Barack Obama | Election 2008 | Gay Marriage | News | Oregon

Barack Obama Criticizes Use of Gay Marriage as a Wedge Issue

Speaking to a crowd in Medford, Oregon last week, Barack Obama criticized the use of gay marriage as a wedge issue that distracts from the more important issues at hand.

Obama_oregon_3Said Obama: "The reason that we have to talk about and deal with these divisions is because we get distracted every political season and election cycle by these divisions. And then we end up ignoring these big problems. Think about what these last few election cycles have been about. We argue about immigration, but we don't try to solve the immigration problem. It's an argument that is all about people's passions instead of trying to figure it out. We argue about gay marriage. In the meantime the planet is...potentially being destroyed. We've got a war that is bankrupting us. And we're going to argue about gay marriage? (applause) I mean, that...doesn't make any sense."

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I still love him, and I think that it's a little bit silly to complain that he's doing the standard liberal thing when Democrats are known wimp-ass liberals. What did you think, he was from the Peace And Freedom Party? I'll agree that he's throwing pretty words out in this particular speech to make people happy, but I don't think that matters, what matters is what he says and does when he's confronted with real questions about things like war and gay marriage, and real opportunities to do things. Every politician is going to spend some time stringing words together in a happy fluffy way to sound good; it can't ALL be "and then I'll vote this way! and then I'll sponsor this bill! and i think we should do these things!"

    Posted by: oakling | Mar 24, 2008 5:38:16 PM


  2. Obama you are being narrow minded yes there is a war going on but you have to be able to deal with domestic issues at hand also. How would Obama feel if he cannot have the one that is true love. Govt control of personal happiness.

    Posted by: duane | Mar 24, 2008 5:47:49 PM


  3. I came here to voice my concern with Obama's statement but JOE has already said exactly what I was thinking, and he said it very well.

    I think I understand the point that Obama was trying to make but I have a real problem with the way he said it and I have a real concern that he may have actually meant what he said the way he said it. It's troubling to me that he seemed to give more weight to treating non-American citizens in the United States illegally fairly than to treating American citizens fairly.

    I hope someone will explain to Mr. Obama how his word gave the impression that gay marriage is not an important issue. For some of us it is a VERY important issue. I'm sure he would also consider it to be very important if it were his marriage, and its accompanying rights, benefits and resposibilities that were being threatened.

    Though the issue of gay marriage is being USED as a wedge issue the issue of gay marriage itself is not a wedge issue. It is a important issue of basic fairness and equality that American citizens are being denied and it's an issue that needs to be talked about and dealt with.

    I feel pretty certain that I'm reading too much into what Obama said or meant but I still believe that he should be made aware of how his words could be interpreted.

    Posted by: Zeke | Mar 24, 2008 5:58:43 PM


  4. Come on! Are some of you really saying that Obama doesn't get the bigger picture? He is only saying that we have some major issues to correct in this country. It is not taking away from the validity that we should all be equal, but let's be real for a second. As a gay American--I have to be honest enough with myself that the war, global warming and the recession are bigger than me. How self-centered are we as a group that we want it all or nothing? There is nothing wrong with our feelings and anger, but we need to understand there is more at play than our needs and wants.

    This is the first time in my life I have ever seen a politician explain, discuss and be open to questions about gay marriage. He says time and time again that he supports it, yet other politicians continue to dodge the question.

    Our country is completely founded on the principal of "all men are created equal", yet black men and women are still fighting for that right. Now, we have many of the similiar battles to be accepted yet we want it yesterday? Live your life, be out to everyone in your life and show people that we want nothing different or special from them. This will only change person by person, not be any politicians in our lifetime.

    I have a lot of respect for someone in politics that explains the entire story rather than putting a political spin on every single topic. Let's top shooting holes in every single little thing that happens with this guy. Some of you aren't going to be happy until he is in drag and walking in a Gay Pride Parade. LOL

    Finally, enough with the bull**** jokes and fake story about a blow job in the back of a limo. FYI--YouTube is not a good source for news. The person that posted that on here is an embarrassment to all of us.

    Love to all my brothers and sisters. Peace out!

