Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Obama endorses gay marriage

Wed 9 May 2012, 9:31pm

Obama’s endorsement was fittingly understated. Rather than making a great speech, he depicted a scene millions of American parents will relate to: The simple inability to challenge their kids’ assumption that their school friends’ gay parents should be treated differently.

Watch here, it’s well worth the 2 minutes.

Howard Kurtz cuts to the electoral significance: “At the risk of resorting to hyperbole, this is a political earthquake that shakes the landscape by putting a divisive culture-war issue front and center.”

Romney? Content with second class citizenship, Romney doesn’t even support civil unions.

Inevitably, the coverage will focus on the impact on the election race since target swing states, including Virginia and North Carolina, oppose the equality measure.

But this is bigger than an electoral moment. It fires the starting gun, perhaps, on an historic leap forward for civil rights and an end to second class citizenship in the United States.

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Comments (35)

  1. Newman (profile) says:

    A truly facile and superficial analysis…presumably the school friend’s polygamous parents can also try and change their second class citizenship. Marriage by definition must be potentially procreative…this latest Gaderene rush to endorse gay marriage is perhaps the best modern example of the law of unintended consequences…it is not based on logic, it flies in the face of centuries of culture in every society and it will open the door further to other arrangements similarly based on what consenting adults decide is permissible or “loving”. Perhaps someone can also explain the difference between civil partnership and gay marriage and why the latter must prevail. Hats off to the gay lobby however..they have successfully catapulted the issue to the centre of cultural debate and within a short period of time have managed to define anyone with reservations as homophobic

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  2. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    “Obama’s endorsement was fittingly understated.”

    Here’s a better assessment of Obama’s history on the topic

    Previously, Obama has moved in the direction of supporting same-sex marriage but has consistently stopped short of outright backing it. Instead, he’s voiced support for civil unions for gay and lesbian couples that provide the rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples, though not defined as “marriage.” At the same time, the president has opposed efforts to ban gay marriage at the state level, saying that he did not favor attempts to strip rights away from gay and lesbian couples.

    The president’s position became a flashpoint this week, when Vice President Joe Biden pronounced himself “absolutely comfortable” with allowing same-sex couples to wed.

    Obama aides insisted there was no daylight between the positions held by the president and his vice president when it comes to legal rights, but as other prominent Democrats also weighed in in favor of gay marriage, the disconnect became difficult for the White House to explain away. [added emphasis]

    The announcement completes a turnabout for the president, who has opposed gay marriage throughout his career in national politics. In 1996, as a state Senate candidate, he indicated support for gay marriage in a questionnaire, but Obama aides later disavowed it and said it did not reflect the candidate’s position.

    In 2004, as a candidate for the US Senate, he cited his own religion in framing his views: “I’m a Christian. I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

    He maintained that position through his 2008 presidential campaign, and through his term as president, until today.

    Or, as an unkind commenter notes, “He’s personally in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, but when it comes to this particular principle, he’s suddenly a Federalist”.

    “Romney doesn’t even support civil unions.”

    Not quite. Here’s the quote from that linked report – “I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name”.

    And that, “He told a local reporter here today that domestic partnership benefits — including hospital visitation rights– are “appropriate, but that the others are not.””

    “an end to second class citizenship”

    Separation of Church and State.

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  3. Ruarai (profile) says:

    Newman,

    1.” Marriage by definition must be potentially procreative” – by who’s definition?

    2. “must be potentially procreative” – so should hetro couples who cannot conceive children be barred from marriage? Of course not. Should wealthy gay couples with access to IVF be given rights that poorer gay couples cannot afford? The question answers itself.

    3. “Perhaps someone can also explain the difference between civil partnership and gay marriage and why the latter must prevail”. Why pontificate on a subject if you haven’t bothered researching the most basic point in the debate?

    Peace and love, brother

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  4. Ruarai (profile) says:

    Baker –

    “Here’s a better assessment of Obama’s history on the topic” – better than what? No one was offering “an assessment Obama’s history on the topic.” Maybe you should start that thread. It would beat your topics on astronomy, at least.

    2. “Not Quite…“I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name”.” Pete, maybe you should cite the civil unions he Romney (2012 version) supports then? Good luck with that.

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  5. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    There’s one question IMHO every single human being and politician should ask themselves and i base this on the changes I have seen in my 48 years as well as history: How will those in 50, 100 or 200 years in the future look at our society.

    They will look on us as we judge slavery, european anti-semitism, American segragation, Apartheid and so on. There are many nations throughout the world, much more socially and culturally advanced than than America’s, that would be bemused at this being a big deal.

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  6. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    “better than what? No one was offering “an assessment Obama’s history on the topic.” ”

    Indeed.

