As could be predicted, the backlash was quick and loud.
But President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday was a necessary step in the evolution of our country's civil rights. And proving that once and for all people can't get over old conventions and hypocrisies.
The President's announcement came on the heels of news reports of people fighting against a proposed California law that would put limits on “sexual orientation change efforts” therapy.
Which is fine. They have a legitimate argument against the ban -- people should have the right to seek out whatever therapy (medical care, religion, speech) they want. But they can't argue against the law and then turn around and rip away the rights of others to live as they want in a free society.
The argument that is often thrown about it is "Well, the Bible says ..." Yes, the Bible says a lot of things. A lot of books say a lot of things that resonate as lessons with their readers.
To make a somewhat absurd example, I am a big fan of the "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" books ("Oh, one of them" is what one bookseller said to me when I told her).
As a fan, I can run off some of the important lessons imparted in Douglas Adams' opus. "Don't Panic!" was the inscription on the front of the title book. The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything? Forty-two. What does 42 mean? Well, to know the answer, you need to know the question. And God's final message to creation (located on a planet full of vendors making a buck on the pilgrimage) "We apologize for the inconvenience."
OK, somewhat absurd, I agree. But what about the people who picked up "Dianetics" and have turned it into a religion unto itself? Or the people who hold up Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" as the way they live their life?
The Bible is a book, just the same as the others above. It's an important book, yes. Influential, even. But it's a book that was written during and for its time -- the same as the others.
This is not to debase the Bible or its importance to the millions of people who use it as a guide in their own life. But it is unfair to use it as a basis to deny the rights of others to live however they want when its top tenets include "Love Thy Neighbor" and "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
Of course, much of this is much ado about nothing, since this becomes a state issue, and since the people of North Carolina spoke loud and clear about it Tuesday (nice job putting the kibosh on all civil unions, gay or straight, by the way, stripping away the rights of people living together before marriage, too), the debate will continue unsolved.
But I was struck by the words of Fox News host Shepard Smith, who not only welcomed the president TO the 21st century, but even asked of a colleague if Republicans were going to campaign against same-sex marriage "while sitting very firmly, without much question, on the wrong side of history on it."
And if a Fox News host can say that ... and someone like former Vice President Dick Cheney can say it ... and a sitting President of the United States can say it (in an election year, no less) ... AND THE WORLD DIDN'T CRUMBLE ... then what's keeping the rest of us from saying it and accepting it.