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.
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.
The gay national Log Cabin Republicans weren’t impressed either. Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper issuing a press release titled, “Obama announcement is cold comfort to LGBT Americans” and stated:
That the president has chosen today, when LGBT Americans are mourning the passage of Amendment One, to finally speak up for marriage equality is offensive and callous. Republicans appreciate that President Obama has finally come in line with leaders like Vice President Dick Cheney on this issue, but LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch. This administration has manipulated LGBT families for political gain as much as anybody, and after his campaign’s ridiculous contortions to deny support for marriage equality this week he does not deserve praise for an announcement that comes a day late and a dollar short.
Jamie Ensley of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans issued a statement Wednesday:
The Georgia Log Cabin Republicans have long believed that supporting the freedom to marry is the right thing to do and the President’s joining this effort is in the nation’s best interest.
Americans can be certain that the President would not have made this decision at this time if it were not in his best political interests. In addition to energizing his base and distracting attention from a failed economic record, the trap is laid for any Republican who responds with intolerance.
Governor Mitt Romney’s statement in opposition to not just marriage but civil unions jeopardizes his ability to win moderates, women and younger voters, especially as a large majority of Americans favor some form of relationship recognition for their LGBT friends and neighbors.
Ultimately, the response of the Republican candidates this election cycle will determine the votes of millions of Americans who are simply tired of the culture wars.
Brett Bittner, executive director of the Libertarian Party of Georgia, was also not impressed with Obama. His statement:
For each individual, marriage means something different. For some, it is a lifetime commitment between two people. For others, it is the beginning of a family. For others still, it is a unity between two people and their Creator. Whatever the reason for marriage, it is an undertaking for which there should be equality under the law.
President Obama’s statement defining a point along his “evolution” on the marriage equality issue does not change a single thing for residents of North Carolina or the other 49 states. Not one federal law has changed, nor has anything resembling equality been set in motion. In an interesting conversion, the President takes a federalist position on a single issue that does not coincide with his positions in areas where he chooses the supremacy of federal law. In states where medicinal marijuana is legal, he takes no issue with deploying a SWAT team under the guise of federal drug policy, but he takes the position that it is up to the states to determine their own comfort level via democratic referendum for a basic human right of free association?
This week, Libertarians across the nation returned from our national convention in Las Vegas, where we nominated former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson as our candidate for President. Governor Johnson did not require a media frenzy or a calculated, strategic political decision to cement his place as an ally of the LGBT community. He, like the Libertarians he represents, believes in marriage equality, because it’s none of the government’s business who you love, marry, or choose to start a family with. Today, he was quoted as saying, “What is the President saying — that he would eat a piece of cake at a gay wedding if the state the happy couple lives in allows it ? Where is the leadership? While I commend him for supporting the concept of gay marriage equality, I am profoundly disappointed in the President.”
I praise principled positions. I even praise evolved positions that root themselves in principle, but given his track record with regard to the LGBT community, as well as his lack of conscious regard for the 10th Amendment to the Constitution in other areas, his statement falls flat for those of us working to ensure the civil liberties of the smallest minority, the individual, are preserved.
Those pleased with Obama’s support of gay marriage include:
Mike Berlon, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia
Marriage equality is an important human rights issue. Love is not partisan. Everyone should have the opportunity to engage in a relationship that works for him or her regardless of sexual preference.
It’s no secret that the President has gone through some serious soul-searching on this. I am sure he has received input from many sources who deserve this support, including people in long-term relationships who have never had the security or certainty that comes with knowing the person you love will be protected if something happens to them. I am also sure that he has heard from many of our brave young men and women who serve in our armed forces, and for whom he fought so hard to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, as well as others from around the country.
For many people, this is a difficult issue and opinions are strong on both sides.
As an individual who has a family member that is in such a relationship, I’ve seen first-hand the obstacles and hurdles that have to be endured just to make the relationship work. It makes me very proud to see that the President recognizes the roadblocks to these relationships and is willing to advocate for equal rights for everyone. It’s courageous and it’s right.
The Democratic Party of Georgia strongly stands with the LGBT community, the President and his administration, and with all Georgians who believe that we should treat others the way we’d want to be treated. That is not a democratic principle. It’s about human dignity.
It’s simply wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, from marrying.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta), a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage
In President Obama’s interview with Robin Roberts, he described the kind of steps many Americans have taken on the issue of same sex marriage. Once people begin to see the similarities between themselves and others, instead of focusing on differences, they come to recognize that equality is essentially a matter of human rights and human dignity. The President’s growth reflects the growth of many Americans on this issue. I am glad to see more Americans, including President Obama, empathize with the struggles of same sex couples and express willingness in state after state to give their unions the same legal rights as other married couples.
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.”