NYT Makes Note of Obama’s Missed Opportunity on Marriage Equality

The NYT tells Obama to get with the program on marriage equality:

ObamaIn the 2008 campaign, when Mr. Obama said he supported civil unions and believed marriage should be between men and women, he may have wanted to appeal to slightly more conservative voters who were wary of him.

After he took office, it became evident that Republicans intended to portray him as a radical, out-of-touch leftist no matter what he did. Supporting same-sex marriage at this point is hardly going to change that drumbeat, and any voter for whom that is a make-or-break issue will probably not be an Obama supporter anyway.

Firm support for gay marriage is, on the other hand, likely to help him among his cheerless base. Mr. Obama opposes the Defense of Marriage Act and is presiding over the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He signed the United Nations declaration on gay rights, and allowed the Census to count same-sex relationships. But he has been absent from the biggest and most difficult drive of all.

Obama Delivers 'PAinfully Diplomatic' Speech, Gets Marriage Heckling at NY Fundraiser [tr]


  1. Chadd says

    While I am super happy for the citizens of NY that they can now enjoy Marriage Equality, this highlights the very reason why this should absolutely NOT be “left up to the states”. I live in Georgia and this state will NEVER willingly approve marriage equality. I am an American just like a NYer. Why should I have different rights just because of the state that I live in? Why should any LGBT person in the South, or Utah or the big, flat middle be treated differently in THE SAME COUNTRY as our New England brothers and sisters?

    Some states will never approve Marriage Equality through any method and just like Women’s Voting rights and Interracial Marriage, those states must be forced to treat their citizens equally and this will only happen at the Federal Level.

    Sorry Mr Obama. Love ya, but you are DEAD WRONG on this.

  2. me says

    Obviously Obama is wrong on this — even he probably knows that. We need to do what we can to keep a Democrat vs a Republican in the White House. Romney is not going to be for Gay Marriage.

  3. Alex says

    “in the end we remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends” MLK JR

  4. Winston Smith says

    Hmmm… We know what his public stance is, we can assume what it is privately, and we know why that might be the case. That is an old debate and not news at all. It would be very important if he came out in full support of marriage equality. I am not arguing that but I have to ask, who really wants to experience the resulting newscycle if he did? That in itself is not a reason not to come out publically in favor. I’m just wondering if anyone else has given that any thought. To add to that, as important as equal rights are, the President (regardless of political party) has other more pressing concerns to deal with at any given time. Obama has repeatedly made his statement on this issue; I would rather not see him continuously hammered on it from the Left. I’m aware of all the debates, again I am just curious about the newscycle question. I imagine it would be extremely nasty and horrible, not that the “conversation” isn’t worth having if that’s the case, but I don’t know if I can stomach it.

  5. Derrick from Philly says

    Oh, great. The New York Times is exactly where a politician goes to when he needs to know how to win North Carolina, Ohio & Florida.

  6. StillMarriedinCA says

    @Winston–If you don’t want to fight for your rights because you can’t “stomach” the news cycle–then get out of the way.

  7. StillMarriedinCA says

    @Derrick–READ the article. The point is, he is not going to lose any votes that he hasn’t already lost by coming out in favor of marriage equality. And he would certainly gain enthusiasm, money, and probably more votes if he did the right thing. Why on earth would any LGBT citizen argue in favor of his disgusting equivocating on this issue?? As I said to Winston–get out of the way.

  8. Jackson says

    It’s easy to get swept up in the euphoria of NY gay marriage bill but someone needs to remind The New York Times that Presidential elections are not won in New York but in the heartland. National polling is useless because they under-sample religious voters. Prop 8 was passed in California despite polls showing the opposition leading by 15 to 20 points.

    Our focus needs to be at the federal level:DOMA. By refusing to defend DOMA, I think Obama is making a better tactical decision rather than by waging a cultural war…….which Democrats always lose.

  9. Jerry says

    Youre right @WINSTON, lets just let the right continue to determine his moves and we on the left will just stay out of his way while he continues to pander to conservatives in a vain attempt to please one of them. It is NOT going to happen, brother so get over it. And if watching news stories about gay marriage bothers you too much to “stomach” it, then maybe you should cancel your newspaper and your cable because its going to continue to be a big story until it is status quo everywhere.

  10. Winston Smith says

    @StillMarriedInCA – That’s not exactly the response I was looking for but I appreciate the sentiment. Maybe I am not able to express what my concern is. I firmly believe in fighting for our rights and I would surely, gladly weather the bigotted attacks; It’s not like we don’t have to do that every single day as it is. If Obama came out in support this afternoon, it would be an incredible cause for celebration, historical, and show true leadership. Overall, it would be amazingly positive. Please, don’t get me wrong. My concern is that the resulting backlash from the bigots would do much more harm in the short term (they have no chance in the long term).

    I guess I spent a good part of the weekend thinking about how great what happened in New York is and about our legal protections in general but how it really doesn’t protect us from all the hate. Maybe I’m not very optimistic. I like the feeling of validation that I’m less of a second class citizen now in a few states but I can’t escape the vitriol. I don’t know. Someone posted that MLK quote above and it’s fine but I think it’s kind of hollow as well. It’s not a question of remembering the silence over the hate. Aren’t they both worthy of scorn/study?

    Again, I appreciate your comment. I just would like to have a different conversation beyond the “will he or won’t he” one.

