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Obama comes out for gay marriage

10 May 2012

1:48 PM

10 May 2012

1:48 PM

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It isn’t just this side of the Atlantic where same-sex marriage is very much on the political agenda. Here, the Prime Minister gave it his support in his October conference speech, and the government is pressing ahead with plans to legislate for it before the next election, under the leadership of Lib Dem equalities minister
Lynne Featherstone. Meanwhile, across the pond, Barack Obama gave his support for equal marriage last night. In an interview with ABC News (above), he said:

‘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

It may come as a surprise that Obama hadn’t already backed gay marriage, particularly given the strong stand he took on ending ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’, which prevented homosexuals from serving openly in the US armed forces. But up
‘til now he’s been walking something of a tightrope on the issue, focusing on legal equality for same-sex couples rather than ‘marriage’ itself. During the Democrats’
presidential primary campaign in 2007, he told an LGBT forum:

‘My view is that we should try to disentangle what has historically been the issue of the word “marriage”, which has religious connotations to some people, from the civil
rights that are given to couples, in terms of hospital visitation, in terms of whether or not they can transfer property or Social Security benefits and so forth… I would’ve
supported and would continue to support a civil union that provides all the benefits that are available for a legally sanctioned marriage. And it is then, as I said, up to religious denominations
to make a determination as to whether they want to recognise that as marriage or not.’


But that balancing act has been hard to sustain, with supporters of same-sex marriage pushing the President to join them. And recent events have convinced him to do just that. At the
weekend, Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden told NBC:

‘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.’

This lead to renewed questions about the President’s own position, with White House press secretary Jay Carney being asked about it more than 50 times in one briefing session on Monday. According to Politico, administration officials claims that Biden’s comment forced Obama to endorse same-sex marriage earlier than
planned, but he was going to do so before the election anyway. But the article reports that others close to the President ‘have said that Obama was undecided about making an announcement before
the election to avoid losing religiously conservative swing voters in states like North Carolina, Ohio and Colorado’.

So how will this move affect Obama’s re-election hopes? As Nate Silver points out, polls have shown public opinion moving towards same-sex marriage over
the past eight years, to the point that supporters now outnumber opponents. Silver also makes the important point that

‘Social issues often do more to reinforce the loyalties of each party’s core voting groups than to sway the opinions of swing voters, especially in middling economic

A lot depends on how Mitt Romney chooses to respond. With the majority of independents supporting same-sex marriage, he’ll be
wary of alienating them further. But this does present Mitt Romney with an opportunity to make a big deal out of his opposition to same-sex marriage and give the socially conservative base of the
Republican Party a reason to get excited about him — something which he’s failed to do so far.

In the past, Romney’s joked that, as a Mormon, he believes that ‘Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and a
woman, and a woman…’ One thing’s for sure: he won’t be repeating that line as he tries to turn news this to his advantage.

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Show comments
  • Frank Sutton

    CMD and Obama nail their colours to the notion of gay marriage, while their economies teeter on the brink of disaster.
    How Nero-like.

  • Nicholas

    Obama makes the same error of judgement as Cameron in that he thinks his position gives him the right to air his personal beliefs as though they hold more significance than anyone else’s. This is nothing new, even Lincoln and Kennedy were prone to such pronouncements. But it is true that seldom does any good come from it, more usually the reverse.

    By taking a partisan position he is more likely to exacerbate division than to unite. Leadership is not demonstrated by doggedly expressing a personal opinion but by uniting towards a clear and strong vision. It is not achieved by alienating those who are disagreed with but rather by persuading them.

    Obama and Cameron might occupy lofty and powerful positions but they both have much to learn about leadership. Sometimes both of them seem more comfortable sermonising from the pulpit than gathering a team around them to shared purpose.

  • Bob Hutton

    The New Testament scriptures clearly teach, in Romans 1 v 18-32, that homosexuality is under the wrath of God and is against nature. Moreover, verse 32 teaches that it is wrong to give consent to such practices.

    Consequently, by supporting this Obama has put himself under God’s displeasure. I do hope that he repents of this and makes his peace with God. The eternal consequences of not doing so do not bear thinking about.

  • porkbelly

    By strange coincidence Obama is attending a $40,000 per person fundraiser at George Clooney’s Los Angeles house this evening – perhaps the spigots will open a little wider now?

    And by the way, this is an area where polls are very unreliable – they may show increased support for gay marriage since there is a great deal of pressure from the media and gay activists on this issue, but every time it has been put to the voters it has lost handily, most recently in North Carolina. 30 states now have amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage. As in the UK, the opinion of the great and good goes one way, that of the lower orders another.

    Another example of Obama cynically pandering to a narrow slice of the electorate.

  • myfriendSandy

    CMD and Obama obvious;y both “get it” – the most pressing issue in these untroubled times is sodomite splicings.

  • Mark

    CAMERON: I once stood before a Conservative conference and said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and another man. You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage. And to anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.

  • 2

    The Mormon joke hints at a real problem for everybody: once the law makers gives way on same sex marriage then they open the door to polygamy , lesbian polyandry etc. ( a long slippery slope of lifestyles follows. Didn’t emperor Germanicus (Caligula) marry his horse ? ) Keep it as it was.

  • Robert Eve

    Utterly depressing.

