After years of “evolution,” President Obama today switched his past opposition to same-sex marriage and says that he now supports the right. Obama stated that he only came to this realization after speaking with his family and gay and lesbian associates, but he now personally supports same-sex marriage. He continues to maintain however that the question of same-sex marriage must remain a state issue, which would indicate that he does not view this as a right protected under the Bill of Rights. Obama however has now distinguished himself as the only major candidate in the general election who will not oppose same-sex marriage as a personal matter.
In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, Obama stated:
“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.”
That statement falls short of stating that this is a constitutional right as opposed to personal view. In past cases, the Obama Administration has opposed arguments that sexual orientation should be given the same protection as race — even after changing its position on “don’t ask don’t tell” and the “Defense Of Marriage Act.” However, this remains an important, if belated, recognition of the unfairness and inequity facing gay and lesbian couples.
The support of state authority on the question will help Obama control the political backlash in states like Virginia and North Carolina. However, it creates an interesting contrast to the position of the Administration in court in cases ranging from medical marijuana to health care to immigration where it has rejected claims of state authority.
At the moment, it remains dangerously undefined for the Administration: is same-sex marriage a constitutional right or a personal choice in the President’s view? If it is a constitutional right, can gays and lesbians claim heightened scrutiny of review associated with race or at least gender? That does not appear to be the thrust of Obama’s comments. The fact that the Administration continues to crackdown on state medical marijuana laws as a federal question, same-sex marriage would appear to rank below the question of the use of marijuana for terminally ill patients as a legal question.
It is hard to know how to react to the news. Civil libertarians are obviously less than enthused with the long opposition of the President or the view that the President had finally reached a point where even the normally favorable White House press corp was openly mocking his position. Even Democratic stalwarts this week were denouncing Obama and telling him to “man up” and take a stand on principle. It should not take a conversation with your daughters to recognize a fundamental right after years as a state legislator, U.S. Senator, and U.S. President. Yet, he has at least finally dropped his opposition and that puts him in a better position than Romney on the question.
The President should now offer a better idea of the constitutional footing of this right. His description of his thought process notably does not reference notions of equal protection as much as basic fairness:
“This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and, hopefully, the better I’ll be as president.”
The Golden Rule basis for this right leaves if on the same level as other personal choices and social disagreements — as opposed to a matter of equal protection or privacy. Yet, in a process of evolution, we are now at least in the same rough genus of rights. He also can rightfully claim to be the first president to support same-sex marriage.
205 thoughts on “Evolutionary Progress: Obama Embraces Same-Sex Marriage After “Evolving” Away From His Prior Opposition”
If anyone’s still looking at this page… Excuse my absence, I was out nuking gay whales for Jesus.
And forgive the lengthy response below, but I wanted to respond to each one who had a comment for me.
I appreciate most everyone’s questions and comments, but not so much any over-reaching assumptions or discourtesy.
Otteray Scribe: I’m very sorry to hear about your loss and my heart goes out to you. I was speaking of the “big picture” meaning of marriage and its ultimate goal for society as I view it. The term “gay marriage” already exists, as much as I dislike it. Now “they” want to usurp the word “marriage” itself. Love and respect should be dished out to all by all, but we know that’s not always the case. So, I take my stand. On a personal level, I believe you, and same-sex couples for that matter, can and should enjoy Mother Nature’s gift of companionship and love (and should be treated fairly by all). So, with that said, if you find a male partner you want to marry, then go for it! I wish you the best! Concerning having children, I’m personally not for gay couples having or adopting children, but if you’re aware of the orphan situation in Russia, you’ll understand how I wish that any committed, loving American couple, gay or straight, would adopt as many Russian orphans as possible. It’s a very sad situation there.
Rafflaw: I don’t believe I brought up the Bible. So, please, no false accusations of my pushing it on anyone.
