Every since I came out of the closet in 1976, it seems that my political life has been dominated with a version of the phrase, "I love you....but...". Over and over again well-meaning, often progressive straight politicians would wring their hands when confronted with an issue of liberation for LGBT people, usually squirm and then give me that wonderful little line. It is bad enough in one's personal life to hear those dreaded words but to hear them time and time again in our struggle for freedom is almost too much to bear.
The DADT debate is the most recent example. Over the last two years we have heard a variation of that saying from both side of the aisle. Just think:
-I love you BUT the timing is not right.
-I love you BUT have to do healthcare first.
-I love you BUT you don't understand our strategy.
-I love you BUT the procedures are not right.
-I love you BUT I want to study you more.
-I love you BUT I need the military leaders to sign off on your freedom.
-I love you BUT we almost are running out of time.
- I love you BUT I promise we will get this done next year.The first time I heard that oppressive comment was just after I came out of the closet and I sent a check to a Liberal friend of mine. He quickly returned it with a note saying literally (I kid you not!), "I love you but you are too controversial now for my district to be listed on my reporting. Surely (Shirley?) you understand?" The "But symptom" has been used over and over the last decades to justify their own cowardice or to avoid the struggle for freedom.
Amazing how quick people like Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), Senator Olympic Snowe (R-ME) and Senator Joe Manchin(D-WV) picked up how easy it was to put our rights on hold for this excuse or that excuse. Senator Brown, who clearly doesn't have a principled bone in his body, says he is all for repeal .....but.....! Senator Manchin after voting against us even the next day apologized for his 'but'...give me a break!
What I have learned over the years in the fight for freedom is that these people with no backbone always have a handy ready to use 'but' to justify their votes denying freedom to American soldiers. We must stop enabling these 'but's' and make it clear that there is simply no excuse, none, to vote against full equality for the LGBT community.
We might have bought their sorry excuses a decade ago BUT those days are over.
for more visit Live from Hell's Kitchen.