What "Bringing Everyone to the Table" Really Means

Rick Warren and Barack Obama appear to have a strained relationship. Apparently they first met a couple of years ago when Warren invited the then Senator to speak at his church in southern California. I guess it went well enough that Obama was invited back during the presidential campaign–but was then summarily shown the door by questions (from Warren) that he was not prepared to answer. Seems it was the singular moment in an eighteen month run where the masterful politico slipped and fell.

And now, suddenly, the jeans wearing minister is back on the national scene after being invited to deliver the opening prayer at the Presidential Inauguration. The problem is that this man with a modest wardrobe but an enormous influence embraces a number of views that many Obama supporters do not accept. And more than a few of the Warren critics think that choosing him for this role in the day’s ceremony is a slap in the face to thousands of LGBT people and their supporters who worked long and hard to elect this 44th President.

Here, for example, are some of the minister’s comments about same-sex marriage that were pulled from a December 2008 interview with Steven Waldman, editor-in-chief of Beliefnet:

Waldman: Do you support civil unions or domestic partnerships?

Warren: I don’t know if I’d use the term there. But I support full equal rights for everybody in America. I don’t believe we should have unequal rights depending on particular lifestyles, or whatever stuff like that. So I fully support equal rights.

Waldman: What about partnership benefits in terms of insurance or hospital visitation?

Warren: Not a problem with me…I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000 year old definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister together and call that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

Waldman: Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?

Warren: Oh, I do. For 5,000 years marriage has been defined by every single ulture and every single religion…as a man and a woman.

My somewhat imperious nature emerges when it comes to religious belief systems, and so I feel the urge to say something about the “5,000 years” comment. Here goes.

Most people have a idyllic vision of marriage and families when they look to our past–which they characterize as guided by a noble moral order and cultural practices that were inspired by and acceptable to their creator. But in fact, families, sex, and marriage were rarely characterized by behavior that current moralists would endorse. So, for example, even as recent as the late 19th century, the age of consent (for marriage) for young girls was ten years of age in over half of the U.S. states and territories–and very often ten year olds were married off to men two and three times their age. This is just one small factoid from a past that most Christians would not want to recognize for their “Christian nation”–but it’s enough for me to raise an eyebrow in any moralistic reference to our “glorious past.”

And now to bringing people to the table, the issue at hand…

Given my distaste for anything that even remotely smacks of heterosexism or homophobia, I can understand the annoyance of Warren’s detractors. However, I have to give Obama credit for sticking to his word about bringing everyone to the table. The “table” he is referring to, after all, is (or should be) the one where important decisions are made and “everyone” includes the very people with whom he disagrees most vehemently. Anyone can pretend to involve the other side in their decision-making conversations by pretending to listen to their ideas–much like a savvy parent learns feign interest in the protestations of a teenager. But Obama’s critics are off the mark if they think that a man should be left off the guest list when his views about same-sex marriage are in line with 52 percent of his state’s (California) residents. Warren is the spokesperson for other side and his people, regardless of how distasteful their ideas to some, would take up over half the seats of that table if they all received invitations to come dialogue.

Somewhere in here is a lesson for most of us. How often do we share a table with the very people with whom we so stridently disagree–and then attempt to see the world from their eyes? How often do we see ourselves as they do — as crazy and out of touch, or as too intransigent in our strident opinions. More often than not, I would venture to guess, it’s considerably easier for most of us to simply lob derision grenades in the direction of our enemies.

Bush failed at being a uniter. Clinton wasn’t serious when he claimed that he would surely listen to all perspectives. Bush, Sr., Reagan, Carter, et. al. — they all claimed that they would work to build alliances but then fell short of this estimable goal. Obama, by contrast, a man who is turning out to be the consummate politician, might surprise us all; he might actually mean what he says.


  • Anonymous says:

    There are many things that could be said against the institution of marriage as it is defined today. Historically high divorce rates, for one, do not necessarily indicate that modern marriages are successful components of our society. In fact, one could argue that when asked, a child would choose to have homosexual parents that remain together in a committed, loving relationship, then heterosexual parents in the midst of a bitter divorce. And of course, children are not born with the hatred and bias that would turn them against homosexual parents; it is in fact society which deems homosexuality “abnormal” and propagates heteronormative ideologies.

    I think that in the argument against gay marriage, many raise the question, “What about the children?” This question is as much hypocritical as it is ignorant, and it represents a gross misunderstanding of gay individuals and gay culture. To assume that gay parents would in any way harm their children because they are gay, or “turn” their children gay, is unbelievably offensive. Again, a happily married gay couple would do an arguably better job raising children then an abusive straight one. Also, I often wonder where those who are so concerned about the children can be found as our country and world over-consume resources and hurtle towards environmental catastrophe, one which these same children will be responsible for managing.

    I find Warren’s comment about 5,000 years to be his most unintentionally amusing response. To judge the validity and morality of human behavior on its historical precedent is nothing short of laughable. Those arguing for the American institution of slavery in 1865 could have well claimed that slavery had been a part of the fabric of America for almost 260 years, and therefore represented the natural and sound law that some humans were less valuable than others, and therefore subject to the whims of those above them in the hierarchy. Humans often do foolish things for many years before they are able to see the error of their ways.

    Yet I tend to agree that the choice of Warren to deliver the opening prayer was not an egregious error. While I myself might have hoped to see a more progressive, open-minded individual delivering the opening words, it is clear that President Obama is making a conscious effort to include his would-be critics and detractors. President Obama seems to realize that isolating the woefully ignorant is no way to make progress. In some ways, choosing Warren makes President Obama more approachable as a leader to those who find his ideas radical and alienating. I do not think the choice of Warren blemished a day which was so much greater than the individual; instead, it represented a collective movement of society towards a place of greater compassion and understanding.