Gene H: You sound like a somewhat educated person. Too bad you never learned civility. FYI, there are some who believe that when you resort to name-calling, it indicates that you’ve lost the argument already… I am glad you brought up the Blackmun quote, though, because it touches on what I believe is the crux of most parents’ objections to same-sex marriage, i.e. the hearts and minds of our children. Your and others efforts to change the definition of marriage and, by default, of what’s right and wrong behavior for my children is extremely offensive to me, and I’ll fight and vote against it to my death.
This is a good point to remind everyone that National Socialism and Soviet Socialism were both liberal ideologies, and after their proponents gained power, they refused to allow freedom of expression or dissent in the name of their ideology. Gene proves that liberal fascism is alive and well in our country.
Steve S.: See my response to Gene above, especially regarding your alluding to me as anti-American. You were being fairly reasonable, if not wrong and presumptuous, until that point. “…those who dispute it are to me anti-American…” Check yourself there, brother. Ever hear of freedom of speech? It’s still a free country. We can dispute the meaning of the colors red, white and blue, or the meaning of marriage all the live-long day. Apparently, you’re a f123ing na(not-see)zi like Gene, and too bad the three of us can’t meet in person to discuss it on a more personal level. You’re welcome for being shot at on many occasions defending your and Gene’s right to be an a$$hole. You’re both a couple of lexiphanicists and remind me of the quote, “A highbrow is a person educated beyond his intelligence”. No wonder our country’s going down the tubes…
BettyKath: Thank you for being civil. It’s much appreciated. “All those with civil unions would get all the perks.” This kind of goes against my original point, that biology has dictated procreation, and society should more or less allot married couples breaks due to their adding to the gene pool of society (notwithstanding straight couples that can’t have kids). To be honest, there’s always discussion about this in the military. That is, there’s always more than a few young military kids who have a “marriage of convenience” for whatever gain (usually housing allowances) and have no real relationship, much less have children. I find this inadvertently makes a better case than “allowing gay marriage”, in that maybe tax-breaks and other benefits should go to couples, whether gay or straight and regardless of marital status, only if they have kids! But the term “marriage” is by definition, for me, between a man and a woman. I don’t believe this denies anyone any “rights”, and I don’t believe it compares in any way with the civil rights battles of the 1960s. As an African-American friend of mine from the Bronx once told me, “Don’t compare our civil rights fight with gay rights! I was born with a certain skin color, a physical trait I cannot and would not change. But they are basing their case on their behavior, something they have a decision about! There is no comparison of our natural born rights to their behavior-based lifestyle.” I don’t entirely agree with him – it seems to me that sexual orientation can be either genetically predetermined or a choice made later, a choice that can be influenced by certain duplicitous members of our society. I say let’s leave it to nature and not nurture, which always has a motive, and which was the thought behind my “Don’t tread on me and mine!” line.
Shano: I’ve fought for everyone’s right to privacy and pursuit of happiness already, and those rights are not being denied by defining marriage as it always has been, between a man and a woman. If my children were gay, I’d still love them, but they would understand, I hope, that marriage is what it is, just as nature and biology is what it is, and that in life they have to watch out for whoever doesn’t have their best interest in mind, whether they be from the right or left. As said to Gene above, it’s the hearts and minds of my children that I’d like the homosexual community to stay out of. As a still somewhat equal member of society, I should have the right to state that without being demonized as a bigot or anti-Amercian (not implying you did!).
Legalize gay marriage. Then the rest of us don’t have to hear about it anymore.
11 May 2012 10:39 PM
Top GOP Pollster to GOP: Reverse On Gay Issues
Below is a remarkable document. It’s a memo circulated by Jan van Lohuizen, a highly respected Republican pollster, (he polled for George W. Bush in 2004), to various leading Republican operatives, candidates and insiders. It’s on the fast-shifting poll data on marriage equality and gay rights in general, and how that should affect Republican policy and language. And the pollster’s conclusion is clear: if the GOP keeps up its current rhetoric and positions on gays and lesbians, it is in danger of marginalizing itself to irrelevance or worse.
