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Proof of evolution
May 9, 2012 12:07 PM   Subscribe

On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden went on Meet The Press and expressed his support for same-sex marriage rights. This led to several days of press speculation that Biden had blundered and gone off-message from an Administration that had rather carefully refused to take a strong position on the issue, and the media began to pursue Democrats over the issue. In response to this, today President Obama said: "...for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."
posted by mightygodking (649 comments total) 81 users marked this as a favorite

 
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."
Thank you, Mr. President!
posted by ericb at 12:09 PM on May 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


Joe Biden, in a classic gaffe, starts a chain of events that move democracy forward in America.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:10 PM on May 9, 2012 [434 favorites]


He's gonna beat Romney like a rented mule.
posted by docgonzo at 12:10 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Fire up the base, check.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:11 PM on May 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Holy shit. A democrat with balls in an election year.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:11 PM on May 9, 2012 [84 favorites]


Let's hope vocalizing support for basic civil rights doesn't cost him the election.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:11 PM on May 9, 2012 [33 favorites]


!
posted by drezdn at 12:12 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe Obama finally figured out Republicans weren't going to vote for him after all.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:12 PM on May 9, 2012 [159 favorites]


Thank god. As we saw in NC we are going to be a wedge issue no matter what. Might as well be a wedge issue with someone on our side not dicking around
posted by munchingzombie at 12:12 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah yeah yeah its long overdue, but in an election year against a frothing and deluded opposition that would get out the vote for a sandwich bag twist tie just to get you out of office, I'd say it still takes some stones to do this and I give the President my highest honor: The Boba Fett nod*

* as was given to Leia in Boushh disguise at Jabba's Palace
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2012 [32 favorites]


"at a certain point
I’ve just concluded that
for me personally"

...yes? what? WHAT?

"it is important for me to
go ahead and affirm that
I think"

...QUIT TEASING US

"same sex couples should be able to get married."
ah, ok, good. for a second there i was worried you were gonna pause, say "Look," and start a new thought.
posted by fetamelter at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2012 [39 favorites]


Well that helps relive some of my cognitive dissonance about supporting Obama.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2012


This is the morally right thing to do. It's also the right thing for GOTV, the youth vote especially.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


And just now CNN was breathlessly reporting on how great this was for Robin Roberts. Why does the American news media love to make these stories about themselves?
posted by stopgap at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


41 out of 50 states have some kind of prohibition on recognizing same-sex relationships.

As a gay man and someone who supports Civil Rights, I am fully supportive of the President.

But...damn....41 out of 50 is some STEEP fucking opposition.
posted by Avenger at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2012 [22 favorites]


He's gonna beat Romney like a rented mule.

I think it's in bad taste to connect same-sex marriage and non-consensual mule-beating.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:14 PM on May 9, 2012 [26 favorites]


Holy wow! I never, ever, ever expected this. Not in an election year.

I'm excited. I'm also scared. But mostly excited.
posted by Elly Vortex at 12:14 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]




Actually, Biden's remark on the weekend was part of an A/B testing campaign.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:14 PM on May 9, 2012 [163 favorites]


As a woman who is engaged to a woman (also also a person who thinks that people should get to make choices about their lives)

FUCK YES!
posted by insectosaurus at 12:14 PM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Dammit, there goes North Carolina. Oh, wait.
posted by me3dia at 12:14 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


A welcome move, and about time, but I really wish he had been more of a leader on this, rather than wait for a more agreeable climate.

Still -- progress. Very much a sign of progress.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:14 PM on May 9, 2012


Joe Biden, the classic giraffe.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:14 PM on May 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


North Carolina disagrees.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:14 PM on May 9, 2012


The states which have passed same sex marriage bans and those that are polling safe-Romney are almost identical with the notable exceptions of Florida and Virginia. And now North Carolina.
posted by gwint at 12:15 PM on May 9, 2012


I'm glad for this, and if it was Biden's "gaffe" that caused it, then it just makes me love Joe even more.
posted by octothorpe at 12:15 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Huzzah! I have to say, when Biden made his "gaffe," followed by shortly Sec. Duncan's comments, I wondered if it was a trial balloon to prepare the way for Obama. Glad to see the President come through. Now to action!
posted by postel's law at 12:15 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gay marriage has provided a fantastic service by forcing a multitude of politicians to be simple and honest for a change.

Yay.
posted by alms at 12:15 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


all the mule-beatings in my marriage are safe and consensual
posted by The Whelk at 12:15 PM on May 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


!
posted by pointystick at 12:15 PM on May 9, 2012


Dammit, there goes North Carolina. Oh, wait.

Obama did win North Carolina last time around; I doubt this will cause him to lose it in 2012, but it could easily hurt him there.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:16 PM on May 9, 2012


Romney Confirms Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions
“Well, when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name,” Romney said during a visit to Fort Lupton. “My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.”
posted by ericb at 12:16 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


In related news, The Guardian has a pretty cool chart trying to make sense of gay rights, state-by-state and regionally, in the U.S.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:16 PM on May 9, 2012 [22 favorites]


Gah the comments why in God's name did you link to Yahoo of all things now I've got stupid splashed all over my eyes
posted by Shepherd at 12:17 PM on May 9, 2012 [18 favorites]


I feel like this is something that I already knew was true and that when he said he favored civil unions he was just playing politics, which is about par for the course.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:17 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Calm down, everybody. Maybe we're seeing the A video and the B video says something else.

(Seriously? I'm pretty happy with this.)

Talking Points memo had a long piece today about the conventional wisdom behind Obama's history of not endorsing SSM. Guven how utterly cautious Obama and his team can be, I wonder what their research and internal polls are showing to let them make this move.
posted by maudlin at 12:17 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


54% of people who strongly oppose same sex marriage call it "critical" vs 14% who strongly favor it.

Let's hope these statements by the administration can motivate those people who don't consider it critical, but who support gay marriage, to back this administration.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:17 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


why in God's name did you link to Yahoo of all things now I've got stupid splashed all over my eyes

Pretty sure you should just be glad they didn't link Free Republic...
posted by sparkletone at 12:17 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


After hitting post: *growls at KokuRyu*
posted by maudlin at 12:18 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


On a personal level, I'm thrilled he did this.

Thinking about this purely from the cold perspective of the political game, I'm wondering how this will work out for him. He'll energize his currently lackluster base with this announcement but he might lose some independents, assuming there are any real independents left after the Republicans' scorched earth campaign. Will he get more of the base to vote, more than the independents he would lose? Will the independents be mostly unconcerned about this issue? I personally have no idea.

Considering his usually smart team has probably crunched the numbers already before making this statement, I think their internals show this will be a net win for them.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:18 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


41 out of 50 states have some kind of prohibition on recognizing same-sex relationships.

As a gay man and someone who supports Civil Rights, I am fully supportive of the President.

But...damn....41 out of 50 is some STEEP fucking opposition.


Yet according to Gallop polling, half of America agrees with him.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 12:18 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Long game rope-a-dope with Biden and Obama, I'm kinda impressed.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


In response to this, today President Obama said

After several days of awkward and delicate handling where Mr. Obama didn't seem to want to make such a clear statement. What was that all about Barack?

So today, Obama comes out with the tablets - a clearly calculated political decision instead of the knee-jerk defense of civil rights one might expect of him - and he's a hero?

Pathetic, weak, and uninspiring. More of the same from Obama.
posted by three blind mice at 12:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's about goddamn time.
posted by R. Schlock at 12:20 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Too little, too late." - Obama's legacy. For him, "Forward" means 5 steps back; for the Republicans, it means only 2 steps back.
posted by Ardiril at 12:21 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rmoney: "domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.”"

Like what others, you philosophical Gumby?
posted by notsnot at 12:21 PM on May 9, 2012 [20 favorites]


It didn't really take balls for Obama to make this announcement. He wasn't going to get the vote of anyone who would vote against a candidate who supported same sex marriage to begin with. Does anyone here really believe that Obama "evolved" on this issue?

And don't forget that one in six of his campaign's fundraising bundlers is gay... some of whom have already threatened to withhold funds from Obama's reelection campaign in retaliation for a lack of progress on anti-discrimination policies.

I do support this policy change... but it was a long time coming and transparently cynical in its rollout.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:21 PM on May 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


I wonder what their research and internal polls are showing to let them make this move.

The latest polling from PPP said that the people against Same Sex Marriage already thought Obama was for it.
posted by drezdn at 12:22 PM on May 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


Where do you stand?
Wrong side ||___________|| HISTORY ||______________|| Right side
posted by ericb at 12:22 PM on May 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


I eagerly await the news that Mitt Romney was for marriage equality before the president was.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:22 PM on May 9, 2012 [22 favorites]


[siren.gif]

SHOCKER: PREZ IN FAVOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS

CONTROVERSY
posted by shakespeherian at 12:22 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yes We Can make a tepid statement subsequent to a severe setback.
posted by R. Schlock at 12:22 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama did win North Carolina last time around; I doubt this will cause him to lose it in 2012, but it could easily hurt him there.
I dunno. What's interesting is that the hard-core evangelicals are very opposed to Mormonism as well as homosexuality. But if they think Obama is actually Muslim...

Obama has been up there by a couple points. This will actually provide a "natural experiment" to see just how much gay marriage support hurts (or doesn't) his poll numbers.
posted by delmoi at 12:23 PM on May 9, 2012


What does this mean in terms of real, actual, concrete law that Democrats will now, presumably, be pushing as a party? Will the DNC move their convention out of North Carolina?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:23 PM on May 9, 2012


a clearly calculated political decision instead of the knee-jerk defense of civil rights one might expect of him

Obama takes a principled stand in favor of gay marriage? Yay for Obama.

Obama comes out in favor of gay marriage because his pollsters say it's a political winner? Yay for America.
posted by straight at 12:23 PM on May 9, 2012 [89 favorites]


Yet according to Gallop polling, half of America agrees with him.

The problem is the half that agrees with him is the half less inclined to show up and vote, which is precisely why they've been so cautious about it.
posted by mightygodking at 12:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fire up the base, check.

Umm... okay I applaud him for this, especially given it's still a pretty ballsy stance to take in light of the election season, but he also in this very interview said he still thinks states should get to decide, which still remains fundamentally and morally really really stupid.

How in god's name does Rand McNally determine whether you have a basic, fundamental human right or not? I'm glad Obama supports gay marriage. So do I. I, however, don't think states should be allowed to prevent that right, which North Carolina did yesterday, and which the president apparently believes is just a-okay.

"Firing up the base?" The base was already fired up. This is a result of Obama being pressured by those oh-so-annoying "insignificant" supporters who apparently actual are worth listening to.

This is a victory for everyone who spent years working to make it impossible for the President to continue doing nothing. Let hope the next step goes quicker before we lose a 31st state to apparently-acceptable bigotry.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


The latest polling from PPP said that the people against Same Sex Marriage already thought Obama was for it.
This is a huge flaw in the argument that you "have" to give conservatives the positions they want in order to get their votes. In a lot of cases they don't even know what your positions are. Look at all the gun nuts who think Obama wants to take their guns. They've had it drilled into their heads for years that Dems want to take their guns, Obama is a dem, so obviously he wants to take DEIIIRRR GUUUUURRRRNNNs
posted by delmoi at 12:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't care how this polls. I don't care about the election season. I don't care about the long term strategy.

