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Obama Delivering Barnard Commencement Address Alongside Evan Wolfson; Will Attend NYC LGBT Fundraiser Later

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Obama is delivering Barnard College's commencement address at this hour, NY1 reports:

Fund_obamaArriving in the city late Monday morning, the president is slated to deliver the commencement address before 600 Barnard graduates at 1 p.m.

Obama called Barnard President Debora Spar on February 29 and requested to speak at the commencement. The original scheduled speaker, New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson, agreed to step aside to allow the president to headline the event.

While both Democrats and Republicans have recently debated on the campaign trail a women's right to choose and issues concerning working women, one of the scheduled student speakers at the commencement, Jessica Blank, told NY1 she hoped the president would also address the economy in his speech.

"You can't not talk about jobs. I think it's going to be interesting to see the balance I'm talking about, women's issues and jobs. I think they're both going to be prominently featured in his speech," said Blank. "But I think that coming to Barnard is a little bit different than whatever other colleges the president has spoken at in the past about jobs, because of this issue of women's leadership, and it's such a focus at Barnard, especially during the last four years."

The president is expected to receive a medal of distinction at the commencement.

WolfsonAlso receiving the medal is Freedom to Marry Founder and President Evan Wolfson. The joint honor was planned well before last week's historic announcement from Obama.

Said Wolfson in a statement:

I am deeply moved to join with President Obama to celebrate the next generation of leaders coming up among Barnard women, and to share the Barnard Medal of Distinction with him. I will thank the President for doing what we elect presidents to do - showing moral leadership in standing up for freedom, fairness, and families - and for speaking in such personal terms about the journey he and so many Americans have made to understand who gay familes are and why marriage matters.

Later this afternoon Obama will attend an LGBT fundraiser:

After the commencement, Obama is heading to the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea for a $5,000-a-ticket fundraiser co-hosted by the LGBT Leadership Council and openly gay singer Ricky Martin.


Chris Matthews Talks to Prop 8 Challenger Ted Olson About Obama's Gay Marriage Endorsement: VIDEO

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Attorney Ted Olson, who's leading the federal case challenging Proposition 8, joined Chris Matthews and Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson on Hardball last night to discuss Obama's same-sex marriage endorsement.

Asks Matthews: how long will it take to get the entire country covered by equality?

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Chris Matthews Talks to Prop 8 Challenger Ted Olson About Obama's Gay Marriage Endorsement: VIDEO" »


Chris Hayes Discusses the Biden/Obama Gay Marriage Conundrum with Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson: VIDEO

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Filling in for Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes took on the topic of marriage equality and the President's position, Biden's remarks on Meet the Press, and what it might mean for the President and his voting base for him to come out for marriage equality, in a conversation with Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Chris Hayes Discusses the Biden/Obama Gay Marriage Conundrum with Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson: VIDEO" »


'Evolution' Watch: Obama to Share Stage with Marriage Equality Activist Evan Wolfson

President Obama will be sharing the stage with Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson as they both receive the Barnard Medal of Distinction at the New York City college's commencement Monday, Buzzfeed reports.

WolfsonWill it place added pressure on Obama's marriage equality "evolution"?

Wolfson tells Buzzfeed:

If I got to whisper in the President's ear, I would thank him for the important steps he has already taken in support of the freedom to marry, applaud him for speaking in such personal terms about the journey he and so many Americans have made to understand who gay families are and why marriage matters, and encourage him to complete that journey and join the national majority for Americans. And if we happen to be standing near a hot mike, I expect that would get a unanimous standing ovation from the graduates who, like the overwhelming super-majority of young people now favoring the freedom to marry, want this president with them on the right side of history, with liberty and justice for all.


Nancy Pelosi Supports Freedom to Marry Plank in 2012 Dem Platform

Yesterday I mentioned a push by Freedom to Marry to include a marriage equality plank in the 2012 Democratic Party platform, using the following language:

Sayido"We support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples."

PelosiHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is on board, Metro Weekly reports:

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tells Metro Weekly, "Leader Pelosi supports this language."

Said Freedom to Marry founder and President Evan Wolfson:

"Freedom to Marry is proud to have Leader Pelosi joining our call to put the Democratic Party squarely on record in support of the freedom to marry as part of the national platform.  A strong majority of Democrats and Independents support the freedom to marry, and standing up for all families is not just the right thing to do morally, it's also right to do politically.  I hope more people will quickly join Leader Pelosi by signing Freedom to Marry's Democrats: Say I Do petition so together we can get the party, and the country, where the majority of Americans already are."

The 'Say I Do' petition campaign can be found HERE.

In related news, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been selected chairman of this summer's Democratic National Convention.


'Freedom to Marry' Pushes for Marriage Equality Plank in 2012 Democratic Party Platform

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Freedom to Marry has launched a petition campaign urging the Democratic Party to include specific marriage equality language in its 2012 platform. Writes the group in a press release:

The proposed language for the plank builds on previous, less explicit planks endorsed over the past two presidential election cycles, and states:
 
“We support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law, including the freedom to marry.  Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times.  We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.”

The 'Say I Do' petition campaign can be found HERE.


Said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry: “An overwhelming majority of Democrats support the freedom to marry, as do a significant majority of Independents and voters under 50 across the political spectrum. The Democratic Party has a noble history of fighting for the human and civil rights of all Americans.  It’s now time for the national party to be true to its values and its voters and go unequivocally on record for the freedom to marry.”

The platform will be ratified at the Democratic National Convention, which begins September 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina.


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