Read the bluntness of this. This is the GOP establishment talking to itself. And the Republican pollster who arguably knows more about the politics of the gay issue than anyone else (how else to explain the Ohio campaign of 2004?) is advising them in no uncertain terms that they need to evolve and fast, if they’re not going to damage their brand for an entire generation:
(memo and remainder of article follow)
I do not find it odd that Obama becomes sort of liberal-ish as election day approaches. He did it in 2008 and he is doing it again now. I do find it odd that some Democrats still believe him. I also find it odd that Republicans still think he is a Socialist. If only it were true! Then I could vote for him. If I believed it. Which I don’t.
While these polls (SwM) are interesting, they indicate at most a minor negative that will probably dissipate before the election heats up.
Obama’s stance on Gay Marriage is largely a plus for Obama’s base (those who will vote for him regardless of who he kills or how many people are criminally thrown out on the streets because he won’t bring bankers, any bankers, to justice — if a Republican did it, it would be sooo much worse, n’est pas).
And for people like me, who applaud the <words, but find them buried among far too many negative acts to count for much; well, nothing gained, nothing lost.
But most importantly, defending the right of marriage for all is the one “leftist” thing Obama can do without causing major angst among the owners. As long as the herd pays up when corporations need bailouts, and salivate at the bell of capitalism when they are raking it in, the owners couldn’t give a hoot what their relationships amongst each other might be.
Another terrifyingly hilarious sound track. Horrific:
A new national poll from Gallup shows that 60 percent of Americans say that President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage will make no difference in how they vote. Among those who it will, twice as many Americans said they were less likely to vote for him because of it (26 percent) versus those who would be more likely (13 percent). The poll comes as President Obama became the first sitting chief executive to endorse gay marraige.
Overall, 51 percent of Americans polled approved of President Obama’s new position the policy, while 45 percent were against it.
Specifically, 23% of independents and 10% of Democrats say it makes them less likely to vote for Obama, while a smaller 11% of independents and 2% of Republicans say it makes them more likely to vote for Obama. Those figures suggest Obama’s gay marriage position is likely to cost him more independent and Democratic votes than he would gain in independent and Republican votes, clearly indicating that his new position is more of a net minus than a net plus for him. However, those figures also underscore that it is a relatively limited group of voters – about one in three independents and fewer than one in 10 Republicans or Democrats – whose votes may change as a result of Obama’s new stance on gay marriage.
Reported by Kyle Leighton Talking Points Memo
roflmao, OS! That was 5:18 of pure craziness. Word salad devoid of logic or structure. I will have to say that was the first time I’ve heard the phrase “Judas was a homo”.
At least she covered her tinfoil with that lovely white hat that matched her ensemble.
Terrifyingly hilarious–I did not know there were women in the world even more batshit crazy than Michelle Bachman:
I cannot describe this, you will just have to watch the video. Watch the reaction of the kid sitting directly behind the woman–that is worth the price of admission alone.
When the matter of marriage equality comes before the Supreme Court, I suggest locking all entrance doors to the building except the original entrance. Then require everyone who enters to read out loud what is engraved in marble over the entrance: EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW. This includes all the litigants AND all the Justices of the Supreme Court. Just to refresh everyone’s memory. Some seem to have forgotten.
” when I feel my rights are being threatened for simply being straight and by being a parent, thus having a bigger dog in this fight.
Live and let live, brother. Don’t tread on me and mine, and we’ll all get along just fine.” Uncle Ivan
So that applies equally to all people right? No one has yet been able to explain to me how gay people getting married impacts or even threatens straight people. So, please, your turn to try and explain this phenomenon. Very curious.
If your son came out as gay, or your daughter, then would you fight for their rights to privacy and the pursuit of happiness?
Thank you so much for your kind words. We were married 55 years, and were truly happy and committed to each other. It saddens me that others who love just as deeply are not allowed the same rights and privileges we had for more than 55 years. Bigots have always been with us and will always be with us in the future. Some people seem to have an ingrown need to have another class of people they can look down on.