Because I'm fucking sick to death of the people I love getting the message from our society that they're second class citizens. Who cares what the consequences are to speaking up on behalf of equality and justice? It's the right thing to do. It's the truth.

Nothing else matters.

This makes me so happy I kind of want to cry right now. in fact, I kind of am crying right now.
posted by crackingdes at 12:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [58 favorites]


I support Obama, and I will vote for him over the skin job, but I could really have done without this bit of predictable moral cowardice:

in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting

As if the claim that gay Americans have to being full citizens should be contingent upon their behavior in any way. That they should only be allowed by the majority to have full dignity and unhidden lives as long as they act exactly like heterosexuals are supposed to or put their bodies in mortal peril for the nation's strategic interests. Jesus.
posted by clockzero at 12:25 PM on May 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


NBC-Wall Street Journal poll:
In the March poll, overall, Americans favored same-sex marriage by a 49-40% margin. That's a reversal from October 2009, when it was 41% favor, 49% oppose.

Among women, there was a 14-point shift, from 44%/47% to 51%/39%. Among black voters -- the largest shift -- from 32%/53% to 50%/41%. (That could be attributed to the president's warming on the issue.) Both constituencies have also moved more strongly in Obama's favor.

But among independents and especially suburban voters, the numbers are tighter. In March 2012, independents said they favored gay marriage by 46%/37%, a big reversal from 37%/50% in 2009.

Among suburban voters, a key electoral group, it was just a narrow plurality in favor, 45%/43%, in March. Granted, that's a 19-point shift from 37% favor, 54% opposed. But it's also a group Obama won in 2008 (50%-48%), which in the same March poll said it preferred Romney (49%-43%). And that's despite Obama leading overall in the poll (50%-44%).
posted by ericb at 12:26 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Jesus, are some people so wedded to dissing Obama that even when he says something we want him to say, they pick on how he says it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:26 PM on May 9, 2012 [40 favorites]


Will the DNC move their convention out of North Carolina?

Jesus. No. Where do people even start thinking this? How can anyone even realistically think this would happen?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:26 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Obama is not one to speak off the cuff, so it's safe to assume that they probably polled the shit out of Biden's statement last weekend and the numbers came in favorably. Which is great news either way.
posted by falameufilho at 12:26 PM on May 9, 2012


"Firing up the base?" The base was already fired up. This is a result of Obama being pressured by those oh-so-annoying "insignificant" supporters who apparently actual are worth listening to.
Firing up his big money donor base - who probably aren't too concerned about stuff like economic inequality and the unemployment rate...
posted by delmoi at 12:26 PM on May 9, 2012


Yay!
posted by caddis at 12:27 PM on May 9, 2012


Jesus, are some people so wedded to dissing Obama that even when he says something we want him to say, they pick on how he says it?

Said it before, will say it again: too many goddamn liberals care more about supporting something "the right way" rather than the fact that the position they want support for is being supported.
posted by mightygodking at 12:27 PM on May 9, 2012 [66 favorites]


Well that got me to donate to his campaign for the first time since 2008.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:27 PM on May 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Really, I don't care why he did it. In this case, I'm just glad he did it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:28 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Will the DNC move their convention out of North Carolina?

Jesus. No. Where do people even start thinking this? How can anyone even realistically think this would happen?


Hope springs eternal.
posted by Etrigan at 12:28 PM on May 9, 2012


Initial reaction
posted by Chipmazing at 12:28 PM on May 9, 2012


three blind mice: "knee-jerk "

Clearly you're not familiar with how representative democracy works.
posted by falameufilho at 12:28 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Finally.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:30 PM on May 9, 2012




Speaking of "evolving positions" - if you haven't seen the video of San Diego mayor Jerry Sander's video explaining his evolving position on gay marriage, it is ABSOLUTELY worth the five minutes it takes to watch. It is beautiful.
posted by insectosaurus at 12:30 PM on May 9, 2012 [17 favorites]


something-something-something I remain deeply disappointed that Obama is not both Superman and the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and therefore ... something-something-something.
posted by philip-random at 12:30 PM on May 9, 2012 [22 favorites]


I think we may have a nation-wide blight of cereal pissing going on.
posted by The Whelk at 12:30 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jesus, are some people so wedded to dissing Obama that even when he says something we want him to say, they pick on how he says it?

hey, i like obama just fine.

that said, it wasn't exactly "i have a dream," and it seems like it might be so important that it should've been.

Not truly nitpicking here. obviously this is a game- and conversation-changer, and shouldn't have been put off any longer.
posted by fetamelter at 12:30 PM on May 9, 2012


I don't get the Obama hatred here. Nader supporters that didn't learn their lesson?

He's been pushing the needle as far as he can. We need to wait for the grumpy old white male bigots to die before you get your legalized pot and nationalized health care and electric cars. Just enough of them died in the last 4 years to allow him to say this, so hurrah for democracy!
posted by efbrazil at 12:30 PM on May 9, 2012 [26 favorites]


I too am angry that Obama did not strap on Jet Pack One and fly around the country, punching out the politicians opposed to this and personally performing the ceremony for each and every same sex couple who is trying to get married.
posted by griphus at 12:31 PM on May 9, 2012 [93 favorites]


I eagerly await the news that Mitt Romney was for marriage equality before the president was.

Ah, memories of Romney's 1994 Senate run here in Massachusetts.

Mitt Romney's 1994 Letter To Gay Republicans
'I need your support more than ever.'

On Dec. 8 Bay Windows obtained a copy of a letter Gov. Mitt Romney wrote to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts in 1994. At the time the letter was written, Romney was in a heated campaign against U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy. In the letter, Romney, who is an all-but-declared candidate for president in 2008 and who has made opposition to civil marriage rights for same-sex couples one of his signature issues, pledged to be a more effective leader on gay civil rights than Kennedy. He promised to cosponsor the federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act and expand the legislation to include protections for gay men and lesbians in housing and credit. He also pledged to back the creation of “a federal panel to find ways to reduce gay and lesbian youth suicide …”

The letter, which is written on “Romney US Senate” letterhead, was widely reported on at the time. In an Oct. 20, 1994 oped, Boston Herald columnist Don Feder said that the letter proved that “Romney is the Mormon Bill Weld, the man he looks to for inspiration. Nowhere is his social radicalism more apparent than on the cutting-edge moral issue of our age — the normalization of homosexuality.”

On Dec. 9, the New York Times quoted from the 1994 letter and noted that Romney aides “did not dispute the letter’s legitimacy.” Bay Windows determined the letter’s authenticity by comparing quotes from the letter from 1994 news reports on the letter published in Bay Windows, the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. Bay Windows also considered the credibility of the source — a former officer of the Log Cabin Club — who provided a copy of the letter to Bay Windows.
posted by ericb at 12:31 PM on May 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


Will the DNC move their convention out of North Carolina?

Actually, what I'm seeing from gay rights supporters on Twitter (which may not be a representative sample of course) is that the convention needs to stay in NC and be used as a massive point of protest and engagement for gay rights during the convention.
posted by emjaybee at 12:31 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


How can anyone even realistically think this would happen?

Because another state just voted to take away a bunch of our rights, and the DNC presumably, hopefully, has this latest decision on our rights thought out, beyond just pandering to the GLBT community in an election year.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:31 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


burnmp3s: "Well that got me to donate to his campaign for the first time since 2008"

Joey Michaels: "Really, I don't care why he did it. In this case, I'm just glad he did it"

Check, and check.
posted by notsnot at 12:31 PM on May 9, 2012


I really really hope this doesn't end up biting him in the ass, both because that would make me even more depressed as to the state of the American electorate and because it would suck that his finally taking a stand on the side of good (or indeed anything) would torpedo him.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:32 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obama haters had already figured out (or assumed) that Obama secretly supported gay marriage, and Obama supporters had already figured out (or assumed) that Obama secretly supported gay marriage.

Call it cynical all you like, but surfing the polls and knowing what to say and when is what wins elections. Obama's support for gay marriage will come off as modern and interesting to his base, and it probably won't affect those who were already never going to vote for him.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:34 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well done Obama.

Although the cynic in me realizes that it is completely in his favor to turn the big issue in this election from the economy to basic human rights. I can't wait for the debates.
posted by chemoboy at 12:34 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


hey, i like obama just fine. that said, it wasn't exactly "i have a dream," and it seems like it might be so important that it should've been. Not truly nitpicking here.

If criticizing someone's conversational quirks isn't "nitpicking", I don't know what is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:34 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


beyond just pandering to the GLBT community in an election year.

Honestly if we've gotten to the point where pandering to the GLBT community in an election year is seen as a cynical and populist move, I'd say that's pretty damn cool.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:34 PM on May 9, 2012 [114 favorites]


Oh shit son!
posted by cashman at 12:34 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


My favorite part was when Obama referred to his administration's decision not to defend "the Defense Against [sic] Marriage Act".

It is, of course, "the Defense of Marriage Act." Only it's not.
posted by alms at 12:36 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was making bets that Obama would easily win a second terms, where easily was defined as 'the contest will be over election night'.

Now? Now, I'm thinking he just lost the election. Yes, there's enough hateful people in America for this to be a deal breaker, especially in critical swing states.

I do hope he makes a solid and repeated case for his views though i.e. It's un American and anti-Christian to deny any person equal rights, it's the worst aspect of government etc, etc.

On the other hand, if there's ever a stance to go down swinging on in modern day America, this is one of them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:36 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Now he needs to end his war on medical marijuana, and end the two pointless foreign wars that for some reason we are still fighting.
posted by w0mbat at 12:37 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Something kind of cute.

Andrew Sullivan evolved from one position on Obama's evolution to another in about three hours before the announcement was made.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:37 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Absolutely hell yeah.
posted by azpenguin at 12:37 PM on May 9, 2012


I love Joe Biden and his inability to suffer fools or bite his tongue. Just wanted to toss that out there.
posted by fshgrl at 12:37 PM on May 9, 2012 [26 favorites]


Obama comes out in favor of gay marriage. Republicans still hate him, Democrats still expect him to violate laws of time and change the past.

He's in favor of it. Now write, call, telegraph, email, or otherwise communicate with your elected members of Congress that you want them to hand him a bill in favor of federal rights even when the states will say nothing. Lobby them so hard that every dollar of anti-gay money that goes into their coffers gives them another pained cringe as they realize it's another lost vote. Make them worry about every single voter hating their guts, put them under every bit of pressure that Obama has been under.

The man did a good thing. Take it for what it is and push for the next step instead of sitting around thinking about beans and aiming pistols at our collective feet.
posted by Saydur at 12:37 PM on May 9, 2012 [19 favorites]


If criticizing someone's conversational quirks isn't "nitpicking", I don't know what is.

it was intended more like good-natured ribbing. I PROMISE i was not attempting to threadshit. Let us all be happy together about this happy FPP.

of course, the "Look" thing all politicians (and increasingly, other public figures) do really cheeses me off, but that's a derail and i'm not gonna derail either!
posted by fetamelter at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2012


This is Awesome and I'm happy he did it!
posted by stagewhisper at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2012


The more time and money the GOP wastes talking about Obama's personal civil rights preferences, the less time they'll have to talk about the economy and jobs.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:40 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


DailyKos page where you can send an email to Obama thanking him for his support of marriage equality. (I rarely do this kind of thing, but I felt it was important that there be a loud, loud chorus of approval for this decision.)
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 12:40 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now he needs to end his war on medical marijuana, and end the two pointless foreign wars that for some reason we are still fighting.

