marriage amendment? Libertarians. Mainstream political parties may come and go, but we'll always have each other. Sure, we've fought about anti-discrimination and hate speech laws, but you know we just want what's best for you.

Oh, and give Andrew Sullivan my love, OK? I know he had it pretty bad for Obama. "An analyst's mind and a poet's tongue," indeed. Looks like he's seeing Obama in the cold light of inauguration morning now. "If anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now. He won't be as bad as the Clintons (who, among leading Democrats, could?), but pandering to Christianists at his inauguration is a depressing omen."

And then, yesterday, Obama had the nerve to act like this whole Warren thing isn't a big deal. Like inviting Joseph Lowery to do the benediction makes it all better, just because he's a respected civil rights leader.

I know you're probably going to go crawling back to the Democrats, LGBTers. The single life can be tough, and God knows it's not like Republicans are showing that much interest in you. You'd think they'd at least want to take you out to dinner and get to know you better. Oh well. All it's going to take is for Obama to repeal "don't ask don't tell" and adopt a pug and you're going to fly right back into his arms. And I don't blame you for it.

But don't let him treat you so badly, OK? You deserve better. Just don't act surprised when he does it again, either. You know how politicians are. Dogs, all of them.

Katherine Mangu-Ward is an associate editor at reason.