Here is what I am missing in my life:
“For what it’s worth, I think a majority of us against same-sex “marriage” have nothing against two same-sex people being committed to each other, or visiting each other in hospital, or adding whomever to their insurance coverage. It’s the attempt to change the meaning and definition of the word, reaping of (tax and other) benifits given to married couples and suspected other end-goals that bother us. ”
In the interests of equality, would it help if all couples called their committment contract a “civil union”? Then all those couples having the responsibilities, rights, and privileges now available according to various laws and regulations to those who are “married”?
“Marriage” could then be the word to describe the vows made in a religious setting with whatever rights, rites, etc. bestowed by the religion. I think it would be useful for those who want it, that the marriage could serve as the “civil union” and registered with the state as such, as it is today, but it would not be reqired. This would help those who want the blessing of their church, but who don’t want the legal ramifications of the civil contract. (I wonder if it’s possible today to have a religious ceremony without registering it with the state?)
This would mean that all couples who were “married” by a JP or a judge or other person with the power to file the paperwork, except those conducting a religious ceremony, would no longer be “married” but would be in a “civil union”. (They are actually in a civil union now but it isn’t called that.)
This would leave religion to keep the “traditional” marriage. It would allow all committed couples to have the “civil union”, even those who also have the “traditional” marriage. All those with civil unions would get all the perks. Those with the traditional marriage who choose not to register a civil union would get none of the perks (or restrictions, etc) reserved for those who do.
I have objected to gays being allowed civil unions but not marriage b/c civil unions seem to put them in a separate class of not-quite-equal since I suspect that many of the laws specify “marriage” in one form or another. OTOH, if all such commitments are called civil unions, with the language of the laws changed (I know, a big job) and with marriage left to the religions, everyone is treated the same.
OS – First, let me say I’m sorry for your loss.
As to your comment re: Uncle Ivan “…in this case the responsibility to society is procreation, which mother nature has decided not to allow in same-sex partnerships.”
He and ARE seem to be on the same page and my response to him (ARE) was thus: What if you or your brother had mumps or German measles as a kid, and I mean bad, so bad that you were left sterile, I mean a real case of numb-nuts? Does that mean either of you shouldn’t be permitted to marry?
While the traditional arrangement of parenting has been father (hunter/gatherer/protector) and mother (nurturer), there’s nothing to stop mom and mom from going to the Safeway and Jerry’s Guns and Ammo to accomplish the same ends. What any parent cluster can and should do is teach the child love and respect for others, and self-sufficiency, which is gender non-specific.
My deepest sympathies to you in your time of grief. No platitudes will soothe the pain of your loss, but keep your heart open for new adventures in the world around you.
But I’m sure you know that already, oh wise one…
Oh there is irony alright. That your religiously induced agnosia keeps you from seeing it is another matter. The irony rests squarely in that you do not see the mote within your own selfish eye as being an ethical problem.
As to being a parent? So what? How does what other people do in their personal lives affect you or your children? It doesn’t. Not in the slightest. If you’d like try to prove how it does, be my guest. Be prepared to lose that argument.
As to the bigger dog in the game? I’m pretty sure that an interest in equal rights and justice for all is a bigger dog than your petty concerns about having to explain to your kids why their friend has two mommies without sounding like a bigoted jackass because you think you have special dispensation from Jesus to discriminate. I’ll again refer you to the words of Justice Blackmun, “Disapproval of homosexuality cannot justify invading the houses, hearts and minds of citizens who choose to live their lives differently.” You admonish me to live and let live when you are unwilling to do the same? The hypocrisy of your admonishment is staggering. However, you’ve displayed bigotry and intolerance already. Adding hypocrisy to that list isn’t exactly shocking news. That you aren’t intelligent enough to recognize the ethical and logical flaws in your statements is manifest, but fortunately for you, stupidity isn’t considered by society to be a character flaw like bigotry, intolerance and hypocrisy.
Raff, did you see the bizarre exchange in Congress where a Republican declared the Old Testament was no longer part of the Bible? That came when challenged about literal interpretations of some passages in Leviticus. If the OT is no longer a part of the Bible, I guess then we do not have to continue arguing about the Book of Genesis and evolution, since that is no longer part of the Bible either.