The Iraq War has been officially over for months, and they're in the midst of negotiations to withdraw from Afghanistan. You can't just give these countries two weeks notice and leave in a huff.

That said, the medical marijuana stuff needs to stop.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:41 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's about time that he was honest about this. I don't really believe that this wasn't his personal position all along. It's not that I think Obama is necessarily so great, I just think that this, in particular, is so consonant with his other positions.
posted by OmieWise at 12:41 PM on May 9, 2012


Going back to ericb's quote from Romney:
“Well, when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name,” Romney said during a visit to Fort Lupton. “My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.”
Was Romney basically saying that he's in favor of gay Americans having all the rights of a domestic partnership without calling it a domestic partnership? Because rereading this quote makes my head hurt.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:42 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


NYC Mayor Bloomberg Reacts
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City, who has become a forceful advocate for gay, marriage, called President Obama's statement on same-sex marriage "a major turning point in the history of American civil rights."

"No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people - and I have no doubt that this will be no exception," Mr. Bloomberg said.

He continued: "The march of freedom that has sustained our country since the Revolution of 1776 continues, and no matter what setbacks may occur in a given state, freedom will triumph over fear and equality will prevail over exclusion. Today's announcement is a testament to the President's convictions, and it builds on the courageous stands that so many Americans have taken over the years on behalf of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, stretching all the way back to the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village."
posted by ericb at 12:42 PM on May 9, 2012 [37 favorites]




Thank you, Mr President, for answering my question on Metafilter.

And for giving the right answer.
posted by chavenet at 12:43 PM on May 9, 2012


On second thought, this is a neat and interesting. Republicans will go batshit insane since they now have a clear difference to really go basthit insane over. Independents will look on in horror. Who do you want to vote for in economic downturn, the guy who wants everything to be fair or crazy people?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:43 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Because another state just voted to take away a bunch of our rights, and the DNC presumably, hopefully, has this latest decision on our rights thought out, beyond just pandering to the GLBT community in an election year.

Please allow me to again interrupt the screaming about how I have a psychotic desire to hate the President to again point out that the President, in this very interview, said he supported those states' right to do this.

I truly don't get how simultaneously in one thread there is condemnation of a critical analysis of Obama's interview and labeling as "Obama haters" while at the same time the enamored are wondering if the next step will be to move and reconfigure a national convention of several thousand attendees in three months to protest an act that the President endorses.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:43 PM on May 9, 2012


To be fair, Obama is big on starting sentences by scrunching his eyebrows and saying, "Look..." It's kind of endearing.
posted by malapropist at 12:43 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]




Honestly if we've gotten to the point where pandering to the GLBT community in an election year is seen as a cynical and populist move, I'd say that's pretty damn cool.

It might bear mentioning that some populist promises made during the 2008 election cycle ended up being a gift to, among other interests, insurance companies. For lack of specifics about this major policy shift in this election cycle, again, perhaps some skepticism may be warranted.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:44 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]




Joe Biden, in a classic gaffe, starts a chain of events that move democracy forward in America.

I said it in 2006 and 2008, and I'll say it again now, Joe Biden is the guy who should be president.
posted by zvs at 12:45 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


From Twitter: "Suggestions for Biden: I'm absolutely comfortable with marijuana; I'm absolutely comfortable with single-payer health care"

etc.
posted by togdon at 12:46 PM on May 9, 2012 [56 favorites]


Finally.

The Right is going to hate Obama no matter what he does. They may as well hate him for the "right" reasons.
posted by Legomancer at 12:46 PM on May 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Now, I'm thinking he just lost the election. Yes, there's enough hateful people in America for this to be a deal breaker, especially in critical swing states.

Bush ran on the anti-gay-marriage platform (albeit somewhat indirectly) in 2004 and barely squeaked out a win. I'm going to guess that the last eight years have produced enough of a shift in public opinion that the evangelicals won't be able to come out in the droves they did back then, particularly to support an insufficiently conservative Massachusetts Mormon.
posted by Etrigan at 12:46 PM on May 9, 2012


I said it in 2006 and 2008, and I'll say it again now, Joe Biden is the guy who should be president.

Let's not say something crazy in the heat of the moment here.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:47 PM on May 9, 2012 [19 favorites]


Who do you want to vote for in economic downturn, the guy who wants everything to be fair or crazy people?

Or, even better, during an economic downturn, do you want to vote for the folks who are acting like the biggest problem is the guy who wants people to get married?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:47 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just so happy about this. I want to snark about a black democrat talking about states rights with no trace of irony (esp after the health care hearings), but I'm just so pleased in general I can't bring myself to do it.
posted by Garm at 12:47 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know who else wants Joe Biden to be President?
posted by griphus at 12:48 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Suggestions for Biden: I'm absolutely comfortable with marijuana

Not as hugely unlikely as it sounds; the guy's from a state with both civil unions and medical pot.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:48 PM on May 9, 2012


In less than sixteen years we've gone from a white President who signed DOMA to a black President who supports gay marriage. Wow. Sixteen years ago gay marriage was completely off the table. 25% support. Today, in most areas where it doesn't enjoy majority support, it's damn near close.

I think the progress in public opinion is a function of two things: Just how hard the left has worked, and just how easy it is to understand the issue. The messaging has been clear. You either support gay marriage, or you support treating some loving couples as second-class citizens.

I see the left working hard on other civil liberties. I think things like First and Fourth Amendment issues -- as discussed today -- are difficult to understand. From a Constitutional perspective, gay marriage is a 14th Amendment issue. But in the popular discourse, it's framed from a personal perspective: "We love each other." It makes me wonder how we can reframe other Constitutional issues without sacrificing a principled stand. I think there are important lessons to be learned here. Damn this is some nice news.
posted by compartment at 12:49 PM on May 9, 2012 [19 favorites]


Speaking of "evolving positions" - if you haven't seen the video of San Diego mayor Jerry Sander's video explaining his evolving position on gay marriage, it is ABSOLUTELY worth the five minutes it takes to watch. It is beautiful.

I agree, I've watched this several times before.

It's nice that Obama has made this announcement, albeit after noticing that people like Biden, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and Dick Cheney don't seem to have suffered much political blowback from doing the same thing. Obama's switch from supporting same-sex marriage in 1996 to opposing it in time to run for president to supporting it again (now that the polls are turning in its favor) seems analogous to Mitt Romney's calculated flip-flop on abortion. Again, I'm glad about Obama's announcement, but I don't find his "evolution" particularly inspiring.

Waiting for the Obama haters on here to call him a bigot again.

I don't know who has ever done that on this site. The problem isn't that he was bigoted; on the contrary, I assume his personal views aren't anti-gay at all. I can't believe he was being honest in the past about being genuinely opposed to same-sex marriage. I find it hard to imagine that he ever had a private conversation with someone in which he passionately defended his view that two women or two men shouldn't be able to get legally married. I assume, though it's of course impossible to know, that he's been in favor of same-sex marriage all along and has decided to be honest about it now. Good.
posted by John Cohen at 12:49 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is one of those times when I shut off the cynicism for ten minutes and just wallow in some happy.
posted by Occula at 12:49 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


On second thought, this is a neat and interesting. Republicans will go batshit insane since they now have a clear difference to really go basthit insane over. Independents will look on in horror. Who do you want to vote for in economic downturn, the guy who wants everything to be fair or crazy people?

Getting the Republicans stuck on gay marriage would be a great way to make them look less serious to many voters, and it would remind liberals and moderates of Republicans' true priorities. Yes, you'd lose those people who already hate the idea of gay marriage, but you didn't have them in the first place.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:50 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whenever His Catholic Majesty Ferdinand of Aragon, most powerful and wise prince, was about to embark on some new enterprise, or make a decision of great importance, he went about it in such a way that, before his intentions were known, the whole court and the people were already insisting and exclaiming that the king must do such and so. Then he would announce his decision, just when all hoped and clamored for it, and it is incredible what justification and favor it found among his subjects and in his dominions.
Francesco Guicciardini (via)
posted by kirkaracha at 12:51 PM on May 9, 2012 [31 favorites]


Metafilter: in a classic gaffe, starts a chain of events that move democracy forward in America.
posted by Fizz at 12:51 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama Bullied By Libertarian Candidate.

Okay, maybe not, but one can dream about libertarians actually forcing the other two parties to actually talk about the issues.
posted by THAT William Mize at 12:52 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


More proof that Joe Biden is actually a fucking genius.
posted by jonmc at 12:52 PM on May 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


Seriously. Joe Biden is the Columbo of national politics.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:54 PM on May 9, 2012 [154 favorites]


Was Romney basically saying that he's in favor of gay Americans having all the rights of a domestic partnership without calling it a domestic partnership?

No, he was saying that he would deign to allow gays to visit each other in the hospital as long as they don't push their sexuality in other people's faces and as long as they shut up about getting married ..... and as long as the state that they live in has protections on the books allowing hospital visits.

I do love the gnashing of teeth about how contorted Obama's position has been and is and always will be on this issue and the complete lack of interest in Romney's contortions on it for the past 15-odd years.
posted by blucevalo at 12:54 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is fantastic news.

LOVE.
posted by defenestration at 12:54 PM on May 9, 2012


Now he needs to end his war on medical marijuana, and end the two pointless foreign wars that for some reason we are still fighting.

There you go.
posted by Malice at 12:55 PM on May 9, 2012


Biden is kickin' back with a cold one right now.
posted by Beardman at 12:55 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem is the half that agrees with him is the half less inclined to show up and vote, which is precisely why they've been so cautious about it.

On what is this based?

And as for this being a poltically calculated and/or cynical move, Obama is a politician, what were you expecting?
posted by IvoShandor at 12:55 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seriously. Joe Biden is the Columbo of national politics.

We need more Joe Bidens in this country.
posted by kafziel at 12:56 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


YES WE DO
posted by mattdidthat at 12:57 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem is the half that agrees with him is the half less inclined to show up and vote, which is precisely why they've been so cautious about it.

On what is this based?


Go compare polls on this issue. "General populace" polls in favour. "Likely voters" poll against. It's pretty straightforward political math.
posted by mightygodking at 12:57 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Biden is kickin' back with a cold one right now.

To be fair, that's not usual. It is almost 4PM in Washington. The Biden worship is confusing to me; you think this isn't part of a master plan? Arne Duncan's comments last week were at least potentially rogue.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:57 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is awesome.

Though it is now unfortunate that neither candidate has to have position on ANY OTHER ISSUE AT ALL FOR ANY REASON, since once voters hear "gay marriage" they rarely listen to anything else.
posted by braksandwich at 12:58 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do love the gnashing of teeth about how contorted Obama's position has been and is and always will be on this issue

I can't believe anybody ever really believed he opposed gay marriage, let alone for religious reasons. I mean, I realize he said that, but come on. Anybody over the age of 12 should have known that he wasn't sincere.
posted by empath at 12:58 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


He just drew a bright line for the 2012 election.

