Obama became the first U.S. president to back the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry, a reversal from views expressed during the 2008 campaign, when he said he opposed same-sex marriage but favored civil unions as an alternative…
In making his announcement, Obama completes what he had described as an “evolution” in his views on this issue, hastened by growing fervor this week involving gay rights. The growing pressure was capped Tuesday by North Carolina voters’ approval of a constitutional amendment banning not only same-sex marriages, but civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, as well.
Obama’s shift not only speaks to a broad swath of the electorate, which has exhibited increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage in opinion polls, but also gay and lesbian voters who compose a core part of Obama’s base, and have been major fundraisers for his re-election…
Obama explained that he had hesitated in fully supporting same-sex marriage because he thought civil unions would be sufficient.
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” he told ABC.
The president had found himself under increasing pressure this week to state his position unequivocally after Vice President Joe Biden voiced support for same-sex marriage.
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties,” Biden said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.”
While the White House emphasized that Biden’s position wasn’t representative of the entire administration, Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s pronouncement Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in support of same-sex marriage added to pressure on the president…
I was going to link to the original interview with Robin Roberts of ABC-TV; but – at least at this moment – ABC seems to have pulled it from public access. It appears and reappears, of course – there are hundreds of copies, edited and unedited – posted on YouTube and elsewhere. I imagine the full deal will be reposted sooner or later.
The nutballs on the religious right are going bonkers as you would expect. Here’s how I feel:
Many times over the course of our history as a nation, we have taken the lead before the rest of the world on one or another issue. Public education, world governance and respect for human rights, civil rights for citizens regardless of gender or color or religion. Then, we spend at least as much time battling back against the fearmongers who crap their drawers over questions of freedom for everyone, equal opportunities.
Frankly, I didn’t think Obama would have the courage to get off the fence on this one. Too many politicians afraid to lead – choose hiding in the middle as the best course when facing an election. If there are controversial questions, many will run and hide in the past, many sit in the middle of the road relying on old-fashioned sophistry to protect their gig.
I’m pleased to see him move. I’m pleased to see him stand up for civil rights for the whole population of the United States of America.