Open Thread: President Barack Obama Endorses Marriage Equality


Now, this is when national news becomes New Jersey news: President Barack Obama has just told ABC News that he thinks “same sex couples should be able to get married.” New Jersey, which has the distinction of marriage equality bills clearing both houses only to be stopped at the governor’s desk, plus a marriage equality court case, is now lagging behind its neighboring state of New York, and behind the leader of the free world. Who sure took his time.

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Timing’s fascinating. Yesterday North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on same sex marriage. The Democrats national convention is in Charlotte, NC Sept. 3-6. As soon as news broke about the North Carolina decision, petitions began circulating demanding the Democrats abandon North Carolina and hold the convention somewhere else. Practically impossible, given the investment the Dems have already made in NC, and how much they will need their money in the general election. Obama carried North Carolina in 2008, and its status as a 2012 battleground was guaranteed by Democrats’ decision to meet there. In the last few days, U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan and VP Joe Biden have stated their support for marriage equality, which intentional or not, has had the effect of trial balloon.

Romney, of course, is against everything. Yesterday in Colorado, Romney said he opposes even civil unions.  And Christie, who has campaigned hard for the VP slot (while denying that’s what he’s doing) has stood in the way of his own gay constituents who wish to marry.

Steven Goldstein’s reaction, for Garden State Equality, below the fold:

For those who devote their political lives to LGBT equality, and those whose personal futures hang on a shift in marriage law, this news resonates to the bone. Garden State Equality’s Steven Goldstein is particularly effusive:

“I am overwhelmed with tears of joy, as our millions of other LGBT people and our millions of allies across America.   We will remember for the rest of our lives where we were when we heard the sitting President of the United States say he supports marriage equality.  

“Today’s announcement by the President is of particular importance to those of us fighting in New Jersey and everywhere else marriage equality is up for grabs. No longer will opponents such as Governor Chris Christie be able to take cover by saying, “Why are you going after me?  My opposition to marriage equality is simply the same view as that of our  President.”   That political cover is now thrown into dustbin of history parked outside the archives of prejudice, collecting its rhetorical trash. Short of when America becomes a land of marriage equality, this is the happiest day of our political lives.  I’m on Cloud 18.”

I’m a member of Garden State Equality’s large and busy board, so consider this disclosure. But I’d be covering this anyway.

Comments (17)

  1. denniscmcgrath

    It is a (bit of a) risk with the election approaching but if there is one issue I want Obama to lead on this is it.

    And the economy and women’s rights. And other stuff, too. But marriage equality is special to me.

  2. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    of Laurel Hester right now.  

  3. vingopal

    We need to re-elect President Obama – NC voted to ban marriage equality with 58% of the vote, a swing date, we need to get people energized to support the President’s re-election

  4. firstamend07

    I guess the President of the U.S. took advice from the State Senate President and just said ” to hell with it” .

    What is right is right.

    = equals =.

  5. deciminyan

    “President Obama’s declaration of support for same-sex marriage is a profile in courage and marks a historic breakthrough in our evolution as a nation;

    “We believe that his decision will help end the inequality, and move us closer to granting equal civil rights to countless American families;

    “We commend the moral courage and extraordinary leadership demonstrated by President Obama in his decision to do the right thing;

    “We hope it is his destiny to be the first U.S. president to sign a law granting marriage equality to same-sex couples and that his decision will inspire Gov. Christie to sign S-1\ A-1, the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act, of which I am a proud sponsor.”

  6. Steve M

    So are we going to end up having a referendum in NJ?  I’ve lost track.

  7. zi985

    While I’m happy that President Obama now believes that gay couples “should be able to marry,” he still doesn’t believe they have an inalienable right to do so:

  8. deciminyan

    “Marriage is more than a personally rewarding social custom. It is also critical for the well-being of a civilization. That is why it is so important to preserve traditional marriage – the joining together of one man and one woman. As president, Mitt will not only appoint an Attorney General who will defend the Defense of Marriage Act – a bipartisan law passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton – but he will also champion a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.’

  9. Alex

    …that the president would be addressing the issue of his position on same sex marriage, I was expecting the usual tiptoeing we’ve seen for the past three years, a behavior that has only served to help the likes of the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud who go around saying that Obama’s position is no different than many Republicans’. Of course that gay Republican line ignored the fact that, at least in the past year, the Obama administration has moved to stop defending the odious and misnamed Defense of Marriage Act.

    But with today’s statement, even though it was expressed more as a personal opinion than a statement of policy, I’m happy the president has in many ways taken the wind out of the sails of the gay Republicans who try to put him in the same boat as their own, avowedly anti-gay rights, candidate. While the current administration has disappointed me tremendously on a whole range of issues, I’m thrilled that today the president took a risk – socially conservative Democrats are bound to be displeased – to express a genuinely progressive view that matters a great deal to gay people like me who yearn to have the same respect and rights our straight friends do.

  10. Jeff Gardner
  11. Babs NJSD

    He finally articulated what was in his heart. But since marriage is a Federal issue, his open and proactive support for the repeal of DOMA and where possible, instances where the Obama Adminstration has not enforced DOMA speaks, to me, much louder.

    Because of his prior and ongoing actions to get rid of DOMA, his words yesterday ring loud and true!


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