    Posted by: Dave | Mar 24, 2008 6:15:31 PM


  5. Actually, what all you Democrats are forgetting is that samesex marriage is just one wedge issue.

    Your party stabbed us in the back by gutting ENDA and then tossing what was left of it and the Matthew Sheppard Hate Crimes bill into the garbage can. They stubbornly refused to repeal Billarys DOMA and DADT. They voted for Bush’s gaybashing nominees to the federal bench and as Attorney General.

    Your Party did everything it could to remove our entire agenda from becoming a ‘wedge’ issue in the campaign. For them, it was a relief not to have to take a stand on overriding a veto. No one can reasonably expect a lifetime right-winger like Dixiecrat Hillary Clinton to criticize Frank, Pelosi, Feinstein and Reid while they trash our agenda. After all it was her campaign manager Barney Frank who did much of the trashing. Nor would you expect someone who hops in and out of bed with bigot scum like Mary Mary and Donnie McClurkin to speak up while our agenda was being dumped.

    What we can expect is that if Clinton or Obama wins the Democrats will respect their pledges to us as much as they respected their pledges to end the genocide in Iraq.

    Since they took office in 2006 on a pledge to end the war a further 500,000 Iraqis have been murdered, for a total of 1,000,000, by US and ‘allied’ military activity. Today marks another terrible milestone - over 4,000 GI’s have died to increase the profits of Texaco et al. In addition 29,314 GI’s have been wounded, 13,170 of them seriously. The suicide rate among active duty and returned GI’s is soaring, and the armed forces and the VA are cynically denying adequate treatment to repair the physical and emotional devastation of Iraq/Afghanistan vets.

    The US investment of billions in permanent US military bases and over $750 million dollars in a colonial embassy complex is a clear signal that the war is not going to end soon. It’s delusional to think that McCain, Obama or Clinton will quickly and totally withdraw US troops or support our agenda. They support only one thing – getting elected.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue, RainbowRED | Mar 24, 2008 6:30:26 PM


  6. Just looked up "oxymoron" on Wikipedia. It says "gay republican" :-)

    Posted by: DAVE | Mar 24, 2008 7:24:23 PM


  7. in view of the fact that barrack has repeatedly said that he does NOT support equal marriage rights (something separate might work for him)and that he has chosen to associate himself with known homophobes to either win votes or garner 'street cred', i hear this comment as a trivializing of the discussion of marriage as a "distraction" from the 'important' stuff. those silly gay people ..cue the nervous laugh line. how disheartening to see that so many are still falling for this charlatan's cheesy, empty rhetoric.

    Posted by: el polacko | Mar 24, 2008 7:29:28 PM


  8. That's all well and good Obama, but why don't you try stopping the spread of hate in your congregation instead of turning a blind eye for 20 years in the pews and then only speaking public about it when it becomes public on YouTube. Also, quit telling us what is not important. Just because gay marriage is not important to you - does not mean it's not important to us gays...

    Posted by: Tim | Mar 24, 2008 8:01:38 PM


  9. The one and only upside to squelching the issue of gay marriage is that is gives our community more time to reach out to our geographical communities.

    Homophobia, at a fundamental level, is unfamiliarity with people who are openly gay. Realistically, we need a state legislature to stand up for our right to protect, through the legal institution of marriage, the person we love.

    And that can't happen when there are still so many people out there with misconceptions of what it means to be gay. This is our opportunity to educate and dimming the spotlight on the issue makes it easier to communicate effectively.

    I can't wait to marry the man with whom I want to share the rest of my life, but it's not going to happen tomorrow. So for now, I educate others (even within the gay community) about the numerous important protections that are realistically only available to couples with great wealth or a marriage license.

    Posted by: Dave | Mar 24, 2008 8:35:04 PM


  10. Most of you are completely, fucking retarded. There is no hope for America if you're any representation of it's people. Of course gay marriage is important. Obama knows it, Hilary knows it, BUT!, you're country has been flushed down the shitter by people like Karl Rove. You're sooooo convinced that being able to marry is the most important thing in the world that you can't even see the sad, sad state that your country is in. Marriage will come one day, but dare I say it, you've got WAY more important things to worry about right now. Like a war, which is costing you $720 million each day, like no health care for almost 50 million Americans, like 15.5 million Americans unemployed, like millions of Americans about to lose their homes, like a slipping American dollar and very unstable econonmy. Do I need to go on? But still, all you bitch about is how Obama's poorly chosen words have hurt your feelings. Truly pathetic!

