Anderson Cooper | Barack Obama | Cleve Jones | Gay Marriage | News

Anderson Cooper on Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Flip-Flop: VIDEO

Ac_obama

Anderson Cooper talks to pundit Paul Begala and activist Cleve Jones about Obama's 1996 support of same-sex marriage stance and his current opposition to it, as well as his foot-dragging on gay rights promises.

Said Jones: "The momentum is clear. The tide of history is clear. His window of opportunity to stake his claim on the right side of history is diminishing rapidly."

They also discuss the bind Obama is in given his backward position, an approaching vote on marriage equality in New York, and a gay fundraiser there this week.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. THE RIGHT THING TO DO WOULD BE TO DO THE RIGHT THING! SUPPORT FULL EQUALITY PRESIDENT OBAMA. NO MORE EXCUSES, NO MORE FLIP FLOPS, NO MORE BACKTRACKS!!!

    Posted by: Wayne | Jun 22, 2011 9:05:38 AM


  2. Pres. Obama will get my vote in the next election. Wether or not he gets some of my money depends on him coming through on marriage equality.

    Posted by: Rick Bushnell MD | Jun 22, 2011 9:12:01 AM


  3. If Obama cannot support our equality then he doesn't deserve our votes.

    Posted by: Wayne | Jun 22, 2011 9:18:07 AM


  4. no way he's gonna support it before he gets elected again, then i believe he will

    Posted by: Mateus - @TalktoMat | Jun 22, 2011 9:18:26 AM


  5. Nice recap of the issue. I just don't understand the cowardice at this point. If the White House is afraid of the publicity on this (surely they don't think he'd lose any actual votes), then they should be made to realize there's going to be publicity either way. So kudos to Anderson Cooper and every reporter who brings this up. (And if marriage equality is lost by a hair in NY while Obama's position remains unevolved, that's gonna be a black eye for the president in the minds of many.)

    Posted by: Zlick | Jun 22, 2011 9:25:27 AM


  6. @ Mateus - You're exactly right. He wants to get re-elected and we should want him too. The alternative would be a major setback. Remember, he's a politian first.

    Posted by: John | Jun 22, 2011 9:28:43 AM


  7. Obama the wrong man at the right time. I prob will not vote for this boob. He is like a player on the TV "reality" show Survivor. He is lying to so many people about so many different things. We as gay peole backed this putz over Hilary now we are reaping the rewards of an inexperienced man who has never in his like had to run anything.
    He disgusts me.

    Posted by: Kevin Thor | Jun 22, 2011 9:40:13 AM


  8. Obama needs to come out in support of Marriage Equality. I'm trying to figure out who he thinks he will lose by changing his position. Anyone who strongly opposes marriage equality probably won't vote for him anyway, for most independents it is an issue of secondary importance either way, and it would re-energize his base which he needs desperately. I see nothing but positives for him changing his position.

    I would not have said that a year ago. The country has moved rapidly in support of this issue and that momentum appears to be picking up speed. I didn't vote for Obama last time (voted third party) but if he came out in support of marriage equality I definitely would this time. Heck I might even consider campaigning for him because having full equality before the law for all people is that important.

    Obama has several ways to go about this change. He can say that he has read the Perry v Schwarzenegger trial brief and that as a Constitutional law professor he can no longer justify his position from a legal standpoint. That while he still has religious reservations about it that he has come to realize that he was inadvertently forcing his beliefs on others in contradiction to one of America's proudest traditions of freedom of religious expression and freedom. He should say that the arc of history moves toward equality and justice and that this is an issue whose time has come for all Americans across the political spectrum by pointing to all of the Republicans who now support marriage equality. He should invite all Americans to support equal legal rights for all citizens and if they do not agree to please read the legal brief that convinced him of the rightness of his newfound position.

    He should do this before the fundraiser in New York or sometime in July. Preferably he could make a few calls to State Senators in New York on the issue but that can't happen unless he comes out in favor of the issue publicly.

    Posted by: Jason Young | Jun 22, 2011 10:09:22 AM


  9. While recent national polling is showing a slim majority of Americans favoring SSM, this doesn't translate into winning a Presidential election while holding that view.

    The Presidential election is unique due to the electoral college. Most states are winner-take-all.

    So, you can't look at national polls but, instead, you need polling of likely voters in the swing states.

