Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

I have to ask the President-elect what gives? This is rather disconcerting and to be frank it reeks of selling out for political gain. I doubt that there is an answer that will satisfy me, other than you were right back in 1996 and wrong now, but many of us in the LGBT community are now rather curious as to how you could go backwards on this issue other than the obvious - that you sold out your principles for political gain as you climbed the ladder of success.

Don't get me wrong, I've never put my gay rights high on my own political agenda. I never expected to even remotely have the chance to marry in my lifetime but now that that opportunity has arisen, I am sure you will understand that I am reluctant to let it go. So Barack, what gives?

From Politico:

A document has emerged suggesting that Obama had taken more public, liberal stands in the past than had been revealed in the digging of reporters and opposition researchers over two years of campaigning, the latest of several pointing to a rightward shift as he moved into national politics.

In a 1996 questionnaire filled out for a Chicago gay and lesbian newspaper, then called Outlines, Obama came out clearly in favor of same-sex marriage, which he has opposed on the public record throughout his short career in national politics.

"I favor legalizing same-sex marriages,and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages," Obama wrote in the typed, signed, statement.

There was no use of "civil unions," and "no compromise whatsoever," the Windy City Times story today notes.

On another questionnaire the same year, Obama said he would support a resolution in support of same-sex marriage.

The editor of the Windy City Times, a successor of Outlines, Tracy Baim, said she hadn't deliberately held onto the news until after Obama's election. Baim, who had been the editor of Outlines at the time, said that just before the election, she ran across the old Outline story saying Obama backed same-sex marriage, but only dug his forgotten questionaire out of an old box this week, having assumed that she'd lost it.

Obama now says he opposes same-sex marriage, though he backs giving gays and lesbians a parallel package of marriage-like rights, and opposes a federal ban on same-sex marriage.

What gives Barack? And how can we get you to change your mind again? You realize that on election night, the Castro here in San Francisco rejoiced at your election. I cried and I was hardly your biggest fan. I can walk down any of the streets in my neighborhood and find Obama signs still in the window. I wonder how many of those will come down once this gets out which it will.

To be honest, I feel really betrayed. I don't just expect better from you, I demand it. Please get it together and honor your principles.

Update [2009-1-13 22:58:43 by Charles Lemos]: Here's how one of the larger gay blogs, Towleroad is reporting the story. I have also spoken to a number of gay friends and the reactions ranged from "nonplussed" to "the bloom is off that rose." It should be interesting to see the reaction in the LGBT community to the story though so far it seems more of a non-story than a story. My point, in case it is missed, is what gives? I'd like to hear the evolution, or devolution in this case, of his thinking.

Tags: Barack Obama, Gay Marriage (all tags)



Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

How embarrassing!  How on earth will he wriggle out of this one?  My best advice is, admit you lied...although I am not sure when you did it, then or now.  As a gay man, I hope you come down on the now side, but I am not holding my breath

by candideinnc 2009-01-13 04:13PM | 0 recs

He changed his mind? I know what a concept!

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2009-01-13 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

This is a perfect example of what one might call the unthinking apologist, as opposed to the thinking apologist.  The idea that sometime since 1996, Obama suddenly realized that his religion says marriage is between a man and a woman and changed his position on the issue, is simply absurd.

But people like this don't care how absurd it is.  You can tell by the dismissive way they raise the argument, like "so what! he changed his mind! talk about something else already!"  Ultimately this is a very unproductive approach.

by Steve M 2009-01-13 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

In fairness, the poster to whom you are responding is nuts. He or she does not represent most Obama supporters. They are maybe 1 in 10 or 1 in 20. A significant number, but all charistmatic politicians attract a certain percentage of nutjobs.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

or maybe he meant the rights that are gained through marriage, he does support civil unins that offer all the same rights after all

by theninjagoddess 2009-01-13 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

No, civil unions are the statement poliicians and people who don't want to deal with the issue throw out as equal. That does not mean they actually are.

I respond to this idea below. They are, in practice and law, turning out not to be equal. No big surprise there. America tried this once before under Jim Crow. The problem with separate but equal as the Warren Ct said is that  is inheritly unequal. There's really no way around that.

if one wants to argue for civil unions, you will have to do so without pretending they are equal. That argument is just to make the person making the argument feel better or to take  a politically expedient position.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 05:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

if the union offers the exact same legal rights as marriage, then it is the same thing.
 as a matter f fact, civil marriage is the same thing as a civil union, but dumb ass fundamentalist can't say shit about it.


by theninjagoddess 2009-01-13 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

They don't, thanks in part to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

by psychodrew 2009-01-13 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

i was under the impression that all that did was stop a marriage in one state from affecting another

by theninjagoddess 2009-01-13 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

It also prevents the federal government from recognizing a gay marriage.  So couples married in Massachusetts and Connecticut won't be recognized as married by the federal government.

by psychodrew 2009-01-13 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

practically speaking even with its repeal - this means all issues between states will  become a legal nightmare for gays. The federal issue can be resolved, and still there will be the issue like I said of a gay couple getting maried in Connecticut, and then one party if they should get divorced trying to use the differentiation of laws to invaldidate the marriage. This has already started to happen in some custody battles.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 06:47PM | 0 recs
except no federal

rights are recognized.... thats over 1000 different things that a civil union misses.

by sepulvedaj3 2009-01-14 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Or

You are talking from propaganda. read my post below. there are mulitiple jusiditional issues and issues invovling the private sector as well as court based legal analysis that makes what you talk about an administrative and legal nightmare. You should not confuse politically motivated statements about civil unions with what they are.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 06:33PM | 0 recs

That's a compliant coming form an avid anti Obama critic, I would have though you had stronger language to use than "Nut"

Nice try coward.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2009-01-13 05:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

its been 10 years, a lot can happen and nothing is too big to change over such an expansive time period (Heck people become right wingers after being a lefty all the time or vis versa, like Arriana huffington, juts an example) . I know my views changed on things as important over 2-3 years, not even 10 years.