  • Anonymous says:

    Though I admire Obama for sticking to his word, but I think there is a lot of overestimating of what he can actually do. He is one man, who has a lot of restraints put on him as president. He can only do so much and he is not going to do it in a short amount of time. This presidency is not a magic pill. He is not going to make everything better. If you think about history, the leaders we can point to didn’t make everything better, they did a lot yes, but they didn’t fix the world. No matter how amazing Obama is, he is still a man, who makes mistakes and is going to do things wrong. There are way to high expectations put on Obama’s head. I agree that Obama is a leader; that much is apparent, but that doesn’t make him perfect. We need to be realistic. We can not expect a quick fix. We live in a world that is on the go. we eat fast food and can communicate instantly with each other using new fast technology, but life doesn’t work that way. There is no get rich quick scheme that can turn this around. Whatever obamas plan is to make this better, hard work has to be involved. this will not be easy and no one should expect it to be. It is not fair to him to put in him on a pedestal. Because when he falls because he is still human, he will get a lot more grief for it than another president would. Presidents already get to much grief for little mistakes that the public makes into a big deal. how much more is he going to get it since he is held in such high esteem.
    I agree that unity is essential for this to work. A house divided will not stand. There are issues that Obama needs to resolve. this is where the rubber hits the road where we see exactly what he is made of. the campaign slogans are gone, the speech promises are gone, all that is left is who obama really is and what he is actually going to do when put to the test. We won’t know this til he is put to the test and that is obviously going to happen soon and is probably already happening. I sure do hope that he is strong enough and wise enough to lead this country because he will not be able to rely on popularity for long. Words do not mean much if there is not action backing it up. Thankfully we are seeing him backing up his words. I hope he is ready because if he’s not the people of America just made a huge mistake in a time of crisis.

  • Anonymous says:

    Really? Rick Warren knows that marriage has been between only a man and a woman in every culture and every religion for the past 5000 years? Really? I would imagine that the only marriage from 500 years ago Warren has studied is that of Fred and Wilma. Obviously heterosexual sex can be traced back farther than other relationships (that whole, “keeping the species going” thing), but I cannot understand his leaps in logic. He lacks evidence.
    (Side note: I think Rick Warren may just be a pathological liar, after watching his podcasted TedTalks speech. He called his own book, The Purpose-Driven Life, the “best-selling book of all time”. No, Mr. Evangelical Minister. You should know the answer to THAT one.)
    So begin the ranting arguments. Men have had mistresses throughout the past millennium. As far as I am concerned, there is not just one woman in those marriages. Warren also forgets that the human lifespan has not always been this lengthy, and so marriages used to take place between girls and boys, not men and women.
    If Warren believes in the naturalistic fallacy (that what is and has always been is what should be), then he should recognize other time-honored customs. In most cultures and religions for the past few thousand years, matrimony was limited by religion, race, or wealth. Perhaps we should not only return to that, but also arranged marriages. The auctioning off of virginity spans a few cultures, so Warren would be down for that too.
    Homosexuality and polygamy, for the record, are not comparable in any way to bestiality or pedophilia. The former unions involve consenting adults; the latter clearly do not. To compare them is unfair.
    Right now, I am picturing a world where men are allowed to marry men, and women are allowed to marry women. In that world, those granted rights would be able to hold their heads a little higher. They would be able to visit loved ones in the hospital and better handle legal affairs. Parents would not fear (as much) for the difficult lives their children may lead because they happened to be born gay.
    Rick Warren’s life, and the lives of other religious homophobes, would not have change at all. Expanding marital rights does not infringe on or devalue the rights already in existence. No one would lose anything. Love is a personal thing. If Warren loves his wife and appreciates his marriage, how would legalizing gay marriage hurt his marriage?
    Not having someone like Rick Warren at the inauguration would not offend anyone. Inviting him to speak bothers me. His presence was like a presidential stamp of approval. The President can and should listen to all rational sides of an argument, but he should not give only one side a microphone. Without inviting an imam, rabbi, or other leader to speak, the move read as an endorsement of religious views. It was placating McCain supporters. It was inappropriate.

  • Anonymous says:

    President Obama is setting a great example for the rest of our country about how to be good citizens and good people. The notion that one can agree to disagree and accept the view points of another man is something that is not evident in today’s society. Unfortunately, people in today’s world are scared of disagreement and being told their ideas or beliefs are wrong. To compensate for this fear, people simply avoid those who don’t share common beliefs. This social pattern
    needs to change if we want to improve as a nation. No one is doing anyone else any good by speaking to only those with the same beliefs. Part of interacting with people is to understand where they are coming from, and to learn about their different points of view. This is part of the growth that we as individuals must accept. How can individuals grow in character when they cower at the thought of differences and
    refuse to accept others’ ideas.

    This instance of Barack Obama setting an example by having Rick Warren
    speak at his inauguration is very comparable to different sports
    occasions. When reading the blog I immediately thought of the
    situation with the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team in recent years.
    Kobe Bryant, arguably the greatest player in the world today, was a
    ball hog to say the least. He tried to take over games himself,
    looking for his own shot and putting his teammates on the back burner.
    Kobe never won games this way; he put up phenomenal individual numbers
    but as a team the Lakers never came close to a championship. Kobe
    since has changed drastically as a player. He is accepting the fact
    that he has other quality players on his team and they deserve to get
    the ball too. Kobe used to never look to his teammates and didn’t
    understand that they too wanted to be productive and contribute. Now
    after a lack of success and much arguing with his teammates, Kobe has
    learned that his teammates are the key to success. Kobe got over the fact that he couldn’t win alone and that he needed to change and grow
    as a player and person to get his teammates involved. The Lakers are
    now a championship caliber team; led by Kobe Bryant, this year’s team
    also features a productive bench along with great role players. Last
    year the Lakers won the Western Conference and made it to the NBA
    Finals. Kobe’s present success is a reflection of his growth to accept
    his teammates who argued with him earlier in his career.

    I feel like President Obama can achieve much success, like Kobe did,
    as long as he keeps accepting others’ different points of view and
    unites with his “enemies.” If Obama can spread this notion of trust
    and acceptance then this country will vastly improve.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok maybe it’s just me but I really don’t understand this “Obama is so different, he’s already proven every critic wrong” thought that seems to be sweeping the blogs.

    When did Obama become a perfect saint?

    Obama has said a lot of different things but after about a week in office what has he really done? He has only had a week. How can we begin to judge him, good or bad, after about a week? Sure he has passed a few bills here and there, but we can’t even judge the success of these bills yet. Obama comes off as an extremely intelligent man with a good head on his shoulders. With that said all we have heard so far is words and a very limited number of actions. I’m not trying to rip Obama. I’m just simply wondering why we can’t let what he does over time make up our opinion of him. Presidential candidates have been making promises for a long time, and as of yet I don’t know of a single one that has fulfilled all of them. We shouldn’t be naïve and think that Obama is going to be the savior of this country. He is still just a man. He will make a mistake or two during his presidency. Heck, he might even, God forbid, make three. Obama has brought hope and is supposed to bring change, but let’s not jump the gun here. Let’s let some of his changes take effect first and then start to judge him. Let’s see if his changes will really better the country. Let’s see if he truly is different then the majority of these two-faced politicians. As an American, I’ll be rooting for him the entire way. Who doesn’t want a united country with hope and constructive change?