There is no voter that exists that thinks, "I hate his economic policy, but based on his gay rights stance, now I'll vote for him."

Similarly, there's nobody going, "I love his economic policy, but I hate gays, so I'm going to vote for Romney."

So, if the decision wasn't in stark contrast, it is now. With him or against him, there is no middle.

Perhaps his most useful victory here is ensuring there's no third-party end run to muck things up. How many votes will candidate "Other" get now?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:58 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Biden was a trial balloon folks, verified by Hunter. This shit doesn't just happen without data to back it.
posted by CaptApollo at 12:59 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


A wonderful moment.

The cynic in me guesses his next step will be to proclaim that on this score he's one man with an opinion and that his opinion won't really affect people who are against gay marriage.

Meanwhile his lackeys in the press will continue the drumbeat that Romney's opposition to gay marriage will lead inevitably to the interment of homosexuals.
posted by Infinity_8 at 12:59 PM on May 9, 2012


a shift in public opinion that the evangelicals won't be able to come out in the droves they did back then, particularly to support an insufficiently conservative Massachusetts Mormon.

The evangelicals aren't that powerful right now. If they were, Santorum would be nominee.
posted by drezdn at 12:59 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Biden is kickin' back with a cold one right now.

Not before washing the Trans Am.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:59 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


We need more Joe Bidens in this country.

I, for one, eagerly await the day when every Amtrak train is staffed entirely by clones of Joe Biden, who in between punching tickets to Penn Station, negotiate with Russia on oil production.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:00 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Mitt Romney's 1994 Letter To Gay Republicans

"...I am more convinced than ever before that as we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens... If we are to achieve the goals we share, we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern." -- Mott Romney letter to Log Cabin Club, 1994
[PDF of full letter]
posted by kirkaracha at 1:05 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]




Meanwhile here in Holland we had the tenth anniversary of gay marriage last year, he said smugly, and oddly enough we've so far escaped the wrath of an angry god.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:07 PM on May 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


I hope that "my favorite state senator" Mitch McConnel has such a conniption in the pulpit at his favorite "church" of the US Senate that we have to have a special election because he's unfit to continue his service.
posted by deezil at 1:08 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]




I want to be excited for this. I really do. But all I can think is, "It's about fucking time," and I think less about courage and decency and more about how much careful planning and strategizing and hemming & hawing Obama and his team did over this. The "evolution" stuff just seems so... gutless.

I also don't think for a moment that Biden made a "gaffe." Either he was sent out there to deliberately test the waters, or he decided on his own to put his foot up Obama's ass on this issue. I'd love to believe it was the latter, but I'm sure it was the former.

I dunno. Chalk it up as a win for the good guys, I guess, but it's still hard for me to cheer for Obama himself at this point.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:09 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is no voter that exists that thinks, "I hate his economic policy, but based on his gay rights stance, now I'll vote for him."


Um, yes, we exist. I hate being a single issue voter, but the protection of my civil rights (and those of women) are of the utmost priority to me.
posted by hermitosis at 1:09 PM on May 9, 2012 [17 favorites]


Again, I'm glad about Obama's announcement, but I don't find his "evolution" particularly inspiring.

That's the least surprising thing of all.

I really don't care how he got to this point, I'm just delighted that he's there.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:10 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another point that may have affected the timing on this announcement: Mitt Romney will address the conservative Christian Liberty University commencement on Saturday.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 1:11 PM on May 9, 2012


I'm glad that this happened.

Unfortunately, it means that I'm fairly sure that none of the other topics that desperately need to be discussed are ever going to be discussed. There is little distance between the two political parties on the great issues of our time - my standard list includes the endless foreign wars, the war on terrorism, the war on drugs, the rule of law, the permanent unemployment class, widening economic gaps between rich and poor, the global financial crisis and the lawlessness of Wall Street - and yet so much of the energy is going to be about this, Mr. Obama's personal statement of opinion about a matter that he cannot and will not in practice have much effect on one way or the other.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:12 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


And of course the Log Cabin Republicans somehow manage to come out against this.

Take out the comment about Dick Cheney and that reads like a few of the comments here.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:12 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


There is no voter that exists that thinks, "I hate his economic policy, but based on his gay rights stance, now I'll vote for him."


Um, yes, we exist. I hate being a single issue voter, but the protection of my civil rights (and those of women) are of the utmost priority to me.


I agree with hermitosis. I was more or less planning on not voting in this election because time after time Obama has failed to stand up for general human decency. But, this one time, he threw us a bone, and I suppose it's enough for me to vote for him. Democracy is failed, but it's better to have a guy who is right 1 out of 100 times versus a guy who is never right.
posted by cloeburner at 1:12 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Take out the comment about Dick Cheney and that reads like a few of the comments here.

Agreed, but I figure I'll live longer if I don't engage people in the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" camp.
posted by inigo2 at 1:15 PM on May 9, 2012


I agree with hermitosis. ... I was more or less planning on not voting in this election

Neither of you are actually disagreeing with me. Like I said, "How many votes will candidate "Other" get now?" In your case, "Other" was going to be no one.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:15 PM on May 9, 2012


Fox Nation: “OBAMA FLIP FLOPS, DECLARES WAR ON MARRIAGE”.

Is it bad that I completely read this as

OBAMA'S FLIP-FLOPS DECLARE WAR ON MARRIAGE

.... it being Fox News and all that after all.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:16 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


And of course the Log Cabin Republicans somehow manage to come out against this.

"Log Cabin Republicans appreciate that President Obama has finally come in line with leaders like Vice President Dick Cheney on this issue"

i just

lol

maybe obama should accidentally shoot someone in the face too
posted by elizardbits at 1:16 PM on May 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


Furthermore, there's very little power the President has over marriage. Except for a few circumstances, the power to regulate marriage arises out of the "police power" a power held exclusively by the states. This means that very little practical policy changes can come out of his announcement. The trade off, in terms of policy, is low, given that he could say the same thing in six months with zero effect on his electability.

I have to imagine he was catching hell from gay lobbyists on not stepping into the vote in North Carolina.
posted by empath at 1:17 PM on May 9, 2012


Although I agree with the President personally, I wonder about the impact on the election. Every single state where a popular vote has beem taken on gay marriage, it has lost. This includes the swing states of North Carolina and Virginia. It even includes California.

Furthermore, there's very little power the President has over marriage. Except for a few circumstances, the power to regulate marriage arises out of the "police power" a power held exclusively by the states. This means that very little practical policy changes can come out of his announcement. The trade off, in terms of policy, is low, given that he could say the same thing in six months with zero effect on his electability.

There are upsides, politically. Obviously, forcing Romney to flat out take a position for civil unions that might keep his base from the polls.

But its a huge risk for almost zero payoff--unlike civil rights, this is not a federal matter.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:17 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did Dick Cheney come out in favor of same sex marriage?
posted by drezdn at 1:18 PM on May 9, 2012


This is good. I think the best is that (as mentioned above) the Administration is pretty damn good at data-crunching and this means that they have calculated that this is a net positive for them.

Which is a good place for the country to be. Ten years ago sodomy was illegal in many states, and now a moderately conservative President has officially embraced gay marriage. So there's that.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:18 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


But its a huge risk for almost zero payoff--unlike civil rights, this is not a federal matter.

Nonsense. DOMA is a federal law.
posted by empath at 1:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


And of course the Log Cabin Republicans somehow manage to come out against this.

Careful reading of what the LCR actually said is that they do support same-sex marriage:

"Log Cabin Republicans appreciate that President Obama has finally come in line with leaders like Vice President Dick Cheney on this issue."

Sometimes I really wish people would read the link before framing the LCR's response in such a slimy and dishonest way. Since people can't bother to read the link, here's what they were really "coming out against":

"LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch. This administration has manipulated LGBT families for political gain as much as anybody, and after his campaign’s ridiculous contortions to deny support for marriage equality this week he does not deserve praise for an announcement that comes a day late and a dollar short.”

And that's a fair and correct point. Announcing this after North Carolina voted is really unfortunate for gays and lesbians in NC, whose voters could have stood to hear Obama's "bold" words before today. But here we are.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Did Dick Cheney come out in favor of same sex marriage?

Video: Dick Cheney Endorsing Gay Marriage in 2009.
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whether it was planned or not, when a guy like Joe Biden, Mr. Rumpled Middle American Dad who sometimes makes a verbal gaffe, takes a firm stand on this issue, it'll encourage others of his ilk to. Or something. Just a halfbaked theory.
posted by jonmc at 1:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Did Dick Cheney come out in favor of same sex marriage?

I believe he was in favor of same-sex marriage even when he was VP. His daughter is lesbian, maybe?
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:20 PM on May 9, 2012


Did Dick Cheney come out in favor of same sex marriage?

Prior to Biden's comments, Dick Cheney was probably been the most prominent politician on the national stage openly in favor of marriage equality.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:20 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did Dick Cheney come out in favor of same sex marriage?

Yes, but not until after he was no longer VP. He also said the final decision should be left up to the states. So not really a super crazy bold move?
posted by elizardbits at 1:20 PM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Dick Cheney:
"Well, I think that freedom means freedom for everyone. As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something that, uh, we have lived with for a long time, in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute that governs this, I don't support. I do believe that historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue, and I think that's the way it ought to be handled today, that is on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions. But I don't have any problem with that. I think people ought to get a shot at that."
posted by ericb at 1:21 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why do I not google these things before I post?
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:21 PM on May 9, 2012


I can see how this might work for Obama. He won 2008 by virtue of stay-at-home Republicans, swing moderates, and a massive on-ground fundraising and campaign staff. I don't think that Mr. Etch-a-Sketch can do enough to both rally the religious right and appease swing voters.

Either way, we're months away from the general so this strikes me as less about votes and more about rallying supporters while exploiting rifts among the Republican Party.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:22 PM on May 9, 2012


But its a huge risk for almost zero payoff--unlike civil rights, this is not a federal matter.

Nonsense. DOMA is a federal law.


Obama doesn't have the votes to repeal DOMA.

Therefore, at this time, there is very little policy changes that can be wrought. The House is Republican.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:22 PM on May 9, 2012


"LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch.

How is it Obama's fault that bigots vote the way they do?
posted by girlmightlive at 1:23 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


ericb: I totally 100% seriously read that as: [...] It has always been a state issue, and I think that's the way it ought to be handled today, that is on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions. But I don't have any problem with that. I think people ought to get shot at."
posted by shakespeherian at 1:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


And of course the Log Cabin Republicans somehow manage to come out against this.

Careful reading of what the LCR actually said is that they do support same-sex marriage:


I read that comment as noting that the LCR came out against Obama's decision to state his support at this time and in this fashion, not that they came out against ssm.
posted by elizardbits at 1:25 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


[+] for the tag line. . .
posted by Danf at 1:25 PM on May 9, 2012


Unsurprising that essentially the same people here and elsewhere that were calling him out for apparently not doing it for political reasons now are mad...because he's apparently doing it for political reasons. Glad we know they would be dismissive no matter what.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:25 PM on May 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


The Iraq War has been officially over for months,


Yeah and Bush declared "victory" years ago - so what. Troops are still there, and are still getting killed. It's over when they all come home.


