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August 21, 2014

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Obama voices his support for gay marriage

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama declared unequivocal support for gay marriage on Wednesday, becoming the first president to endorse the politically explosive idea and injecting a polarizing issue into the 2012 race for the White House.

Obama's announcement, after refusing to take a clear stand for months, cheered gay rights groups who have long urged him to support gay marriage. It also opened up a distinct area of disagreement with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who opposes gay marriage.

Polling suggests the nation is evenly divided on the issue

"I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient," Obama said in an interview with ABC at the White House. He added that, "I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word 'marriage' was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth."

Now, he said, "it is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married."

The president's decision to address the issue came on the heels of a pair of events that underscored the sensitivity of the issue.

Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview on Sunday that he is completely comfortable with gays marrying, a pronouncement that instantly raised the profile of the issue. And on Tuesday, voters in North Carolina — a potential battleground in the fall election — approved an amendment to the state constitution affirming that marriage may only be a union of a man and a woman.

The president has already supported a number of initiatives backed by gays, including an end to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and a decision not to defend in court a federal law that was designed as an alternative to gay marriage.

He had stopped short of supporting gay marriage, though, saying his position was "evolving."

Obama spoke about his support for gay marriage in deeply personal terms, saying his young daughters, Malia and Sasha, have friends whose parents are same-sex couples.

"Malia and Sasha, it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated different," Obama said. "It doesn't make sense to them and frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective."

Obama said first lady Michelle Obama also was involved in his decision and joins him in supporting gay marriage.

"In the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people," he said.

Acknowledging that his support for same-sex marriage may rankle religious conservatives, Obama said he thinks about his faith in part through the prism of the Golden Rule — treating others the way you would want to be treated.

"That's what we try to impart to our kids and that's what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I'll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I'll be as president," Obama said.

The political cross-currents are tricky.

Some top aides argued that gay marriage is toxic at the ballot box in battleground states like North Carolina and Virginia because, as Tuesday's vote proved, the issue remains a reliable way to fire up rank-and-file Republicans. It also could open Obama up to Republican criticism that he was taking his eye off the economy, voters' No. 1 issue.

Other Democratic supporters claim Obama could energize huge swaths of the party, including young people, by voicing his support for gay marriage before November. He also could appeal to independent voters, many of whom back gay marriage, and he could create an area of clear contrast between himself and his Republican rival as he argues that he's delivered on the change he promised four years ago.

On Tuesday, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, told Obama to "man up" and take a position on gay marriage.

Romney has not generally raised the issue in his campaign.

On Wednesday, he told KDVR-TV in Denver that "I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name. My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not."

The Romney campaign did not respond to questions about which benefits the Republican candidate would oppose.

The former Massachusetts governor told an Ohio television station Monday that he believes "marriage is between a man and a woman, and that's a position I've had for some time and I don't intend to make any adjustments at this point — or ever, by the way."

Public opinion on gay marriage has shifted in recent years, with most polls now finding the public evenly split, rather than opposed.

A Gallup poll released this week found 50 percent of all adults in favor of legal recognition of same-sex marriages, marking the second time that poll has found support for legal gay marriage at 50 percent or higher. Majorities of Democrats (65 percent) and independents (57 percent) supported such recognition, while most Republicans (74 percent) said same sex marriages should not be legal.

Six states — all in the Northeast except Iowa — and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages. In addition, two other states have laws that are not yet in effect and may be subject to referendums.

AP Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and Philip Elliott in Colorado contributed to this report.

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  1. Mr. Obama is taking a huge chance by stepping up and speaking his mind on this one.

    It is nice to see that he finally feels CONSENTING adults should be able to live their life as any others.

  2. It's all politics, he will say whatever he needs to so that he is reelected.

  3. He's hedged his bets by declaring this is his "personal" opinion, and that he still believes states should be able to decide it for themselves.

    Not much of a ringing endorsement.

  4. Hurray for a president with some some guts. You shouldn't discriminate based on skin color, race, religion, sex (male vs female), etc. but for some strange reason people think its OK to discriminate based upon whom you choose to love. I just don't get it.