    As far as the Rick Warren ordeal, I do think this was a good move. Just because someone has a different point of view doesn’t mean they should be excluded. How can you exclude anyone if you preach that everyone should be “brought to the table”? Obama is simply trying to practice what he preaches. I can’t help but commend him for this. Also despite what many people want to believe, there is a large portion of our country’s population that agrees with his stance on gay marriage. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If Obama wants to win over this entire country and truly unite us then he needs to continue to listen to people with differing view points. We are a diverse nation with many different people and many different opinions. It only makes sense that our president should at least listen to the different views of the people, even if he is fundamentally opposed to the views.

  • Anonymous says:

    “Bringing everyone to the table” is the very thing this sociology class does. Although some of us do not want to believe it in our minds, most people do not share the same views on certain issues as we do. Not so much the larger class but one could look at the small discussion groups as a “dialogue table”. Not every person at the table (in the group) agrees with the comments that others may make. I believe that is what makes the discussions so successful. If everyone agreed with everyone else then there would not be anything to debate on. Many families share some of the most heated debates at dinner table.
    What makes President Obama such an eloquent man is the fact that he is open to all viewpoints, no matter how conservative. If your favorite color is red and Obama’s is blue, am sure he would be willing to listen to you argument on why your color is the better of the two. By all means he may not be persuaded to change his opinion but he would listen to what you had to say. A president can not be completely close minded to others opinions. The idea of Obama inviting Rick Warren to the inauguration is just an example of the new government taking steps to being open to the subject of same-sex marriages. Obama is one of the first presidents to actually try to involve all groups of people. I do not think that the Obama critics were looking at the bigger picture in this situation. Obama is trying to in create change in unity. He was not trying to upset his supporters but instead show them he really is about his words… “Bringing everyone to the table”. The LGBT people should not have taken Warren’s invitation as a slap in the face but instead a sign that Obama is trying to change the government.
    One the issue of same-sex marriages, in my opinion the 5,000 year old definition of the word marriage needs to be changed in Webster’s dictionaries across America. The religious aspect of the term should encounter the same changes. Gay and Lesbian people should be granted equal rights as all Americans and that means the right to marry whoever they wish. In today’s society more and more same sex couples want to get married and the government or any religion should not be able to tell them that they can not. In reality the two are supposed to be separate in America so why is the term religiously having any thing to do with the governments declining same-sex marriage. However the government does have the right to protect innocent children from the potential harmful effects of being born into a same-sex parent household.

  • Anonymous says:

    In the past, my parents typically have had a traditional view on marriage and have always been republican. Before, I never bothered to take an interest in anything since I was not yet eighteen and therefore, could not vote. My parents’ are traditional, but if I had different views than them, I know they would support me in whatever I do, although they might not agree with it. But, now as Obama steps into office, many of the things that I had not cared about before have begun to interest me. The fact that Obama wants to “bring everyone to the table,” is exceptional, but also a very challenging task at the same time. The whole nation watched as he was sworn into office, and many probably wondered what was going to become of the nation. Change, was one definite thing that is in store for all of the citizens of the United States. I believe that Obama will try very hard, and personally, I do think he will succeed. Presidents in the past have attempted this, but hopefully Obama will be able to go through with it. People from all different backgrounds, races, and views are all hoping that Obama will be able to reunite the country. When Warren spoke, I highly doubt Obama’s goals or intentions were to hurt or upset anyone in the country. I believe that he was just trying to unite the people of the U.S. President Obama wants everyone’s voice to be heard, and everyone to have a say; that is why his goal is to “bring everyone to the table.” Knowing that Obama and Warren were not on the best of terms in the near past, it was surprising to see Warren on Obama’s inauguration day. Obama clearly is open to all views, considering he asked Warren to be there on his inauguration day. That one day alone shows that President Obama is going to be open to hear everyone’s thought and ideas. This is a great start considering other presidents had much difficulty promoting change. I believe that whoever wants to get married can. It does not phase me what others do. I think that change will be very good for this country, and we could definitely use something positive. We will just have to wait and see how much change actually does occur in the next four, or even eight years. I personally believe that all people should be able to do as they please in their daily lives, mainly focusing on LGBT. A single group of people should not be singled out for believing something different than what the mainstream society views. Hopefully, Obama will be here to make change and progress in our country.

  • Anonymous says:

    Now I’m not completely sure what the specific objective of this discussion is supposed to be about. Is the question whether or not Barack Obama will keep his promise, or is the question of what bringing everyone to the table truly means? Due to my confusion I will address both points.

    Do I think that 44 will keep to his word of bringing everyone to the table in an effort to unite? To answer this question as directly and honestly as true politician would, I feel that he will make a much more consorted effort to do so, yes. Will it mean that all will have equal rights within this administration? I do not know, and I’m not sure if anyone does. My guess is that it will have to grow in popularity on the state level until it reaches federal acceptance. While watching my daily political talk shows today, I saw that Obama had signed into law or is attempting to implement measures of equal pay for women. While all of the pundits are making predictions on the new presidents first 100 days in office, I would say he has done a successful job in setting the tone for what this new administration will be about. And to expand on the statement that I feel he will make a greater effort to, there is only so much one person can do. The job of the president is not to simply put into legislature whatever he thinks is a good idea. The republics have made this very clear with the economic stimulus package the US House of Representatives just passed. While the bill passed, it did so without a single republican vote, making a firm statement that their party will hold firm on it ‘ideals’ and stances on certain issues. In order for acceptance of equal rights for all groups, it will take an effort and an understanding by if not everyone, at least a majority, preferably at least two thirds.

    Branching off of the idea that we need to work together in order to get things accomplished in this country politically, this is the major reason for having Warren give the opening prayer. Does this mean that Warren will because senior advisor to Obama on a lot of issues? No, he’s already got Axelrod for that. Is it going to help form a tie with a large number of constituents that share the beliefs of Warren, however? Yes. And this is largely what getting your way inside the beltway is about. Even the republicans are learning this, although having to follow the Dems on that. The GOP has elected the first black chairman in the party’s long ignorant history. Is it an effort to expand to more people in an effort to revive the group of typically old rich white men? In my opinion, yes. But then again, that’s politics.