So no your attempt at insulting Obama supporters as kool aide drinkers is just your bias, not fact.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2009-01-13 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

Your attempt to suggest I am insulting all Obama supporters (including, presumably, myself) is unfounded.  In fact the majority of them appear to be applying Occam's Razor just fine and acknowledging that now that Obama is a national politician, of course he's moderated some of his stated views.

It's only you who is uninterested in even considering the possibility that one or the other of his stated positions might have been adopted for political reasons.  No, no, he must have just changed his mind about a religious belief, no further thought necessary!

by Steve M 2009-01-13 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Or

"It's only you who is uninterested in even considering the possibility that one or the other of his stated positions might have been adopted for political reasons.  No, no, he must have just changed his mind about a religious belief, no further thought necessary!"

Nope never said that changing his mind was the definite reason, just a possibility because people (including the FP) are already jumping to the other side conclusion and treating it as fact. it can be either case and we don't know at the moment. but 10 years is a LONG time and people can change their mind over things as they grow up, for better or for worse.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2009-01-13 05:45PM | 0 recs
it's called hypocrisy and political expediency -

As quoted on 2008-full.html:

"Beyond a few token acts of bipartisan marketing, Barry's major duty in the Senate was to avoid legislating, so he could pretend Washington-outsider status and nullify attacks on his non-existent policy positions. That's the thing about Obama and his candidacy: He was a blank slate, the pinnacle of vapid public relations--onto which the benighted masses may project their sincerest, yet unfounded, hopes in the wake of the worst administration in history. Couldn't disown Rev. Wright, until he suddenly could, and then marred his first moments as president ahead of time by inviting a pastor whose advice to gays is just to refrain from sex for life. Promised not to run for president, then did; vowed to take public election funds, then didn't; backed telecom immunity, then accepted the nomination at the AT&T sponsored convention; expressed displeasure with Clinton's hawkish foreign policy and vote for war in Iraq, then named her as Secretary of State. And despite all that, he's plenty affable. There's nothing more loathsome than a likable politician."

by suzieg 2009-01-13 05:52PM | 0 recs

Stopped reading at Barry. Go back to your puma site dead ender.

psst, this is better on gay marriage than Clinton has every done,I don't think she has EVER came in favor of it.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2009-01-13 06:04PM | 0 recs
Why don't you read the whole think before

throwing accusations - Hillary is on the list too and at a much higher number!

by suzieg 2009-01-13 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: it's called FUNNY

You HAVE to read the entire thing. It is excellent. It is hysterical. To respond to this list with silly inter-party rage is almost to commit satire on oneselfe.

One cannot compare with the opening of #46:
If Satan were real, and had a severely chapped anus .... athsome2008-full.html

by redwagon 2009-01-13 07:10PM | 0 recs
I know, I absolutely loved it and wanted to


by suzieg 2009-01-13 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

I think he should resign and give the Presidency to Our Girl.

by username 2009-01-13 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

there's not other word for what you just did there but trolling.  yet ironically, you are accusing others of doing the same thing.  the primaries are over, you might want to desist in calling out all criticism of obama, especially in what appears to be a valid issue as a clever way to bring back the primary.

by canadian gal 2009-01-13 06:09PM | 0 recs

There's at least one other word: "laughing."  And I'm accusing Caro and her ilk of being reactionary idiots, not trolls.  A troll is someone who deliberately tries to rile people up; a reactionary idiot is someone who does so incidentally.

If you want to know my actual opinions on gay marriage, see my previous posts (including those in this diary).  I respect you as a sane Clinton supporter, CG, but this place is a moron preserve, and right now the herd needs some thinning.

by username 2009-01-13 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Nope.

who is caro?  and i dont dispute your point about the 'herd' - but your point may go over a bit better if you cease bringing up clinton.

by canadian gal 2009-01-13 07:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Nope.

Caro is Ms. "News and Media Headlines, (date)," the classic cross-post spammer who never quite got over the primaries.  It's hard to make my point without bringing up Clinton, because it's hard to explain these people without mentioning their lingering primary bitterness.  They sometimes write what look like policy complaints, but they're not interested in talking about policy -- their true point is still "our girl was robbed."

by username 2009-01-14 03:58AM | 0 recs

White phosphorus used in war-crimey ways in Gaza?  Signs increasingly point to yes (see also the Times article linked by Greenwald).

by username 2009-01-14 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Um, he was a State senator at the time.  He has clearly said that he believes that gay marriage is a STATE issue.  I think when speaking as a presidential candidate, he was speaking to the idea of federal legislation allowing gay marriage, which he ostensibly opposes.

In other news:  A rather progressive candidate tacking to the center on controversial issues?  I am SHOCKED! and so should you be, too!

by lojasmo 2009-01-13 04:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Well, you could be right, but if you view this clip, it really seems to be in the context of talking about his Illinois Senate tenure that he asserts "I have not said that I was a supporter of gay marriage."

