Barack Obama | Gay Marriage | News | North Carolina

Obama Silent on 'Amendment One' in North Carolina Speech

Despite the fact that it is "causing a huge commotion" in North Carolina, President Obama chose not to mention Amendment One in his speech at the University of North Carolina today, notes Andrew Rosenthal at the NYT:

ObamancThe president has made some effort to end officially sanctioned discrimination against gay couples, one of the last remaining formal barriers to true equal rights. His administration has stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex unions.

Yet he still refuses to come out in support of marriage equality, claiming that his position is “evolving.” His silence on Amendment One this afternoon, and on gay marriage throughout his presidency, may keep his campaign managers happy, but hardly reflects the “yes we can” attitude that got him elected.

The closest Obama has come to speaking out against the measure, which would constitutionally prohibit same-sex marriage, as well as civil unions and domestic partnerships in the state, was a statement in March delivered by a campaign spokesman, "that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples."

No doubt that a statement, today, with the measure up for a vote on May 8, could have added to the momentum of those opposing it, who are seeing some gains in that area.

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  1. I am so pissed off I can't even form a competent sentence right now. I have spent the last six months working my ass off to get the word out about this horrible amendment and he sits on his hands yet again. With a couple of words he could do more in ten seconds than I could in a year. Coward.

    And I find it amusing that an ad to "Win Dinner with Barack" pops up just under the article. He would NOT want to have dinner with me right now. This North Carolinian would rip him a new one in short order.

    Posted by: Bryant | Apr 24, 2012 7:30:45 PM

  2. He was at UNC speaking to students about education costs and student loans. I don't think that would be the best venue to bring it up politically. North Carolina is an important swing state.

    The president's re-election is more crucial to gay rights than him speaking out today on amendment one.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Apr 24, 2012 7:48:33 PM

  3. I do remember him being against it about a month ago.

    Posted by: Misty | Apr 24, 2012 7:56:08 PM

  4. The most important thing right now is to get Obama re-elented. If that means not mentioning Amendment One in a North Carolina speech, so be it. The democrats should avoid pushing Obama too far left on wedge issues. Remember all our liberal democratic presidents like : Humphrey, McGovern, Dukakis and Kerry? Didn't they move the liberal agenda forward when they were president? I actually voted for all of them, but the majority of Americans thought they were to far left. Don't push Obama too far left or you will get Romney and many many lean years ahead.

    Posted by: jack | Apr 24, 2012 7:56:33 PM

  5. The POTUS has already come out against Amendment 1.

    He was speaking to students today... who are clearly antigay duh.

    Posted by: JigsawFalling | Apr 24, 2012 8:01:10 PM

  6. Brian - everything is a political issue, and nothing is spoken to the congregation at hand, if not for a few snippets. It's an address to the media as all president junkets happen to be - don't be naive!

    Posted by: KJ | Apr 24, 2012 8:04:44 PM

  7. CONFIRMED: Bill Ayers, unrepentant terrorist DID write the Barack Obama Autobiography. Why did The President always tell us that Bill Ayers was "just a passing friend in the neighborhood"? It is now obvious that Barack lied to the American people .......again!

    Posted by: TaterSalad | Apr 24, 2012 8:11:55 PM

  8. @ KJ

    I'm not naive. I just think the President made a political calculation that he needed to stay on message and not wade into a contentious state issue. Especially in a swing state.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Apr 24, 2012 8:28:52 PM

  9. He already came out against it through a spokesman and was beaten up for interfering in a state matter
    IThe Federal Government is told by the constitution to stay out of State business , which is also a main reason he does not come out for marriage equality, other than when federal laws like DOMA and DADT are involved
    YES, I would like to hear him say it, but all it would do is rally republican votes

    Posted by: Bob | Apr 24, 2012 8:48:31 PM

  10. Look, I'm one of the people who've been saying that it's unwise to pressure Obama to endorse gay marriage right before the election but he could have least MENTIONED his opposition to Amendment One. It wouldn't even be politically risky because people from both sides of the political aisle have come out in opposition, even if only because of its broadness and unintended effects.

    So yeah, he should have mentioned it, especially since he's squeezing his gay fundraisers like a rag for reelection funds.