  • Yena Choi says:

    In my point of view, Rick Warren and Barack Obama should be on the same page. I get that for Christian people, in their religion it’s not right for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people to get married. Barack Obama is Christian but, it doesn’t mean that he is going to do what ever that is right for the Christian people. Not everyone has a same religion. If Barack Obama wants to bring everyone to the table, he shouldn’t separate anyone or not include anyone out. Barack has a ability to gather all the people regardless of race category. Since he can do that, there is a issues with other kind of stuff like sexuality. I think that sexuality acceptance is based on people’s morality. In my moral, it doesn’t matter if the person is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender because I think it’s just one of their choices that they make and it’s their individuality. Some people have a problem with homosexuality. They think it’s disgusting and not right. Okay. For 5000 years it was normal to marry the different gender and make babies. Sure. They usually say that they are really disgusted when they see them holding hands and kissing in public. Well.. the way I see is that I would get disgusted even if anyone is making out in the public it doesn’t matter who is making out with who. Long time ago, they had to reproduce, it was because they needed a big family to be able to survive. So for people who grew up in that environment it’s abnormal to marry the other gender then them. In these years, environment is totally different. Many people show their individuality now. They are not afraid to show that they are different. I’m not saying that whatever people think that homosexuality is wrong, what I am saying is that they can develop the moral on their own but, it doesn’t give them a reason to act up to others based on their moral. No one has a right to start hating on people and try to change them just cause it doesn’t set well with their moral. It’s not like I like males because they are males. I like the person because of who they are. It’s not like their maleness attract me. I mean who get to say what is right or wrong? But, in my opinion, relationships and marriage should be based on feelings and love. Barack Obama is the president. He shouldn’t discriminate anyone. He could have a opinion and it’s possible but, he is the one who will be leading the nation so, he should just make the decisions based on what is right or not for people including everyone.

  • Liz King says:

    A good leader listens to everyone regardless of their opinions and beliefs. Everything needs to be taken into consideration, when making decisions that affect a large group of people. I fully support Obama having Rick Warren speaking at his inauguration, and I don’t believe it was a slap in the face to the LGBT community, or any of Obama’s supporters. Obama was making a point by having someone with different views speak to the attending audience. Listening to other points of view and understanding where the other person is coming from is something not commonly done anymore. A lot of people have their own opinions and beliefs, and they are the right one’s, and everyone else is wrong. No one will be able to sway them, which is fine, but to be completely ignorant on subjects is what some of our leaders have been, and not what we, as a country, need. We need someone that will be open to hearing different opinions from all kinds of people, regardless of age, sex, or religious beliefs. Everyone has an opinion, and has the right to express it, as per the First Amendment of the Constitution. No matter how outlandish they may be.

    Getting on to the subject of the gay marriage issue is something that should not even be an issue. How long have people used the argument that it is implied in the Constitution that there is a separation of church and state? Yet, married couples get better tax benefits, health care benefits, etc. but since two people of the same sex are not legally allowed to get married, they are not allowed to attain those benefits. If churches and laws are stating that no two people of the same sex are allowed to get married, then no benefits should be given to any one. Some jobs and schools can get rid of people if they are gay or lesbian. There was recently an article in the news that two girls were expelled from a private Lutheran school, because they had pictures on their Myspace of them hugging, and their statuses were set to bi-sexual. Their arguments in court were thrown out because the school is a private organization and does not have to conform to equal rights for everyone. That is a scary ruling for the LGBT community, that private organizations can kick you out just because of your sexual orientation. Does anyone feel like our country is back peddling, except this time the situation is the LGBT community v. the straight community instead of whites v blacks? And for anyone who says it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, never thought that it could be a typo.

  • Rob Ballard says:

    First of all, I just want to ask a question. What is the big deal about Rick Warren not supporting gay marriage? I feel like people are getting all riled up about nothing. If he has a religious indifference to gay marriage then he is entitled to that opinion. I personally don’t agree with gay marriage either. Does that make me a bad person? Some people might say that, but I don’t believe it. Marriage is supposed to be the union of a man and a woman, not anything else. If homosexuals want to receive partnership benefits in terms of insurance or hospital visitation, that’s fine by me, but don’t call it a marriage. Like I said before, a marriage is between a man and a woman, so you can’t call that a marriage. With that being said, I don’t think it was an intentional slap in anyone’s face that Obama invited him to deliver the opening prayer at the Presidential Inauguration. I like what Obama is doing by “bringing everyone to the table.” You can’t be a good president if you just listen to people that agree with you all the time. You need to be able to listen to both sides of a given issue and make decisions after being fully informed. I am glad that Obama is actually living up to some of the things he claimed he would do. Politicians are notorious for not being able to follow through on their promises, and although there is a slim chance that Obama will follow through on everything, I think he will probably do better than his predecessors.
    To address the other issue, how often we “share a table” with people that we disagree, I would say not too often. I take other people’s arguments into consideration, but they rarely change my mind about things. I am also much more inclined to dismiss someone that I strongly disagree with than to try and see things from their eyes. Professor Richards has a very valid point; it is much easier that way. That is why most people do it. That doesn’t make it the right thing to do, but it is definitely the path most chosen. I would say that most people tend to be even less open to new ideas than I am. Especially in America, most people believe what they want to, and they feel that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. Take for example the fact that women in Iraq are not allowed to show bare skin in public. Some people in America think of that as something so crazy that it makes them hate people from Iraq, but they fail to put themselves in the shoes of an Iraqi. If that is how you were raised your whole life, you wouldn’t see it as crazy or wrong. I think that people around the world, myself included, need to start trying to see the world from someone else’s perspective.

