Obama Endorses Same-Sex Marriage

I think we could all use some good news right about now. Fortunately, we just got some.

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.

That’s President Obama.

Happy right now. Not much more to say.

Obama Endorses Same-Sex Marriage

56 thoughts on “Obama Endorses Same-Sex Marriage

  1. 4

    Better late than never, but far better not late in the first place.

    Obama needs to occasionally try appealing to the base when it’s not a political no-brainer to do so.

  2. 6

    Oh, enough already… hearing these type of replies all over the place.

    BE HAPPY. It doesn’t even matter if it was gutsy or not, or if it was a calculated move, or any of that- regardless of the motivations, the POTUS just explicitly and publicly gave marriage quality as his official position. *That is huge*. Cut the cynicism for one goddamn day and be happy about that.

  3. 7

    Oh I’ll go all cynical. I’m not satisfied anymore with being an afterthought and I’m not going to lick the boots of someone who has to be forced to acknowledge my humanity. Standards are a bit higher than when I was a scared gay teen.

    Guess what? He thinks it’s a states’ rights issue:

    Obama also said this is a personal view, and that states should set their own marriage laws.

    Betcha don’t think that about anti-miscegenation laws, do you Obama?

    Yeah, he’s totes our hero.

  4. 10

    What a sick mixed up individual Obama is. He Endorses same sex marriage at the same time as endorsing torture and approving the continued existence of Guantanamo Bay.

    Sort of like Heinrich Himmler with Homosexual inclinations.

  5. 11

    How dare you? How dare you? Just the day after North Carolina put human rights to a popular vote you have the nerve to chastise me for taking exception to Obama calling MY HUMANITY a states’ rights issue?

    Are you kidding me?

  6. 12

    Look, you’re going to feel however you want about Obama himself- and rightly so. Dude’s done a lot of messed up stuff, still is, and is far from my favorite person in the world. But regardless of that, this particular thing happening is a good thing. A very good thing.

    It’s entirely possible to hate Obama and be very happy about this news; just have to take a day off from hating everything wrong in the world to enjoy something going right. Not doing that ends up driving you completely nuts.

  7. 13

    I don’t hate Obama. I objected to a very specific and highly unethical stance. You have no business demanding me to share your happy joy party and scoffing at a serious point. You know what drives me nuts? “Allies” like you who want to police other peoples’ reactions. Not. Up. To. You.

    Stop it. I wouldn’t do it to you.

  8. 14

    I’m sorry for going around pissing on this, but let’s face it: Obama does occasionally say nice things that LGBT and allies want to hear, but he has a very real problem with actually following through on the nice things he says.

    Once burned, twice shy, and he has burned us a lot more often than just once. I just cannot get excited about this until he actually does something on his own, without having to be shamed into it (as Sebelius did by announcing the change in hospital visitation without prior White House permission) or otherwise coerced (as Congress did when they handed him the DADT repeal bill that he never publicly supported.)

    And his adding comments that states should be allowed to decide on what they will do regarding basic rights? That is the same argument used to support transvaginal ultrasounds and a return to Jim Crow. Even as he tries to placate his base, he creates an opportunity to piss on us.

  9. 16

    Because your very first comment on the topic wasn’t denigrating the people happy about it at all, was it?

    Feel how you want about it. Certainly not going to stop you from that, and you’re dead-on right when you say that his current position is still far from where it should be.

    But his actual position isn’t really what there is to be happy about; it’s that the official and public stance has changed for the better. Crappy as it is, it’s progress, and extremely *visible* progress, which will affect a whole lot more than just his actions. And if you can’t be at least a little pleased over something like that, if you have to have an all or nothing response to it… well, it’s just going to be a rough few decades, isn’t it?

    And yes, that’s absolutely your right to feel that way. I shouldn’t have said what I did before, and I apologize for that. In the end, I guess my only real point is that I’m hoping that even the folks most upset with the stance will still recognize that this happening will result in some good.

  10. 17

    Actually, I think it is actually a gutsy move. This could cost him the election and he knows it.