    Where does the public stand on SSM in states such as Ohio and Florida?

    Those are issues the President needs to consider prior to coming-out in favor of marriage equality. You can be certain that if he does, the right-wing nutjobs will turn the 2012 election into a national referendum on gay marriage.

    Posted by: neonzx | Jun 22, 2011 10:16:26 AM


  10. That should have read:

    "But to hold that grudge about Hillary's presidential defeat for years and years, and allowing that bitterness to cause you to vote against your best interest, is silly."

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jun 22, 2011 10:25:56 AM


  11. I don't understand why gay Americans are already giving up on Obama, do you all have only short term memory? Have you forgotten what he has done? even if it's too slow and too little.

    This is like 2010 midterms all over again. Good luck with your next nut job republican president in 2012, let's just imagine what he or she would do.

    I don't care if president Obama supports full marriage equality or not, if I was an American I would still vote for him (considering the alternative)

    p.s. just keep in mind part of the president job is to nominate supreme court judges

    Posted by: E.N. | Jun 22, 2011 10:42:46 AM


  12. Ah, an adult conversation about the President's political dilemma re: marriage equality without resorting to idiotic hyperbole (he's a homophobe!), misplaced Hillary nostalgia (if only, boohoo), or a debate about the morality of homosexuality. Anderson did a good job with this one. And no Tony Perkins types to provide "balance". Was this really CNN?

    This is one reason why NY is so important. If equality passes in NY, it really does put pressure on the President. As Cleve says, his window of opportunity is closing. His 2008 views--while no different than Hillary's and vastly more pro-gay than all Republican contenders aside from Huntsman--seem increasingly antiquated and out-of-step with his base. His God-is-in-the-mix is just flat-out wrong. It's exactly this type of conversation, paired with state and cultural progress, that will speed up the inevitable evolution towards favoring full equality.

    I only hope the people shelling out the big bucks at the fundraisers are paying attention and applying the appropriate heavy pressure (no agreements about equality support, no $$$$), instead of just being giddy that Obama is in the room with his charm and big smile. With moderate Huntsman's entrance into the Republican race, Obama can't coast for ever on vague evolution speak.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 22, 2011 10:57:19 AM


  13. NeonZX has it right - Obama has to and should calculate. Even a politician with all the right positions and end goals would have to. Gains are incremental, especially in today's politics. It's easy to criticize pols for not being idealistic enough and not clearly standing up for what they believe in (or what we hope they believe in) but the reality is we'll make more progress by being strategic. There's no point in putting all our strength behind a candidate who projects our ideal positions if that candidate won't be able to get anything done.

    Our criticisms should incorporate to a large extent whether we think he's making the right political choices and pushing as far as he's able rather than just focusing on whether he's spouting the rhetoric we believe in.

    Posted by: BC | Jun 22, 2011 11:53:22 AM


  14. I really hate this sort of political positioning and gamesmanship and wish Obama would "step up to the plate," but at the same time I realize that it's politically advantageous for him NOT to do so and that in the long term it's better for the LGBT community that he be reelected than "winning" the temporary victory of the President speaking out for gay marriage.

    I believe it would do little to energize his base, but do plenty to fire up the opposition and bring them to the polls. Face it, even though support for marriage equality has passed the 50% mark for the first time, much of that support is "soft." Outside the LGBT community and a smallish band of our straight allies, what many of those "supporters" have decided is they don't care if gays can marry. That's not at ALL the same thing as stating it's important to them, a central issue or core principle.

    Contrast that with the Republican Party and its Religious Right base. For decades those people have been fed a diet of fear about some mythic Gay Agenda, the "Destruction of Marriage," children being taught Sodomy 101 in elementary school, and stories of predatory, rapacious homos. Silly as it all seems to us, those people really believe that stuff and fear is a far better motivator than compassion or justice. Putting marriage equality up-front will bring them out in DROVES.

    Another of Obama's core constituencies is African Americans and while his support for gay marriage might not send them running to the Republican Party, the conservatism within black churches and the community at large might cause many to stay home on election day, which would be disastrous.

    I'm not willing to trade Obama's being reelected for the likely Pyrrhic victory of an official statement of support for marriage equality. You can deride what Obama HAS done for the gay community as "not enough" or "heel dragging," but our community has made great strides in the last 4 years and any Republican who gets on the Presidential ballot will get there at least in part by promising to repeal or undo every one of them. The gay community is in danger of becoming a bunch of spoiled kids pouting over not getting everything they want NOW, then ending up with nothing.