    And the vote on Amendment One is going to have far-reaching effects. I really think we have a chance of winning this one and if we do it will be HUGE. If we lose it it's going to delay things further so especially when he's in front of a group of college students, statistically likely to oppose A One anyway, I don't think asking for a "shout-out" against it is too much to ask OR politically risky.

    Posted by: Caliban | Apr 24, 2012 8:58:09 PM

  11. @ JIGSAWFALLING: Your succinct prose just made me hard.

    Posted by: DAVID | Apr 24, 2012 9:00:43 PM

  12. @TaterSalad - that means nothing because we do not know what the search criteria was. Now put on your tin foil hat and go back to your basement.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Apr 24, 2012 9:37:32 PM

  13. If he'd actually do something for us, Amendment 1 might be able to be defeated. But why am I saying this? He refuses to do anything. He may as well SUPPORT it openly, because doing nothing always means helping the opposition.

    Just another reason not to care about his second term.

    Posted by: Matt | Apr 24, 2012 10:00:27 PM

  14. This guy is the worst phony, and I'm disgusted at all the enablers. Many of us will excuse not coming out directly for gay marriage, but he couldn't even muster words like "troubling" and "disappointing" to the press that he opposes this horrible amendment?

    In particular, we have to realize what a problem we have with African-American voters. Perhaps there comes a time, when they need to understand the consequences for their community's opposition.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Apr 24, 2012 10:21:46 PM

  15. what, pray tell, is the white conservative community doing, LincolnLounger?

    is the party you've been supporting condemning this heinous amendment, or are they in favor of it?

    anyway, i was pondering this anti-Obama is North Carolina? is it even "feasible" that Obama being against it means more people will be for it, as we've seen in the last few years that anything President Obama does gets the ire of many (even those he gives tax breaks to!)?

    still, i'm not sure why people who don't want Obama to win term 2 are UPSET about this. after all, he's already stated, numeous times, that he opposes these amendments. The GOP candidates, however, support them.

    so how can you guys get upset that President Obama didn't specifically speak out against this one when the men you vote for are in outright support of it?

    any honest answer would be appeciated.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 24, 2012 10:31:36 PM

  16. @lincolnlounger
    I may be mistaken, but if DOMA fails, then doesn't No.Carolina have to recognize valid marriages from other states? I am politically naive, but I think the full faith and credit clause would kick in then, wouldn't it? And then this amendment 1 wouldn't matter would it? So getting Obama reelected would be a good way to get at Amendment 1 if it passes? I think DOMA is a bigger prize than this, so if the political calculation is to be weak here, to get at DOMA, I think it is worth it.
    Have I got this all wrong?

    Posted by: NullNaught | Apr 24, 2012 10:36:11 PM

  17. I agree with Caliban on this one. Amendment One is important, and he could have made a succinct statement in opposition to it via his own mouth rather than via a spokesperson with boilerplate language. Obviously, Romney is not going to speak out against it because he supports writing discrimination into the constitution, but one can be an Obama supporter and still feel he can do better--this was a special circumstance (POTUS needs to tread cautiously when meddling in state issues) where he could have made a difference and didn't.

    DOMA is a bigger prize, Nullnaught, and Obama's DOJ is doing good work behind the scenes--the most important pro-gay work he's doing and doing smartly-- but it depends which sections of DOMA are repealed. The easiest step will be for married gay couples to have those marriages recognized federally, but that doesn't automatically mean all states will have to recognize those marriages. This was a missed short- term opportunity, and I'm not convinced that he had any valid reason to be silent today.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 24, 2012 11:15:42 PM

  18. Man, how lucky we are to have a fierce advocate in the white house! One who does totally off the wall stuff like SPEAKING UP on stuff that is important to him, even if its not convenient...

    ... oh wait...

    Hope you're all very happy with your messiah.

    Posted by: Kyle in Madison | Apr 24, 2012 11:31:34 PM

  19. @Kyle: I wasn't looking for a messiah, but I am very happy with President Obama and will proudly cast my vote to reelect him POTUS! You may not realize that when a man is president of a 330 million people republic and those people are of every race, nationality, religion or atheist, gay or straight or somewhere in between, conservative, liberal and moderate or radical you have to walk a tight rope in order to keep the whole thing together. No one group can ever get any where near what their little hearts desire. As a gay white male Navy veteran and retired school teacher, I am satisfied with my piece of the pie.GO OBAMA! YOU'RE THE MAN!!!!