...and they're in the midst of negotiations to withdraw from Afghanistan.
You can't just give these countries two weeks notice and leave in a huff.


Err yes you can. You don't have to give any notice or negotiate anything. Both countries are going to do what they're going to do anyway once left to their own devices.
posted by w0mbat at 1:25 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think people ought to get shot at."

I had to reread it about half a dozen times to convince myself otherwise.
posted by elizardbits at 1:25 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


And now we wait for the polling over the next month or so. All things remaining neutral (which is doubtful, but still), if he's going down because of this, I'm guessing that we'll see it show up now and hold until November.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:26 PM on May 9, 2012


Romney, live right now. He hasn't talked about gay marriage yet.
posted by defenestration at 1:26 PM on May 9, 2012


But its a huge risk for almost zero payoff--unlike civil rights, this is not a federal matter.

It sure as hell IS a Federal matter. Remember that full faith & credit clause to the Constitution? Why is a marriage in Delaware supposed to be of different legal worth than a marriage in Texas?

The "states' rights" approach has all been side-show campaigning and football punting. This has to be settled at the Federal level.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:26 PM on May 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


I want to hear what he's going to say, but that means I have to listen to him say things :(
posted by defenestration at 1:27 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


"LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch.

It was crushed. He would have done zero good and lost NC. 61% voted for the amendment.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:28 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tough day for "Obama is a Cryptomuslim bred to put the USA under Sharia law" narrative-weavers.
posted by glhaynes at 1:29 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


My (heterosexual) marriage is worth so much less today than it was yesterday. Why bother with it anymore?
posted by Danf at 1:29 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


It is significantly more likely I will vote for him now. I am quite surprised though because certain Metafilter users assured me he could not possibly do this because it would be political suicide. Doesn't he know 41% of the country self-identifies as conservative?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:30 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


What's interesting is that the hard-core evangelicals are very opposed to Mormonism as well as homosexuality. But if they think Obama is actually Muslim...

This would have been a good year for a 3rd party to run a "true Christian" candidate.
posted by Bonzai at 1:30 PM on May 9, 2012



Tough day for "Obama is a Cryptomuslim bred to put the USA under Sharia law" narrative-weavers.


Oh, this won't slow them down a bit.
posted by drezdn at 1:31 PM on May 9, 2012


Obama is a Cryptomuslim bred to put the USA under Gay Abortion Sharia law

It's never made sense, why should it start now?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:31 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


This would have been a good year for a 3rd party to run a "true Christian" candidate.

Oh it's not too late. Get in there, champ!
posted by saturday_morning at 1:31 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


How is it Obama's fault that bigots vote the way they do?

A president's voice carries weight with the public. There would have been no additional cost to making this same announcement two days ago and, accordingly, making a positive impact on what happened in NC.

Even if that amendment would have still passed, the rest of the country was still trending towards grudging support for equal rights, and said announcement would have had the same effect, as far as election strategy goes.

A day late and a dollar short. Sounds familiar, almost Carter-like.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:31 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah and Bush declared "victory" years ago - so what. Troops are still there, and are still getting killed. It's over when they all come home.

FWIW, according to icasualties.org, there's been 1 death of an American soldier in Iraq in 2012. And it appears he was killed in 2007, only recently confirmed dead.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


glhaynes: "Obama is a Cryptomuslim bred to put the USA under Sharia law"

You clearly know nothing about Sharia law, since it clearly requires everyone to marry somebody of the same sex every day.

Basically, Sharia Law means "opposite day forever."

Unless you are talking about actual Sharia Law as opposed to right wing dog whistle Sharia Law.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tough day for "Obama is a Cryptomuslim bred to put the USA under Sharia law" narrative-weavers.

Oh, this won't slow them down a bit.


Yeah those folks are using a fairly non-euclidian kind of logic anyway.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


But its a huge risk for almost zero payoff--unlike civil rights, this is not a federal matter.

It sure as hell IS a Federal matter. Remember that full faith & credit clause to the Constitution? Why is a marriage in Delaware supposed to be of different legal worth than a marriage in Texas?

The "states' rights" approach has all been side-show campaigning and football punting. This has to be settled at the Federal level.


While I agree with your interpretation of the Constitution, Obama can do nothing about that between now and November. Nothing. No changes can be effected. He cannot force a single state to recognize gay marriage. So the net benefit is zero.

The Congress lacks the power to regulate marriage. It is a state power.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2012


Similarly, there's nobody going, "I love his economic policy, but I hate gays, so I'm going to vote for Romney."

Maybe not but some of the haters who would otherwise vote for Obama might just decide to sit this election out. Obama must feel very secure in the Black church vote. I'm glad he did it but I hope it doesn't end up costing him more than it gains.
posted by fuse theorem at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2012


Today, we are all fingered Americans.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:33 PM on May 9, 2012


If he'd come out in favor of gay marriage and then NC was still lost (as it very likely would have), it would have seemed like blood in the water.

I approve of the waiting. This needed to be about him and not anyone else.
posted by hermitosis at 1:34 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ironmouth: I agree with you on that practical issue of whether Obama's position actually changes anything (it doesn't). I disagree that Congress can't regulate marriage, at least as far as expanding the right to same-sex couples. They'd have that power the moment they stepped up to claim it. That's the theoretical side of it, though; on a practical level, anyone can look at who's in Congress and how they've been acting and know there will be no substantive change there for a long time.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:35 PM on May 9, 2012


How is it Obama's fault that bigots vote the way they do?

A president's voice carries weight with the public. There would have been no additional cost to making this same announcement two days ago and, accordingly, making a positive impact on what happened in NC.


Really? So there wouldn't have been months of ads saying Obama tried to force gay marriage on NC? We got waxed there. Straight up waxed. He wants to win NC.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:35 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am quite surprised though because certain Metafilter users assured me he could not possibly do this because it would be political suicide.

It could very well be political suicide, we don't know yet. And if it is the issue that kills his re-election, then for all the good feelings it produced, then it will have set back gay rights for years, possibly a generation. There is a near-100% chance that the left will have suffered severe collateral damage in the House and Senate, which means the ravening crazies will have all three branches of government, including a good decade or more with an unassailable majority in the Supreme Court.

A president's voice carries weight with the public. There would have been no additional cost to making this same announcement two days ago and, accordingly, making a positive impact on what happened in NC.

Amazing how you know exactly how it would have affected the NC vote, which passed with such a huge margin.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:36 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


making a positive impact on what happened in NC

I don't believe that would've happened, maybe if the vote was close, but it wasn't.
posted by girlmightlive at 1:37 PM on May 9, 2012


. I disagree that Congress can't regulate marriage, at least as far as expanding the right to same-sex couples

No, they do not. It is a state matter. The federal government does not marry people.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:37 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm glad Obama, finally, came back to the position he espoused back in 1995 before he decided to throw gay people under the bus in the forlorn hope that somehow that would make the Republicans like him.

But I'm furious that he, even now, seems to think he can buy Republicans by, yet again throwing gay people under the bus with his utter bullshit about how marriage should be decided on a state by state basis. Has the man not heard of Loving v Virginia? You know, the decision that would have let his parents get married had they stayed together?

Either you favor marriage equality, which means you favor it everywhere, or you favor letting bigots deny gay people rights. You can't have it both ways.

That said, and despite the long agonizing time he dicked around with his precious "evolving" view, this is a good thing.

Ironmouth Wait. What?

You seem to be arguing both a) that it IS a federal matter because Obama doesn't have the votes, but b) therefore it isn't a federal matter and Obama was right to claim that civil rights should be decided on a state by state basis?

I agree that getting DOMA repealed is not going to happen. But he could urge that it be repealed and point out that only Republican intransigence is standing between America and marriage equality. Hell, he could do a more in sorrow than in anger kind of speech and talk about his own "evolving" view and how hard it was for him to reconcile his deeply held Christian faith with gay marriage and how he hopes they pray and see God's plan for equality or whatever.

But let's not lie to ourselves. Marriage is a federal issue and has been ever since Loving.
posted by sotonohito at 1:38 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Interesting fact regarding North Carolina: "The last time the state amended its constitution to regulate marriage, it was to ban miscegenation."
posted by ericb at 1:38 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


The NC Amendment 1 vote was decided the day it was scheduled with a contested Republican primary election and no compelling Democratic primaries on the same ballot.
posted by thewittyname at 1:39 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh it's not too late. Get in there, champ!

Pass. Call me when we need an atheist candidate.
posted by Bonzai at 1:39 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


You seem to be arguing both a) that it IS a federal matter because Obama doesn't have the votes, but b) therefore it isn't a federal matter and Obama was right to claim that civil rights should be decided on a state by state basis?

Not what I'm getting out of what Ironmouth says at all. We seem to disagree on where the legal power to enact marriages originates, and therefore where the power to regulate it originates.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:41 PM on May 9, 2012


Shep Smith on Fox News: 'The President of the United States, now in the 21st century.'

Something tells me that Shepard Smith's career at Fox News is almost over.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:42 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Sometimes I really wish people would read the link before framing the LCR's response in such a slimy and dishonest way. Since people can't bother to read the link, here's what they were really "coming out against"

Fuck off, I read the whole damn thing.

I read that comment as noting that the LCR came out against Obama's decision to state his support at this time and in this fashion, not that they came out against ssm.

Yes. They came out against Obama being for same sex marriage as a sitting president, at the same time commending Cheney for doing so after leaving office. Slimy and dishonest applies to someone here, but not me.
posted by inigo2 at 1:44 PM on May 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


People have guessed that Shep Smith was on his way out at Fox before this. I suspect that there are folks in management who know that having a token adult on staff is helpful to their smokescreen.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:44 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


But if Jon Stewart ever needs somebody to cover for him, I'd watch that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:44 PM on May 9, 2012


Has the man not heard of Loving v Virginia? You know, the decision that would have let his parents get married had they stayed together?

Obama's parents were married in Hawaii.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:45 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I demand to see the long-form marriage certificate.
posted by griphus at 1:48 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Let's hope vocalizing support for basic civil rights doesn't cost him the election.

In the 2008 election, this was one of the few things Obama held back on for obvious political reasons. Since then, the percentage of voters who favor same-sex marriage has grown significantly, five more states plus DC have recognized same-sex marriage, several others have adopted civil unions, and don't-ask-don't-tell has been repealed. Favoring same-sex marriage is a lot safer today than in 2008, and Obama's own declaration will help the momentum along. Obama will win by being on the right side of history, on this and other issues.
posted by beagle at 1:49 PM on May 9, 2012


For his next gaffe, I want Biden to say we have no idea about Afghanistan and should probably just GTFO.
posted by whuppy at 1:49 PM on May 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't believe that would've happened, maybe if the vote was close, but it wasn't.

It seems difficult to believe there would have been zero impact on voting results, when people are seemingly very excited he is "taking a stand" today. One can correctly extrapolate that this kind of energy would have helped in NC's voting booths, yesterday, and yet would have still made the rest of the country energized in the same way they are now.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:50 PM on May 9, 2012


Either you favor marriage equality, which means you favor it everywhere, or you favor letting bigots deny gay people rights. You can't have it both ways.

