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.


  1. Bryant says

    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.

  2. Brian in Texas says

    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.

  3. jack says

    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.

  4. KJ says

    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!

  5. TaterSalad says

    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!


  6. Brian in Texas says

    @ 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.

  7. Bob says

    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

  8. Caliban says

    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.

  9. Mike in the Tundra says

    @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.

  10. Matt says

    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.

  11. LincolnLounger says

    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.

  12. says

    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 today…how 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.

  13. NullNaught says

    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?

  14. says

    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.

  15. Kyle in Madison says

    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.

  16. jack says

    @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!!!!

  17. RB says

    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!!!

  18. says

    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.

  19. jack says

    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!!!!

  20. TJ says

    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.

  21. NullNaught says

    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.

  22. FunMe says

    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!

  23. pozgay says

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  24. Mike says

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  25. Malcolm says

    IF I were advising the President, I certainly would not advise him to stick his neck out and fight this Amendment. It is a foregone conclusion that it will pass, just like they have everywhere else. He needs NC to vote for him again, and ticking off voters by taking an unpopular stand on a hot button issue in that state is not the way to do it.

  26. RB says

    Gay marriage is a given; it will happen. Even in the republican party because the nation has now swung in favor of gay rights. Not to mention the entire population under 30 doesn’t give a damn.

    Doesn’t it make you a litte angry that Obama and the dems can dangle any carrot, chuckle to themselves and say behind closed doors, who else are they going to vote for? WE got this!

    That infuriates me! I need a job. I need to be able to support myself and my kids. I need to know that I can invest in my retirement and not lose it! Obama and the dems do not support legislation that helps me with this and their arrogance just makes them say well who else will they vote for? That is the “crumbs” of which I speak! His policies, just like FDR’s, have languished this country in this recession far longer than we should have and he thinks that because I am gay I will vote for him? HELL NO!

    Every college grad, gay or straight, should be running to Romney. Every GenX who has seen their housing values plummet, 40% of their 401k’s gone twice in the last 4 years are unemployed and 20 years from retiremnet better run towards Romney too! In the words of Bill Clinton; it’s the economy stupid!

    Obama doesn’t get that and he is trying to wreck our capitalistic society which by the way has generated more wealth than any government in the history of the world!

    Further, NO president has been a greater race baiter nor social welfair monger than Obama. His entire presidency has been based upon division, wealth envy and hate! He preached against during his campaing but all we hear is division. Oh he doesn’t call it that, he uses the term fair, but we believe him!

    What if EVERY LGBT person refused to vote dem this year, and they knew it, what would that do? What if we all walked? Do you think the repubs would be interested in a voting block like that? I do. Do you think the dems would crap their pants? Hell yeah! I never want to be a stereotype and I refuse to vote like one either! There are bad repubs and there are bad dems. Obama is a bad one! I would much rather fight the devil I know that the one that pretends to be my friend!!!

  27. BobN says

    I’m sorry, but this stinks. I can understand why they would make the political calculation that Obama should bring up Amendment 1, but I cannot understand the political calculation that took him to NC in the first place, knowing that he wouldn’t bring up Amendment 1.

    There are 49 other states with universities…

  28. Jay says

    RB, I’m calling troll on you.

    Your post was the standard issue hackjob every republican trots out. Nobody with a brain believes a word you wrote. Nice try, though.

  29. says

    Thanks for the Republican cheerleading, RB, but for most of us any disappointment in Obama does not translate into support for Romney, one of the most lackluster, weak, and pandering candidates of all time. Even if gay rights were off the table (and there is no question that Obama is far better on them than Romney: DOJ and DOMA #1 reason, but there are many more), many of us would not vote for a Republican because we don’t believe in Republican favor-the-rich screw-the-environment control-women’s-bodies ideals. I know Republicans give you a h**d-on, but such is not the case with most of us. Sorry, dude, you’re on your own with Mr. Mormon Excitement.

