ONTD Political

HISTORIC: Obama endorses marriage equality

3:15 pm - 05/09/2012


President Obama ended his 19-month long evolution on the issue of extending marriage rights to gay couples on Wednesday when he voiced support for marriage equality.

In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, Obama said “I’ve stood on the side of broader equality for the LGBT community; I hesitated on gay marriage because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient…

“I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word marriage evokes very powerful traditions religions beliefs so forth.”

“…Over the course of several years — when I talk to friends family, neighbors, members of my own staff… — at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to affirm that I think same sex couples should get married.

The interview was recorded; a portion was set to air Wednesday while the full interview was set to air on Thursday.

In a sense, Obama’s support for same-sex marriage returns him to a position he stated on the issue in 1996 when running to become an Illinois state senator. In a questionnaire response to what is now the Windy City Times, Obama expressed support for same-sex marriage years before any state in the country legalized it.

“I favor legalizing same-sex marriage, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” Obama wrote in a typed letter with his signature at the bottom.

But that support for same-sex marriage vanished when Obama pursued higher office. In the 2008 election, Obama ran for president saying he supported civil unions as the way to extend legal protections to gay couples.

Then-candidate Obama articulated his views on marriage in August 2008 during a forum with pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church, who has been criticized by the LGBT community for his support of California’s Proposition 8.

“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman,” Obama said. “Now, for me as a Christian, it’s also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”

The situation changed in October 2010. Obama said during an interview with progressive bloggers in response to a question from AMERICAblog’s Joe Sudbay that “attitudes evolve, including mine,” suggesting his views could change to support marriage equality.

But for 19 months the evolution continued. The Washington Blade repeatedly asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney if Obama had completed his evolution, why he continues to withhold support for marriage equality and when the evolution would come to an end. Virtually every time, Carney responded that he didn’t have any updates to the Blade inquiries.

In June 2010, Obama’s views on marriage made headlines again when New York was set to legalize same-sex marriage and Obama was going to appear at a high-profile LGBT fundraiser. Asked about his views on marriage when New York last year legalized same-sex marriage during a news conference, the president said he wasn’t going to make news. That was the same line he gave most recently when asked about the subject in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

“I’m not going to make news in this publication,” Obama said. “I’ve made clear that the issue of fairness and justice and equality for the LGBT community is very important to me. And I haven’t just talked about it, I’ve acted on it.”

Even though the president had withheld support for marriage equality, Obama has spoken out through a campaign spokesperson against anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives pending before voters in Minnesota and North Carolina, which was approved by voters Tuesday. Obama’s announced support for marriage equality comes after the vote in that state.

The president’s endorsement of same-sex marriage comes as the media have given greater scrutiny to his views and the seeming contradiction of not supporting same-sex marriage, but supporting equal rights for LGBT people.

On Sunday during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Vice President Joe Biden said he’s “absolutely comfortable” with married gay couples having the “exact same rights” as straight couples.

Media outlets and bloggers reported that Biden’s comments were an endorsement of same-sex marriage and that the vice president had become the highest-ranking official to support marriage rights for gay couples.

But the vice president’s office issued a clarification immediately afterward saying Biden, like Obama, is still “evolving” on same-sex marriage.

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod attempted to mitigate the flurry of media attention that was unleashed following Biden’s remarks, first in a message via Twitter, then telling reporters in a conference call Monday that Biden and Obama were in line.

“I think that they were entirely consistent with the president’s position, which is that couples who are married — whether gay or heterosexual couples — are entitled to the very same rights and very same liberties,” Axelrod said.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney faced a barrage of questions on Biden’s remarks and Obama’s views on same-sex marriage. Why does the president oppose same-sex marriage? If everyone thinks the president supports same-sex marriage, why doesn’t he endorse it?

Carney replied with answers he’s given previously: the president’s record on LGBT issues is noteworthy and substantial; he has no updates on Obama’s personal views; Biden’s belief that the rights of citizens should be protected is consistent with the president’s view.

“I think the president is the right person to describe his own personal views,” Carney said, “He, as you know, said that his views on this were evolving, and I don’t have an update for you on that.”


Sauce has glitter in it.

Right now I'm just happy it happened. Late, maybe. But it happened.

txvoodoo Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 07:36 pm (UTC)
"I work in federal politics in Washington, DC. I'm not a moron."

This is not necessarily a reassuring statement.

I don't care who or what you work for. It gives your analysis no more credence than mine. I disagree with you.
chaya Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 07:37 pm (UTC)
I don't care who or what you work for. It gives your analysis no more credence than mine.

Not... sure if srs?
thecityofdis Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 07:37 pm (UTC)
txvoodoo Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 07:48 pm (UTC)
What's more expedient - coming out 24 hours after a vote against it in a swing state, or before?

thecityofdis Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, oh, I can play this one, too:

What's more expedient, him staying silent after yesterday's vote and losing even more enthusiasm from an already unenthusiastic (but deep-pocketed) LGBT voting bloc, or throwing us a bone after the dismal failure in North Carolina?

What he loses in Independent votes from this he picks up on the left. While yes, it may mobilize more of the evangelical bloc who might have stayed home because Romney, he was and is facing the exact same problem among liberals.

It was calculated. Period.

Biden was a test balloon.
txvoodoo Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 07:54 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's just...such nonsense.

You have a very interesting view of voter demographics, however.

thecityofdis Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's just...such nonsense.

A well-reasoned and impassioned response. MY EYES, THEY HAVE BEEN OPENED.
txvoodoo Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
Says the person who thinks a macro is a response.
thecityofdis Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
You're just full of zingers today, aren't you?

P.S. Are you straight?
txvoodoo Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
You set 'em up, I'll knock em over. Continue.

And while it's none of your business and has no relevance on the discussion, no, I'm not.
thecityofdis Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you for answering.
dolcetta Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.10th-May-2012 01:19 am (UTC)
why would you ask if they were straight? jw
evilgmbethy Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
I do not know why people are getting so upset about your comments, I guess they can't handle the truth.

He has always been acting purely politically on this issue and this is no different. I think in his heart he's always believed equality was the right thing, but it's not what he's been saying, and he's not in support of it now because of his conscience.

Edited at 2012-05-09 08:03 pm (UTC)
executivehpfan Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
So much this.
one_hoopy_frood Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 08:35 pm (UTC)
Eeeeexactly.
wrestlingdog Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
I agree.
thepuddingcook Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Word.
celtic_thistle Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I feel like, if people knew the election was going to be super close (they're pretending in the media but lbr, Mittens can't beat Obama) he wouldn't have said it. It's nice that he did, on the surface, but I wish he would've been more honest about shit that, you know, AFFECTS PEOPLE'S LIVES so intimately.
sparkindarkness Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.9th-May-2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
Exactly - it's not like the criticism is unfair or excessive
roseofjuly Re: How convenient that he couldn't have done this 24 hours ago.10th-May-2012 06:36 am (UTC)
This. I don't know why people are so opposed to, or upset by, the simple statement of fact is that this - like pretty much everything else the President does - was a calculated political move.
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