  5. The fact that the American president supporting equal rights for all Americans is "breaking news" says more about Americans than it does about him.

  6. "It's all rather moot. Inevitably the Supreme Court will declare same sex marriage bans unconstitutional."

    Ding, Ding, Ding!!! We have a winner!

  7. "It's all politics, he will say whatever he needs to so that he is reelected."

    That's exactly Mitt Romney's position, isn't it. Romney redefines the definition of a spinning top on steroids.

    Obama took a political stand that will hurt him in the southern states. If he would say anything to be reelected, same sex marriage sure isn't the issue.

  8. ... As an openly Gay man, who started his 39+ yr. Print-Journalism career at thee "LV Review-Journal" in '73, I'm thrilled by President Obama's public stance! He's done more for our LGBTQ Community than all other U.S. President's combined. A true leader!

  9. And this makes news, what a waste of space.

    Anyone in their right frame of mind knew that he supported same sex marriage, he's a liberal.

    What he did accomplish when he came out of the closet, more votes. We'll wait and see now, the printing press is ready and he'll given them a few billion for what most feel is considered an immoral lifestyle.

    For a standing President to come out and publically say to the world that same sex is acceptable further proves how he has one goal for America, desecration of America's values. He is an utter disgrace and an embarrassment to all.

  10. "The fact that the American president supporting equal rights for all Americans is "breaking news" says more about Americans than it does about him."

    abostonboy -- well said

    "For a standing President to come out and publically say to the world that same sex is acceptable further proves how he has one goal for America, desecration of America's values."

    itshot -- keep that in mind next time your hand is over your heart before the Flag pledging "with liberty and justice for all."

    "You don't need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight." -- Barry Goldwater (1909-1998), Republican Senator from Arizona, 1964 candidate for President

  11. "People who think that gay people are living an immoral lifestyle are in fact the ones who are immoral. Mind your own business."

    Lmao, I do, they choose to make their sick immoral and repugnant lifestyle public and cram it down our throats and they think we're all going accept it, not a chance. Now because their all mighty one likes it too, they are going now expect us to pay for it, not my money.

    No matter the spin liberals or others use, it is immoral no matter what, male on male -- female on female -- it's all sick. God didn't make it that way and humans who choose otherwise are the only living species known to mankind to live such lifestyle, there something wrong in never-never land!

    Just because liberals call it appropriate and acceptable, don't thing normal people will ever accept it, let alone succumb to their political correctness all in the name of appeasement, not in my life.

  12. "He's hedged his bets by declaring this is his "personal" opinion, and that he still believes states should be able to decide it for themselves."

    edgewise -- marriage and other domestic relations has always been under state jurisdiction. The feds have no authority over it at all.

    "Big Government shouldn't be in the business of telling same-sex couples they cannot be married."

    LastThroes -- no government should, since it's completely beyond any jurisdiction except for the many unConstitutional laws they pass. Long ago our ancestors bought into the B$ government gets to license intimate relationships. That's in serious need of being undone.

    "It's all rather moot. Inevitably the Supreme Court will declare same sex marriage bans unconstitutional."

    Darthfrodo -- the sooner the better! And I'd like to see the entire marriage business, licensing and all, unraveled with it. Like the religious zealots would let go of control over others' intimate lives.

    "With morality the individual is led into being a function of the herd and to ascribing value to himself only as a function. . .Morality is the herd instinct in the individual." -- Frederich Nietzsche 1882 "The Gay Science"

  13. To those in Nevada who want to change the definition of marriage, get it on the ballot and let's have a vote. Change the State Constitution. Make polygamy legal, make marriage to 10 year olds legal, make it legal to marry your dog (before Obama eats it.)

    Put it to a vote!

  14. Just because certain people think it is right doesn't make it right; it's immoral and repugnant. There isn't anyone being denied their civil rights, they're welcome to all their rights, don't expect me to pay for it or change America's founding principles to accommodate their sick choices. Any who defies what god intended of them to be, male to female or nothing at all, then they need to keep in mind, it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature. When people expect the entire world to accept their alternative lifestyles as being normal, they're sadly mistaking and living in fantasy land.