    Posted by: Codswallop | Jun 22, 2011 12:06:06 PM


  15. More then likely marriage is not going to pass in NY, and if that happens and Obama has said nothing in support of passage in NY it's going to look really bad for him. As for his evolution during the 2012 campaign, I just think back to his promises during the 2008 campaign, where he didn't even try to do anything or even bring the issues up after election. In addition to his continuation of the Bush Doctrine, and his clear support on expanded and continous wars, and executive powers I really can't say that he has my vote. How could I possibly believe anything he says?
    I would also add how amazed I am that during the Bush Presidency how many of us, and the Democrats were shouting in the streets about the illegalities of the Bush White House, but have now turned a blind eye to them as Obama continues and expands on them. Do most Democrats/Liberals believe that it was only unlawful because a Republican was doing it, and now that it's a Democrat it's okay? Shouldn't we hold the people that we vote for to a higher standard? Or do we just vote for someone along party lines regardless of what they actually do?
    These are the questions that run through my head when I think about the upcoming elections.

    Posted by: The Iron Orchard | Jun 22, 2011 12:10:54 PM


  16. Barack Obama is my enemy.

    I will never vote for him again.

    The end.

    Posted by: ohplease | Jun 22, 2011 1:11:20 PM


  17. The issue is simple. No politician can win a national election if they support marriage equality.

    Why is that so difficult to understand?

    There are a lot of problems with this country and the alternative is who, Michelle Bachman?

    It's like saying, no, I don't want that vaccine because I'm afraid of shots. Then you get polio.

    While marriage equality is important to all of us, I'm actually more concerned about the economy and I fear the economic plans of the right far more than Obama's wishy washy yet pragmatic approach to the issue. No, it may not be leadership, but with even the left so quick to judge, how can he afford to be brave?

    Posted by: dms | Jun 22, 2011 1:37:21 PM


  18. BTW, I really find it really annoying that Andy Cooper is questioning Obama on this issue. Why doesn't he COME OUT ALREADY?!

    He is not out for the same reason Obama is wishy washy. Courting the middle.

    WIth a new show coming up, it's pragmatic, but to rake Obama over the coals is kinda reprehensible when you are doing it from the closet...

    Posted by: dms | Jun 22, 2011 1:41:14 PM


  19. yeah, like he's evolving up his own hole.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jun 22, 2011 1:48:46 PM


  20. "He's clear that he's evolving !"

    Sweet Jesus, what a heap of two-faced sh*t.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jun 22, 2011 1:50:34 PM


  21. If you're not going to vote for Obama, who in the h*ll are you voting for? Myopic fools, all of you.

    Am I the only one that finds the concept of Anderson Cooper calling ANYONE hypocritical with regard to LGBT issues... well, laughable?

    Posted by: kaccompany | Jun 22, 2011 2:02:08 PM


  22. @neonzx: You hit the nail. Guys like Anderson Cooper living in big cities think that's how the rest of country is. EVERY STATE where same-sex marriage has been on the ballot was defeated! Such a measure will probably be defeated in New York State if it comes up for public vote. Despite what the polling says, people tend to vote their conscience when the curtain closes behind them.

    Ohio, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina are states Obama needs to win and he barely won them( actually lost Missouri) in the last election. His core base --blacks and hispanics--are vehemently anti-gay marriage. In this economy, he doesn't need any other reason to give some of his core supporters to sit at home. I can wait a year but won't risk instant gratification for 8 more years of Romney or Bachman.

    Posted by: vernon | Jun 22, 2011 2:06:20 PM


  23. @kaccompany: No, you're not the only one. The irony is almost too comical.

    Posted by: vernon | Jun 22, 2011 2:43:18 PM


  24. In 2012, The National Popular Vote bill could guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    All the electoral votes from all the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC. The bill would take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes-- enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA ,RI, VT, and WA . The bill has been enacted by DC, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, VT, and WA. These 8 jurisdictions possess 77 electoral votes-- 29% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

    Posted by: toto | Jun 22, 2011 3:57:29 PM


  25. Codswallop, that was one of the most succinctly written arguments I've seen. I agree with you 100%, but I don't feel super great about it.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jun 22, 2011 4:46:25 PM


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