There's so much wrong with this statement, I hardly know where to begin, but the most obvious problem is that Obama is playing the same game that anti-choicers and homobigots have been playing for decades, which is pretending that both sides of the abortion issue and the same-sex marriage issue are equivalent, and they are not.
The pro-choice position does not force anyone to get an abortion who does not want one; the anti-choice position, however, prevents women who want abortions from getting them. The pro-marriage equality position does not force anyone to marry a person of the same sex, nor require that any churches perform same-sex marriage ceremonies; the anti-marriage equality position, however, prevents same-sex couples who want to get married from doing so and prevents churches who want to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies from doing so.
The progressive position allows for individual choice; the conservative position does not.
The progressive position expands freedom; the conservative position limits it.
The progressive position treats women and LGBTQIs as autonomous, rights-bearing human beings deserving of full equality; the conservative position treats women's bodies as state property and LGBTQIs as second-class citizens.
President-Elect Obama's insistence on treating the two sides of these "political issues" as though they are equal is dangerously wrong. He's talking about both sides' opinions (and their respective right to hold and express them) being equal, which is technically accurate, but worth a hill of fucking beans when the political ramifications of those opinions when translated into policy are categorically not equal.
Sure, every American citizen has the right to say that every fat blogger named Melissa should be imprisoned indefinitely if they don't stop blogging, and I'd defend their right to say it, but the moment some crackpot spouting that shit gets access to the presidential inauguration, it's a whole different kettle of fish, because that confers legitimacy on the position that makes it fundamentally different from some random opinion being issued by an average citizen.
Obama's being willfully obtuse about these differences in order to justify the presence of a bigot at his inauguration, for reasons I don't entirely understand.
And as for his tomato-tomahto offering of Dr. Joseph Lowery as a counterbalance to Warren, Pam wonders: "What about principle?" If the two "cancel each other out," then Obama has effectively undermined his own alleged "fierce" and "consistent" advocacy for gay and lesbian Americans, leaving him with no statement on LGBTQI rights at all.
That, my friend, is not fierce advocacy. That's fence-sitting horseshit.
Q: Good morning, sir. I have a question about Pastor Rick Warren. He holds a number of social views that are at odds with your own views and with those of some of your very strong supporters.
Q: I'm wondering what went into your decision to choose him for this prominent role as you embark on your own presidency; at a time when you're dotting every "i" and crossing every "t," it does send some important signals.
Obama: Well, let me start by talking about my own views. I think that it is no secret that I am fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency.
What I've also said is that it is important for America to come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues.
And I would note that a couple of years ago I was invited to Rick Warren's church to speak, despite his awareness that I held views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion.
Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak, and that dialogue, I think, is part of what my campaign's been all about, that we're not going to agree on every single issue. But what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere when we—where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans. So, Rick Warren has been invited to speak, Dr. Joseph Lowery, who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren about a whole host of issues, is also speaking.
During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented. And that's how it should be, because that's what America's about—that's part of the magic of this country, is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated and, so, you know, that's the spirit in which, you know, we have put together what I think we be a terrific inauguration, and that's hopefully going to be a spirit that carries over into my administration.