I favor it everywhere. But I also have read the Constitution, the cases that regulate it, passed the MD bar exam with a question about gay marriage on it and been a litigator simce '04. The Tenth Amendment firmly places marriage within the balliwick of the states. If Obama had the votes tomorrow to make any change in the marriage status of any gay person, it would be worth it. But he lacks that power. The US government has never issued a marriage license. Ever. It is part of the Police Power.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:51 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am absolutely pleased with this announcement, it is the right thing to do, for whatever reason.


I also think it will result in a Romney presidency. (hope to be proved wrong)
posted by edgeways at 1:51 PM on May 9, 2012


Ironmouth Wait. What?

You seem to be arguing both a) that it IS a federal matter because Obama doesn't have the votes, but b) therefore it isn't a federal matter and Obama was right to claim that civil rights should be decided on a state by state basis?


I think the idea is this: Full faith and credit is in the Constitution (states recognizing contracts entered into in other states, such as a marriage license) and is therefore a federal matter. Laws regulating marriage are generally state matters (absent laws that impinge on Constitutional requirements i.e. Loving v. Virginia/mixed race marriage). One may wish it was otherwise or think that gay rights should be part of the Constitution or even read the Constitution as encompassing gay rights, but that is not how the Constitution is currently interpreted.
posted by Falconetti at 1:52 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


A president's voice carries weight with the public. There would have been no additional cost to making this same announcement two days ago and, accordingly, making a positive impact on what happened in NC.

And had there been no positive impact—something very unlikely—now we'd be hearing how Obama—"Carter-like"—just wasn't "bold" enough to block the amendment.

Speaking of which, where were the Cheneys', those fierce defenders of same-sex marriages, during this campaign? Maybe they should've brought their boldness to NC.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:52 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]






jinx!
posted by special-k at 1:53 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems difficult to believe there would have been zero impact on voting results, when people are seemingly very excited he is "taking a stand" today. One can correctly extrapolate that this kind of energy would have helped in NC's voting booths, yesterday, and yet would have still made the rest of the country energized in the same way they are now.

Maybe a percent or two in the black vote, but I doubt it. The effect is long term.
posted by empath at 1:54 PM on May 9, 2012


It seems difficult to believe there would have been zero impact on voting results, when people are seemingly very excited he is "taking a stand" today. One can correctly extrapolate that this kind of energy would have helped in NC's voting booths, yesterday, and yet would have still made the rest of the country energized in the same way they are now.

If it was a 51-49 vote, I'd be inclined to agree with that. Zero impact is doubtful, but less so than 20%.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:54 PM on May 9, 2012


scaryblackdeath

First Ironmouth said:
Obama doesn't have the votes to repeal DOMA.

Therefore, at this time, there is very little policy changes that can be wrought. The House is Republican.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:22 PM on May 9 [+] [!]
Then he said:
The Congress lacks the power to regulate marriage. It is a state power.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:32 PM on May 9 [+] [!]
He can't have it both ways. And, clearly, Congress has regulated marriage. As has the Supreme Court. It is as federal an issue as any issue can be.
posted by sotonohito at 1:54 PM on May 9, 2012


One can correctly extrapolate that this kind of energy would have helped in NC's voting booths, yesterday

It was crushed. 61% voted for it. In every single state gay marriage has gone on the ballot it has lost. It lost in California. It lost in Maine. So the idea this would have changed the results in North Carolina is fanciful.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:54 PM on May 9, 2012


But its a huge risk for almost zero payoff--unlike civil rights, this is not a federal matter.

Gay rights are civil rights. They're one and the same. This is indeed a federal matter, because it's covered in the fourteenth amendment, under the due process clause. In which case, a president can do a number of things to impact the playing field for gay rights. He can appoint Supreme Court justices who recognize gay rights as civil rights. He can suggest that Congress repeal DOMA. And he can make the case to the American people, many of whom just haven't thought of it that way yet.
posted by brina at 1:55 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


But he lacks that power.

A president has a voice that 311 million+ Americans do not. Even if a president can't pass laws.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:56 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Therefore, at this time, there is very little policy changes that can be wrought. The House is Republican.

Which hasn't stopped Presidents from having a position on any other issue they can't get past the current congress. You don't campaign for the platform you have the votes to pass, you campaign for the platform you want to pass in order to make those votes.

But I don't see this as a game-changer. DOMA is already in the federal court system. The Obama administration greatly expanded same-sex partner benefits for many federal employees falling just short of equality. He signed off on DADT repeal, spoke in favor of gay rights in front of the HRC, and previously said he was in favor of civil-union language. Any or all of which is political ammunition for the religious right. I doubt that his previous lukewarm waffling on the issue was doing much to appease social conservatives.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:56 PM on May 9, 2012


I am Danf and I approve this message.
posted by Danf at 1:57 PM on May 9, 2012


Really? So there wouldn't have been months of ads saying Obama tried to force gay marriage on NC? We got waxed there. Straight up waxed. He wants to win NC.

Win it in the presidential election? He just barely won North Carolina's electoral votes by less than a percentage point in 2008 because the election as a whole was a landslide in his favor. It would be similar to a Republican winning Connecticut. The only plausible scenarios in which he wins North Carolina would result in him winning Florida and many other similar states that skew more Democratic than North Carolina.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:57 PM on May 9, 2012


The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:58 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


If Obama had the votes tomorrow to make any change in the marriage status of any gay person, it would be worth it. But he lacks that power. The US government has never issued a marriage license. Ever. It is part of the Police Power.

Ironmouth, you're technically correct (the best kind of correct!) but also being a little pedantic. Just because the federal government doesn't issue marriage licenses doesn't mean it has no ability to recognize same-sex marriage. Social Security, filing taxes and pension and retirement benefits (for federal employees) are all areas in which the federal government has its own distinct policy on recognizing marriage, independent of the states. Repealing Section 3 of DOMA would do away with dual status for same-sex couples already legally married. Gaining these federal benefits would mark a substantive change in a homosexual person's marriage status.
posted by thewittyname at 1:59 PM on May 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


Mitt Romney just lost the election.
posted by four panels at 1:59 PM on May 9, 2012


Waiting for the Obama haters on here to call him a bigot again.

I don't know who has ever done that on this site.


I believe that saying gay people should not be allowed to marry is a bigoted thing to do, yeah. That you may feel you need to do be bigoted for political gain is beside the point. That your religion says so is beside the point.

I like Obama and believe he is an honest man, so I take him on his word that his views on the matter have evolved and not that he was lying about his religious position or selling out civil rights for political gain. Those rationale paint him as a worse person, in my opinion, than simple moral confusion on the matter.

It's quite amusing to me though, that this thread is turning into some of the characters who insisted Obama could not do this lecturing at the folks who said he could and should. If the gay rights movement remained quiet and complacent about this and just remained scared of Romney, where does that leave: "And don't forget that one in six of his campaign's fundraising bundlers is gay... some of whom have already threatened to withhold funds from Obama's reelection campaign in retaliation for a lack of progress on anti-discrimination policies."

Obama's position was wrong, the folks who defended it were wrong, and the idea that it could and should not be changed were wrong, wrong, wrong. You are going to attack the folks who want more from Obama today? They were the ones who wanted more yesterday and got us where we are while you cowered in fear of Mitt Romney.

In the end though, this is what matters most: Because I'm fucking sick to death of the people I love getting the message from our society that they're second class citizens. Who cares what the consequences are to speaking up on behalf of equality and justice? It's the right thing to do. It's the truth.

Nothing else matters.


The Suicide Prevention Resource Center synthesized these studies and estimated that between 30 and 40% of LGB youth, depending on age and sex groups, have attempted suicide.

And today they have one less reason to lose hope for the future.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:00 PM on May 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


^ Don't kid yourself, Obama can still easily lose. Despite today, this election is still about the economy and jobs.
posted by thewittyname at 2:01 PM on May 9, 2012


A president has a voice that 311 million+ Americans do not.

And there's little evidence that the bully pulpit still exists. If Obama wins re-election by holding on to most or all states that have passed anti-gay marriage legislation or referenda, and exit polls show a healthy number of supporters chose this as important, then I'd rethink that. Hell, I'd be shocked (pleasantly so) if there was a significant bump in his polls with respondents saying it.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:01 PM on May 9, 2012


I'm making it clear right here I am simply sharing this, not necessarily endorsing it or refuting it, that's for you to decide.

Gawker: Barack Obama’s Bullshit Gay Marriage Announcement

ABC News has only released one brief clip of Obama's conversation about gay marriage today, but it seems fairly clear from the network's coverage that his announcement amounts to much less than meets the eye. He now believes that gay couples should be able to marry. He doesn't believe they have a right to do so. This is like saying that black children and white children ought to attend the same schools, but if the people of Alabama reject that notion—what are you gonna do?

The key language in the ABC News write-up is this:
The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own.

On this afternoon's special broadcast, Jake Tapper echoed that point: "The president said he thought this was a state-by-state issue."
Well, before Roe v. Wade, abortion was a state-by-state issue, too. So was slavery. There are 44 states in which gay men and women are currently barred from marrying one another. Obama's position is that, while he would have voted the other way, those 44 states are perfectly within their rights to arbitrarily restrict the access of certain individuals to marriage rights based solely on their sexual orientation.

That is a half-assed, cowardly cop-out... Equality is not a state-by-state issue...

posted by flex at 2:03 PM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


You are going to attack the folks who want more from Obama today? They were the ones who wanted more yesterday and got us where we are while you cowered in fear of Mitt Romney.

This, times a million.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:04 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Obama's position was wrong, the folks who defended it were wrong, and the idea that it could and should not be changed were wrong, wrong, wrong. You are going to attack the folks who want more from Obama today? They were the ones who wanted more yesterday and got us where we are while you cowered in fear of Mitt Romney.

Throwing around accusations of cowardice is both wrong-headed and insulting. None of this matters if Romney does win, and if you'd rather have had a pat on the back several months ago when people lose their rights for the foreseeable future, that's mind-bogglingly selfish.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:06 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


^ Don't kid yourself, Obama can still easily lose. Despite today, this election is still about the economy and jobs.

If it was about that today, it was about that yesterday. I've never said this will win him an election, just that there isn't much reason to believe it will cost him one.

Maybe not but some of the haters who would otherwise vote for Obama might just decide to sit this election out. Obama must feel very secure in the Black church vote.

I mean come on, Obama was never in danger of losing the black church vote. He could come out himself and gay marriage would still not be a top priority there no matter their social conservatism on the issue.

I do not feel he is in danger of losing, but the scope of that argument is beyond the gay marriage subject of the thread so we can agree to disagree.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:07 PM on May 9, 2012


They're one and the same. This is indeed a federal matter, because it's covered in the fourteenth amendment, under the due process clause. In which case, a president can do a number of things to impact the playing field for gay rights. He can appoint Supreme Court justices who recognize gay rights as civil rights. He can suggest that Congress repeal DOMA. And he can make the case to the American people, many of whom just haven't thought of it that way yet.

So in your opinion, the Congress has the power, constitutionally to pass a law saying that gays must be married by all states?

Second, all of those things you say are true. He has appointed two justices who do see gay rights as civil rights. He has suggested that Congress repeal DOMA.

