May 20, 2008
I drew the above cartoon in May of 2008, as the presidential candidates responded to the California Supreme Court's Marriages decision recognizing a constitutional right to marriage equality in that state. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seemed taken off guard by the decision, issuing awkward statements that acknowledged the decision without much if any sense of congratulation to LGBT voters. The Clinton campaign, however, did recover its footing enough to send daughter Chelsea to LGBT events to campaign for our votes.
I certainly never got the impression at any point in the campaign that Obama was a "fierce advocate" for LGBT rights, even though he claimed to be. He was pressed on LGBT issues at a number of fora and debates, and always seemed to come up with parsed, legalistic answers on marriage rights -- supporting "civil unions" rather than "marriages" for us (as did every Democratic candidate other than Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel).
That didn't prevent me from voting for Obama, either in the Wisconsin primary or the general election. Much as I would have liked to imagine that he would be stronger on LGBT issues than his campaign persona ought to have led anyone to believe, I supported him on other issues and thought he would be more electable in November than Hillary Clinton.
This is not to say that the administration's brief on DOMA this month is anything other than greatly disappointing. The May, 2008 cartoon, and the one out this week (below) were both drawn more in sorrow than in anger; but the ratio is closer to 50-50 this week.