  15. ", don't expect me to pay for it or change America's founding principles to accommodate their sick choices."

    TIm - Since you believe that it is a choice to be gay or straight, let me ask you something. When did you decide to stop being gay, and become straight?

    "Any who defies what god intended of them to be, male to female or nothing at all, then they need to keep in mind, it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature."

    Do yourself a favor and read something with some scientific facts. Here ill get you started...see below.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_...

  16. Good one, sounddude. Thank you for the website--interesting reading.

  17. And people wonder what is wrong with America today; it's smacking us upside the head, it is the liberal.

    What you fail to realize it that Americans don't care what people do in their personal lives, it's their businesses. Just don't expect the world to kowtow or accept those choices.

    If anyone with any common sense really thinks about, same sex people are about as repugnant as one could imagine. I've never heard of male impregnating another male, or a female impregnating another female, news flash for you, it's the male -- female, that's all.

    As I am sure the sun will rise and set; liberals or people who like that lifestyle or know people that practice that lifestyle will more than likely be the ones that will inevitably come up with some cockamamie excuse or justification for themselves and attempt to preach why it's okay or it's not being politically correct. Hogwash, it's immoral and repugnant and there is nothing that is going to change what most of the world believes.

  18. "To those in Nevada who want to change the definition of marriage, get it on the ballot and let's have a vote. Change the State Constitution....."

    lovinglife -- your ignorance is showing. Nevadans already changed the Constitution about 10 years ago, see it @ http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Const/NVConst...

    Somehow it squeaked past the robust citizen intellects of that time in open defiance of the original Nevadans' promise -- "All men are by Nature free and equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; Acquiring, Possessing and Protecting property and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness." So why do you think anyone's inalienable rights could be subject to licensing or abrogation by popular vote?

    The rest of your post shows you to be a buffoon and unworthy of comment.

    "...it's immoral and repugnant. There isn't anyone being denied their civil rights..."

    its2hot -- this shows you to be completely clueless of what civil rights are. See the above Constitutional lesson.

    "Do yourself a favor and read something with some scientific facts."

    sounddude -- actually historical facts are better than science. Clicking the link at the top of your link gives a hint it's always been part of human history. It's an option.

    The bottom line is when government licenses marriage it cannot lawfully do so to the exclusion of anyone else seeking those benefits. Equality -- what a concept.

    "There is no hell. There is only France." -- Frank Zappa "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore"

  19. "You should not be able to vote away another
    American's civil rights."

    teamster -- welcome to the herd

    "...how little does the common herd know of the nature of right and truth." - Socrates in Plato's "Euthyphro" (399 B.C.E.?)

  20. Mr. Wiggin - A free civics lesson. Listen carefully.

    I don't care what your religious beliefs are, because when we're talking about the law -- the LAW -- of the United States (and that is all we are talking about), then the Bible, and your religious beliefs, are wholly irrelevant. The only written document that matters is the Constitution of the United States of America, which includes several guarantees and provides certain legal (i.e. "civil") rights to all citizens.

    The First Amendment, for example, prevents the government from infringing on the rights of free speech. In other words, with very few exceptions, there can be no law which prevents you from, or punishes you for, saying stupid, asinine, ignorant, malicious, closed-minded, repugnant, virtually medieval, and utterly moronic things like the standing President wants to desecrate American values, as if your prejudices represent American values. Or that gay people choose to be gay, as if you chose not to be. Or that simply by being gay, they are sick, immoral, and repugnant, as if your lifestyle is to be worshipped and adhered to. Or that they are trying to shove their lifestyle down your throats while, in fact, it is you trying to shove your lifestyle down their throats. Or that humans are the only living species known to mankind to live such lifestyle, when, in fact, every living species known to mankind has homosexual members and heterosexual members. (PS, there actually have been several books written and published since the Bible. Read one.) Or that somehow, two guys getting married are going to send you the bill for the reception (which, by the way, would be freaking fabulous). Or that their lives are an alternative to some other life they could have chosen, as if they chose a life that subjects them to the ridiculous things you and your ilk say. (You figured out how to use the internet; I'm sure you can look up the word "ilk" so that you know what I just said.)

