Gay rights groups, anti-gay organizations sound off on president's position

Reaction to Obama’s marriage ‘evolution’

National LGBT groups are thrilled with President Barack Obama’s public support of same-sex marriage as stated today in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts. And, of course, those who despise Obama and equality for LGBT people are also chiming in with their distaste for the president’s historical words.

Those working for marriage equality also noted that while North Carolina suffered a disappointing loss when voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, there are still ongoing marriage fights currently taking place in Maryland and Washington state.

The president’s detractors see his words today supporting marriage, most notably Fox News, as a “flip-flop” on the issue.

Obama’s presidential opponent, Mitt Romney, stressed today he opposes same-sex marriage and at a press conference in Oklahoma City he said he’s held the same position on gay marriage during his political career. Um, really? Not true, Mittens.

National Organization for Marriage President and CEO Brian Brown said:

President Obama has now made the definition of marriage a defining issue in the presidential contest, especially in swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Nevada. Voters in all these states, and over two dozen more, have adopted state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

President Obama says that although he personally supports gay marriage, he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. However, that is completely disingenuous. His administration is already trying to dismantle the nation’s marriage laws by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. All the state marriage amendments and laws are at risk under a president who actively wants to change the definition of marriage.

NOM will work ceaselessly in these swing states and across the nation to preserve traditional marriage because it is profoundly in the public good to do so. God is the author of marriage, and we will not let an activist politician like Barack Obama who is beholden to gay marriage activists for campaign financing to turn marriage into something political that can be redefined according to presidential whim.

The definition of marriage was already headed for the ballot in four states this fall; now it will be one of the defining issues of the presidential election. No state in this country has ever voted for gay marriage. Just yesterday North Carolina voters sent a clear message that America wants to preserve marriage. We intend to win the marriage debate this November.

Family Research Council’s President Tony Perkins issued this statement:

The President’s announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions. From opposing state marriage amendments to refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) to giving taxpayer funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the President has undermined the spirit if not the letter of the law.

As demonstrated by yesterday’s overwhelming vote in North Carolina, redefining marriage remains outside the mainstream of American politics, especially in the critical battleground states and among minority voters. In North Carolina, the amendment received more than 60 percent of the vote in majority-black counties.

Considering that ten of the sixteen battleground states have marriage amendments that could be overturned by the President’s new policy position on marriage, today’s announcement almost ensures that marriage will again be a major issue in the presidential election.

The President has provided a clear contrast between him and his challenger Mitt Romney. Romney, who has signed a pledge to support a marriage protection amendment to the U.S. Constitution, may have been handed the key to social conservative support by President Obama.

 Anti-gay loon Peter LaBarbera and founder for Americans for Truth About Homosexuality lit up Twitter with his thoughts on Obama’s affirmation of marriage equality.

Some of his tweets:

Looks like Obama finally tired of his “pro-traditional-marriage” charade, beginning w/ his con-job at the Rick Warren debate w/ McCain.

W/ his embrace of phony “gay marriage,” Obama outs himself as a soulless panderer w/ no core beliefs. He mocks his own Christian profession

Obama takes pandering to new level w/his “gay marriage” embrace. He fooled nation posing as a “trad. marr. defender.” Now sad truth is out.

But those who support marriage equality sang a much different tune. Some of the national reactions:

Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart

We welcome the news that President Obama understands the importance of equality for all people in this country and we are excited that he joins the majority of Americans in supporting the freedom to marry.

There is no bully pulpit bigger than the President’s, and loving, committed same-sex couples across the country – and all of us – thank him for using it to speak up for justice and fairness. The momentum for marriage equality is building across the country. When people have a chance to think deeply about marriage equality, they come to the right answer – that discrimination against our families is wrong.

In my thirty years working in the LGBT movement, it has become easier to recognize watershed moments – and this is one. And we know we’re winning because these watershed moments are beginning to happen closer together.

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

This is a watershed moment for the LGBT civil rights movement, but it’s also a call to action. A president’s vocal support for our community is a fantastic asset, but nothing can replace the hard work it will take to ensure we win the rights we deserve. 

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry

The President’s support marks a historic turning point for the freedom to marry movement. Yet there is much left to be done. Forty-four states continue to exclude same-sex couples from marriage and because of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the civil marriages of thousands of same-sex couples are not respected by the federal government, thus depriving families of a crucial safety-net of federal protections and responsibilities. It is time to repeal discriminatory laws that hurt families and help no one and speed passage of freedom to marry laws throughout the country.

Government has no business putting obstacles in the path of loving and committed couples and their families who simply seek to care for one another and for whom marriage matters.  We call on the President, members of Congress, and state legislators from both sides of the aisle, to act together to bring an end to marriage discrimination and put government at every level on the side of families, fairness, and freedom. 

Jerame Davis, National Stonewall Democrats executive director

We applaud the President for completing his ‘evolution’ in support of the freedom to marry and becoming the first sitting president ever to endorse marriage equality for same-sex couples…

The President’s endorsement of the freedom to marry stands in stark contrast to the position of Mitt Romney. Romney, who signed the National Organization for Marriage’s hateful anti-LGBT pledge, opposes marriage equality and supports a federal constitutional amendment banning marriage between same-sex couples. No longer can GOP homophobes like Romney hide behind the pretense that they share President Obama’s position on the freedom to marry.

Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights

President Obama has once again proven himself to be the strongest and most principled supporter of full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people ever to occupy the Oval Office. As he has done on so many other issues facing our community, the President showed his great depth of compassion and respect for the struggles faced by same-sex couples and their families and his commitment to genuine equality and justice for all people. This is an unforgettable day in our nation’s history, and one that will bring enormous comfort and hope to millions of Americans.”