A lot of people can take credit for passage of a marriage equality law in New York. There are long-time organizers like to folks of the Gay Pride Agenda and everyday citizens like me who made phone calls to their senators and to Dean Skelos to help get this done. But nobody deserves more credit than Andrew Cuomo, who showed all of us how to lead.
Our governor did not shy away from the gay marriage issue. He did not give it lip service and walk away. He embraced it, campaigned across the state for it. He talked to community groups and churches and Chambers of Commerce. He argued that marriage equality is right and fair. He argued that New York should be on the right side of history, and he argued that gay marriage is good for business. He lobbied and twisted arms in his own party and he beat up the opposition until they came on board. If there is a hero in this story, it is Andrew Cuomo.
Compare that to the visit Barack Obama made to the Gay Pride dinner last weekend. He coyly endorsed equal rights for all Americans but refused to retract the statements he made to the Chirstian Fundamentalist forum during the 2008 campaign (where he said marriage should be between a man and a woman). His position is still evolving, he said. He is a coward.
This is typical Obama. He has never been out front on any important issue in the last two years. He sat on his hands and allowed Max Baucus to take the lead in health care, which is largely why we have a law that is not even half way. He compromised away any opportunity there was to make taxing the rich the primary issue in the 2010 election, a decision that likely cost the Democratic Party the House of Representatives. He watched from a distance while the employees of Wisconsin and Ohio and New Jersey lost their basic rights as workers. He has failed on every count to stand up for what should be the basic beliefs of the Democratic Party.
Barack Obama has proven himself not to be a leader. Certainly he is not the leader we need in these difficult times. Andrew Cuomo is a leader who stands for basic party principles. Anyone looking for a new candidate in 2012 can now look to New York.