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Mar 24, 2008 9:19:54 PM


  11. "[Obama] says time and time again that he supports [gay marriage]"??????????

    OMG! Has it come to this? Are there actual people alive on this planet with a PC and Internet access who do not understand the difference between "civil unions" which Obama does support and "gay marriage" which he more forcefully than any Democratic candidate this season does NOT support?

    Or has his magical way of making people "hear" what they want to regardless of what he actually says led some to think that he DOES support "gay marriage"?

    Take me now, Jesus! Just take me now!

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Mar 24, 2008 9:38:16 PM


  12. Even though I am a gay man, my support of gay marriage is restrained at best--as is my support of straight marriage.

    However, I do believe same-sex marriage is a serious political issue--at least as serious as immigration.

    Do I consider it as big an issue as the wars in the Middle East? No. As big as the faltering economy and the outrage of inadequate health care in the U.S.? No.

    But I don't think gay marriage should be the butt of a politician's joke, especially when the politician passes himself off as a progressive and a healer of old wounds.

    When Obama says to argue over gay marriage during an election year makes no sense, I do not doubt that his primary target is the Republicans.

    But it's a buckshot remark that hits wide of its mark, And I'm not convinced that the collateral damage (our hurt feelings, as someone put it) was unintended, especially since he shows some care not to offend supporters of immigrants in the same speech.

    It's not the sort of comment that, taken by itself, will lose Obama my vote.

    But I can't really take the guy seriously when he pretends to be our ally. He promises us nothing. Clinton also promises us nothing. Kucinich and Gravel promised us something, but nobody took them seriously--perhaps partly because they dared to take our causes seriously--more seriously than most of us do.

    I don't think I'm being whiny or divisive just because this guy does not knock my socks off. Spare me the LeaveBrittneyAlone moment for Barack. I can't make myself swoon over him, as thrillingly dramatic as that would be.

    He may deserve our vote as a lesser of evils. But he doesn't deserve our fawning, uncritical devotion.

    Posted by: Joe | Mar 24, 2008 10:10:43 PM


  13. I hate when I get on a rant and then realize what I typed after the posting of a comment. So, I meant to say that he "time and time again supports civil unions." Although I have to agree that 'separate but equal' should not be a door prize for the GLBT community, my concern is having all the equal "legal" rights that a man/woman have.

    The word marriage, to me, carries more of a religious meaning and causes everyone to get their panties in bunch. If my partner and I can have all the same tax breaks and legal rights as a straight couple...should I turn that down because it isn't called 'marriage?' Tomato/Tomatoe

    My point was, let's take all the positives that we can get and then keep pushing for more. After all, we have to keep our "Agenda" moving right? Next Agenda meeting is at my place with fresh cookies. LOL

    Posted by: DAVE | Mar 24, 2008 10:11:46 PM


  14. Why are we letting America be distracted by race issues?

    So there are racists -- why are we arguing with them! We have more important things to worry about!

    (Obama wouldn't buy into that, would he?)

    Nor would he set up equal but segregated schools for black children in exchange for some other policy thing.

    This is typical Democratic Party politics -- selling queer folks down the river yet again. Same as it ever was.

    Posted by: Brian Miller | Mar 24, 2008 11:16:24 PM


  15. D.R.H., NO ONE, not ONE SINGLE PERSON HERE, said that gay marriage was THE MOST important issue in America today. NOT ONE!

    So who's REALLY "completely f*cking retarded" and "pathetic" here?

    Posted by: Zeke | Mar 24, 2008 11:18:41 PM


  16. So, Obama is worried about "wedge issues"? He wasn't worried about that when he pulled the race card in South Carolina. I think he is falling apart and his campaign is too. Just a mess....a hot mess! Now, not only is Clinton not electable neither is Obama! With any luck!

