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Disappointed in Obama
Disappointed in Obama
by Jennifer Vanasco - SGN Contributing Writer

Maybe you're disappointed by Barack Obama.

I know I am.

Maybe, for example, you listened to Obama and John McCain talk about Gay marriage on Saturday with Rev. Rick Warren, the pastor of the giant evangelical Saddleback Church, and the host of the first (unofficial) debate between candidates.

Maybe you heard Obama say that, "I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman. For me as a Christian, it's also a sacred union - God's in the mix."

Maybe you thought - gee, even though he says next that he is in favor of civil unions so that Gay partners can visit each other in the hospital, it doesn't seem that far from McCain saying that though he also believes marriage is between an man and a woman, "that doesn't mean people can't enter into legal agreements."

Maybe you heard Obama say that America's greatest moral failing is that it doesn't take care of the least of its citizens. "That applies to poverty," he said. "It applies to racism and sexism."

Does it apply to homophobia? Obama didn't say.

I know I heard those things Obama said and didn't say. And was disappointed.

And it's easy, when you hear Obama basically say that Gay unions aren't as good as straight ones because God's not there, because they're not sacred, it's easy then to wonder whether it matters if you vote for Barack Obama or John McCain.

You might think: It's six of one, a half-dozen of the other.

You might think: That John McCain doesn't seem like a bad guy.

You might think: Obama has very little experience and has proved nothing except that he's good at running for office. At least with John McCain we know where we stand.

You might think those things. I know I have.

And yet I'm going to vote for Barack Obama in November - and give money to his campaign now - for one reason: The U.S. Supreme Court.

Because here's what else Obama and McCain said in their discussions with Rick Warren.

When asked which of the sitting Supreme Court justices he would not have appointed, Obama named Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia and noted that he voted against the appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts.

He does not share their legal views, he said.

McCain, on the other hand, named all the liberal and centrist judges as people he would not have appointed: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice David Souter and Justice John Paul Stevens. (It's interesting that he didn't name Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the swing vote, who has become fairly consistently Gay-positive in his decisions. Maybe McCain missed one).

McCain also noted that there would likely be vacancies during the next presidential administration.


And that's why I'm voting for Barack Obama.

Having a friendly Supreme Court is crucial to safeguarding our civil rights. There is nothing more important. A president is for eight years. A Supreme Court appointment can influence American law for decades. A Supreme Court can rule that Gays and Lesbians are worthy of dignity and respect in law - or that Gay rights are "special rights" and we are not entitled to them.

Barack Obama is the candidate most likely to choose men and women who are progressive thinkers - or who at least do not leap backward in disgust when faced with the concept of Gay couples, or Lesbians serving in the military.

A McCain administration wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to Gays and Iesbians. An Obama administration wouldn't be the best.

Yet when looked through the lens of possible Supreme Court appointments, the choice is stark. In the long term, an Obama appointment could secure the safety of our families, our employment, our participation in the public sphere.

A McCain appointment could be disastrous.

Of course, it's always a bit of a gamble. Democratic presidents have been surprised when their appointed justices vote more conservatively than they were expecting, and vice versa.

But it's better to have a chance to roll the dice then to just watch the game.

So yes, I'm disappointed in Barack Obama. He does not seem to walk in solidarity with us; he does not think we are his equals.

But I'm taking the long view.

Jennifer Vanasco is an award-winning, syndicated columnist. E-mail her at

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