  30. RB says

    Troll Jay? I’ve been posting here for about 5 years. I have always been a conservative and have always posted so. Just type RB says and see what comes up. And for the record, I am a full intentioned libertarian!

    Further, are you better off than you were four years ago? Are you? What has he done for you? Seriously, WHY are you a deep rooted dem? I want reasons and I want you to list them without saying “because they are better for us”!

    He is what I called him; a hack! A Jimmy Carter failure! I spent the first 35 years of my life married with kids. 9 years ago I became divorced, accepted who and what I am and came out. I did not however leave every other value in my life along with my brain in that closet!!! I have two fantastic kids, an extrememly supportive ex-wife who happens to be my best friend and the most amazing partner in the world! Things are great for me personally but what about financially? My house is worth nothing. My 401k has taken more hits than Pearl Harbor and Obama has done NOTHING for me! NOTHING!

    So the next time you call troll, bring it! I am not one to back down and I have my facts ready. I certainly hope that you do to!

    I’m waitning……

  31. TJ says

    RB: So, the economy was doing great when Obama took office? Real estate prices hadn’t been tanking since 2005? Foreclosures weren’t set in motion by screwy lending practices long before 2009? And since taking office, the Republicans haven’t been the party of NO to EVERYTHING Obama has tried to do? They havent stated that their number one priority has been to see Obama get kicked out of office? They’ve worked tirelessly to create jobs rather than focus on divisive social issuse and obstruction, and Obama got in their way?

    Really? What planet have I been living on to have missed all of that?

  32. RB says

    TJ, answer my question please. Why are you a dem and don’t say because they are better for us!

    First, the housing market declined in 2007 and the market crashed in 2008. At that point we differ significantly! For the first two years of his presidency Obama had 100% of Washington within his control. Pelosi ruled the House and Reid ruled the Senate and what did they accomplish? NOTHING! Name another president that will serve their entire first term, and hopefully their last, without passing ONE budget? Can you? Doubt it! They focused on health care, which is a gross overstep of the federal government and what else? Yeah we got DADT, I’m thankful for that, and what else? Oh yeah, a bailout of the auto industry so they will NOT go bankrupt. Gueass what; BANKRUPT and the tax payers will NEVER be paid back everything they spent! The banks repaid TARP so why not the auto industry.

    Second, I never voted for W because I did not agree with him. Yes, I voted for Gore and Kerry as a protest as well as Clinton twice. See, I can step outside my conservative box when I think it’s necessary. Do you? Doubt it!

    Bottom line, Obama is a failure and we gays sit at the kids table, hungry for the crumbs of the table and will walk back in there and vote for him again! I stand by my statements and ask again; WHY are you a dem? They like us NO BETTER than the repubs and they equally suck!

    Hanging with liberals made me a conservative. Hanging with conservatives made me a libertarian.


  33. says

    RB: Your vote is ruled by $, and $, we get it. It’s the same tune you’ve always had on TR. $

    I can’t speak for TJ, but my wallet would not be fatter if a Republican were in office (likely the opposite) and financial concerns are not the only thing on my voting agenda. Some of us actually oppose everything Republicans stand for, from coddling the obscenely rich down to the environment and women’s and gay rights. We think they’re bad at everything, as all recent Republican presidents have demonstrated. As the Republican-led House, Tea Party extremists, and 1955-era religious zealots are showing now. Today’s Republican party is a pathetic dinosaur.

    Gay rights progress has been made on Obama’s watch, and in a 2nd term he will support marriage equality as it is the mainstream Democratic position now. Furthermore, his DOJ is already successfully helping to dismantle DOMA. On a state level, I live in a marriage equality state. It happened in my state because of a Democratic majority. No gay rights progress has ever been made on the Republican majority watch, none. Zero.

    No one is stopping you from voting Republican (or particularly cares why you are voting Republican), but the idea that anyone who believes in the principles of the Democratic party would vote for a charisma-free weak anti-gay anti-woman out-of-touch flip-flopping Mormon is certifiably insane. You’re only concerned about money, own it. And I wouldn’t trust Romney or the Karl Rove Republicans on fiscal issues for a second.