  • Taylor Larouche says:

    It happens all of the time, politicians lying their way into public office. There is such a cynicism about politicians being cheats in our country that it is almost sad. It is true that in order for them to get ahead, that they must often say whatever their audience wants to hear. I’d like to believe that President Obama is going to be different.
    When I first heard of the situation involving the disdain from the LGBT community, over the selection of Rick Warren to speak at inauguration, I could certainly understand where they were coming from and thought it to be a bit hypocritical. Hypocritical from Obama, as Professor Richards pointed out, a man whom got the majority vote from the LGBT community. I certainly did not see it in the way that I now do; a way of trying to reach out and examine both sides of the spectrum.
    It is easy to see it as a game of trickery by Obama, saying he played the LGBT community for fools. Yet, I think that that same community must look at it from the other side as well. In this hard, and at the same time exciting, part in the history of our country, it would be easy for citizens to draw many lines in the sand separating oneself from another. It is much harder for our citizens to shake the dirt off, and pick themselves off by coming together to further our country even more. I see this attempt to bring people of the United States together being at the forefront of President Obama’s mind, and for good reason.
    I am so happy that I was shown the other side of the Rick Warren situation, as I now see how extremely important it is to be at the forefront of all American minds.
    Another thing that I never thought about, or rather I suppose I never learned, was that of a sort of ugly history with regards to the Christian faith; surprisingly as recently as the 19th century. Many of us never consider the fact that Christianity wasn’t, and still most likely isn’t, a perfect faith. Things looked down upon in the present day, were often social norms in the past. The struggle for things such as slavery, voting rights and many other issues, often are a distant memory since my generation is not confronted with them right now.
    Perhaps in another 100 years this too will all be a distant memory in the minds of our grandchildren, and another taboo topic will be discussed. Until then though, we must not forget our history, no matter how recent, as our history will most likely be a heavy indicator of our future.

  • "The Captain" Jeremy says:

    Aright. First things first, what is this table and why is it so important. What about the table that the twelve disciples sat at or the table that suited King Arthur and his Knights (of course I’m referring to the “Knights of the Round Table). Of course this table is a metaphor. When we say that Obama is trying to bring everyone to the table, what we mean is that he’s trying to open us up to more than one viewpoint but more on that later. First, let’s start with a one Mr. Rick Warren. Yeah he’s stated his views on a whole bunch of issues and that upsets people. Why you ask? Because it’s not what a traditional pastor would say. A go to a church where my pastor tells it like it is. By using the Christian faith and using that to effectively and positively back your argument. I hear my pastor always speaking homosexuality and drugs and disease and gun violence and politics because it exists and he doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks or is scared to say it because it’s out there and is real. AIDS is real. Guns are real. My pastor has met with a ton of celebrities and has always stood tall on what he says. Just because Rick Warren said some stuff doesn’t make him wrong for saying it, it’s just that we’re not used to hearing it. Another thing is I believe a lot of black people would’ve preferred Joel Osteen than Warren if Obama was going to choose a white pastor. I mean Osteen is a cool dude. I honestly couldn’t give two shits on who Obama chose. He’s the damn President. He can do whatever he like (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-yJBsjatW0), yeaaaaaah. But he wants to bring people to the table. I for one want to see some people at the table. You know? Let’s get some fried chicken, some sweet potatoes, collard greens, macaroni and cheese with some crust on the top, string beans, cabbage, turkey and let’s dig in. Food always opens people up. Obama is a special combination. One) he’s half-black and half-white, he fist bumps with his wife but can change the tide with his voice (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxxLA7Z2QbA). Secondly he’s not your average black person. Yeah he done some weed but every nigga then done some weed. He ain’t never been shot, been locked up, in debt, or owe any other niggas some money. He’s an open person that really wants to change the world and make it a better place. Look he got Bill Clinton back in the White House and that’s always great. But look, Obama wants us to stop being so damn insecure and meet some new people. Let’s go a date with Russia or stay the night with Iraq but leave in the morning and tell them you have an early meeting to get to. Let’s just take a seat at the table and talk it out.

  • Joseph Martinez says:

    “However, I have to give Obama credit for sticking to his word about bringing everyone to the table. The “table” he is referring to, after all, is (or should be) the one where important decisions are made and “everyone” includes the very people with whom he disagrees most vehemently.” I overwhelmingly agree to this statement. Closely monitoring his appointees to the presidential cabinet I questioned my self if he was really going to bring “change” at home and also over seas. I due to his position on the illegal bush wiretaps I still do. BUT i know this is political strategy that he can and has used effectively. By appeasing and giving the opponent a voice within the institutions he controls (IE the Executive body), he assures himself that co-operation happens, when he needs a piece of legislation that he is aniniment about passing it dose so by both sides of both houses. when it comes to seeing another side of the issue I always but my self in that persons position in order to understand why she or he believes so, so that I may agree with, persuade, or reach understanding. For example the homosexual marriage is indeed a touchy one. The conservative side argues the need of a protection of the institution of marriage coupled by the foundation of this nation on christian values. The Liberal side claims discrimination and inequality lack of rights granted to married couples or just common law marriage not being granted to committed monogamous homosexual couples. As some who was raised in Texas and a once very religious Catholic, I admit to once being homophobic. I also once supported the law against sodomy that existed in 14 states including Texas before it was struck down by the supreme court in 2003. I change my opinion when on a week long trip to DC with my scholarship fund. There one of my peers a law grad from the University of Florida was a Homosexual male who hoped to become to become a Civil rights lawyer specializing in the LGBT movement. Through out the process I realized although he was a homosexual he still had the hopes and dreams the rest of the 29 scholars had to do something positive with our lives and although his sexual preference my be different from mine there should be no reason why I should treat him differently from anyone else. In an conversation with him I explained my grievance against the movement for instance comparing its self to the civil rights movement of the 60’s, when he asked why? I explained that as racial different people he cant change the our race given to us by birth via our parent genetics. Whereas he countered by telling me that no one would seek out the stigmas and the discrimination of others if they could change that aspect of their lives.

  • Nia E says:

    My answer to the following question “How often do we share a table with the very people with whom we so stridently disagree–and then attempt to see the world from their eyes?” would have to be that usually I tend to stray from those who have completely separate views from me as do others, especially if they are not interested in listening to or comprehending what I have to say. I find people like that to be ignorant, and closed minded. I would most likely feel much more comfortable if there was a sense of openness among the group which a topic was being discussed. a lot of people could probably agree with me or have contrasting feelings. This is because when people are stuck in their own beliefs it is very difficult to adopt ones that others possess. People’s beliefs are affected greatly by their upraising and background. For example, if a young man grows up in a strict Christian home, he will more than likely have a sense of hatred toward homosexual individuals. On the other hand a girl has homosexual uncle or cousin, they will be much more accepting to them. When Rick Warren made the comments stating that he does agree with homosexuality simply because he has very strong beliefs in history of the church but does not agree with many of the things that occurred with in it. Thing that he referred to include He incest and older men marrying children. When he compared the two by saying that occurrences within the church prove to be cruel or just plain unacceptable. Speaking of equality Warren also said that he believed EVERYONE was worthy of it so he doesn’t see why people of the church portray such a great deal of hatred toward the homosexual individuals. To me, if you believe in inequality, you believe everyone should be treated with the highest degree. Also God love everyone of the people he created so those in the church should have some type of knowledge of gods will that everyone love each other. It seems as if sexual preference has come to being treated and accepted as a separate race or even a disease, that could possibly be contagious. Rick Warren simply redeemed himself when he made his comments during the interview. I’m sure it really changed many people’s views about him after he made his statements.
    Obama is most likely to accomplish the goal of unifying everyone. Relying on his promises this cold be possible. also the help also could come from the help of this country’s citizens and also non citizens.. If people do not want to be united, it will not happen. I think that many decisions depend on the people that you are attempting to influence as well as aid.

