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COMMENTARY: How Oprah hurts me and my family

Oprah’s Lifeclass site asks its usual weekly question “Are you hurting an important woman in your life? Or is an important woman in your life hurting you?” I choose the second question, and Oprah and you have my answer: Oprah, you are an important woman in my life and you ARE hurting me and this is why:

I have a family – once married to my same-sex partner and now divorced. My right to equality was as important when it came to marriage as was when it came to the divorce. Being able to marry, in California, before Proposition 8, enabled my already existing family to feel like all American families, at least to some extent. Regardless of their parent’s sexuality my family of 2 daughters became legally real, even without the imperative federal rights that would have made us truly equal. What made my marriage even more important to my family was when the breakup came, as the law recognized our respective rights and obligations towards each other. And we complied.


The active promotion of Rick Warren as a person to teach "The Purpose of Driven Life" when he denies LGBT families their very existence as such is abhorrent to me

So how did Oprah Winfrey hurt me, my cause and my feelings?

A hero of great integrity, Oprah just invited two people onto her show, who actively preach against these rights that belong to my family and my community and all Americans. While marriage may not be important to Oprah it is treasured by millions of Americans who need its construct for so many reasons.

According to the Advocate‘s recent report Oprah Winfrey’s Lifeclass program, where viewers “get the lessons we can all use to lead our best possible lives,” just taped an episode featuring the wisdom of two antigay pastors.

The episode starred Joel Osteen and Rick Warren and was shot on Friday in Houston. While it’s not clear what the specifics of the episode focus on, one thing is certain: Osteen and Warren hold seriously homophobic views.

Osteen, a megachurch pastor in Houston, claims he doesn’t hate gays, only views them as sinful. California pastor and author Warren is proudly against marriage equality. He also campaigned for Prop. 8 and declared support for Chick-fil-A and its antigay policies.

What hurts me immensely is that Oprah should know better. Her forum is one that should be all inclusive and should not provide a voice for those who would deny all Americans equal treatment under the law, nor for those, albeit inadvertently, spread untruths and hate about fellow Americans.

If I were to draw my reluctant analogy you all know what it would be – sorry but here goes:-

Oprah how would you feel if we were back in the day where interracial marriage was prohibited and you had a partner of another race whom you wanted to marry? Imagine Olsteen, in that day, being one of the pastors who spoke out against interracial marriage. Imagine an iconic figure, such as your good self, and her Life Class show, inviting that very pastor to participate in the show “where viewers ‘get the lessons we can all use to lead our best possible lives?’” Would that not hurt your feelings and your cause?

By inviting Olsteen and Warren, Oprah you have kicked me and my family in the heart. It pains us to note that you endorse these pastors in any way shape or form.

Same-sex couples even if married under state law do not share in equal rights under Federal law. This will not change until The Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, is repealed. For example, even if a same-sex couple share children, who are born in America, and even if that couple married legally under the law of a state, if one is from another country, the American same-sex spouse does NOT have the right to sponsor his/her partner for a green card. This has resulted in LGBTI families spending tens of thousands of dollars more to stay together, than heterosexual spouses. That is if they are lucky enough to have the money to support being exiled to foreign countries, travel, career loss, legal expenses etc. And that does not make mention of the huge emotional toll to all.

Oprah perhaps you do not understand the extent to which LGBT Americans are impacted by the denial of our basic civil rights. I urge you to show support for LGBTI American’s plight and NOT to air the show.

Updated:- I submitted my comment to OPRAH’s question of the week on 10/08/2012 – since then 2 new comments have gone up and it would seem her moderators have failed to put mine up. I said Oprah hurt me! – see screenshot of comment below…

BY MELANIE NATHAN
nathan@privatecourts.com

@melanienathan1

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