It would be interesting (watching this other clip, in which he sympathetically likens the gay marriage issue to the laws that would have forbidden his own parents from marrying) if the interviewers had asked him (especially since he's a Constitutional scholar) if he thinks the Loving v. Virginia decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court did intervene (and overrule) state marriage laws, suggests that it's tenable for the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule state laws banning same-sex marriage.

by Rob in Vermont 2009-01-13 07:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

The state's rights argument is bs. The reality is that marriage is more than state's rights. it's an issue that will create conflict between differing state laws eventually and internationally as well.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Yes - and not just eventually, it's already happening.

by Rob in Vermont 2009-01-13 08:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Yes, I mentioned that above. I know of one case where one of the members of the couple went to a state where they do not recognize marriaage or civil unions or the relationship of gays at all. She went there to prevent her former partner from exercising parental rights regarding child vistation rights. That's how this will play out. Cases like that.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 08:12PM | 0 recs
Come on.

This is pretty silly.  Obama has never opposed same sex couples being on equal standing as straight couples in terms of legality, and has consistantly danced on the fine edge of opposing gay marriage from a Christian perspective, but being unwilling to fight it or oppose it from a legal perspective.

When Christian Obama and Constitutional Scholar Obama come into conflict, the Constitutional Scholar wins when it comes to legislation.  Obama opposes gay marriage on religious grounds, but that doesn't matter to a president who doesn't believe that his religion should dictate policy.  I know we're all used to a president that does, in fact, equate religion with policy, but Obama isn't that guy.

I doubt that there is an answer that will satisfy me, other than you were right back in 1996 and wrong now, but many of us in the LGBT community are now rather curious as to how you could go backwards on this issue other than the obvious - that you sold out your principles for political gain as you climbed the ladder of success.

I don't see how he's "going backwards" on the issue, for one, and for two, his principles hasn't changed, though his framing of those principles has gotten more nuanced in order to make sure that he doesn't alienate the voters he needs to win the election and try to, you know, save the damned country.

by Dracomicron 2009-01-13 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

Yours is a "separate but equal" argument and it does not fly. The reason "marriage" is important is that word confers thousands of rights universally. It's not enough that I might be able to marry in Massachusetts or Connecticut and yet have that marriage not recognized everywhere else. My marriage rights have to be national. I hope you can understand that.

I have never been a gay activist but I am rapidly becoming one. I want an explanation on how he could go in reverse on this issue. I honestly feel betrayed. Not that I am going to throw the baby out with the bathwater either. I do realize that "saving the country" is more important. But it seems when it comes to trampling rights, it's okay to trample mine because after all I am only gay. What choice do I have but to vote Democratic?

by Charles Lemos 2009-01-13 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

I think a lot of straight progressives come at this issue the same way as you in that it's not something they would have put on their top 10 issues list to begin with, but once it's out there on the national agenda it seems like a basic civil rights issue that ought to be a no-brainer.

The quest for nuance is strong in this comment section.  The sort of person who derides Bill Clinton as a cynical triangulator for some reason feels compelled to identify some deep principle that supposedly underlies Barack Obama's moves to the center.

It's a pretty silly exercise.  When Obama didn't want to be photographed with Gavin Newsom, was there some deep principle involved?  Come on, folks, he's as capable of political expedience as anyone.

by Steve M 2009-01-13 04:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

It's the belief that Obama is not a politician. that he's their friend and someone that they invested a lot of emotions into. Thus any thing said is viewed first and foremost not from logic or arguments but all that projection.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

Which rights are being trampled?  Your current "right" to be married to a man?  I'm pretty sure that "right" does not exist on the federal level.

DOMA needs to be repealed for sure, though.

by lojasmo 2009-01-13 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

Read my post below. And, as for which rights? That's an odd statement to say that because there is a federal ban, this means rights are not being trampled on. By that logic, because there were laws against interracial marriage, the rights of blacks to marry whites were not trampled upon by the existence of the law. Are you sure you want to argue this as a way of looking at equal protection? That has wide ranging impact on the rights for people of color, voting and a number of other issues. Be careful how you play this game of trying to single out gays. The law does not work that way. You create an exception here, and that dance will open the door to attack other groups. Maybe you dont' care. I don't know. but there is a reason why the NAACP Legal Defense fund and other organizations who engage in civil rights battles are with gay groups on this. They get the consequence of allowing the concept of 'separate but equal" to creep after 50 years back into our legal process.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

Oh- and just in case you mention this, my argument is not a slippery slope argument. I am taking into account how precedents work in the law. You set up this loophole over here regarding gays being diffrent, some industrious lawyer figures out how to use it over there. this is the dance of being a lawyer. we use things like you are saying to then argue it should apply to other things.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 05:15PM | 0 recs

"Seperate but equal" is a deplorable policy, because "seperate" is inherently "unequal."

If you go digging in Obama's past discussions on the matter, you'll find that he would be in favor of seperating civil unions entirely from marriage, letting the state mandate legal benefits and responsibilities for unions (between any two people, straight, gay, and otherwise) while letting churches decide who they want to allow the ceremony of marriage to.

The real "seperate" that we should be caring about is the "seperation of church and state."  Why can a priest, minister, or rabbi bestow legal rights and responsibilities on someone?