  • Bradley Hershon says:

    Although Barack Obama hasn’t been President of the United States for a full two weeks yet, he certainly has banked in on one of major promises from his campaign. He is indeed bringing everyone to the table. He first began this process over a month ago when he appointed Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State. By doing so, Obama showed he was willing to listen to all who were willing to speak, including his former opponents. He has brought together a cabinet consisting of not only liberals but conservatives as well. What really impresses me with what Obama has done is that I know it would be difficult for most of us, including myself, to put aside differences and listen to what our opponents and detractors have to say.

  • Salim S. O. George says:

    Thoughts on a “Christian Nation:”
    I hear this term thrown around a lot these days (no worries, I’m still only 18). Let’s have fun. What would said nation look like? Are we saying that everyone would be a Christian? Well, I don’t think anyone is deceived enough to mean that every citizen of America is a Christian. Would we become a theocracy? Would the “secular” law (law enforcement, government, etc.) be able to punish people who violate biblical principles (e.g. the Ten Commandments)? On these grounds, the term doesn’t seem to hold up either. Stealing, murdering, and lying might make the cut, but when was the last time someone got incarcerated for disrespecting their parents? If we really wanted to kick it “old testament” we would have kids stoned to death for talking smack to their parents. Regardless of how practical or impractical this would be, we can all agree that the America we live in today is no such nation. Some say that they mean we were founded on “Christian” principles. Rebellion against the governing authorities (check out Romans), genocide, deceit: are these the principles we are talking about?
    Some food for thought that I am probably adapting from Rob Belle’s Velvet Elvis (great book if you have a weekend): the term “Christian” works really well when we are talking about people. I can say that I am a Christian or that Tom is a Christian or that Jesus was a Christian (whoops! He was a Jew, silly) and all that makes a good deal of sense. In other words we are talking about a “Christian” as a thing: a noun. I’m going to argue that this term becomes rather foggy when we turn it into an adjective.
    A fun one I like to kick around is the term “Christian” music. What does that mean? Are the band members all Christians? Are all the songs about Jesus? Are there no cuss words in any of the lyrics? If you think it’s as simple as asking ITunes to filter the genre for you, I’m going to ask you to reconsider. What people really mean when they say “Christian” music is that they believe that any real Christian will only listen to that sort of music. No one ever says that, but that’s what they mean. By tacking on “Christian” they make anyone who is trying to follow the teachings of Christ a little nervous. A Christian likes to think that they only do “Christian” things (yes, I am trying to make a point using “” like no tomorrow). By calling one thing “Christian” you are automatically making a judgment about all the other things.
    I’ll let you chew on that one by yourself, let’s get to same-sex marriages/unions/whatevers.
    We should have two kinds of “marriage” one should be under the state. Some special government official would perform the necessary rites and people would be considered married by the state. The second type would meet all the criteria of the first and then on top of all that, take on any conditions under the church or tradition that they follow. I hope that our country will begin to move towards something like this and that we will be able to work out our differences instead of pretending that they don’t exist.

  • Brandon says:

    To me, the choice to let Rick Warren speak shows how Barack Obama is tolerant to all types of people. Rick Warren does not directly hate on a specific group, he is just stating his opinion. He simply believes that the definition of marriage (which is over five thousand years old) should not be tampered with.

    I agree that the culture has much to do with the “idyllic vision” of marriage and intimate relationships. Across the globe, we see countless variations of marriages, rituals, and ideals of relationships; however, the biology behind a relationship is to reproduce. The only way to do that is through a male and a female. In the animal kingdom, if you believe in natural selection, evolution, and survival of the fittest, then the traits which are disadvantages and do not produce offspring usually do not flourish and eventually will cease to exist. I have nothing against the LGBT community and do not support everything that Rick Warren says. I just feel like trying to change the definition of marriage is pretty dangerous. Changing the definition could alter the view and commitments dealing with marriage all together.

    As said in the article, Obama is brining everyone to the table and allowing everyone to state their opinions. I believe that as long as their statements are not hateful, then they are entitled to express themselves.

    Obama’s decision to let Warren speak shows his openness towards all groups and opinions. Even though you may disagree with the other side, the only way to make progress or solve any type of problem is to listen and understand where the other side is coming from. It is too easy to turn the other check and pretend that we do not hear the opposition. In order to be a productive society, opinions need to be heard, even though the sometimes dangerously clash.

    It is very difficult to change a deeply imbedded tradition in a culture; specifically, the tradition of marriage in the United States. However I can understand why the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community may be upset that Warren was allowed to speak; however, generally speaking, it is hard to make everyone happy. No matter what, at least one person is going to be pissed that a certain person was chosen to speak. As long as his speech was not considered “hate speech” he should be allowed to speak his mind.

    This may be the first president in a while to live up to his word. He is open minded and obviously listening to many different perspectives to various concerns. This is a good and productive start to his presidency, and in the future I think we will find solutions to many problems.

  • Brandon says:

    To me, the choice to let Rick Warren speak shows how Barack Obama is tolerant to all types of people. Rick Warren does not directly hate on a specific group, he is just stating his opinion. He simply believes that the definition of marriage (which is over five thousand years old) should not be tampered with.

    I agree that the culture has much to do with the “idyllic vision” of marriage and intimate relationships. Across the globe, we see countless variations of marriages, rituals, and ideals of relationships; however, the biology behind a relationship is to reproduce. The only way to do that is through a male and a female. In the animal kingdom, if you believe in natural selection, evolution, and survival of the fittest, then the traits which are disadvantages and do not produce offspring usually do not flourish and eventually will cease to exist. I have nothing against the LGBT community and do not support everything that Rick Warren says. I just feel like trying to change the definition of marriage is pretty dangerous. Changing the definition could alter the view and commitments dealing with marriage all together.

