Barack Obama finally endorses gay marriage
Just days after Vice President Joe Biden endorsed the idea of gay marriage, President Barack Obama offered support for the idea as well, noting that his position had been evolving over the years:
President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president.
In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this decision, based on conversations with his staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and his wife and daughters.
“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,” Obama told Roberts in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.
While I agree with Obama, I have to ask, what took so long? As Jeremy Kolassa noted yesterday, this is a position that Gov. Gary Johnson has held for quite some time. Not only that, as Daniel Allott writes at the American Spectator, several prominent Republicans — including Dick Cheney, Ann Coulter, Grover Norquist, among others — have expressed their support for gay rights. Of course, the GOP as a whole is lagging on the issue, and it’s presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, has expressed support for the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Today, President Obama signaled his support for marriage equality in an interview with ABC News. In response, Christopher R. Barron, Chief Strategist and Co-Founder of GOProud – a national organization of gay and straight Americans seeking to promote freedom by supporting free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights, issued the following statement:
“It is good to see that after intense political pressure that President Obama has finally come around to the Dick Cheney position on marriage equality. I am sure, however, the President’s newly discovered support for marriage is cold comfort to the gay couples in North Carolina. The President waited until after North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.”
“This is hardly a profile in courage by President Obama. For years now, President Obama has tried his hardest to have it both ways on this issue.
“The real kudos here goes to LGBT activists and their allies who finally forced the President into yielding on this issue.”
Many no doubt believe that there are more important issues on the table during this year’s election, including the economy — which is easily the most pressing. But as I wrote yesterday, this is a basic issue of individual liberty. Not to mention that from a political perspective, Republicans are essentially saying, as Neal Boortz pointed out recently on his radio show, that preventing gays from getting married is more important to them than keeping Obama from being re-elected.
Republicans, at all levels of government, would do themselves wonders if they would just stop talking about social issues and stay focused on jobs and the economy. That’s how they win elections, not on short-term wedge issues.