    Another example is in the Fourteenth Amendment which guarantees that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Fortunately, despite the freedom of speech which allows you to spew your venomous garbage, the equal protection of the laws means that if you can get married to the one you love, so can everyone else. It took until May 9, 2012 for our president to actually say so. Not it's time for you to deal with it too.

  21. I just read a dozen comments, and I feel dumber...

    In 2004 Bush used an anti-gay marriage bill as a wedge issue to win votes.

    In 2012 Obama is using a pro-gay marriage stance as a wedge issue to win votes.

    To me this says the country is moving the right direction socially, and this is why I generally vote democratic.

    Fiscal issues don't worry me. Nether party is good with money, and I'm successful financially no matter what party is in office because I work both SMART and HARD, and I don't blame the govt for my failures. People who get my vote are people show empathy, not hate.

  22. "It's okay, the children have already been indoctrinated in that this is a good thing."

    rusty57 -- as opposed to being indoctrinated by bible thumpers "queers is evil, m'kay"? The key point is protecting personal liberties, which our Constitutions programmed our governments to do.

    "Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion." -- Democritus (460-370 B.C.E.)

  23. its2hot - "I am friends with some gay people and I also let it known to all that I find it sick and repugnant."

    Isn't that an oxymoron? Friends you say are sick and repugnant? Having a radical right wing mind must be difficult, trying to balance all of the opposing positions and conflicted points of view. Maybe that's why Romney spins at the drop of a dime, on any subject matter.

  24. Whatever happened to separation of church and state? Did I miss the news report when that was officially thrown out the window?

  25. The government has a legitimate interest in defining and regulating domestic partnerships for tax and benefit purposes.

    That said, the government should restrict all language regarding such partnerships to not use the word "marriage" to describe them. It then becomes purely a civil rights issue and gender is no longer a defining factor.

    Let the government issue domestic partnership licenses, and let churches decide who they will or will not perform a religious ceremony for.

  26. @ it's2hot "...humans who choose otherwise are the only living species known to mankind to live such lifestyle, there something wrong in never-never land!"

    WRONG! Quite a few species ingage in same sex relations to maintain peace and order in the group.

  27. SickOfSomeOfU,

    I am not skirting the issue at all. My goal is to do away with using religious belief as a basis for or component of our laws. The word "marriage" has far too much connection to religion, and the government has a purely secular interest.

    So yes, I can support gay marriage, but ideally I would strike the word "marriage" from the laws and replace it with "domestic partnerships" instead.

  28. As I said, we know the sun will rise and set every day, so too will be the nutcases supporting Obama and whatever his majesty says. The same old meteoric gibberish tactics his minions will preach!

    Spin it however you choose, it won't change the facts. America's core values and what America was founded upon and that doesn't include same sex marriage.

    They want their friend's money and retirements, sobeit, let them have it and the rest of the material possessions, take them. Change our core values to suit their lifestyle choices and further desecrate America down into the toilet bowl, not a chance. We're fed up liberals and their repugnant choices; this is America, not Libreville or California.

  29. "Thinking to Geo Carlins 7 dirty words, HOW do we CONTINUE to punish bad words more than BAD THOUGHTS OR ACTIONS?"

    boftx -- ask Lenny Bruce. Oh wait he killed himself over government persecution for doing that. The late, great George Carlin was there at the first arrest and insisting on being arrested with him. RIP to both great men.

    "...I'm an atheist and I'm married. I'm not in a "domestic partnership."

    ShannonK -- actually marriage is defined by the law of many states as a civil contract, a prime component being both parties consent. Here's it's NRS 122.010

    "The fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection. For it is a central tenet of the First Amendment that the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas." -- HUSTLER MAGAZINE AND LARRY C. FLYNT v. JERRY FALWELL, 485 U.S. 46, 55-6 (1988)

  30. Really? Please give us the exact quote where the President said that he spent so much time agonizing over gay marriage that he forgets how bad the recession was/is. Please.

  31. I knew Timmy wouldn't reply to my post. Why? Because it would prove him wrong. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing.....