  34. says

    I don’t have kids (I have a husband) but many of my gay and lesbian friends do, and we are all very happy to live in a Democratic-majority marriage-equality state where our families are given the same dignity as other families and given the fullest legal and financial protections possible until DOMA is repealed.

    Most of us thank our lucky stars that we live far away from anti-gay-family Republican controlled legislatures, and it’s safe to say that our gay-friendly state will be supporting our Democratic Congressional team and President Obama in Nov. It’s always astonishing to me that anyone with kids would vote for people who believe their families do not legally or morally exist.

    Any more questions.

  35. TJ says

    RB – at least on this issue, ERNIE can speak for me, as he did so, and beautifully. Republicans haven’t, and wouldn’t, help me one bit, because cutting funding for education and social services pretty much screws me out of employment opportunities. And since I live in a college town, everyone has been screwed royally. Local businesses, rental properties – you name it. I’m a Democrat because I care about people besides myself. I’m a Democrat because I believe that as a group, we are more powerful and can do more for each other than we can do on our own. Having bake sales and car washes is a pretty iffy and ineffective way to take care of our needs and those of our neighbors. I believe in doing more for one another because civilization and proximity demands that we care for more than ourselves. I wish Obama has pushed for single payer. Republicans screwed what we could have accomplished.

    I’m not a parent, but I have worked with young people. I have nieces and nephews. For them, I want a better world than was created under Bush. I want a better world than I have mine and f**k you. I want a world where making my buck doesnt scorch the earth for others through irresponsible speculation and other finacial shenanigans. I want a better world environmentally than what I saw in the 70’s, when making the buck created the sort of pollution that destroys people’s futures through illness. I wouldn’t want giving a child something to eat through how I earn my money meaning saddling her or him with chronic disease that takes away quality of life. I want a world not proscribed by religious bigotry and ignorance. None of this, to me, seems possible with either conservatives or libertarians

    Having bought and sold homes in 2005, I can assure you, that is when the downturn started.

  36. RB says

    Well TJ and Ernie, I gues you told me. Yep, I WANT dirty water for my kids to drink, I want them to live in squalor and filth. Yeah there you go, just make a buck, drink dirty water and scorch the earth! Oh, and I have no responsibility to anyone right? I want everyone but me and my family to die since I don’t agree with a single payer system. Throw grandma off the cliff right? I blame public education for this! Poorly educated people fall for everything the dem party say! They believe it and that’s that. Sad! TALKING POINTS TO SCARE THOSE THAT WILL NOT TAKE THE TIME TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES! By the way, NO one wants dirty water!

    Really? Talk about drinking the koolaid and speaking in dem talking points you two are perfect at that! It literally makes me laugh when people like you claim that I want my kids to drink dirty water. I really hope that you don’t really believe that do you?

    Now seriously, to the real issues. I want both of my kids to have the same opportunities that I had. To be born in a trailer in rural TN, educate themselves and have a chance in this world and living a better life than their mother and me! I have been successful and I want them to be too! I do NOT want them to live in a social society where the only thing that is equal is poverty! NO other society in the history of this world has produced a higher quality of living nor wealth! NONE! Socialism does not work! And your comment TJ “education and social services pretty much screws me out of employment” proves that you are ok with socialism!

    Having kids changes your views and your life! Somehow it is more important to do what is best for them and not yourself! I want them to have opportunity; NOT a hand out. See, handouts created this mess we are in. The government has a responsibility to keep you safe and to protect you from others. You want governemt to protect you from yourself!

    I still call BS on your trip down socialism lane and I will say this; I respect your opinions while not agreeing and I love a good debate. I fully realize that I do not have all the answers. Apparently you two do and when presented to facts you commence to name calling. Trust me, I been called worse by better so any day I can take it and name calling in the absence of a leg to stand on is the standard liberal rip and burn.

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