But he can't get a bill passed between now and November. So, there is no benefit to doing this now.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:08 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it was about that today, it was about that yesterday. I've never said this will win him an election, just that there isn't much reason to believe it will cost him one.

You mean, apart from the plentiful polling evidence showing pluralities or majorities in opposition to gay marriage in every single battleground state?
posted by zombieflanders at 2:09 PM on May 9, 2012




For the record, folks who've trotted out Roe v Wade and Loving v Virginia as evidence that the President can change this from a state issue to a national issue, to the best of my knowledge, the President doesn't sit on the Supreme Court.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:10 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


(which is not to say that other arguments about state issue v federal issue aren't legitimate)
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:10 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I must now present the best piece of merch the Obama campaign is selling, a Joe Biden Beer Coozy.
posted by hellojed at 2:11 PM on May 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


So in your opinion, the Congress has the power, constitutionally to pass a law saying that gays must be married by all states?

You're shadowboxing.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:11 PM on May 9, 2012


Just because the federal government doesn't issue marriage licenses doesn't mean it has no ability to recognize same-sex marriage. Social Security, filing taxes and pension and retirement benefits (for federal employees) are all areas in which the federal government has its own distinct policy on recognizing marriage, independent of the states. Repealing Section 3 of DOMA would do away with dual status for same-sex couples already legally married. Gaining these federal benefits would mark a substantive change in a homosexual person's marriage status.

Uh, you do know Obama already backed a bill to repeal all of DOMA, right?

And he doesn't have the votes for these things now. I'm not saying he shouldn't announce this. I'm saying December 2012 would have been a better time because nothing can get done between now and then and the potential costs are the loss of the Presidency and Mitt Romney who today said that not only does he oppose gay marriage, he opposes civil unions that have the same rights as marriage. He's basically for hospital visitations. That's all I've said.

DOMA is unconstitutional. Congress lacked the power to enact that law.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:12 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


None of this matters if Romney does win, and if you'd rather have had a pat on the back several months ago when people lose their rights for the foreseeable future, that's mind-bogglingly selfish.

I think that's a big if. Obama's gay rights platform in 2008 was illegal in at least four of the states he won. One of those was a surprise upset. I'm not convinced that his platform today is radically more repellent to social conservatives than it was in 2008.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:13 PM on May 9, 2012


One of the finest qualities of US political discourse, such as it is, can be found in the limitless ability it has to make Good & Perfect such mortal enemies.
posted by aramaic at 2:13 PM on May 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Gawker: Barack Obama’s Bullshit Gay Marriage Announcement

Not sure if this slogan has made it to MetaFilter yet, but the general consensus around the web is fuck gawker.

They are evil, contrived, one snark removed from Perez Hilton or Jezebel and and no one will mourn their passing.
posted by four panels at 2:16 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


For the Shep Smith watchers, a bit after the '21st century' remark, he asked Bret Baier if the GOP would campaign against same-sex marriage "while sitting very firmly, without much question, on the wrong side of history on it.".

I think we're to 'deathwatch' here.
posted by mephron at 2:16 PM on May 9, 2012


So in your opinion, the Congress has the power, constitutionally to pass a law saying that gays must be married by all states?

You're shadowboxing.


First, I'm trying to judge what people think the law is and how far Congress' power extends. I suspect that there are plenty of people in this thread who don't understand that. So I'd like to get some idea if there are people who seriously believe that the federal government can force the states to marry gay and lesbian residents of those states.

And if it is merely that he could now support a repeal of DOMA, he already does. He's already on record supporting an actual bill doing just that.

Seriously, what policy changes could he make between now and November? Its a GOP House. There will be zero votes on any of this. So my point is this--I think he's taking a political risk that isn't worth it because he can't make any more changes to move gay rights forward between now and then. What is the political advantage of this over waiting until December?
posted by Ironmouth at 2:18 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Again, Shep Smith has done this many times before. He is on record as being vocally anti-torture despite all the Republicans shouting that it isn't a big deal.

Fox will happily keep him, because having one genuine independent thinker helps their narrative of being "fair and balanced." They just won't do anything to support his maturity or encourage their other employees to act thusly.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:18 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


You mean, apart from the plentiful polling evidence showing pluralities or majorities in opposition to gay marriage in every single battleground state?

People oppose flag burning too, but unless you take into account how important they rank that compared to real concerns like economic issues you aren't getting the whole picture. Obama has been perceived as more liberal on these issues all along going back to 2008, and guess what, the polling shows him doing pretty damn well this time around too.

I mean, do we really need to rehash all of this? If you believe the President is acting on political calculus on this matter to explain why he opposed gay marriage, you know he has taken the polling into account way better than you did in his decision to change his position.

Some folks knew this already, some folks didn't. Maybe it's time to listen to the folks who did for a change.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:19 PM on May 9, 2012


I think that's a big if. Obama's gay rights platform in 2008 was illegal in at least four of the states he won. One of those was a surprise upset. I'm not convinced that his platform today is radically more repellent to social conservatives than it was in 2008.

Like I said, we'll see soon. And I still stand behind the fact that I would rather have results than platitudes, and that anybody who claims that support (now or earlier) but losing the election and any good chance at equal rights for a long time is higher moral ground is being appallingly selfish.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are we still arguing that he secretly wants to retain DADT still? That was a fun one.
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


What is the political advantage of this over waiting until December?

He cannot attack Romney for the empty-suited, no-genuinely-held-positions-on-anything windbag that he really is if Obama himself has exactly the same Achilles' heel. The longer he dithered on this (and the media has made an issue of it lately), the more he exposed himself to the same criticism he needs to be able to use on a broader scale against Romney.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:20 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Personally, I stand behind the idea that "losing the election" translating to the loss of all hope for decades to come is shortsighted rubbish.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:21 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: So in your opinion, the Congress has the power, constitutionally to pass a law saying that gays must be married by all states?

I think Congress could (theoretically) pass a law saying, not that all states must allow gay marriage, but that all states must provide LGBTQ folks equal protection under the law. Then you have the DOJ go after states that don't offer that equal protection, and the Supreme Court is forced to rule on it one way or another. Depending how the Court rules, the President totally has the power to rally around a constitutional amendment. That's not going to happen right now, but theoretically, yeah. The Gay Rights Act of 2013 has a nice ring to it.

I'm not suggesting he will go all the way to the mat on this -- as he already has shown he will not with his "state's rights" nonsense.

But I would suggest that he's basically saying, "Yo, America, what's up? You think I forgot about you? I didn't forget about you. I still love you."

Part of what got Obama elected in 2008 was the huge turnout of young voters. He's turned most of them off by now, and he's got to get them interested again if he's going to get them to the polls in November. Coming out for marriage equality makes him seem less out of touch.
posted by brina at 2:21 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's quite amusing to me though, that this thread is turning into some of the characters who insisted Obama could not do this lecturing at the folks who said he could and should.

I figured he would 'evolve' after the election. If he's done it sooner than that, I assume there are some poll numbers showing that it's a safe move to take before the election.

Politicians don't tend to say their position is 'evolving' on an issue. That was a clear signal that he was going to come out in favor of gay marriage eventually.
posted by empath at 2:23 PM on May 9, 2012


First, I'm trying to judge what people think the law is and how far Congress' power extends. I suspect that there are plenty of people in this thread who don't understand that. So I'd like to get some idea if there are people who seriously believe that the federal government can force the states to marry gay and lesbian residents of those states.

Why? As far as I can tell, no one has claimed that the Congress has the power to dictate to the states how and to whom they issue marriage certificates? You've invented this argument out of whole cloth.

Your initial comment on this was: "But its a huge risk for almost zero payoff--unlike civil rights, this is not a federal matter."

This is the comment to which everyone else is reacting, and is demonstrably false. Among other things, there's DOMA, and there's the various federal court decisions, including notably Loving v. Virginia, which address marriage. And, of course, as I quoted above, the Supreme Court in Loving pointed out that "[ma]rriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival..."

You've now backed off your blanket claims that marriage equality is "not a federal matter" and instead offered a bunch of obfuscatory arguments about exactly how far Congress's power extends in this domain--an argument no one else in the thread is having--and you've intetionally conflated the efficacy of Presidential action on this issue pre-election with the legal question of whether anti-equality laws are legal. Stop it.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Based on Obama's announcement I have some very happy Republicans dancing around my workplace...of course they also rejoiced when Sarah Palin was announced as McCain's choice for VP. Hope their prognostications continue to be poor.
posted by incandissonance at 2:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Artw: got a link?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:25 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It might bear mentioning that some populist promises made during the 2008 election cycle ended up being a gift to, among other interests, insurance companies. For lack of specifics about this major policy shift in this election cycle, again, perhaps some skepticism may be warranted.

Somewhere out there, profiteers are counting the money to be made from planning people's weddings.

But I'm furious that he, even now, seems to think he can buy Republicans by, yet again throwing gay people under the bus with his utter bullshit about how marriage should be decided on a state by state basis. Has the man not heard of Loving v Virginia? You know, the decision that would have let his parents get married had they stayed together?

Have you heard of Perry v. Schwarzenegger? The case that's winding its way through the judicial branch, just like Loving v. Virginia did?
posted by anigbrowl at 2:26 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Trawl away.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on May 9, 2012


I think the main reason for doing this now instead of later is that he's realized how utterly unenthused his base is, and he's finally realized that all of his surrendering to conservatives hasn't actually convinced any Republicans to vote for him.

So, after loathing and bashing those of us on the "professional left" for his entire first term, he finally realizes that (gasp, shock, surprise) he needs us to vote for him and donate money to him.

And even there he wasn't able to avoid pandering to the right with his declaration that "State's Rights" trumps civil rights.
posted by sotonohito at 2:28 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think that's a big if. Obama's gay rights platform in 2008 was illegal in at least four of the states he won. One of those was a surprise upset. I'm not convinced that his platform today is radically more repellent to social conservatives than it was in 2008.

This is the kind of discussion I'm talking about. I do understand what you are saying, but I just think its one thing for a candidate to soft shoe the issue in a year where the economy and Iraq were the biggest issues.

It is quite another for a person who already holds the Presidency to do this. The other thing is that if he does lose and the polling shows that it was because of gay rights, what do you think the effect on politicians willing to take a risk on gay rights is going to be in the future? They are going to stay away from it for a long time to come. He's risking a lot more than his Presidency, if you think about it.

Having said all that, the horse is out of the barn. My hope is that he's got some great polling that shows that he can really put Romney on the defensive here--by forcing him to either take a position to the right of most Americans on same-sex marriage and civil unions, or to force Romney to move towards him and cause the GOP to stay home.

What scares me is the polling. Gay marriage has lost at the ballot box every single time in every state where it has come up. In Maine, after the legislature passed it, a referendum repealed it 300,848 to 267,828. In California, it lost 52-47. Since 1998, gay marriage has been on the ballot 32 times. Every time it lost. The only bright spot was in Arizona where one version was turned back, but a later one passed. Gay marriage doesn't win with the voters.

So I am concerned about this call. It made little sense from a wider-political perspective to me. Since no policy can be changed until at least November, there seems to be no point in taking the risk.