    “It would beat your topics on astronomy, at least.”

    Everyone’s a critic…

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  7. Gerry Lvs castro (profile) says:

    Newman: ‘Marriage by definition must be potentially procreative’

    Bit of a shocker this one. I’m personally accquainted with six childless married couples, none of whom were aware that they really should divorce immediately.

    By your logic, all engaged couples should prove themselves fertile, sign a contract promising to have kids, and presumably not include a woman over 50.

    Thousands of married couples, whether through personal choice, infertility or age, never ‘procreate’. Are you saying they shouldn’t be legally married?

    Equally the religious argument against gay marriage is spurious. Quite clearly a sizeable number of people are born gay — therefore (from a religious view) created so by God. Why should they be denied the right to marry, particularly as no-one is forcing any church to conduct the ceremony?

    ”it flies in the face of centuries of culture in every society”

    As did the abolition of slavery, the introduction of contraception and votes for women. Your point is?

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  8. USA (profile) says:

    “O’Bama endorses gay marriage”

    Wow…didn’t see that one coming!

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  9. USA (profile) says:

    South Carolina, where you can marry your cousin, just not your gay cousin…..

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  10. articles (profile) says:

    Ladies and gentlemen

    Allow me to introduce the ” BYTO” a new benchmark for combined mild personal abuse, jaw dropping non sequiturs and yellow herrings* .

    The “BYTO” as in “Beats your topic on “ is the new national standard.

    Accept no inferior benchmark, no substitute, tell it as it is , use “BYTO”.

    sincerely

    CON 4 MITTY

    BENCHMARKING UNIT, FEALTY TOWERS

    * to qualify your BYTO must turn red herrings permanently green with envy to create yellow herrings

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  11. abucs (profile) says:

    Once you ditch one morality you are forced to create an alternative.

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  12. aquifer (profile) says:

    Focussing on marriage is unlikely to be what Romney and the Mormon polygamists want.

    Maybe Obama could mention the age of consent to turn the heat up some more.

    And Barak should mention blood and sweat, as Romney does not look as if he has either.

    And maybe mention fear, naming the republican dragon before slaying it in full view.

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  13. Carsons Cat (profile) says:

    In the slow but inevitable slide of Slugger from a site I used to usually leave on my screen fairly constantly to a mildly annoying way now to kill five minutes this thread at least gives us a date we can point to for that ‘jump the shark’ moment.

    I think we should have a moments silence. A truly woeful initial post topped only by even more woeful comments.

    Well slugger, it was nice knowin ya….

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  14. Oh, for crying out loud!

    If your bent is to peek into the bedrooms of others: that’s your problem. Get over it.

    If you’re so religioso, you can’t cope with others’ lifestyles, tough. Obsess about some of your own.

    If you’re trying to be a US-political analyst: explain to this innocent what’s wrong with Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights.

    Why should decent semi-liberals tailor their views and speeches to kowtow to bigots and culchies? Did anyone seriously expect Obama and Biden to come out any other way?

    And if you’re counting on the Supreme Court, and such great moral exemplars as Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, to make it all come right for you, just take a gander at a Privacy for Dummies summary.

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  15. foyle observer (profile) says:

    Love to hear the DUP voters on this given that their leader (and leader’s wife) believe that homosexual people can be ‘cured’.

    What a backward shower.

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  16. pauluk (profile) says:

    It has become politically expedient for Obama to ‘support’ gay marriage again in 2012. He supported it in 1996 and then backtracked in 2004. He needs money, and gays groups are now an easy touch.

    His latest cynical flip-flop on the issue is primarily for his own political survival, nothing else.

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  17. Madra Dubh (profile) says:

    Every state that has allowed this subject to go to a referendum has voted against homosexual marriage. 30 states have this codified into law. The tail wagging the dog is ending. Get over it. If you think homosexuals have a friend in obama think again. Or jump on his muslim bandwagon until it’s your turn in the soccer stadium. Put it to a vote and live with it.

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  18. Brian (profile) says:

    Pauluk

    ‘It has become politically expedient for Obama to ‘support’ gay marriage again in 2012. ‘

    Not true. He already has the LBGT vote and their supporters. To win he needs moderates and independents, especially if he is to win states that are in play. Take North Carolina..he won the state in 2008, but the state is clearly on the other side of him in this culture war issue as shown by their 61-39 vote to ban all marriage outside man-woman marriage. His coming out in favor of gay marriage will not help him win any votes he already would be getting, but could potentially cost him in swing states that will be very close.

    He was forced to make this announcement due to the idiocy of Biden. Biden’s interview put Obama and his ridiculous “evolving” view right back in the spotlight. The press corp was having a field day trying to get Carney to explain Obama’s ‘evolving’ view, and it got to the point where it was just ridiculous and a statement had to be made.

