Obama Pushed to the Brink on Gay Marriage Equality

Obama Pushed to the Brink on Gay Marriage Equality

Ryan Lee, Associate Writer: News & Current Events

The pressure on President Barack Obama to support marriage equality for same-sex couples may be surging to the point that Obama’s administration is considering whether to endorse the issue before the November elections.

A series of events over the past few months month have been a political manifestation of Obama’s infamously “evolving” position on same-sex marriage, bringing the issue to the forefront of the president’s re-election campaign.

  • At the winter meeting for the U.S. Conference of Mayors in January, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent an e-mail to his colleagues soliciting their support for “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry,” a new campaign from the gay rights group Freedom to Marry.* Villaraigosa is the co-chair of the gay-friendly initiative, and is also the co-chair of the upcoming Democratic National Convention, where a tempestuous battle is shaping up over same-sex marriage.
  • Earlier this month, Villaraigosa was among the dozens of prominent Democrats who expressed support for the party to adopt a plank in its 2012 platform endorsing same-sex marriage. Two of Obama’s re-election campaign co-chairs, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and former Sen. Russ Feingold, have also come out in support of Democrats affirming gay marriage in their platform, as has House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 22 Democratic U.S. senators.
  • Also in March, Obama ventured into the same-sex marriage debate by opposing a state constitutional amendment to ban gay nuptials that North Carolina voters will decide May 8. While his opposition to the amendment is not surprising, Obama could have avoided weighing in on the topic by deferring it as a state issue. That he would speak out against the proposal in a Southern state might represent Obama testing the waters to see if same-sex marriage is as hazardous as party leaders expect.
  • The LGBT newspaper the Washington Blade reported last week that “active conversations” are occurring within the White House about whether Obama should endorse same-sex marriage, and “that the chances of him making an announcement are about 50-50.”
  • Later in the week, the Washington Post jumped on the story, with an anonymous Democratic adviser noting, a gay marriage endorsement “would help in terms of reinvigorating some of the excitement from 2008. It’s not just about gay people. There’s an upside with the progressive community and young people in general. Obama’s advisers are in listening mode.”

The White House has dismissed chatter about Obama possibly endorsing marriage as “uninformed speculation,” while refusing to close the door on the matter. Asked about support for same-sex marriage being included in the Democrats’ platform, senior White House adviser David Plouffe sidestepped the question by replying: ““We don’t even have a platform committee yet, much less a platform. We are going to work through the platform process.”

Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who is lesbian and also co-chairs the “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” campaign, said last Friday that she doubts Obama will change his stance by the November election.

I would be shocked to see it,” she said.

 *Pine Lake Mayor Kathie deNobriga, who is lesbian, is the only mayor in Georgia to join the “Mayors for Marriage Equality” campaign.

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  • guest

    I think he should do it now and prove to the world we are the land of freedom. He should do it because is right, not because of the election. From the political point of view however, if DOMA is repealed now, he will definitely win the election!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-R-Hubbard-Jr/100000258767454 James R Hubbard Jr

    I Dont care if he does but being a Gay man YES I would Love to Marry the one I Love

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1372105304 John Dixon

    I just sent this to the President…

    Dear Mr. President:

    I have been one of your countless supporters ever since I read “The Audacity of Hope” and heard your announcing your candidacy. I found the vision in your writing inspiring and realistic. I found your eloquence moving.

    I am writing to you because I am concerned that the momentum you have in your base may become wasted if you do not energize them as you did last time. We the People hunger for justice: economic justice by leveling the taxation rates and restoring our economy; we want to see the banks responsible for this mess held responsible for the mess they made; and we want to see our Constitution upheld.

    It is the upholding of our Constitution I wish to discuss, Sir.

    You ordered the cessation of defending the Defense of Marriage Act, yet Majority Leader John Boehner and a handful of GOP neocons have hijacked that operation. You have read the rulings of Prop 8 and Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management and undoubtedly noted that they, like the ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Court in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, cite the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifth Amendments.

    As a Constitutional scholar and the Chief Defender of the Constitution, I call upon you, Mr. President, to step forth and support marriage equality, that the seperation of Church and State may persist, and no longer will a religiously biased interpretation of marriage keep LGBT people from enjoying the respect of their non-queer peers.


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michelle-Carmichael/100001668381237 Michelle Carmichael

    I love this letter. It is wonderfully well written and respectful. Thank you for sending it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=767904883 Dustie Lee Hollon

    I am a gay man and I do support marriage equality. But I would hate to have that be the reason President Obama lost his opportunity for another term in the White House. I think that there is a time for the President to stand up for Marriage Equality but I don’t think it’s now.

    George W wouldn’t have had a second term if the GLBT community had not pushed as hard for Marriage Equality in 2004. “Moral Values” are what carried Bush to victory in 2004.

    I think that if Marriage Equality is pushed too hard in this election, we could see a Mormon in the White House rather than a Democrat.

    If President Obama was elected for another term, he would have 4 more years to take a stand for Marriage Equality. Without him in the White House, the GLBT community and the call for equality will have little chance for progress.

  • Laurie Ann Wright

    I completely agree that there is a time for everything, NOW is not the time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1372105304 John Dixon

    Turns out NOW was and is the time! Amazing!

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