Obama realizes that abolishing legal marriage in favor of unions for everyone, even if it's really for the best in the long run, is one of those nasty third rails that you can't touch if you want to get elected or re-elected.  Expect him to do something on this issue in his second term, if at all.

You have to realize that there's a lot of nuance in this issue, and that Obama has to be very careful if he doesn't want to get keelhauled by dirty Republican politics in the mid-term and second term elections.

by Dracomicron 2009-01-14 04:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

It is not a separate but equal argument. Marriage is a religious rite. The state has no business even recognizing a religious rite, much less dictating what it is. For anybody.

If you take this approach, the definition of marraige becomes a moot argument. You can't argue about traditional marriage if the government no longer recognizes it. Opponents to gay civil unions at that point will have to resort to arguments about how the legal rights granted by marriage are intended to promote the raising of famalies, and that gays are unfit parents. You are far more likely to win that argument than trying to redefine a thousands of years old institution for your own benefit.

by pneuma 2009-01-14 04:52AM | 0 recs
I agree with you 99.99%

The notion that the state has the power through statute to compel God (whomever that may be) to recognize a spiritual commitment is equally absurd.  The state has no business playing church.

I do, though, have to object to your statement regarding marriage as an institution that's thousands of years old.  That's something of a canard.  It's true that there has been something recognized as "marriage" for thousands of years, but it's been continually redefined over those thousands of years.  It's quite different today, for instance, from the way it's described in the bible.  It no longer includes polygamy or incest, divorce is possible, interfaith marriages are permitted, etc.  

Like I said, I agree with you almost wholeheartedly, but we should be careful not to give institutions a permanence and taken-for-grantedness that they don't deserve.

by sneakers563 2009-01-14 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree with you 99.99%

Fair point. I'll refrain from stating such in the future.

by pneuma 2009-01-14 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

I want to put meat to the bone of the discussion of equality under the law.

Often times, when people make 'separate but equal " statemnts regarding marriage versus civil unions, I imagine that many people do not understand how a legal construction like civil union versus marriage can be seperate but equal.

I am going to assume you don't know these things rather assuming (based on your prior posts) that you are just a bigot or someone willing to toss us under the bus. And if you are the later to things, then the post is for those who actually care.

The key issues with civil unions versus marriage are many fold.

First, there is the multi-jurisdiction issues. Marriage is a construct that brings up international (immigration), federal (rights such as social security benefits to spouses and children, taxes, etc), interstate (between the states such as VA (which recognizes no relationship (civil union or otherwise) and Connecticut (which recognizes marriage), inside a state (some states have civil unions and others have locals that provide some recognition , but not others). These each legally creates a nightmare situation for something that straight couples take for granted.

let me give you a practical example. Say a couple wants to get divorced, and they have children, but one lives in VA and another in CA. That would create a legal nightmare.

I am not even getting into the more problematic issues involving the private sector recognition of civil unions. THe problem there is that to treat marriage the same as civil union would require changing a lot of corporate policies. Many companies may not have a problem with that, but it creates an interia issue. This will affect people's abilites to be on each others healthcare plan and other employee benefits. Whereas some would find it easier to simply say marriage, and that would solve the problem

Of course, and this is the big conceptual problem that no one talks about- the assumption under the law is that when two entities are named differently, the law will assume that difference exists for a reason. The case law and legal ideas invovled in marriage to make civil uniions equal would have to be re determined. Some of this can be addressed , and other parts of it can not, with statutory definitions.

Many people make the assumptions that gay people are wealthy. That's the stereotype , and thus, are able to pay all the costs involved. Yet, this is in actually not true. gays actually on average earn less than their straight counter parts by about 7 percent.

Finally, I am linking you to actual information coming out of New Jersey that covers this issue in detail:

The video testimony is from people who are experiencing real world impacts fromthe differences that are resulting from the laws for gays, and the laws for straights. This is why is really producing the same Jim Crow system that we tried to eliminate decades ago.

Again, given many of your posts, I question whether you care. But you now have the information. There is a lot more out there. I can also reference that.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 05:08PM | 0 recs
Interesting question

Again, given many of your posts, I question whether you care.

If I didn't care, I wouldn't bother to post.  I don't stir up shit for no reason.

by Dracomicron 2009-01-14 04:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

So your argument is that we shouldn't do this the right way (i.e. not force society to redefine marriage to suit you) because it would be hard? Because there will be resistance to change?

That argument gets nowhere with me.

by pneuma 2009-01-14 04:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

I don't have any argumen tto make to someone like you at all. Good luck.

by bruh3 2009-01-14 06:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Come on.

Then you will never be successful. If you can't convince someone like me, then you have no prayer (hur hur) of convincing an evangelical.

You know, not everyone who is against gay marriage is a bigot. Some of us just think there is a better way to achieve equality. If you refuse to engage people who disagree with you, you aren't going to get very far.

by pneuma 2009-01-14 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Christian Gay and Christian Constitutional Scholar Me says be patient.  We've never had a better friend in the White House, but the Christian philosophy tells one to both wait for the right time and realize it when it's not expected.

In all things.


by billcoop4 2009-01-13 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

He's a politician. I did not believe him when he says he is against gay marriage, and I doubt many people who realize he's a politician did.

Here's the reality. We know now that he's capable of being moved on the gay issues in a positive way. This is the best thing that gay activists could hope to know about him.

We know now from the last few weeks that we can influence him if we push for what we want rather than waiting.

