Barack Obama | Dan Savage | Gay Marriage

Dan Savage: Obama Should Address Marriage Equality In SOTU

In an op-ed piece published in the NY Times, Dan Savage writes that President Obama should choose to not ignore marriage equality during his State of the Union address. An excerpt:

Ds I’m not an idiot: Now that the Republicans hold the House, only wishful thinkers and the deeply delusional expect to see any movement on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legislative agenda this year or next. Nevertheless, President Obama should address gay rights in his State of the Union speech this week, and he should tackle the biggest, most meaningful right of them all: the right to marry.

When he was a candidate for the Illinois State Senate in 1996, Mr. Obama told a gay publication that he supported “legalizing same-sex marriages.” Twelve years later, right about the time he decided to run for president, he came out against marriage equality. But, as the president likes to say, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Where a Gallup poll in 1996 found that just 27 percent of the nation supported equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, a CNN poll last summer found that a majority now supports marriage equality.

The president — perhaps after introducing Daniel Hernandez Jr., the openly gay intern credited with saving Representative Gabrielle Giffords’s life — should declare that the trend is clear: this country increasingly believes that Mr. Hernandez and other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans should have all the same rights and responsibilities as other citizens.

As of today, reports are that Obama will most likely focus on topics such as global competitiveness and jobs in his address scheduled for January 25.

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  1. I'm thinking, he's thinking he's done enough already with DADT (of course he had extremely LITTLE to do with that). So, Dan... Good luck with this.

    Posted by: Ron | Jan 23, 2011 1:07:18 PM

  2. Thank you Dan. I am glad we have you speaking up for our rights.

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Jan 23, 2011 1:07:26 PM

  3. I agree totally and encourage EVERY gay man and women to push Obama to honor his election promises because, unless he supports those who went out of their way to vote for him, he will and should lose those votes when running for a second term. "Oh but we need him, we shouldn't withdraw our votes..." but what good are our votes doing if they don't get us what we deserve? Politicians who court the gay community with big promises should not receive that support again from the gay community. We're powerful and we can put other people in office.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Jan 23, 2011 1:11:12 PM

  4. We're not that powerful, alas.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 23, 2011 1:18:14 PM

  5. Someone's gotta straight up ask for what we deserve. Plus Dan's so f****n sexy :-).

    Posted by: just a guy | Jan 23, 2011 1:20:39 PM

  6. The biggest most meaningful right of them all? Hey, I'm all for marriage equality, and think it's important even though I and many, many many other lgbt people have no intention of ever marrying...don't get me wrong...but dan savage lives life through his desires, interests and circumstances...and isn't always best suited to give an "objective" assessment (whatever that means). Anyway, that'd be workplace antidiscrimination, or ENDA...affects much more of us than marriage equality ever will.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 23, 2011 1:42:35 PM

  7. I'd rather have Mr Obama than Bachmann (don't laugh, seems to think she wants to be President), Palin (God, save us!), Romney (OMG!) or Huckabee (who wants to usher in a new theocracy). I hope, Mr Ehrenstein, we're powerful to keep these people out of the White House.

    Posted by: mad1026 | Jan 23, 2011 1:48:56 PM

  8. And savage isn't alone. Gay rights have been about marriage rights, and that's fine to divert resources toward something that is at best a decade or more away. But workplace discrimination is still a very big problem that impacts the lgbt community with a greater magnitude, and the issue isn't as sexy, so it's got much more of a chance to pass sooner.

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 23, 2011 1:52:55 PM

  9. I actually agree. I think Obama could benefit from a speech about who he envisions we are as Americans. Equal opportunity, treating each other with respect, intense competition with the goal of being the best in all we do, educating ourselves, and building the nation of the future. Getting past petty arguments about gay rights, and gun rights and focusing on the larger picture. It could be very symbolic, and most the nation past the infighting and bring shame to those that would deny benefits to those in committed relationships.

    Posted by: AlphaA | Jan 23, 2011 2:11:29 PM

  10. Don't hold your breath, kids.

    Posted by: Max | Jan 23, 2011 2:16:19 PM

  11. As much as I like and respect Dan Savage, I'm sure Obama will either ignore him or put some rather vague language in the SOTU about equal rights. However, it's not for the reasons you might think. What's going to get Obama another term? It's going to hinge on whether or not the economy improves, meaning JOBS. It's not global warming, marriage equality, the Middle East peace process or any other peripheral 'cause' people ignore right now because times are tough. It's JOBS that will get Obama another term in the White House. And that's where we need him. Who would you rather have? Romney? Palin? Huckapee? Please.