    But it is also one that he should have made many years ago. It’s a little late to grow a spine, Mr. President.

  11. 19

    … well, it’s just going to be a rough few decades, isn’t it?

    It’s not particularly cynical, nor out of line, nor somehow insufficiently enthusiastic to greet this news with, “Wouldn’t it be nice if someone in a position of significant social and political influence – like the Presidency of the United States – stepped up and made a statement that had so little room for equivocation that it was almost as loud a yell of solidarity as it would be possible to make?”

    Moreover, wouldn’t it be nice if that was accompanied by a genuine, heartfelt, “Wow, was I wrong to hold out this long on something that I now see is so obviously the right stand to take?”

    Gregory in Seattle makes a salient point:

    That is the same argument used to support transvaginal ultrasounds and a return to Jim Crow. Even as he tries to placate his base, he creates an opportunity to piss on us.

    While it may signal a “change in official position,” it remains one fraught with complexity and problems if it merely realigns the central issues for new (and renewed) assault from the state-level institutions that have already demonstrated extensive hostility to the civil rights ideas in the first place (with a nod of some appreciation at least for Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut).

    I’m glad you’re happy about this announcement, and I’m glad Greta is, too.

    But I’m also glad that Josh and Gregory and others are still passionate enough such that this announcement can still be evaluated skeptically, for its merits and flaws, and the call for equality can still resound such that equality’s continued opponents will not be able to hide behind sentiments like, “But what about all that stuff you’ve already gotten!”

    Still learning,


  12. 21

    Mikey, it certainly counts quite a bit less when he does it only after being kicked and shoved toward it and when he gives no any indication of any plan to actually make things happen.

  13. 22

    Well the problem here is that there’s not the acknowledgement that opposing gay marriage is something that’s morally and ethically simply disgusting. It’s not a state’s rights issue, it’s a human rights issue.

    That said, I do think today’s announcement was probably a mistake, and unless he’s willing to go all aggro and push the culture war stance in favor of equality (highly unlikely, considering the state’s rights remark) basically what he’s doing is via politicizing the entire process he makes it that much harder to go about the difficult work of changing hearts and minds on the subject.

    How would I liked to have seen it? Admitting his previous stance for political purposes, and that it was wrong, and in the face of the disgusting and depraved situation in North Carolina, he could no longer maintain a neutral stance.

  14. 23

    It’s not a gutsy move. Four years ago it would have been a gutsy move. I am happy that he did it — but I’m not going to call it brave.

    At this point we do have the standing President and VP who have come out in favor of same-sex marriage. We have a majority of the US population who is in favor of same-sex marriage.

    So — the back-track of pulling the “states=rights” shit that Obama did. Pansy-assed, (to steal a phrase) yes.

    Then we can also look at history. Major cases in which the Supreme Court has granted rights on a national level — Roe v Wade, Loving v Virginia, Engle v Vitale — etc. it has been the result of some states granting a right when others do not. Rights that have to be decided on a national level.

    States rights are for matters in which the residents of a particular state are affected more than residents of other states. I.e. residents of Kansas don’t care about any laws concerning ocean travel, access, or fishing.

    When a majority of the states have legal same-sex marriage — it goes to the SC. At which point North Carolina and them will have to eat it.

  15. 24

    This could cost him the election and he knows it.

    No it won’t. Cold, hard calculation says that the super-conservatives who have hated him since the moment he got public notice still hate him, and hating him more doesn’t make their individual votes count for any more than the same one each they do now. The only thing that increases his vote count is rallying the base and convincing the mushy middle, and all polls show a majority of that middle support gay rights. The vote in North Carolina might have spurred him to make the announcement a little sooner than he planned, but this is one of the few things that’s guaranteed to help him in the general election.

  16. 25

    I disagree. I do not think this is not going to help him in the general.

    A lot of “social conservatives” are not very interested in voting for Mitt Romney. Many of them will do it anyway, under pressure from their community leaders, but some will not bother. Now, however, there is a new and potentially effective way to pressure them.