Look at his team's response regarding DADT. His team had been making some veiled indication that they may not take up the issue. But now after Warren and the gay comunity push back and that of the DC media insiders, his team reaffirmed their support of DADT

I take my cue from Kos on this, and Ezra Klein. Both say correctly that this means that gays need to fight and push rather than sit back to wait for change. There is nothing wrong with that.

Obama is will, I believe, be a good President for us. Not perfect. But good. We simply have to fight for it.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

I think you're right. I really would love to hear his explanation on it though I don't he'll ever be completely candid on the matter.

I have always said that Obama is a just another politician with attributes and flaws. One of my bigger criticisms was that I thought that his was the politics of expediency. I'll do what I can, not what I should.

But I really would like to know what he actually he himself believes in.

by Charles Lemos 2009-01-13 04:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

I understand. However, I am not so sure this is important to me. I do not need to know why a politician does what he or she does. I know why Obama did this. An explanation is gilding the lily of what all of already knows.

What we need from this is have in the back of our minds- what it means. How it is valuable to gay rights activist.

I want gays start becoming political smart. Knowing this info, makes us smarter for the real battles. Him explaining himself here is not to me the real battle. But that's just my view. Others can certainly differ.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

An explanation is gilding the lily of what all of already knows.

I don't know about that.  It could be that he's moved away from favoring gay marriage because he needs to get elected so he can implement his agenda.  It could also be, though, that he recognizes that the President is the president of all Americans and that he needs to take into account widespread opinions even if he disagrees with them.  Maybe he sees civil unions as a compromise position.

I could see where those two explanations could lead to different outcomes.  It would be nice to know his real motivations.

I'm also not sure that having to guess the 'real' motivations of politicians is conductive to a healthy democracy.

by sneakers563 2009-01-14 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?
The same fundies who believe the Earth is 6000 years old also believe the "sacrament of marriage" is some kind of Sky Father Blessing upon a man and a woman.  Who cares?  Our government sanctions civil "marriage," and gives some rights to "married" couples.  Yes, the terminology is confusing.
I have always said that Obama is a just another politician with attributes and flaws.

Replace "politician" with "human."
But I really would like to know what he actually he himself believes in.

And I don't really care.  He clearly believes that straight and gay couples deserve equal legal rights, and anything beyond that is his business.
by username 2009-01-13 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Great comment.

If anyone is surprised by this stuff they're beyond naive.  The whole "I believe in traditional marriage, but civil unions" position exists for the sake of political expediency.  Does it disappoint me that national democrats are too afraid to just back gay marriage?  Sure.  But, like you said, Obama and others like him can be moved.  That's where our focus should be.  Not on calling Obama a hypocrite on this issue, which is patently obvious.  

by HSTruman 2009-01-13 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

I always thought it was simply remarkable that so many Democratic politicans, who very rarely talk about their religion or answer political questions in terms of it, just happen to have this deep-seated religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

If one person took this position I might buy it.  But when it's the standard-issue response of dozens upon dozens of national Democratic politicians, wouldn't you think people would stop buying the BS?  Gee, and have you noticed that every Democrat from the South just happens to be "personally pro-life."

Missed your comments lately, btw.  I suppose that since it's a new year, I need a new sig line.

by Steve M 2009-01-13 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Harry Truman quotes are always appropriate as far as I'm concerned.  :)

Good analogy to abortion, by the way.  Most politicians are willing to say what they have to say on "social issues" to get elected.  Sadly, most democrats on the national stage are convinced that means they have to oppose gay marriage.  That's going to look amazingly stupid in 10 years, if not sooner, but hopefully we can push them to make soem tangible changes in the mean time.  

by HSTruman 2009-01-14 04:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

I did not believe him when he says he is against gay marriage

That's how I feel, and living in CA, I read a lot of his comments on Prop 8.  I believe that, in his heart, he is probably either for gay marriage or nearly there.  I'm not blind, I wish he had come out saying that in the campaign, but if there is a wider strategy here, more power to him.  If time proves he backed off for political reasons, not so cool.

Although honestly, even if he really did have a "change of heart" in the wrong direction, he's still the most pro-LGBT rights president we'll have ever had.

by auronrenouille 2009-01-13 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

my guess is that its the opposite - the phony statements were in 1996, not 2008. I'll be glad to be wrong.

by gak 2009-01-13 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

That does not make much sense. There was nothing in 1996 that required him to say this, and much that would have required the opposite .

by bruh3 2009-01-13 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

well he has invited Bishop Robinson to take part in the inaugural ceremony, so that is a positive indication.  I also disagree with Charles wrt Obama trampling rights, in fact that is absurd.  Getting rid of DADT is good too, so I am curious as to why obvious political manuvering is so puzzling to some, dennis K's of the country dont get elected.  Obama is smart enough to know that getting into office first is the key before any changes to policy can be achieved.   Let's see what he does first, he appears prepared to make the right decision on equal rights.

by KLRinLA 2009-01-13 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

On the one hand Obama, if he does what he says, will advance gay rights. on the other, the diarist is right. separate but equal with regard to marriage is second class citizenship.

I think the problem is some of you because of your idealogical bent may want to have it both ways. If Obama is for civil unions over gay marraige he is per se denying equality under the law. There is no way around that.