    As said in the article, Obama is brining everyone to the table and allowing everyone to state their opinions. I believe that as long as their statements are not hateful, then they are entitled to express themselves.

    Obama’s decision to let Warren speak shows his openness towards all groups and opinions. Even though you may disagree with the other side, the only way to make progress or solve any type of problem is to listen and understand where the other side is coming from. It is too easy to turn the other check and pretend that we do not hear the opposition. In order to be a productive society, opinions need to be heard, even though the sometimes dangerously clash.

    It is very difficult to change a deeply imbedded tradition in a culture; specifically, the tradition of marriage in the United States. However I can understand why the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community may be upset that Warren was allowed to speak; however, generally speaking, it is hard to make everyone happy. No matter what, at least one person is going to be pissed that a certain person was chosen to speak. As long as his speech was not considered “hate speech” he should be allowed to speak his mind.

    This may be the first president in a while to live up to his word. He is open minded and obviously listening to many different perspectives to various concerns. This is a good and productive start to his presidency, and in the future I think we will find solutions to many problems.

  • Anonymous says:

    How many times have you been placed in a situation where someone else has a different point of view than you? I’m sure more than a couple. I know I have at least. Now for a better question, how many times have you actually thought about their point, rather than simply sitting there thinking, “No I’m right, they’re wrong, they have to be.” I’m sure not so many. That is a major reason why I am currently taking this Soc 119 class – so I can begin to get a feel for and realize what other ideas other people have to offer about topics such as this. How do people feel about “bringing everyone to the table?” “Is everyone already being included at that table?” Are everyone’s ideas being included in important decisions? Personally, I don’t think that they are, however, I do feel that Obama will begin to change this fad. I think that he will certainly help the ideas of everyone be heard, whether they are Black, White, Indian, African, or any other nationality.
    I also, along with Professor Richards, feel the need to say something about Warren’s statement, “I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000 year old definition of marriage.” As much as I agree with him when he says that it is wrong for a brother and sister to get married, or an older man and a child to get married, we are living in an ever-changing society. Again, I agree that men and children should not be married, and either should family members, but soon enough we all have to come to terms that men and men are going to feel the same way about each other as men and women always have. Or women and women for that matter. Society is going to have to come to grips with the fact that there is nothing that we as a whole can do about that. On the other hand, I can see where he is coming from saying that it should not be called marriage. What is wrong with the term civil union? Who care’s what it’s called – it’s only a term – do people get married because they want to say they’re married? Or is it because they are in love with their partner, straight, gay, lesbian, whatever they may be. I know that if society decided that if a man and women were to unite it would be called civil union, I could care less, as long as I still felt that I was in love with that woman and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. It’s not about the title, it’s not about the insurance benefits, it’s about the love.

  • Lauren S says:

    First of all, by having Rick Warren deliver the opening prayer at the Inauguration Obama demonstrates that he can resolve conflict. That alone is symbolic.
    I understand supporters, specifically LGBT, getting upset about it but I think there discontent is due to unexpectedness and shock. They voted for Obama for a number of reasons, his stance on the LGBT community particularly. They did not expect Warren to be there yet alone play a huge part.
    The bottom line is that we are not the people with whom we surround ourselves. If I were to have the same view points as all of my friends, the conversations would be boring. Obama opting to select Warren as the presiding minister at Inauguration is not saying that he agrees with him on all issues. It is saying, as Dr. Richard mentions, that Obama is willing to bring all people to the table.
    I think that people are too stuck on categorizing. When it comes to political affiliation, I consider myself a moderate. My uncle laughs at this and tells me I must be liberal. The fact is that I agree with different stances across the board. When all people are brought to the table, this is what happens. If Obama brought together only people who agreed with each other, decisions would be made too quickly and huge mistakes would arise. A governing body needs to consist of a variety of views and things should have to be debated.
    Debate leads to drama and drama leads to passion. I want my government to debate over issues and come up with convincing cases for the policy they are fighting for. Every aspect would be looked at with greater importance if there was passion involved. When everyone agrees, problems are overlooked. As the president of my sorority, I would not let discussions in elections go shorter than eight minutes. If everyone was in agreement, they needed to talk about why they supported the particular case. Often times this led to someone bringing up a point that no one thought about.
    I understand that the LBGT community experiences a lot of discrimination. I do not believe their criticism of Warren’s presence at Inauguration to be unjustified. I do, however, ask that they give Obama some credit in his decision to accept difference. Isn’t that what they are asking for?
    Some of the most memorable times I have ever had in my life were while opening up to people with different beliefs. Listening to opinions that do not match your own does not mean you will or have to change your views. If anything, it can lead you to becoming more understanding of an opposite standpoint or strengthen your current beliefs. It can lead you to thinking critically about a situation, being able to see the big picture, and being more knowledgeable on a certain subject.

  • Anonymous says:

    In the context of “how often do we share a table with the very people with whom we so stridently disagree–and then attempt to see the world from their eyes?” I do not think that we do this very often. Everyone is constantly surrounded by people whom share different views about politics, morals, and social issues than themselves, but how often do you personally try to see the perspective of other people? Not often. Generally people are very stubborn and believe only what they want to without listening to other people, let alone trying to see something from someone else’s perspective. The idea that Obama wants to change this and bring “everyone to the table” as one country shows how much he truly wants to improve America. Although presidents have said this in the past, Obama is making a true effort to bring people, who may share different opinions, together and live coherently. I believe that is Obama can make this happen, our country will be much better off.
    Obama consistently ignores the noise that his critics are making and pushes forward with his idea of what will better the country. This attitude shows strength and a genuine will to do what is best for everyone, not just what he thinks is best. Obama makes it known that he will listen to all voices of the American people whether he agrees with them or not. I did not know about Rick Warren until the inauguration of President Obama, and I was surprised by the comments he made in the article. He sounded like a more down to earth person who has his own beliefs, but is not cruel about others. The idea that Obama and Warren do not share the same belief, but Obama brought him to the inauguration anyway, says a lot about our President. Already right off the bat Obama was showing the country that he may not agree with Warren, but he was willing to listen to his input. Also, there are people who do greatly agree with Warren and his views and allowing him to say the prayer demonstrated that Obama is not stopping people from having beliefs other than his own, but he almost commends it. This should show American that Obama is looking out for everyone’s interests and wants the rest of the country to see that it is possible to coexist with people you do not agree with. And possibly not only coexist, but be friendly with and build a strong nation based on the fact that we can disagree and also stand together. I think President Obama is sending the right message to the American people and he already has begun a great start as the leader of our country.