    Posted by: jack | Apr 24, 2012 11:47:19 PM

  20. For the love of all things decent in this world can we please understand that Obama is NOT the gays friend!

    He has not, cannot and will not "evolve" but we will go to the polls and vote for him in al our might because he is "better for us".
    Wake up!

    50% of recent college grads are un or under employed. And they all voted for him in 2008! How's that change working for you?

    He is not on our side! He is not evolving and yet we continue to drink the koolaid. When someone tells you who they are, BELIEVE THEM!

    I just want our community to stop relying on the crumbs of the democratic table. Step up and fight; BOTH PARTIES!!!

    Posted by: RB | Apr 25, 2012 12:01:23 AM

  21. once again, people say things against Obama, yet they seem to the be people who are.....going to vote GOP (again!) and thus vote for a person who SUPPORTS these bans.

    i know gay conservatives need to talk crap about democrats because they can't say a single positive thing about their own chosen party, but this is sorta pathetic.

    haha, yeah. "our messiah" - and the man you voted for supported Prop 8, unlike President Obama.

    it's so funny how conservatives don't care about gay issues when the GOP is involved, and then claim to care when a Democrat is involved.

    what sad lives y'all must have.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 25, 2012 12:06:17 AM

  22. RB : you have one choice in November, Obama and the democrats or Romney and the republicans. CHOOSE! I choose Mr Obama and the democrats. You can vote for the Green Party or the Communist party or any other party that gets on the ballot in your state. BUT THEY WONT WIN! You can also choose not to vote, but that allows us who do vote to make the decision. By the way OBAMA REALLY IS A FRIEND OF THE GAY COMMUNITY. Getting rid of DADT wasn't a crumb.OBAMA IS THE MAN!!!!

    Posted by: jack | Apr 25, 2012 12:11:34 AM

  23. Would I have loved for him to weigh in? You bet your a**. Do I understand politics, even though I hate it? Again, bet the butt. Time and place is a b*tch. Strategy is a necessity. We lose so much if Obama loses. Bet on that, too.

    I have my ideals, for which I fight. At the same time, I'm pragmatic. Don't vote for Obama? Then who gets to control the Supreme court, and our lives, for decades to come? Vote with your mind, not your heart. Do you think McCain's record would have come anywhere close to Obama's? Do you expect Romney's will?

    I'm not settling for some. I want it all. All will take time. It will take longer with Romney.

    Posted by: TJ | Apr 25, 2012 12:31:46 AM

  24. I think I remember Clinton being for gays in the military during the '92 election. I think the Reps were very angry and particularly blamed his charisma when he won in spite of takeing that risk. I think thy wanted to stain him as bad as they could, so they put on a full court press to force DADT and DOMA down his throat; force him to sign. I don't know what they held hostage but I bet they thought that was a way to tarnish him forever. I don't know.
    I hear those calling for gay marriage to be on the Dems platform and thinking of Clinton it scares me. I don't want a backlash from over reaching. Recently I was talking with my heart passionately (meaning out my a$$) about Obama as a homophobe and I was put in my place but good because, and only because, I was dead wrong.
    It is indeed a thin line he walks, trying to do the best he can for us while trying to stay electable. I am now convinced of that. If he must err here, it has to be on the side of caution. See pascal on wagers and stakes; when you have everything to lose you must take the safest bet.

    Posted by: NullNaught | Apr 25, 2012 1:06:04 AM

  25. Just like in California, President Obama refuses to be the "fierce advocate" for GLBT equality. Yet many hear continue to defend him. Hey, even Rihanna is going back to Chris Brown ... that helps explain many here.

    When you are happy with crumbs ... you will continue to get crumbs.

    I voted for this President because I felt he would work hard to do the right thing, especially with the American people on his side. His "evolving" bs is just that. What a coward indeed!

    Posted by: FunMe | Apr 25, 2012 1:24:51 AM

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