You can argue this is the best we can bet right now. That's an argument of a politician using expediency. That's not an argument over equality.  Expediency does not excuse a denial of rights. It maybe reality, but it does not excuse it. No more than Jim Crow laws were excused because they were expedient at the time they existed.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 05:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

No, I get the legal argument, without gay marriage recognized by the state, there is a violation of equal rights.  I am for gay marriage for legal and moral reasons.  I just think it is clear that posturing is critical in a national election.  But  getting the backing of a national act legitimizing gay marriage will be difficult and would presumably need to come out of Congress.  I would see good strides if it comes out of states first and hopefully builds momentum into national acceptance.    

by KLRinLA 2009-01-13 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

The solution actually will almost certainly come from the US S Ct. The make up of the COurt makes that impossible right now, but the reality is that as more states have marriages- there is a looming question of what to do with those states who claim they will not recognize those marriages. Once DOMA is repealed, that becomes a full faith and credit clause issue as well as equal protection. I don't see how these bans can be sustained.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 06:38PM | 0 recs
KLR, no need to Burden Bruh3

With facts there, people like him (David and Paul of openleft included) demand total ruby red purity or else!. To hell with facts, politics, long term goals or changing circumstances in their minds. I think they bought into the McCain rhetoric that Obama was in fact a secret socialist or a commie so now that he is going forward with doing exactly what he said he would do (Bipartisan ship, Tax cuts, just few of the examples) they are OURAGED! outraged I tell ya. They have been living in a cave for the last 2 years if they were genuine supporters.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2009-01-13 06:41PM | 0 recs
I agree

He wanted to stand out then prob, not sure though.

He might have as well change his mind over 10 years time.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2009-01-13 05:23PM | 0 recs
How many Republicans

Are crying bitter, bitter tears now, knowing that they missed their best opportunity to use this against Obama?  Probably a few Democrats, too.

I don't really care whether Obama opposes same-sex marriage because he believes it's morally wrong or because he believes it's politically unpopular - either way, he's wrong.  

I suppose it does say something about Obama, although I don't know that it says anything about him that couldn't have been said before.  It is shocking to see such a reversal.  It's a "Mitt Romney" on the flip-flop scale.

I'll be curious to see how Obama handles this.

by Drew 2009-01-13 04:57PM | 0 recs
Re: How many Republicans

Probably a few democrats too

Charles Lemos for one.

by lojasmo 2009-01-13 05:05PM | 0 recs

Its been years, he can change is mind that's fine to me. insulting him doesn't advance your position favorably and it will most likely move him to the other side. Constructive criticism is your best bet here.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2009-01-13 05:22PM | 0 recs
I don't see where I'm insulting him.

If it's by comparing him to Mitt Romney, well, if you believe "he can change his mind," then surely you can't find that comparison insulting.  Mitt's done the same!

by Drew 2009-01-13 07:58PM | 0 recs
What gives?

Aspiring national candidate pivots away from politically dangerous position taken when said candidate was young and probably idealistic?  Is this really that surprising?  For a more recent example, see marijuana decriminalization.

by JJE 2009-01-13 05:27PM | 0 recs
Re: What gives?

yeah the whole clinton thing about "i smoked but i didn't inhale" I had forgot that one.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 05:35PM | 0 recs
Benefit of the Doubt?

How 'bout that he really IS okay with same sex marriage, but in order to get elected, he had to say he was against it.....

I'm guessing many politians have done something similar.

What I'm HAPPY to hear (from your diary) is that his INITIAL (and therefore, I believe truth) is he's OKAY with it...

I always thought that both Obama and Hillary really were OKAY with it, but simply didn't want to get side tracked by the right wing nut jobs on this issue.

I'm gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and see what his ACTIONS are once he's in....the fact that he has an Lesbian (or was it a Gay man) doing another Prayer (to counteract Warren) shows (in my opinion) that he does CARE about the LGBT community....otherwise, why bother?

by nikkid 2009-01-13 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Benefit of the Doubt?

I don't understand why the lizard-brains react so strongly to it. It is not like someone is going to try to have teh gay sex in my kitchen while I am trying to serve dinner or something. But this REALLY MATTERS to the lizard brain. Somehow.

by redwagon 2009-01-13 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Benefit of the Doubt?

They fear God's wrath.

As should we all.

by moscow 2009-01-14 04:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

If you'll let me parse? He personally favors gay marriage and would fight bans against gay marriage (this ties in with what I believe his DOMA stance is) but he did't say he'd fight FOR gay marriage.

Also, have some god damn patience, yes your're hurting, all of us have hurt at times but what's more important, gay marriage or the planet becoming Venus and all (semi)intelligent life in the universe disappearing?

by MNPundit 2009-01-13 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Blech, didn't mean that to sound quite as dramatic as it came out.

The point is marriage is a state issue, and Obama should move to repeal stuff like DOMA, but I'd rather he work on legislation involving climate change and the economy first for 2 reasons.

by MNPundit 2009-01-13 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

I believe it was none other than Barack Obama who pointed out that the President needs to be able to do more than one thing at a time.

