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President Obama said today that he now supports same-sex marriage.
In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this place, based on conversations with his own staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and conversations with his wife and own daughters.
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, 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,” Obama told Roberts, in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday. Excerpts of the interview will air tonight on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.
Who said Obama was a wimp? This is particularly noteworthy at this moment. Obama is in a re-election campaign. He changes position hours after an important swing state, North Carolina, voted overwhelmingly for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in that state. The national polls show consistently and overwhelmingly that a solid majority has accepted homosexuality and would support civil unions, but the question of marriage is more fraught and has been a loser in elections time after time. The civil rights acts and voting rights acts wouldn't have passed easily either, certainly not in the South, however. So the presidential commitment is important, brave and laudable. While it certainly will excite a segment of the Democratic base, I suspect that niche is relatively small and doesn't explain away the momentousness of the act. A good day for the president.
The Human Rights Campaign put it right: "History is made."
Someday — soon I hope — it won't seem so remarkable. Will the Republican Party move vigorously to make a negative of an expansion of tolerance and, potentially, freedom? What do you think? ( I confess I couldn't have predicted this Log Cabin Republican response; "callous" of Obama to do this while gay people in "mourning" over Amendment One. They sniffed he'd finally come around to Dick Cheney's position. Ouch.) I have no doubt the dogmatic Republican Right in Arkansas will add this to their bill of particulars against the black man in the White House and all too many Democrats will shrink from the rest of the universe's bent toward justice.
Some are predicting political doom on this. Maybe not. The hard-core homophobes were never going to be with Obama anyway. The religious bullies tried to intimidate him out of opening military service to all, but Obama would not be moved. Guess what? It proved to be a non-event in terms of negative fallout and an enormous step forward for a minority group. This could turn out the same way. If not, it was still the right thing to do.
UPDATE: First out of the box in opposition is who else but Mike Huckabee. And to use it to do what else? Raise money for Mike Huckabee. Read on the jump for his message to his faithful. By contrast, Mitt Romney was fairly temperate though he said his view was unchanged that marriage was a relationship between a man and a woman.
And note that Romney's statement included a comment that he didn't favor civil unions that differed from marriage only in name. But, he added, "My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate." Please note, Arkansas Republicans, that the Arkansas constitutional amendment specifically prohibits any such benevolent treatment of people who form partnerships outside of state-sanctified marriage.
Barack Obama just announced he supports same-sex marriage. Nancy Pelosi immediately jumped on the announcement and emailed Democrat activists nationwide promising to continue their fight. This is going to be a defining issue this election. Obama, Pelosi and the Democrats have been a complete failure on economic issues so now they are going to focus on issues that will rile up their base.
Well, Mr. President it's going to rile up our folks also. Men and women who support traditional marriage.
Now I know you support traditional marriage, but what I really need to know today, is will you fight for it this election? If so, please send a donation of $10 or more to Huck PAC immediately. We only support candidates who support traditional marriage and who are pro-life. We'll make sure Congress and our state legislatures are stacked with conservatives who don't want our President and the federal government defining marriage for us.
I hope you will help us today. We are counting on it.
Fighting for marriage,
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