Amidst speculation of his evolution on the issue of marriage equality, President Obama, today spoke of its finality.
By Melanie Nathan, May 09, 20112.
Speaking Wednesday with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, President Barack Obama spoke about his evolution toward full marriage equality for same-sex American couples.
He said that he and his administration have long “stood on the side of broader equality for the LGBT community,” pointing to the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and the decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, among others.
President Obama’s evolution is explained from these quotes which appeared within hours of the interview in the Los Angeles Times Article:-
“I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient,” he said. “And I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word ‘marriage’ was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs, and so forth.”
That changed, Obama said, as he reflected more on the relationships of friends and staff and the feelings of gay members of the military who “feel constrained.” “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 concluded. In the interview, Obama also reflected on the rapid change in public opinion on the issue, particularly among younger generations.
“When I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same-sex equality or, you know, sexual orientation that they believe in equality,” he said.
Obama noted that his daughters have friends who have same-sex parents. “There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table, and we’re talking about their friends and their parents, and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and, frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective,” he said.
LGBT activists are commenting with pride and admiration for the President:
John Lewis, MEUSA Legal Director, said, “I am thrilled that the dream of marriage equality is now so much closer, thanks to the President’s decisive leadership. Marriage is about love and commitment, and the President looked at this decision with his heart — not as a political calculation — and decided to stand on the side of love. In standing on the side of love, he also decided to stand on the right side of history.”
Robin Tyler, national activist and the original lesbian plaintiff to sue in the successful case, Tyler v State of California, celebrates President Obama’s decision to come out for marriage equality today:
“There is absolutely no question of who I will support in the coming Presidential elections. Mitt Romney donated through his Mormon Church, $10,000 to Yes of Proposition 8. Donations to discrimination are not ‘charitable.’ Mitt Romney violated our civil rights. We need a President who supports all American’s and their families, including LGBT ones. Today, President Obama showed that he has the courage to come out publicly and support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. There is actually no such thing as ‘gay’ marriage. There is no ‘gay driver’s license’ or ‘gay birth certificate.’ It is just marriage for same-sex adult couples. Our President has finally evolved!
There was never a doubt in my mind that the President had evolved on the issue of same-sex marriage; since recently the President had said he would sign the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act , the legislation that bans same-sex couples who are legally married from participating in Federal civil law granted by marriage to heterosexual couples. Now that the President has made it clear to all who could not read into this as indicative of his evolution, it could not be more clear that he actually does support gay marriage.
So well done to President Obama, the skeptics in the LGBTQI community can now focus on the re-election of a President who has actually already done more than any other to forward the interests of equality.
Politically, let us hope that those in the community who insisted Obama be overt in his stance now support him one hundred percent unconditionally in his bid for re-election, because you can be rest assured that FOX News, Santorum, Romney and Maggie Gallagher, to name but a few, will do everything in their power to make this the re-invigoration of the wedge issue many assumed may have dwindled.