    Meanwhile, I do not think this is going to energize liberals into voting for him, because it isn’t so easy to forget the years over which he repeatedly and urgently threw the LGBT community under the bus.

  17. 26

    Because remember, if he doesn’t do it exactly how you want it done, it doesn’t count.

    Thanks for letting me know I’m just a whiny, ungrateful little bastard who’s being too picky. Stupid uppity fag- who the hell do I think I am, anyway, expecting not to be told my human rights are up for popular vote?

    People like you are not my allies; you’re adversaries.

  18. 27

    Elerena, first, good for you for apologizing.

    I don’t know your sexual orientation or gender identity, so I’m aware that I may be putting myself in the position of being a straight cis person lecturing a GLBT person, but calling people’s basic rights “ponies” is doing the right wing’s propaganda work for them.

    “Falling all over themselves” is hardly denigration. A lot of Americans on the left, or rather the nominal left (as it would be considered in a functioning country), have a political form of Stockholm syndrome that compels them to praise Democratic politicians for any little crumb thrown to them. Barack Obama’s cheerleaders are particularly vocal in this regard, for a number of reasons that need not be gone into here.

    Quite frankly, I agree Josh, and with a friend of mine whose Twitter feed I shall link to. One, two, three, four, five.

  19. 28

    “You know what drives me nuts? “Allies” like you who want to police other peoples’ reactions”

    You didnt do the same thing in your first comment? You are certainly not MY official spokes gay….

  20. 29

    Fine, Frederick. Good lord, like I had contractual SpokesPrivileges at FtB.

    You think Obama’s states’ rights thing is just fine? Yes? No? I’m unreasonable to object to it? Yes? No ?

  21. 30

    Okay. I’m going to do something I very rarely do here. I am going to ask all of you, as a personal favor to me, to please knock it off.

    For reasons that should be obvious to anyone who reads this blog regularly, I am having a very, very, very bad day. I have been having several very bad days in a row. The best possible outcome of this day is that, in a couple of hours, I get to go home, curl up in a ball, and cry as much as I want to. I really don’t think I can handle “moderating an increasingly hostile comment thread about Obama and gay rights” on top of everything else.

    I know. I shouldn’t have posted about this if I wasn’t willing to let it to turn into a fight. My bad. Next time, I’ll just put some kitten pictures up or something.

  22. 32

    Ms. Daisy Cutter @ #31: I’m going to say this as calmly and clearly as I can.

    I did not say, and I did not mean to imply, that anyone had done anything wrong by getting into a heated debate here about this topic. I simply asked people, as a personal favor to me, to please take it elsewhere. There are lots of places on the Internet where this argument is going on. I shouldn’t have posted about this here if I didn’t want it to also happen here, and I acknowledge that. But I am having a very, very, very bad day, and I cannot deal with moderating this particular argument right now. Please, just do me a personal favor, and take this fight elsewhere. Thank you.

  23. 33

    Daisy Cutter, she didn’t accuse anyone of doing anything wrong. She apologized for the trouble and asked the personal favor that this debate not happen here today because she’s in a particularly bad place. It’s not an issue of civility right now, it’s an issue of personal compassion for a member of the community in a time of trouble.

    How about this – are any other FTBloggers watching this thread? Would someone be willing to host this conversation on their own blog, so that Greta can have the evening off? Or failing that, perhaps Greta could put up another post in a couple days so we can finish the conversation?

  24. 35

    Sigh~This is an issue I am torn on tbh. I have serious issues with the idea of marriage. I have slightly voiced some of my criticisms in this blog post http://bit.ly/LaUeFR

    BUT! If that is what the LGBT community wants for themselves then I want it for them. I know not all are convinced though. As quoted from this blog post: http://bit.ly/Je8KtG “Marriage still exists as a central site of anti-woman, anti-child and anti-queer violence, and a key institution through which the wealth and property of upper class (white) families is preserved. If gay marriage proponents wanted real progress, they’d be fighting for the abolition of marriage (duh)”

    Plainly stated; I think “marriage” in and of itself is a major source of sexual oppression and sex negativity. I have found nothing to persuade me that it is not the foundation for the Madonna/Whore ingroup/outgroup dynamic and I can’t see why anyone would want a piece of that. I will admit marriage as an oppression is something I’m just now beginning to seriously look at. Much to think on. I can’t help but feel like we are going in the wrong direction with marriage though; LGBT and straight alike.