  11. Robert says

    It certainly is a missed opportunity. I don’t think he’s aware that there’s a new generation of young voters out there. Some will be voting for the first time in 2014. Many of them support us by a large majority. The democrats aren’t good at getting their message out even when they had control of both houses. They gave it away in 2010. If Obama had come out in favor of marriage equality, it would galvanize his progressive base and get younger voters to support him. He won’t do it though because he believes in bipartisanship first and foremost and refuses to draw a line in the sand. He has absolutely NO confrontational skills and that’s what you need in a president. Governor Cuomo of NY could run circles around him with his eyes closed.

  12. Winston Smith says

    @ Jerry – Thanks. As I responded to StillMarried, I get all that and I am sorry if I came off the wrong way. I tried to cover that in the “I know all the debates” part. I just want to see someone, ANYONE, discuss what the consequences could be, the positive and the negative.

    I think we’re on the same page. The bigots can just totally f*ck off.

  13. me says

    @Robert, young people by and large don’t vote. it’s been proven over and over in every election.

  14. Vince says

    On Thursday, Barack Obama waltzed into New York, dropped a few platitudes and walked off with $4 million of the gay community’s money.

    On Friday, Andrew Cuomo fulfilled a campaign pledge less than a year into office by threatening, cajoling, horse-trading and in general, working his ass off to get marriage equality bill passed.

    Now tell me who the “fierce advocate” for the gay community is. It sure as hell ain’t the “evolving” guy in the White House!

  15. Derrick from Philly says


    I READ the article–it’s as short-sighted as some in the Left wing of the Democratic Party are.

    The President isn’t stupid enough to think he can win the votes of right-wing conservatives or religious right-wingers. What he doesn’t want the religious right to do is to get organized and energized against him next year. It worked for him in 2008. No matter how bad the economy was at that time if the religious right had really gone after him there were certain states he would not have won in ’08.

    Why do you think he has these stupid prayer breakfasts with preachers that he and Michele probably detest in private?

    I want a re-elected President Obama to decide the next few Supreme Court appointments one of which might be to replace a conservative.

    Idealism is nice, but that AINT what wins the White House…not for Democrats anyway. Just ask Bill Clinton.

  16. Gregv says

    “…young people by and large don’t vote.”

    That’s true. But some of the young people who didn’t vote last time are now a new crop of more gay-friendly middle-aged people who might vote. And some of the middle aged people who might or might not have had time to vote last time are now a new crop of less-homophobic retired people who WILL vote. And millions of homophobic voters have died off since the last election.

  17. StillMarriedinCA says

    @Derrick–you know what loses elections? Disappointing and pissing off the people who were inspired by you when you SAID you were a “Fierce Advocate” and an agent of “Change”. The ones who just won’t work so hard for you or will sit at home because they won’t vote for a Republican but they don’t want to reward you for being a politically driven snake, either. See the results of the mid-term election for an example.
    All the people who have defended Obama by saying “he’s doing all he can under the circumstances” or “he has a master plan that hasn’t been revealed” have been shown by Governor Cuomo what a real leader looks like. Obama is now to the right of Republican Senators in New York. He looks like a fool.

  18. Andalusian Dog says

    @ME: I don’t know if I agree with your analysis. Romney has flip-flopped on gay rights, and there’s nothing to say that he won’t flop again, back to his original position of support. Ultimately, things may become too politically (and financially – he is a businessman after all) convenient for him, if he were president, to NOT support marriage equality. Remember: the president who has done the most for those infected with HIV/AIDS around the world was GWB, God help us all. Would any of us have predicted that in 1999?

    You are right: we need to keep this Democratic President in office in 2012. We don’t want a Romney, for example, to have that job for many, many reasons. But I wouldn’t base that decision entirely on the marriage equality thing.

  19. Wayne says

    Why is the term “gay marriage” still being thrown around? This is about MARRIAGE EQUALITY! Not Gay Marriage! I had lunch today, but I didn’t eat a gay lunch. I parked my car but I didn’t gay park it. C’mon!

  20. Matt says

    Whether or not gay marriage should be something that each state votes on depends on whether you think being gay is a choice.

    Those who think being gay is a choice (like gambling or abortion), would feel that it is perfectly fine for each state to vote on the issue.

    Those who think that being gay is biological (like being born black or handicapped), would feel that this is not something that should be voted on by each state.

    Although he claims he is evolving in his views, it is clear that Obama still feels that being gay is a choice, hence his position is that each state should decide.

    The problem is somewhat exacerbated by bisexuality and theories of fluid sexuality. The scientific community has also not been able to come out and make any definitive and conclusive statements on the nature of sexuality, which doesn’t help much. Perhaps in the future we will be able to determine more about human sexuality.

    Until then, people will justify making gay marriages a state matter by saying that it is a choice.

  21. says

    Obama will only approve gay marriage if he gets re-elected.

    I agree, however @Winston Smith has a point. No matter how we here want to spin it, it will be political suicide if he were to ‘evolve’ before he is reelected.

    ‘Idealism is nice, but that AINT what wins the White House…not for Democrats anyway. Just ask Bill Clinton.’ (Derrick from Philly) ditto.

  22. Jim says

    I usually am in support of President Obama, but he is really missing the boat on this one. I agree with a comment above: he will only come out in full support of marriage equality when/if he is re-elected. If re-elected, he won’t really have anything to lose, and the flood gates will open up! Sad that politics have to get in the way. Lincoln, a white President fought to end slavery when it wasn’t popular (and it eventually got him assassinated) if only a Black President could support same-sex marriage. Hopefully, it won’t end in Civil War or in an assassination. Please support us NOW President Obama!