  • Anonymous says:

    Are we bringing everyone to the table?
    We, the United States of America, are not. How can we as a country single-handedly vote in our first black president and yet have California eliminate their law on same-sex marriage? We are priding ourselves on CHANGE and how our country is progressing to eliminate prejudices with this election, but over in California, the only state to have had same-sex marriage in the last few years, rid themselves of allowing gays and lesbians to live their lives together? Personally, I find it ironic and a little unsettling.

    How can we be a country that prides ourselves on this hypocrisy? While it is true that we are making improvements in some areas we are regressing in others -which leads me to wonder what else we are regressing in? Women’s rights? Equal pay for all races and genders? How about the stigmatism associated with gays and lesbians? Come on America, step up to the plate and start fighting for what you deserve, for what your friends, neighbors, and co-workers deserve. It’s time to get off the sidelines and get into the game-even if you’re fighting for someone else’s rights.

    While I am not gay, I don’t see the logic preventing them to share their lives together, to be married and live a loving and happy life. Rick Warren states how he wants everyone to have equal rights but hypocritically states how he doesn’t want them to marry each other because it “changes the 5000 year old definition of marriage”. It’s called CHANGE and you don’t necessarily have to be a supported of Obama to agree that our country needs some radical changes whether we like it or not. We need change of heart and mind, change of our laws and change of stereotypes: We need to change our attitudes-because we have too much-what makes anyone better than anyone else?. Like it or not- change just happens and we can either sit back and let it happen-for the good or the bad, or we can embrace it, provoke it, or even live it.

    But as for Obama bringing everyone to the table? I have to admit I’m not as involved in all the details of who he is talking to, meeting with, and who he picked in his cabinent, but if you say he seems to be keep up on his statement, I can only believe you. To me, getting everyone involved: people against you, differing views, and diversifying the cabinets of democrats and republicans-it can only to good. You find out what issues seem to be bothering al groups of people, issues that need to be compromised on, and lessons to be learned from working with those you usually spend time arguing with. I hope Obama can do all of these things and quite excited and curious at the same time for the next 4-8 years.

  • Emily says:

    What “Bringing Everyone to the Table” Really Means
    At first this blog caught me off guard because I was not really sure where the topic was headed. I was interested yes, because the subject of gay marriage is an important one to me, as I have family members that are homosexual. However I soon realized that the focus of the article was not specifically about gay marriage at all. If the issue of this blog was about gay marriage I could have written ten pages on the subject. However, what really is at hand is whether or not President Obama was offending many of his most dedicated supporters by having Rick Warren read the opening prayer at his inauguration.
    I have thought about this a lot and I will probably change my views as I talk to more people and get other points of view about it, but I think I know where I stand on the subject. At this point, I do not know the reason(s) why Obama would pick such a controversial person to open his inauguration. All I can do is hope that his intentions were good and meaningful. I agree that President Obama is working to unite the country. Whether it is white or black, Republican or Democrat, wheat or rye, I think that our president is working to bring the country together. We don’t have to have all the same views, but we have hopes that we can live together in harmony. With that in mind, I do not know if I agree that it was the best decision to have someone with the notoriety or Mr. Warren, but it definitely got people talking.
    If President Obama’s supporters were offended, I cannot say that I am surprised at all. When you invite someone like Warren, who is such a vocal advocate against the LGBT community, abortion and other liberal social issues, to be such an integral part of your inauguration, people are going to be upset. He is so conservative and so right-wing that President Obama seemed to almost purposefully alienate his supporters. On the other hand, it could have been his intention to use Warren to help include the many people who are not his biggest fans.
    The election is over now and so now we have no excuse to be a segregated nation. People will always have different views, but now we have one president and we are not fighting for separate candidates. We are one country and no matter how much we disagree we have to at least try to get along for the common good. As I said before, I do not know why Obama picked Warren to open the ceremony. I hope his selection was an act of leadership and that his fellow citizens should try and follow his example of unification and acceptance. We might never agree, but at least we can try to accept it and respect each other.
    – EK

  • Aristotle says:

    Barack Obama’s expectations as president have easily exceeded any of the previous presidents in recent memory and probably most all of our President’s, especially when considering the amount of constant media attention faced in the modern era. This is a combination of the seemingly increased coverage throughout the campaigning process that considerably documented his platform and has allowed for increased scrutiny by the public, and the dire need for the change he has promised and the sheer change he represents as our first black president. Having said that, one point he has tried to make time and time again is for the need of our country to cross partisan lines in order to survive. Obama has taken one step towards showing that these were not just campaigning words but that he intends to follow through on them with his invitation of Rick Warren to give the opening prayer at the Presidential Inauguration. In order to fully comprehend a situation and effectively make a decision on it, it is necessary to clearly understand the opposing view. This is simply not possible if you refuse to engage them in conversation and at events and in essence alienate them from your delegation. Furthermore, any of Obama’s followers that feel the need to complain about Warren’s presence at the inauguration are downright childish. It is completely unprofessional and immature to be offended at the presence of someone at a political event that does not support the same political views as oneself and it is this thinking that slows the growth of our country.
    Warren’s thoughts and comments of gay marriage are very interesting. He seems to support what he calls equal rights but at the same time denounces the thought of allowing gay marriage. This seems to be a little bit paradoxical and very similar to the separate but equal views of blacks in society during the civil rights movement era. He, like many others, falls victim to idealizing the past, in particular the thought of marriage. It is a good point, and often a forgotten one, that in the past it was not uncommon to see women married as soon as they had the ability to give birth; often to men many years their senior. This is considered deviant now as is gay marriage. However, like with all cultures, the definition of what is and is not deviant is subject to change as the society’s values and perceptions change. Personally I have no qualms with gay marriage, it does not immediately affect me and who am I to stand in the way of two consenting adults in their pursuit of happiness. However, I do believe their should be some regulation so that healthcare and other benefits are not exploited an that legalization of gay marriage does not give way to polygamy and other such actions.

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