    “Marriage and love have nothing in common; they are as far apart as the poles; are, in fact, antagonistic to each other. No doubt some marriages have been the result of love. Not, however, because love could assert itself only in marriage; much rather is it because few people can completely outgrow a convention. There are to-day large numbers of men and women to whom marriage is naught but a farce, but who submit to it for the sake of public opinion.” ~ Emma Goldman http://bit.ly/IRu6yh

  25. 40

    @ agodlessstrumpet —

    Call it a two-pronged attack. Some people just aren’t wired for marriage; we should certainly push for a situation where those people aren’t relegated to second-class status. Other people might be suited to a long-term relationship, whether monogamous, monogamish, or otherwise; for those people, we might benefit from ripping the misogynistic heart out of “traditional” marriage and keeping the bits that are actually worthwhile. The fact that those worthwhile bits are relatively recent compared to the misogynistic core isn’t necessarily a problem; we can just accept that “new” marriage is an entirely different (and far better!) thing from “traditional” patriarchal misogynistic marriage.

  26. 41

    @ Josh

    Then I hope you like remaining a second class citizen, because biting the hand of the person taking a substantial risk to help you even a tiny bit is not helping anyone but the people who want to remove what few rights you DO have.

    It might not be as fun as stroking your ego and proclaiming your righteous fury for all to see, but most sensible actions aren’t fun either.

    I don’t care what your opinion on the man is, the smart thing to do is take this win, however small, and try and turn it into another. Barring the rapture, you aren’t going to win this overnight. This is a battle of attrition. The smart thing to do is to take what you can get, keep it safe while cautiously getting more.

    You have chosen the opposite. Good job.

    I shall never understand why the american left is so committed to its own self destruction.

  27. 43

    I guess its a sign of how sick America is that my first reaction was dread. Nothing turns out the knuckle-dragger, mouth-breather, toothless-banjo-picker vote like a chance for some electoral gay-bashing.

    The self-righteous lefty snarking reinforces my terror. How many of these creeps will wallow in their purity by not voting this fall, or casting (empty) ‘gesture ballots’ for the Vegetarian Socialist Worker’s Party?

    Congratulations Barack! Its about time.

  28. 44

    @John the Drunkard #43 – “Creeps”? Spoken like a priviledged heterosexual. Your rights aren’t on the like. Mine are. When more than half the states tell you that you are unworthy of basic human rights, you come back here so that I denounce your anger.

  29. 45

    Thanks guys. It’s good to know it’s me— a gay guy who’s not going to shut up when his rights are put up for a vote—who’s endangering my cause. It’s dumb politically naive faggots like me to blame for the nice straight people not giving us our rights. Because it’s mean not to kiss their hand instead of biting it.

    This is so warped.

  30. 47

    Greta, sorry to hear you are having a bad day. You have done some awesome things lately – the interviews around Edwina Rodgers, your brilliant book etc. Your blog is one of the first I read most days.

    Obama’s announcement is certainly creating a range of responses. Initially I thought it was great but comments from Josh and others certainly has mad me reconsider my position.

    I hope tomorrow is better for you.

  31. 49

    I’m trying hard to see the good in this, but I can’t help thinking that, if JFK were alive, he could feature Obama in his new book, Profiles in Calculation.

    I guess I can say I’m happy to see that the tide of public opinion has finally turned to the point where a presidential candidate can gain points by jumping on the bandwagon. I guess that’s a good thing, right?

