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Dustin Lance Black talks about President Obama

Dustin Lance Black had a chat with AfterElton.com about his new film Virginia which he wrote and directed.

It opens in New York and Los Angeles this weekend.

But I want to focus on the part of the interview where Lance talks about President Barack Obama’s support last week of same sex marriage.

On those who say Obama’s endorsement was a political calculation:

“I think it is a little bit cynical because it’s not a clear slam-dunk politically, but I do think it had come to a head. I think politically there is no more waiting. He’s starting to look behind the Dick Cheneys, the Laura Bushes, the Ken Mehlmans, the Ted Olsons and everyone around him seemed to be coming out for equality, so I actually give him more credit than that. I think it was the right thing to do, and I think it was very brave of him. And listen, this is coming from the guy who two weeks ago was suggesting that perhaps we just withhold our votes from any candidate who doesn’t have a full equality stance. I got a lot of heat for that. I’m not one to pull my punches when it comes to this.

In this case, my hat’s off to him. I think it was brave. I think probably the most important thing to note about the timing is it happened the day after North Carolina. I was getting Facebook messages and emails from young people who had been fighting in that campaign and they were so despondent. I could hear in their emails the crushed self-esteem, the feeling of being less than, all the things we felt in California in 2008. I know all too well the thoughts that flash through some young LGBT people’s heads when they feel defeat like that, and I think the President’s message the very next day was a real lifesaver.”

If he were to be able to chat with Obama, he would say: “I’m a pushy little…[laughs] I’ll certainly say thank you and say ‘I’m looking forward to your efforts with ENDA [Employment Non-Discrimination Act]’ because I do believe there are people who do not feel comfortable coming out in their hometowns because of the fear of losing their house and their job. We cannot change public opinion in the Red States if we don’t have people coming out and telling their stories.

It’s one of the biggest pieces…without ENDA it just empowers the bullies. So I’ll say I look forward to his work on that, and I do know he’s dedicated to that. I’ll push a little. I’ll say thank you… and then I’ll present the next thing I would love for him to focus on.”

FILE UNDER: Politics

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