Jennifer Roback Morse, the head of the Ruth Institute, an organization formerly affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage, was not pleased that President Obama discussed gay rights in his State of the Union address last week, saying that while Obama talked about the courage it takes for a young person to come out to his or her parents, that “does not require as much courage” as choosing to “walk away from the gay lifestyle.”
Obama “talked about the courage required for a young guy to come out to his parents,” she said in an interview with the “Issues, Etc.” podcast on Thursday, “completely omitting the fact that right now coming out does not require as much courage as is required by a person who says, ‘You know, I feel same-sex attraction, but what I want to do is not act on it, what I want to do is live up to my church’s teachings, what I want to do is walk away from the gay lifestyle that I’ve been living, that’s what I want to do.’ Now, that person, that takes a lot of courage to talk like that in today’s world, but Obama didn’t mention any of those people.”
The president’s mention of parents changing their previous beliefs to embrace gay children, she added, was “tacitly putting every adult in America, every Christian in America, every Lutheran, every serious Jewish person, at war between their religious beliefs and their love for their children.”
“Well, our religion teaches that if you love somebody, you have to live in the truth with respect to them and you have to help present them the truth,” she said. “You aren’t doing anybody any favors by accommodating their desires even if their desires are not necessarily good for them.”
Morse was also outraged that the president invited Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that struck down same-sex marriage bans nationwide last year, to the State of the Union. Morse appeared to be unfamiliar with Obergefell’s story — he and his partner of 20 years got married in a plane on an airport tarmac in Maryland shortly before his partner died of ALS — suggesting that Obergefell’s marriage wouldn’t last.
“Well, he’s trying to say, obviously he’s trying to treat Obergefell as a hero, as a Rosa Parks type figure or something like that,” she said of the president. “I would have been more impressed if he could have invited the Goodridges [the plaintiffs in the landmark 2003 Massachusetts marriage equality ruling] … but the Goodridges are no longer married to one another. So it will be interesting to see if Mr. Obergefell remains married to his true love there for whom we redefined marriage for the entire country.”