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Obama’s Father’s Day Shout-Out to Gay Dads Riles Christian Right

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Jun 22, 2010

Anti-gay religious groups have mounted attacks against President Obama because of a brief acknowledgment of same-sex parents in Obama's Father's Day address.

A June 21 article reported that right-wing Christian groups had lashed out at Obama following the address.

Obama's speech praised fatherhood as a "bond forged between a father and a child" that the president said "is sacred. Whether patching scraped knees or helping with homework, dads bring joy, instill values, and introduce wonders into the lives of their children," the speech added.

"Fatherhood also carries enormous responsibilities," the president noted in his June 20 proclamation. "An active, committed father makes a lasting difference in the life of a child. When fathers are not present, their children and families cope with an absence government cannot fill.

"Across America, foster and adoptive fathers respond to this need, providing safe and loving homes for children facing hardships. Men are also making compassionate commitments outside the home by serving as mentors, tutors, or big brothers to young people in their community. Together, we can support the guiding presence of male role models in the lives of countless young people who stand to gain from it."

Obama went on to acknowledge that, "Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian.

"We owe a special debt of gratitude for those parents serving in the United States Armed Forces and their families, whose sacrifices protect the lives and liberties of all American children," the president added. "For the character they build, the doors they open, and the love they provide over our lifetimes, all our fathers deserve our unending appreciation and admiration."

For some religious people, families are only valid if they meet a set of rigid criteria--and two men committed to one another in a life partnership or even a legal civil marriage do not fit that description.

Although Obama had offered similar acknowledgment to families headed by two mothers in his Mother's Day proclamation, the American Family Association (AFA) pounced on the reference to single-sex families headed by two men.

"This is the first time in our nation's history that a president has used Father's Day as an excuse to promote the radical homosexual agenda and completely redefine the word 'family,' " said Tim Wildmon, the president of the AFA, a June 21 Digtriad article reported.

A June 21 posting at AFA-affiliated website Rightly Concerned sniped, "Need someone to make a political statement using Father's Day? Obama is up to the task," with the posting going on to claim that by including same-sex fathers in his address, "Obama did his best to redefine the nuclear family unit," before politicizing the president's remark by adding, "Doesn't exactly fit the image of the post-partisan president Obama was supposed to be."

GLBT-friendly pundits fired right back. "It is hard to believe anyone taking issue with such a universal theme as fatherhood," the article said, going on to add, "Obama can't even acknowledge a truth about contemporary society without offending those who hide their homophobia behind a religious veil."

The article added, "Often these groups call themselves pro-family, when in actuality they are pro-hate. They refuse to recognize that gay and lesbian couples make just as good or bad parents as straight men and women.

"In the end, the Christian right places their religious bigotry above their concern for the happiness and welfare of children," the article went on.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • SaintHawthorne, 2010-06-22 16:00:32

    What I find ridiculous is that despite the religious Comminitys continued hate filled and discriminatory campaign against the GLBT community, we don’t respond with a derogatory comment when a person in power endorses religion or even makes a mere mention of it. When is enough enough?

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