    He may have ‘flip flopped’, I’m not sure. But at least he ain’t an Etch-a-Sketch.

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  19. Brian (profile) says:

    *Carney is WH spokesman

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  20. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Meanwhile back in the good old days Romney was a dab hand at ‘homophobing’ and wielded a pair of scissors on the nancy boys .

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/romney-bully-gay-bullying_n_1506382.html

    No not a creature of the’Enlightenment ‘ is candidate Romney and with his anti women agenda and his disdain for the ‘poor’ he’s turning into a one man political Gordon Gekko.

    Lest we forget

    The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It’s bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you’re not naive enough to think we’re living in a democracy, are you buddy? It’s the free market.

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  21. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    “I know people who are haemophiliacs as a result of receiving blood”

    No, not me but rather Northern Ireland’s own DUP Health Minister, Edwin Poots Or so he claimed as part of his defence in refusing to lift restrictions on any men who admitted to having engaged in a sexual act with another man at any time, ever. (Although no such restrictions apply to a man who is quite sexually promiscuous with other men to the extent of engaging in a condom-free gay orgy half an hour before presenting as a blood donor, providing he simply lies and denies any such activity.)

    Of course Mr Poots does not really know anyone who contracted haemophilia as a result of a blood transfusion. Such is simply not possible. Haemophilia is an hereditary genetic blood disorder and is not a transmittable disease .

    So we might ask, did Mr Poots simply resort to an outrageous lie in order to defend his stance, or was he perhaps merely terribly confused and did he intend really to speak his heart and say, ” I know people who are homesexuals as a result of receiving blood (?)”

    That is if indeed he knows any homosexuals which I doubt very much is a social relationship he would be comfortable in acknowledging.

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  22. I trust others had as good a Thursday as I did. May Friday treat you all as well.

    Meanwhile, back at the middle drawer of tee-shirt wisdom (and this applies to the GOP, DUP, readers of the Daily Mail and those who must interfere in the sexuality of others) —

    Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.

    I save my bigotry for those who have really deserved it.

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  23. Newman (profile) says:

    Ruari et al..a few brief points:

    1. If the potential or even theoretical procreation is entirely separate from marriage how is non consummation grounds for annulment? i.e. that there has never been a valid marriage.

    2.Conception is not the issue..never has been.

    3. Conflating gay marriage with slavery contraception etc like some seamless garment is not logical…they are separate issues and just because this particular issue has been endorsed by our liberal elite does not imbue it with mystical powers. You still have to produce reason, which I say is lacking because it is based on an amorphous concepts which if taken to their logical conclusion open the door to all sorts of other unusual arrangements. What do we say for instance of the rules of consanguinity?..are they relevant to gay marriage?..they certainly are to traditional marriage…another awkward intrusion into the discussion.

    4. Arguments for the traditional definition of marriage are based on natural law;what is best for children and what has provided stability to society..religious grounds are merely additional. The gay marriage experiment is not a generation old..time I think to await some sociological and other evidence before opining with such hauteur and confidence.about its efficacy

    Peace

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  24. Newman @ 10:36 pm:

    I think you’ll find that the median length of a (two-gender) marriage is about 11 years in the UK, and about eight in the US.

    In other words, we no longer live with that norm of a nice conceit of a marriage for life. It’s serial-monogamy time, folks.

    Does that help you to reformulate some of the more gross assumptions (“natural law”, “best for children”, “stability”) in that last post?

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  25. Catherine Couvert (profile) says:

    Hi folks
    Instead of entering in debate about Obama and history, I thought I’d share my little bit of experience. I live with my civil partner and two sons. Not personally that bothered about marriage, except somehow it feels wrong to have ‘equality’ on a legal level (although we are not quite there legally in NI yet but that’s another debate) but not cultural equality. Especially when dealing with homophobia and homophobic violence on the street, school playground etc, the cultural inequality (some call it apartheid) is still a very strong obstacle.

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  26. pauluk (profile) says:

    With this well-timed attack on Romney, which the family of the man concerned has said ‘is factually incorrect’, it would appear that the Washington Post has resumed its role as part of Obama’s re-election campaign.

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  27. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    http://wapo.st/JgO1pQ

    Early formative experience as a vicious bully, intolerant of others’ differences and predatory upon the weak and defenceless. This guy is an ideal candidate for a Republican presidential nominee

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  28. articles (profile) says:

    Good spot about Romney doing Vidal Sassoon impressions (had him down as a Teasy Weasy man myself) but for him to claim not to remember beggars belief but there again we expect him, as a politician, to lie.So he’s a bully and a liar, what else?