Let's not act like he is personally sitting at his desk drafting the climate change legislation.

by Steve M 2009-01-13 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Although I am not a fan of Paul Rosenberg these days, he did write something recently for which I think puts a nail in the coffin of the Obama can't do more than one thing argument:

LBJ's record with only a few years--

Civil rights
  * Civil Rights Act of 1964
  * Voting Rights Act of 1965
  * Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965
  * Civil Rights Act of 1968

War on Poverty
  * Food Stamp Act of 1964
  * Upward Bound
  * Head Start
  * Model Cities Program
  * Economic Opportunity Act of 1964-and the programs it spawned, including:
     > Jobs Corp
> Community Action Program
     > VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America)
> Community Legal Services

Paul Rosenberg :: Lie of the Day: "Presidents Can Only Do A Few Big Things"
  * Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
  * Higher Education Act of 1965
  * Bilingual Education Act of 1968
  * Medicare
  * Medicaid
Arts and Culture
  * National Endowment for the Arts
  * National Endowment for the Humanities
  * Public Broadcasting Act of 1967:
  * Chartered the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which in turn created:
     > PBS
  * John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

  * Created Department of Transportation.
  * Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964
  * National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966
  * Highway Safety Act of 1966

Consumer protection
  * Cigarette Labeling Act of 1965
  * Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966
  * Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1966
  * Child Safety Act of 1966
  * Flammable Fabrics Act of 1967
  * Wholesome Meat Act of 1967
  * Truth-in-Lending Act of 1968
  * Wholesome Poultry Products Act of 1968
  * Land Sales Disclosure Act of 1968
  * Radiation Safety Act of 1968

  * Wilderness Act of 1964,
  * Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966,
  * National Trails System Act of 1968,
  * Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968,
  * Land and Water Conservation Act of 1965,
  * Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965,
  * Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act of 1965,
  * National Historic Preservation Act of 1966,
  * Aircraft Noise Abatement Act of 1968,
  * National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. ryId=10849

I don't think the argument about how many things Obama has on his plate is a real one. He said during the GE when McCain pulled his stunt regarding suspending elections that a President has to be able to do multiple things at once.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

"I don't think the argument about how many things Obama has on his plate is a real one. He said during the GE when McCain pulled his stunt regarding suspending elections that a President has to be able to do multiple things at once."

And he said during his campaign that he is against gay marriage. Oh and tax cuts and business tax cuts too (that he is throwing out for the dems, meh). Same thing different subjects. The fact is he is consistent on what he promised and I am happy about that so far till that changes.

Oh and sure he can deal more things at a time, he is going to be dealing with at least a dozen major problems at home and oversees, he has his multi tasking promise down already.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2009-01-13 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

"I don't think the argument about how many things Obama has on his plate is a real one."

Obama didn't promise gay marriage during the election, so why should he deliver anything?  You could have voted for the other guy.

But, anyway, what exactly do you want him to do?  A constitutional amendment in favor of gay marriage?  A speaking tour of God's country?  What?

by ats0j8 2009-01-13 11:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

You know what I want? For you not to change the subject from what my post . That maybe a start. Trying to create moving target is just another form of lying on you rpart.

by bruh3 2009-01-13 11:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Here's the thing. Obama isn't against gay marriage. His specific stated position is that he is for full legal equality and since the word "marriage" carries such religious weight, it is a much taller mountain to climb than just ensuring equal rights under the law. He understands that the importance of the word "marriage" MAKES it important to the GLBT community and he doesn't oppose efforts to legalize gay marriage, but legalizing gay marriage is not his priority, and he doesn't believe the country, as a whole, is ready for it. By repealing DOMA, he would ensure that those marriages that take place would be legally recognized in the rest of the country. (That's BIG, by the way.)
Naturally, this level of explanation and nuance is lost on the MSM, so his position is simplified as being against gay marriage. And there were times during the campaign where he submitted to this drastic over-simplification of his position.
But he is not now, nor has he ever been against same-sex-marriage. He is for legally-equal-civil-unions and will work for them, but is essentially neutral on gay marriage.
He believes it isn't the right time for that, but hesitates to say that the GLBT community should wait. He drew the comparison to the civil rights movement, when many said that blacks should wait and the rights would come to them eventually. He supports efforts to legalize gay marriage, but he isn't going to fight for it. Obama doesn't think the country is ready, but he is willing, and, in fact, eager, to be wrong.
Put it this way, if there were a bill that came to him legalizing same-sex-marriage, he would sign it in a second.

President-Elect Obama has issued an implicit challenge to those fighting for gay marriage. PROVE HIM WRONG. Prove that America IS ready for gay marriage. Obama is working to move the center of the nation towards progressive ideas. He invited Rick Warren to the inauguration not to pander to anyone, but to draw both him and his followers in to his plan for the country, and also towards more tolerant views of homosexuality. Warren has changed his website to eliminate anti-homosexual entries, he has apologized for comparing homosexuals to pedophiles and sex offenders.
Think about this. Rick Warren said ON-CAMERA that homosexual relationships deserve equal rights under the law. Do you think that this would have happened if Obama hadn't drawn him into the process?
That's fucking HUGE. Evangelicals are the single greatest barrier to equal rights for gay in this country. It's a big deal just to get them to admit that gays aren't evil incarnate. And now, the leader of one of the largest evangelical churches is saying that gay relationships deserve equal rights.
Yeah, and Obama is betraying the GLBT community.

by EvilAsh 2009-01-13 08:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

HUGE mojo to you. What a great comment.

by pneuma 2009-01-14 05:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

There's a few names for people who hold onto their progressive principals with a death grip all the way to the top as they run for President.  Off the top of my head, here's a few:

Ralph Nader
Dennis Kucinich
Cynthia McKinney

I realize that's not comforting, but it is what it is.  Considering that gay marriage was able to be voted down in one of the most liberal states in the country, I sadly don't believe that most of America is there yet on the issue.  We're getting better, and we're closer than we've ever been... but we ain't there yet.