    Posted by: Doc Marten | Jan 23, 2011 2:29:22 PM

  12. PUH-LEEZE! Doc Obambot! That's the "Would you rather be paralyzed or dead" option. You act as if Obama were the only Democrat on the goddamn planet! We have two years to find a different one both , unlike him, capable of the job, and, two, capable of beating any of those Republican Troglodytes.

    Yes, I'll vote for him if he's the candidate again over ANY Repug, but it will be while holding my nose and after having taken some anti vomiting medication.

    Posted by: | Jan 23, 2011 2:50:39 PM

  13. About all we can expect is the "advance the cause of justice and equality for all" line.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 23, 2011 2:52:29 PM

  14. And the mindless, self-centered, utopian Left is heard from.

    I guess most of Dan Savage's friends aren't feeling the effects of 9.4% unemployment.

    Posted by: 24play | Jan 23, 2011 2:54:56 PM

  15. He can send all the proposals he likes to the House. The GOP will reject them all and, in the end, nothing will have been accomplished.
    Sure, he should mention something about how all Americans should be equal both in the workplace and at home, but his top priority should be jobs- and the start of the economy switching to green energy (don't laugh, Roosevelt too did something revolutionary with the TVA, the CCC, NIRA, the Recovery Act, the Wagner Act, and the WPA that transformed the labor industry).
    Eventually, oil will run out and we need to be ready. What better way to create jobs than to create an entirely new industry?

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Jan 23, 2011 3:09:03 PM

  16. I have no problem with Dan Savage asking but that is not something that the President should do.

    And I actually disagree with David Ehrenstein; LGBT's ARE that powerful as a voting bloc to affect a national presidential election. The problem is that the overwhelming majority of us are LGBT and "something else" and the "something else" (the usual suspects, I mean, race, class, sex, religion) prevents us from ever being a unified voting bloc.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jan 23, 2011 3:27:34 PM

  17. 24Play, it's not a zero-sum game. We can get jobs *and* marriage equality. Well, if we had an administration that had a clue...

    Posted by: Max | Jan 23, 2011 3:53:27 PM

  18. I'd rather hear about ENDA. America is not ready for marriage. Certain states, yes, but certainly not the nation in its entirety. We could probably get Americans on board with housing and employment equality.

    Posted by: IndyTown | Jan 23, 2011 4:23:44 PM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 23, 2011 4:26:43 PM

  20. JOBS JOBS JOBS...sorry folks but marriage equality is not at the top of every LGBT's agenda. The economy is what will determine whether Obama is reelected or not. Personally, ENDA is a lot more important that marriage equality which I see is advancing in the states.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Jan 23, 2011 4:28:08 PM

  21. Hillary '12 (Obama 0)

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jan 23, 2011 4:29:53 PM


    I genuinely sympathize with your desire for a more forthright democrat. In June of '09, Howard Dean (on the Rachel Maddow show) called the DOJ brief defending DOMA "offensive and a mistake. In May of '10 he gave a heartfelt call for DADT repeal at an event where 6 people chained to the White House fence were arrested. (Hillary said not a word, although you could defend her silence by noting that she's part of the Obama administration.)

    But even Dean says that Obama is the only chance to keep the Repugs out in '12. Throughout U.S. history, a strong primary challenge to a sitting president is equivalent to handing the White House to the opposition.

    Posted by: Phil | Jan 23, 2011 5:34:17 PM

  23. OMG, stop with the blog blasts. No one wants to read your blog. And yes, let's champion another Democratic candidate other than the sitting president, because that's always worked out so well in the past. Thankfully, the disconnect/disparity between the negative nellies that post here and the actual LGBT community is grand and stark. It makes reading this site a saner experience because I know the Obama haters on this site a fringe group and not a representation of the majority of LGBT.

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Jan 23, 2011 5:39:46 PM

  24. @Phil: Imho, it's not because of the challenge itself, but because of the spending necessitated during the primary season (and the resulting disadvantage in war chests come the general election).

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Jan 23, 2011 6:02:49 PM

  25. are you kidding? Obama is using the SOTU to give away the farm, ie dismantle social security (becuase it will make us more competitive(tm)-the official new buzzword of Obamanation). The repubs are about to have their biggest wet dream come true, something that not even George W Bush could get away with. Michael, we don't need ANOTHER democrat to challenge Obama because he isn't close to even being one himself. We just need A Democrat. Gay marriage? Dan put down the bong.

    Posted by: gaylib | Jan 23, 2011 6:07:22 PM

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