Well said, as usual. The Bible makes for a poor Constitution. If Uncle Ivan and AD want to believe in the Bible, the gay and lesbian couples aren’t stopping them. Just don’t push the Bible’s nonsense on the rest of us.
Uncle Ivan sez: “…in this case the responsibility to society is procreation, which mother nature has decided not to allow in same-sex partnerships.”
Does that mean couples past childbearing age, or couples who do not wish to have children should not be allowed to marry? And who said that homosexual couples could not have children? There are a number of lesbian couples who have children by various artificial insemination. And how about adoption? There are thousands of children in foster or institutional care who desperately need a stable home that could be provided by a committed, loving same gender couple.
I was widowed last year. I am saddened to hear that I should not be allowed to remarry if I wish, because I am waaaay past the age to bring a child into the world.
Gene H. 1, May 10, 2012 at 10:53 am
“Fortunately I haven’t faced the discrimination that homosexuals have, but I understood what you meant perfectly. However, the irony of your own selfishness in bemoaning selfishness in those who simply want the same rights as everyone else didn’t escape me like it apparently escapes you.”
Nothing ironic about it, we’re all selfish about our own personal belief systems. Same rights should carry the same responsibilities, though, and in this case the responsibility to society is procreation, which mother nature has decided not to allow in same-sex partnerships.
For what it’s worth, I think a majority of us against same-sex “marriage” have nothing against two same-sex people being committed to each other, or visiting each other in hospital, or adding whomever to their insurance coverage. It’s the attempt to change the meaning and definition of the word, reaping of (tax and other) benifits given to married couples and suspected other end-goals that bother us.
Odd that you admit to not having been discriminated against on this issue and not being homosexual, when I feel my rights are being threatened for simply being straight and by being a parent, thus having a bigger dog in this fight. I suspect from your writing that you’re a young man who does not yet have children. Also, as a (military) linguist, to me, fundamentally changing the meaning of a word like “marriage” seems wrong on many different levels.
Live and let live, brother. Don’t tread on me and mine, and we’ll all get along just fine.
“Odd that you admit to not having been discriminated against on this issue and not being homosexual, when I feel my rights are being threatened for simply being straight and by being a parent, thus having a bigger dog in this fight. I suspect from your writing that you’re a young man who does not yet have children. Also, as a (military) linguist, to me, fundamentally changing the meaning of a word like “marriage” seems wrong on many different levels. Live and let live, brother. Don’t tread on me and mine, and we’ll all get along just fine.”
Just how are your rights being threatened as a parent? So why should you as a parent be entitled to more benefits than other people? Do you somehow think of parenthood as a duty one has to society? If you do then I think maybe your view is skewed. I’ve raised two children to adulthood, not out of a sense of duty to society, but because it was a labor of love. Do you think that people like the Duggers (20 kids and growing) are making a positive or negative impact on society? Why should they, with obviously good resources get more of a tax break than I, who with two children has had less of an impact on society’s resources? The point I’m making is not about the income tax, but about the falseness of your reasoning.
The issue with Gay marriage is one of equality and nothing more. You may try (and fail) to take this out of the religious realm, into a societal realm, but in truth the opposition all comes from religions. The majority does not get the right to limit the rights of a minority under our country’s ideals.
Let’s go beyond that though to the issue of the institution of marriage itself. People have already dealt with the silly notion that marriage is solely about procreation. Even the institution of marriage as people define it today is quite recent in terms of time. Historically, marriage has always been a business deal, that religions latched onto to make some money. You may dispute that but if you do I will supply enough evidence to blow your disputation away. In the end there is nothing that can threaten you by people of the same sex marrying, except in terms of your own pre-judgments. You are entitled to believe and practice what you will, you are not entitled to make others adhere to your narrow standards. This is neither a liberal nor conservative view, it is an American view and those who dispute it are to me anti-American, whether or not they have been in the service.
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