Had Obama maintained those stances through this Presidential Campaign, we'd likely be getting ready to celebrate the Inauguration of the first female president or the oldest president ever right now.

by Obamaphile 2009-01-13 08:44PM | 0 recs
what's the problem?

It's politics.  Gay marriage is nationally not a feasible political platform yet. And what do you want him to do anyway?  Would you rather have Obama stick to principles in his rhetoric and see McCain/Palin elected?

It's best for everybody if Obama focuses on the issues that he can actually make progress on.  If we get don't-ask-don't-tell repealed, that would be a good and achievable step.  Think about what Obama can achieve.

And I'm with EvilAsh, actually: I find the outcome of the Rick Warren issue quite good.  Warren has gained a little popularity, in return for a big shift in his position.

by ats0j8 2009-01-13 11:06PM | 0 recs
Re: what's the problem?

"Would you rather have Obama stick to principles in his rhetoric and see McCain/Palin elected?"

he's already been elected.  He has no fear of that now.

So why isn't he sticking up for you?


Neither do most of us.  You're just a deviant.

by moscow 2009-01-14 04:07AM | 0 recs
Re: what's the problem?

Says the troll.

by pneuma 2009-01-14 05:09AM | 0 recs

I think virtually everyone here agrees Obama was acting like a politician in telling the gays what they wanted to hear then, and the general public what it wanted to hear now.  The unhappy result of this will be a firestorm of criticism from the right fueling the argument that Obama can't be trusted to tell the truth.  That doesn't go down well with the voters.  This is fodder for Limbaugh and his ilk.  They will demand, from their lofty perch as moralists, to know the truth.

The truth is, this is an issue that cannot be dealt with at this time by the federal government because there remains too much division in the minds of the public to arrive at a consensus.  I really am sorry this came out.  There is no way for Obama to save face given this evidence of his past statements, and at this point in his presidency, he needs all the credibility he can muster.

by candideinnc 2009-01-14 04:22AM | 0 recs
As pointed out above

he doesn't really need to save face, he's already been elected. I'm fairly certain the nuances of his 1996 stance on gay marriage won't hamper his foreign policy, or detract from his economic efforts, or his health care programs.

If he gets those three right, a majority of voters will see his Presidency as a success. Bill Clinton is considered a god around here, and he certainly didn't do much good (and probably some harm) to LGBT causes.

by Neef 2009-01-14 04:50AM | 0 recs
Re: fodder

You have not read the otehr comments if you believe your first line to be true.

by bruh3 2009-01-14 06:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?


"I favor legalizing same-sex marriages,and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages," Obama wrote in the typed, signed, statement.


Dear Friends,

Thank you for the opportunity to welcome everyone to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club's Pride Breakfast and to congratulate you on continuing a legacy of success, [...]

As the Democratic nominee for President, I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same sex couples under both state and federal law. That is why I support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, and the passage of laws to protect LGBT Americans from hate crimes and employment discrimination. And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.

I'm sure I'm supposed to see a 180-degree turn here, but I simply don't. At worst, you could say he has dropped the term "marriage" in favor of a legal structure that is equivalent ("fully equal rights and benefits to same sex couples").

In any case, I don't think statements made 13 years ago are really germane now. I am quite sure that I've been inconsistent over that long a time frame. Holding his feet to the fire for primary and election promises makes perfect sense. I don't support anything further.

by Neef 2009-01-14 04:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

He did it for political gain. Like they all do. No mystery there.

by kylesennett 2009-01-14 05:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

In 1996, the rabid right hadn't yet vented their fear and politicized GLBT issues. Few thought 12 years ago that states would legalize gay marriage. While President-elect Obama may be personally in favor of gay marriage, the political reality of today is that it's a wedge issue being used effectively by the GOP. Given CA's Prop 8 and other state ballot measures, it may become a Federal Civil Rights issue, as likely it should. Wait until Obama actually become President and see how he handles the issue, and the other issues facing this nation.

by SuznAZ 2009-01-14 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

The response along this thread by the more zeal support is why I continue to worry about Obama. You could cut and paste the lunacy here, and place it into any Bush rally from after 2001 until 2005. Dangeous way of thinking. or lack of thinking altogether. People just seem to want someone to make them feel better and be in control of their lives.

by bruh3 2009-01-14 06:54AM | 0 recs
People change their minds over time

My positions on a bunch of issues have evolved considerably since 1996.  But nobody's upset about it, because I'm just one inconsequential bozo in the blogosphere.

The questions we should be asking are, how big a change is it, on how central an issue, and how sudden or gradual was the change?  

This is a nontrivial change, but not a huge one, in a second-tier issue, over a 12-year period.  BFD.

If McCain had had a similar change of mind, this wouldn't have made Steve Benen's list of McCain flipflops last year, due to (a) the time horizon, and (b) the fact that it's a change, but hardly a policy reversal - more of a dialing it down a notch or two.

by RT 2009-01-14 07:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

I'm hoping that now that Obama is (going to be) POTUS, he'll "see the light" and re-discover his support for m/m and f/f marriages.

by markinirvine 2009-01-14 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Inquiring Gay Minds Want to Know What Gives?

Add this to his elevation of Rick Warren on Inauguration Day.

I knew I was right all along.

by cuppajoe 2009-01-14 10:04AM | 0 recs


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