    When I saw the date of the incident I wondered out loud what he did during the Vietnam war and googled. So that’s why he was a Mormon missionary, his status as a Mormon missionary exempted him from the draft but he also had the brass neck to demonstrate against draft dodging.

    So he’s a bully , a liar, and a hypocrite.

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  29. Greenflag (profile) says:

    ‘So he’s a bully , a liar, and a hypocrite.’

    Not forgetting an ‘empty suit’ and an unctious coward .

    A comparison with previous GOP candidate John McCain’s behaviour is timely .When confronted by a rabid presumably evangelical or Tea Party nutter who accused then candidate Obama of being an ‘Arab’ and untrustworthy and who would destroy the USA -Senator McCain spoke back and defended candidate Obama stating he Mr Obama was an American a good family man -ethical and that he McCain differed with him on politics and policies .

    What does Romney do . Silence :( Probably waited to hear what his advisors suggested before saying anything .As I said above an ‘empty suit’ leading an ‘empty ‘ party which has now moved further to the right than anytime in it’s history . The defeated Senator Lugar GOP who represented Indiana since 1977 and who was ousted as a ‘moderate’ in the Republican Primary was rated the 7th most conservative Republican in the Party in 1977 -Up to his de-selection he was rated the most moderate -he apparently actually tried to compromise with the Democrats on some issues.

    Not since Tricky Dicky Nixon he of the Creep fiasco and Watergate scandal have the Republicans had such an unsavoury candidate .At least the moronic Dubya Bush had some gumption even if he could’nt spell the word:(

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  30. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Forgot the link to the Romney/McCain comparison

    http://www.boston.com/Boston/politicalintelligence/2012/05/obama-campaign-blasts-mitt-romney-for-initial-silence-after-supporter-says-president-should-tried-for-treason/f9ua3el0F6Q7KIORiixYHO/index.html

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  31. pauluk (profile) says:

    Greenflag: ‘At least the moronic Dubya Bush had some gumption even if he could’nt spell the word:(‘

    Oh, the irony. Hilarious!

    Getting a little hysterical, are we, Greenflag? Totally understandable. Rasmussen’s Presidential Tracking Poll for today shows Mitt Romney earning 50% of the vote and President Obama attracting 42% support. Mr Zero is not only trailing Romney in the US, his international support is also bombing out. Even the AP has noticed.

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  32. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Madra Dubh:

    Every state that has allowed this subject to go to a referendum has voted against homosexual marriage. 30 states have this codified into law.

    You’re deploying the same argument that was used to justify slavery and Jim Crow, and as a result you are inviting a comparison to be drawn between those issues.

    I think the background to this matter has its roots in the state of the US at the moment. Obama’s chance of winning this election is rooted in how he can present himself as tolerant, sensible and progressive against a backward, intolerant and troglodytic opponent. Forcing Rmoney onto open ground on this matter is one way to place him in the same category as Santorum and the other nutjobs.

    Regarding the relevance of this matter to NI, I’m not sure the DUP would be the only objectors. I’d like to be a fly on the wall at the SDLP conference where they discuss this matter. It wouldn’t be pretty.

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  33. pauluk (profile) says:

    I think a very alarming development in Obama’s re-election campaign has been his attempt to intimidate and besmirch Romney donors. He is trying to use Chicago-style politics to bully and silence his opponents.

    The attempt by the Obama camp to damage the reputations of those donating to Romney, as explained today in the Wall Street Journal article, The President’s Hit List, lowers the tone of American politics even further and illustrate that Obama is possibly more ruthless than even Nixon.

    Romney’s main case against Obama is that Obama’s a nice enough guy, but over his head in the presidency. However, it may reach the point where Romney will have to expose Obama for the thug that he is.

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  34. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Romney’s main case against Obama is that Obama’s a nice enough guy, but over his head in the presidency.

    The opportunity to make that case has been missed. Obama now has four years of experience in the White House versus Romney’s zero; and in any case, Biden’s there.

    However, it may reach the point where Romney will have to expose Obama for the thug that he is.

    If the GOP try to launch full frontal attacks on Obama they will lose.

    The only way the GOP can win is to keep the economy on the top of the agenda and to hammer the message home that they can do a better job of it.

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  35. If any one was “persuaded” by pauluk @ 7:23 pm, with one oh-so-convincing Rasmussen poll, they could quickly switch over and look at uPenn’s PollyVote or real clearpolitics. Both those are aggregating reports from more than a single source. If you want a commentary, try Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight on the NYTimes blogs, which Dewi was commending, quite properly, some time back.

    Of course, those sources aren’t reciting the mantras that pauluk wants to hear.

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