    Posted by: RB | Mar 25, 2008 12:18:44 AM


  17. Ok...but what is the alternative if it is Obama Vs. McCain? McCain putting more conservative judges on the Supreme Court? Listen, we might be 10% of the population - but we are all Americans. So let's join in with the straight folk and get some shit done that will benefit all of us! That was his message on race also. Let's get past the divisions in the party and let's get to work. Abortion and Gay Rights on the left and right raise money. We won't get gay marriage and we won't get Roe Vs. Wade overturned. Those are null issues because the left and right ends fight about those and raise $ on those issues. The rest of the issues like war, poverty, the planet effect everyone and if we can get middle America to jump on board and get things good for them, that we all benefit.

    Posted by: kellek | Mar 25, 2008 1:34:10 AM


  18. DERRICK,

    i have never been against obama. because i think that hillary is more qualified, due to her stint in the halls of power -- statewide and nationwide -- including the u.s. senate, does not mean that you need to win me over to obama. have i not said repeatedly that i will support the democratic nominee in the general election? i believe that i have been consistent in that regard, even when there were 9(?), then, seven candidates?

    i have never said anything derisive of obama. i have never diminished his intellect, his looks, his wife. i have never second-guessed his motives, nor presumed to say he had any ulterior ones. i just wish that the hate-hillary-at-all-costs group would have had the same decency and respect.

    there is one lesson we should all take from this: being "pro" someone does not necessarily mean that you are "anti" someone else.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 25, 2008 4:16:25 AM


  19. He's talking about priorities, and while gay marriage is high on my list, I'll admit that things such as ending the war in Iraq - which is really fucking this country over big time - and fixing the economy - which the war has hurt and the nasty profiteering of Corporate Inc. has hurt even more - are far more important to me. I would love to have the right to marry and get all those federal benefits...but I want to be able to get a job, keep a home, and more so that if I were able to marry I could do so under the best/wisest financial circumstances.

    Besides, time is on our side. We 20, 30 and 40 somethings may never see gay marriage...but consider our efforts for the benefit of future LGBT persons in America. If we're only working toward these things for our own benefit...well, then success will elude us.

    Posted by: Ben | Mar 25, 2008 8:18:38 AM


  20. Zeke was that a rhetorical question because you're just making it too easy for me.

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Mar 25, 2008 9:58:32 AM


  21. "...have I not said repeatedly that I will support the Democratic nominee..."

    Yeah, NIC, but I just wanted to hear you say it again. Thanks.

    Michael, next...please.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 25, 2008 1:48:25 PM


  22. Why should Obama think gay marriage is a priority? After all he's legally marriage with rights & protections for his family. It's not his issue. FYI, Hillary Clinton was key in passing Gay Marriage in Massachusetts by having her campaign manager, Terry McAuliffe, quietly calling legislators to sway their votes. Obama did nothing....
    Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose. For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue: www.OUTTAKEonline.com

    Posted by: Charlotte | Mar 25, 2008 5:29:53 PM


  23. Here is homophobia at its clearest.How come no black protests when their civil rights are discussed constatly?.Barack Hussein Obama is homophobic.He's pastor is homophobic.When will gay people wake up and realize that Barack Hussein Obama is the worse enemy we have as of today?.Hillary Rodham Clinton is no "peace dove" to gays but at least I know where she stands and if she can she'll help gays.Gays cannot and should not expect the same from Barack Hussein Obama.His whole life and education has being stooped in homophobia.In Indonesia at the madrass school, the teaching is totally homophobic and then as a black in a white world he had to take a "manly" (homophobic) stand.These are things that are not easily overcomed.He is homophobic from his core.His pro-equality for gays is nothing but a campaign ploy.Remember "Promise her everything, but give her the "shaft" (actually Arpege).

    Posted by: Oscar | Mar 25, 2008 8:12:18 PM


  24. RB, do you REALLY think that McCain is a better choice for president than either of the Democrats?

    I'm not talking about the 2000 "Maverick" version of McCain; I'm talking about the 2008 Far Right ass kissing, George Bush loving McCain.

    If so, please share why you think so.

    Posted by: Zeke | Mar 25, 2008 8:16:27 PM


  25. Zeke, my brother, yes I do! I would almost behave like a dem and cut my nose off to spite my face before I would vote for Clinton or Obama! I always look for the most qualified candidate, something that MOST people here will not do. However, she is a communist and he is another Carter! Neither of which I can support! Sorry, not going to happen. Neither me voting for them nor either of them getting elected.

    Posted by: RB | Mar 25, 2008 9:14:47 PM


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