  • 2trueblue

    Obama, like many, has not understood what the majority understand to be the meaning of ‘marriage’. A union between a man and a woman.

  • John Jefferson Burns

    This hands the Christian right, always suspicious of the latter day saints, and therefore hitherto resistant, but more resistant to gay marraige to Obama on a plate.

  • Jupiter

    Another nail in the coffin of western civilisation.

    Can you imagine muslim countries allowing gays to get married? They would cut their heads off.

  • Don Benson

    It is entirely irrelevant who supports ‘gay marriage’ among politicians, here or abroad. The real issue for us in this country is whether such an idea makes logical sense and will be good or bad for society and especially for children.

    To legislate that a commitment between two homosexuals or lesbians is exactly the same as a heterosexual marriage, with all its creative potential and family responsibilities, is clearly ridiculous.

    I can fully understand gay couples not liking the term ‘civil partnership’ and I am sure they would have every support if they came up with a happier word to describe their life long commitment. But to use precious legislative time simply to hijack a word which is central to the value we place upon stable family life is a step too far – selfish and unnecessary.

  • David Lindsay

    Obama has been bounced over the definition of marriage, which in any case is not within the competence of the President, as such.

    The same is true of abortion, making it no wonder that the Republican Party has never done anything at all about it. Quite apart from the fact that several of its biggest donors, many of its powerful back room functionaries, and not a few of its public figures are broadly to strongly pro-choice.

    For two generations, pretty much, white Evangelicals and a large section of white Catholics have been conned into voting against their own economic interests, and latterly in favour of the harvesting of the Irish Catholics and of the Scots-Irish Southerners and Westerners (as well as the blacks) in wars of corporate greed and ideological lunacy, by the entirely empty promise of action against abortion. Action that neither the White House nor Capitol Hill can take.

    The effects of those economic policies have been thoroughly anti-life and anti-family. It is blatantly obvious that those foreign policies, in themselves, were and are. Please God, let the same mistake not be made over the definition of marriage, a states’ matter in which black, Catholic, Southern and Western Democrats are in fact in the vanguard of defending the traditional position. Least of all, let it not be made over a departure from that position quite so half-hearted, lukewarm, and obviously forced as Obama’s.

  • m oconnor

    Marriage is there to protect the family @ should only be between a man @ womon. The meaning of the word marriage should not be changed to please the homosexual lobby.

  • Augustus

    “A lot depends on how Mitt Romney chooses to respond.”

    Romney has never wavered on gay marriage, he opposes it. You can begin to put the undecided votes in his column. Obama is now trapped between liberals who favour gay marriage, and a significant margin of socially conservative voters who oppose it. They might even decide the 2012 election.
    Not an overriding issue, but a nail in Obama’s political coffin nonetheless.

  • Biggestaspidistra

    This is an upside-down view of reality, Mr Jones. In the US same sex marriage is a reality in many states. In the UK it doesn’t exist.

  • TomTom

    Don’t push that too far Noa, and don’t google too much or you will find Wayne Madsen and the late-Nate Spencer…..and you shouldn’t go into that too enthusiastically

  • peter hovering above maidstone

    When Obama made his prounouncement, he was desperate to get the words off his lips as quickly as possible. He didn’t want to say it. Listen to him.

    The recording speaks volumes.

  • Halcyondaze

    Noa. – couldn’t have put it better myself!

    What the hell are they doing arse-ing around with this when there are so many deperately more pressing issues that need urgent and principled action? Answer: because it’s EASY, it makes them look “progressive” and anyone who criticises it can automatically be smeared as a small-minded homophobe.

    I have nothing against homosexuals, but most people couldn’t care less what they do. What people absolutely do care passionately about is the decline and destruction of their countries as a result of catastrophic economic mismanagement, uncontrolled mass immigration, and the long march of The Left through all their institutions subverting and destroying all that was great about their countries. (But dealing with these things takes courage and principle on a massive scale – and the likes of Cameron and Obama don’t have either).

    How typical of trendy, left-leaning, PR men like Cameron and Obama to obsess about this rubbish while failing to get any real grip on the very issues that are wiping their countries off the map.

  • Craig Strachan

    “But this does present Mitt Romney with an opportunity to make a big deal out of his opposition to same-sex marriage and give the socially conservative base of the Republican Party a reason to get excited about him”

    Problem is, the spectacle of Romney pandering to the GOP base in full gay-bashing mode will repel independents.

    Plus, if the Mormon church is so homophobic, how come their missionaries look so gay?

  • John

    I find it interesting that ‘liberalism’ has identified ever more strongly with a sterile culture of death. What are the liberal causes today? Euthanasia, assisted suicide, abortion, sterilisation, homosexuality, gay ‘marriage’, etc, etc. A society which espouses these causes literally has no future and will be replaced by more vigorous populations such as Muslims or Polish immigrants. Sad really.

  • Noa.

    Perhaps Dave and Barak can take their vows together, when next they walk down the red carpet together?

    For both of them it’s a lot easier to promote some spurious equality issue than address the real problems of debt, demographics, declining influence and respect in a developing real world that is far too busy taking over the mantle of power and wealth, now abandoned by a West firmly wedded to the pursuit of ever more ludicrous liberal chimeras.