  32. 50

    Sorry to hear you’re having a difficult time, Greta. I’ll just say thanks for posting this, as yours is the first place I heard the news.

  33. 51

    It’s taken an awful long time for Obama’s views on civil rights to “evolve”, Oh well, I guess that it’s better late, than never…. Break out the Champagne…. Whoooppppyyyy….!

  34. 52


    The problem with that is that far too many times, those “small wins” are repudiated later because there is no accountability on polticians who are totally free to resind rights when the heat of right-wing pressure gets to them.

    I do think Josh is being a bit of an a-hole, but his point about Prez O’s political calculations is basically correct. This had less to do with some fundamental shift in Obama’s attitudes towards gay equality, and everything to do with politics. Plus, his refusal to go after states already with discriminatory laws against gay marriage (the “states rights” option) is more than troubling; it’s an actual cave-in to reaction. Many states are more than ready to reenact sodomy laws the moment the Supreme Court reverses Lawrence v. Texas…would Prez O accept that if that happened, and risk losing evangelical Blacks??

    It’s certainly a small step forward, but the war continues.

    @Greta: Take as much time as you need to recover yourself. We’ve all had such days; they will pass,


  35. 53

    This is happy news for me. In a perfect world, this would have been an afterthought centuries ago.

    Still.. this is the right thing to do–even if late by many of our standards.

    As it stands–latest polls (http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/gallup-majority-of-americans-say-obamas-endorsement-of ) show that this may cost him some votes–so call it gutsy or not–his stance is definitely an improvement over all the other contenders for the job and over the entire right half of the political spectrum.

    Remember–in electoral politics–it is a zero sum game. In this upcoming election, if Obama loses–you don’t get an even more progressive situation–you get Mitt-I-like-to-bully-gay-people-and-laugh-about-it Romney.

    Those are your two options this time. Take your pick for this election and know the consequences of your actions. Not voting is a choice that has an outcome–you can figure it out–do your best this time around and then work to make the next election even more clear about all this. Furthermore–elect a Damn CONGRESS that will write a federal law on this–and then Obama can sign it–rather than have him just give the obvious statement that it’s a state’s thing right now–which it is–because there’s no chance in hell for it to become federal law unless SCOTUS decides to overturn DOMA and/or THEN Congress passes a federal law about it.

    The President does not control this–he is not a dictator. His public support is only important culturally–in the same way that the “it gets better” videos are important culturally. We are fundamentally shifting the terms of our society–such that 15 years ago it was pretty simple for everyone–republicans and democrats to openly discriminate legally against gays with DOMA. Now–not only do you have the top politicians of the Dems supporting same sex marriage–it’s becoming clear that a good chunk of republican voters (who like to call themselves independents now because of how insane the Rep. party has become) support same sex marriage and that the future is ours.

    Work Hard and push your politicians–but have patience while we do this. The Civil Rights movement took 100 years to get blacks the right to vote–and it has not been even 40 years since homosexuality was removed from being legally considered a mental disease. We will win–but it takes time.

  36. 54

    Oops.. I didn’t see Greta’s post above.. I’ll take it elsewhere.. This is your blog, Greta–you make the rules.. (and they are nice ones by my standards..).

    Dr. K

  37. 55

    @joshuakundert, thanks for giving me a new way of looking at this. Maybe I’m wrong in assuming President Obama’s decision to be one of political calculation. Maybe it really made it on the basis of principle and will pay a political price for it, but his moral leadership will be a force for positive change. If I’m right, on the other hand, it means the tide of public opinion has already turned. Either way, a dramatic shift has taken place in the balance between good and evil, and the world is a better place.

    If I’m being honest, I think my cynicism is born of a deep sense of frustration and impatience with the pace of social progress. I grew up in the sixties and took part in the struggle for civil rights. In the 70’s I got involved in promoting feminism, and took up the cause of gay rights in the 80s. At some point t occurred to me that I was fighting the same battle over and over, and I started thinking that society would never run out of ways to marginalize and subjugate people. How many times do we have to go through this before people get it?

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