Many times when someone comes out of the closet, they are shocked to find that that everyone already knew. In the same way, you can imagine what people would say if President Obama one day announced that he supports gay marriage:
After all, the President has already shown his support, he just hasn’t quite voiced it. Consider:
- He instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending DOMA, the law that prevents federal recognition of gay marriage and prevents people from getting married in one state and having it be valid in another.
- He publicly opposed an amendment in North Carolina that would have banned gay marriage, the first time he’s ever taken a public stance on a state gay marriage issue.
- He’s officially directly all U.S. agencies to “promote and protect” LGBT rights through diplomatic means, including foreign aid.
- He directed Hilary Clinton to tell the UN, “Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”
- He expanded benefits to same sex partners of federal employees.
- He ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, allowing gays to serve openly in the military.
- The first lady states that Obama’s appointees to the Supreme Court will uphold the right to “love whomever we choose.”
But while Obama’s actions show he endorses gay marriage, his words don’t match. Instead, Obama says that his position on gay marriage is “evolving,” but that otherwise it’s the same as it was in 2008: for civil unions, but against gay marriage. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post has talked about the “confusion that surrounds the White House’s position on this issue.”
So why won’t he endorse it?
The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life (in polls in 2009 and 2010) found that blacks opposed same sex marriage by gaping margins over whites or Hispanics. The finding was even more striking in that Pew also found that for the first time in the decade and half that it had been polling Americans on attitudes toward gay rights, and that includes gay marriage, that less than half of Americans opposed same sex marriage.
Or, maybe it’s because Obama thinks the 2012 election will boil down to the battleground states: Ohio, Florida, and the like. Chris Johnson explained in the Washington Blade: “Concerns persist on how an endorsement of same-sex marriage would play in four or five battleground states.”
The worse part is that Obama once did endorse gay marriage. Sheryl Stolberg explained in the New York Times last year:
As a candidate for the State Senate in Illinois, Mr. Obama responded to a questionnaire from a gay newspaper. “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages,” Mr. Obama wrote, “and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
But then he backed off, saying he was actually talking about civil unions.
He wasn’t talking about civil unions. He was talking about gay marriage because he said “same-sex marriages.” People don’t use that term when they actually mean civil unions. But the national attention and focus on swing states meant he had to revise his position when campaigning for president.
Still, every year more and more people support gay marriage. The latest gay marriage support statistics show that. While a slight majority now support gay marriage, it’s possible that an endorsement by the President will be just the thing needed to make gay marriage support more mainstream.
So Obama, show a little leadership. You can go ahead and say it…we already know.
Do you think Obama should officially endorse gay marriage?
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