But it is done now. So we have to definitely go out there and vote for the President or Romney will get in and make it worse and try to reverse DADT.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:29 PM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Beer cozy nothin. How long have they had the Obama pride t-shirts?
posted by elsietheeel at 2:32 PM on May 9, 2012


People oppose flag burning too, but unless you take into account how important they rank that compared to real concerns like economic issues you aren't getting the whole picture. Obama has been perceived as more liberal on these issues all along going back to 2008, and guess what, the polling shows him doing pretty damn well this time around too.

No, it doesn't. His lead in national polls is statistically non-existent, and his lead in most battleground states is within the margin of error often enough to be nearly so.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:33 PM on May 9, 2012


Again, a presidential election involves folks prioritizing their concerns. That folks who were willing to vote for Obama again even though he opposed gay marriage (which they support) don't get this is a little crazy. A ballot question is a way more black and white matter.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:33 PM on May 9, 2012


More Andrew Sullivan:
The interview changes no laws; it has no tangible effect. But it reaffirms for me the integrity of this man we are immensely lucky to have in the White House. Obama's journey on this has been like that of many other Americans, when faced with the actual reality of gay lives and gay relationships. Yes, there was politics in a lot of it. But not all of it. I was in the room long before the 2008 primaries when Obama spoke to the mother of a gay son about marriage equality. He said he was for equality, but not marriage. Five years later, he sees - as we all see - that you cannot have one without the other. Bu even then, you knew he saw that woman's son as his equal as a citizen. It was a moment - way off the record at the time - that clinched my support for him.

Today Obama did more than make a logical step. He let go of fear. He is clearly prepared to let the political chips fall as they may. That's why we elected him. That's the change we believed in. The contrast with a candidate who wants to abolish all rights for gay couples by amending the federal constitution, and who has donated to organizations that seek to "cure" gays, who bowed to pressure from bigots who demanded the head of a spokesman on foreign policy solely because he was gay: how much starker can it get?
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:35 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth I continue to be baffled by your insistence that Obama cannot or should not try to push the nation in a direction he wants.

You don't change the world by timidly sitting around, following polls obsessively, and never (ever) doing anything that doesn't poll well with a huge majority.

You change the world by boldly striking out in the direction you think is right and dragging the nation with you.

Bush Jr, stupid as he was, understood that. the Iraq war polled worse, by far, than gay marriage and he did it anyway, and he pounded on the Bully Pulpit and insisted that anyone who disagreed with him was a filthy traitor. It worked. He actually got elected after charging into a war that a solid majority of Americans opposed.

See, here's the thing: As a rule, Americans won't elect timid and cowardly types. They like the big bold types. Obama's timid, centrist, cowardly, surrender first, approach doesn't win elections.

If he'd find his spine and actually do what he thought was right instead of trying, yet again, to surrender to the Republicans in the forlorn how that, somehow, this time, they will like him and stop being so mean, he'd do a lot better.
posted by sotonohito at 2:36 PM on May 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Can someone explain to me how this was a savvy move politically? Because I just don't see any political upside, for him. As pointed out in this thread, in every single state that put gay marriage on a ballot, the population voted against it. And while the percentage of Americans in favor of gay marriage is now higher than those opposed, that isn't a one-to-one ratio in terms of electoral votes (as I think was also mentioned above). It looks to me that he just threw 2012 away.

Can someone lay out for me how this was smart for re-election? Because if it isn't, I don't know what to make of it.

(Yes, I am that cynical, but I don't think I'm wrong, either.)
posted by tzikeh at 2:38 PM on May 9, 2012


You've now backed off your blanket claims that marriage equality is "not a federal matter" and instead offered a bunch of obfuscatory arguments about exactly how far Congress's power extends in this domain--an argument no one else in the thread is having--and you've intetionally conflated the efficacy of Presidential action on this issue pre-election with the legal question of whether anti-equality laws are legal. Stop it.

My "blanket claims?" Try reading my entire comment:

Although I agree with the President personally, I wonder about the impact on the election. Every single state where a popular vote has beem taken on gay marriage, it has lost. This includes the swing states of North Carolina and Virginia. It even includes California.

Furthermore, there's very little power the President has over marriage. Except for a few circumstances, the power to regulate marriage arises out of the "police power" a power held exclusively by the states. This means that very little practical policy changes can come out of his announcement. The trade off, in terms of policy, is low, given that he could say the same thing in six months with zero effect on his electability.

There are upsides, politically. Obviously, forcing Romney to flat out take a position for civil unions that might keep his base from the polls.

But its a huge risk for almost zero payoff--unlike civil rights, this is not a federal matter.


I said that there is "very little power" to regulate marriage. And there is "very little power." He can't make states marry gay people. And if DOMA is your issue, he's already on record supporting a specific bill to repeal.

I'm saying he has very little he can do right now that he hasn't done already.

Name me one thing that this announcement enables him to do, from a policy standpoint, that he hasn't already done.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:38 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can someone lay out for me how this was smart for re-election? Because if it isn't, I don't know what to make of it.

It energizes the base, who were getting just a bit upset with his refusal to actually profess support for things that he supposedly likes. Can't win a race if your own party stays home.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:40 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


And it releases a ton of LGBT donations that were being actively withheld, and it gets out the out vote, and it's a strong position against Rmoney's waffling, and...
posted by CaptApollo at 2:42 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


People oppose flag burning too, but unless you take into account how important they rank that compared to real concerns like economic issues you aren't getting the whole picture. Obama has been perceived as more liberal on these issues all along going back to 2008, and guess what, the polling shows him doing pretty damn well this time around too.

No, it doesn't. His lead in national polls is statistically non-existent, and his lead in most battleground states is within the margin of error often enough to be nearly so.


He's barely started campaigning yet and is in an excellent position. You can't look at polls this far out as if today was election day. The outlook in swing states is very good, and Obama holds a voter enthusiasm edge that portends well for his ability to pull away.

Let's not run this one into the ground, eh? As I said overall general election stuff is beyond the scope of the thread. The key point there was that gay rights were not a problem for him in those states previously because even the folks who care about these issues prioritize other concerns more highly.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:43 PM on May 9, 2012


Can't win a race if your own party stays home.

Yes, but all he said was that he believed gay people should be allowed to get married, and then went right to "but states rights." Which (again, I point to someone else in the thread saying what I was going to say) is hilarious coming from a child of a black father and white mother. And by "hilarious" I mean "oh GOD my ears is this really happening?"
posted by tzikeh at 2:44 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ironmouth: And he doesn't have the votes for these things now. I'm not saying he shouldn't announce this. I'm saying December 2012 would have been a better time because nothing can get done between now and then ...

Well, that is nothing beyond:

1: Rallying the kind of donor and volunteer support that won elections in 2006 and 2008. That donor and volunteer support included a much bolder progressive vision than what we have now.

2: Forcing Romney into a reactionary position that further divides his Republican support. Again, Obama swept moderates who previously voted for Bush and attracted a sizable number of Republicans in 2008.

Sure, Obama isn't defining policy by making this statement. He is campaigning for reelection, which is just as much a part of his job description as a candidate and party leader.

And if DOMA is your issue, he's already on record supporting a specific bill to repeal.

If he's already on record supporting DOMA repeal, then this announcement changes very little. Republicans are going to hammer him on both support of repeal and the policies he's already implemented. The cat's out of the bag already, and publicly waffling on things he's already done isn't going to win him any votes.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:44 PM on May 9, 2012


Ironmouth I continue to be baffled by your insistence that Obama cannot or should not try to push the nation in a direction he wants.

I'm saying he should wait until after the election because he's already on record supporting every change the Congress can make in favor of gay rights. He should wait until after the election when he isn't (1) risking putting Romney in; and (2) risking a generations worth of progress by scaring every single politician off of gay rights if he loses. If the polling even comes close to saying that Obama lost the election for this, then a lot of politicians are going to back away from gay rights.

You play to win. You wait until you have a chance to actually pass a bill that helps. He's done that so far, with DADT under his belt. But that was a federal issue, where a federal bill could have helped. Here, he's already on record supporting repeal of DOMA. He's on record for same-sex benefits for federal workers. That's all the things he can do.

Listen I pray I'm wrong. I hope you all are right and this won't cost him the election. I want gay marriage. But he can't do anything to move that ball forward between now and November, so there is almost no policy upside and a potential electoral downside.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:45 PM on May 9, 2012


Bush Jr, stupid as he was, understood that. the Iraq war polled worse, by far, than gay marriage and he did it anyway, and he pounded on the Bully Pulpit and insisted that anyone who disagreed with him was a filthy traitor. It worked. He actually got elected after charging into a war that a solid majority of Americans opposed.

Are you making this up or did you not actually know the truth? At the time of the invasion it had over 70% approval, and it didn't fall under 50% until 2005.

It energizes the base, who were getting just a bit upset with his refusal to actually profess support for things that he supposedly likes. Can't win a race if your own party stays home.

It also energizes the other side, who has won several resounding victories on this issue alone in recent years.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:45 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ironmouth: And he doesn't have the votes for these things now. I'm not saying he shouldn't announce this. I'm saying December 2012 would have been a better time because nothing can get done between now and then ...

Well, that is nothing beyond:

1: Rallying the kind of donor and volunteer support that won elections in 2006 and 2008. That donor and volunteer support included a much bolder progressive vision than what we have now.

2: Forcing Romney into a reactionary position that further divides his Republican support. Again, Obama swept moderates who previously voted for Bush and attracted a sizable number of Republicans in 2008.

Sure, Obama isn't defining policy by making this statement. He is campaigning for reelection, which is just as much a part of his job description as a candidate and party leader.

And if DOMA is your issue, he's already on record supporting a specific bill to repeal.

If he's already on record supporting DOMA repeal, then this announcement changes very little. Republicans are going to hammer him on both support of repeal and the policies he's already implemented. The cat's out of the bag already, and publicly waffling on things he's already done isn't going to win him any votes.


This is a very accurate statement of the potential political upside and quite similar to what I said above. My gut says the calculus is wrong though.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:46 PM on May 9, 2012


the Iraq war polled worse, by far, than gay marriage and he did it anyway, and he pounded on the Bully Pulpit and insisted that anyone who disagreed with him was a filthy traitor. It worked.

That's ridiculous. The polling was *overwhelmingly against* the idea of invading Iraq before we invaded.
posted by tzikeh at 2:47 PM on May 9, 2012


er, what zombieflanders said. And also that second thing zombieflanders said too. Obama saying "yes, gay people should be allowed to marry" will most likely whip up Evangelicals to come out for Romney when before this they would have stayed home.
posted by tzikeh at 2:48 PM on May 9, 2012


I applaud him finally taking a stand one way or the other. While it is irritating that he hemmed and hawed for so long it is the nature of politics.

I can't wrap my head around the assholes who are so anti-gay rights. What is sickening is that the exact same arguments against gay marriage were used to fight interracial marriages. Why the hell should anyone care if another person is married or not is beyond me. It has no effect whatsoever on you.

I don't think this will be much of an election change for him. There are those who would vote for him even if he murdered every last kitten and ate them on youtube. There are those who would vote against him even if he personally cured cancer and brought back Firefly to television. For the rest of the public, gay marriage is far far far down the list of important issues as others have noted.

Many of his base was already in favor of gay marriage. His statement won't change their vote. Those who are for gay marriage but don't like his economic policies won't change their vote. Those who are against gay marriage but like his economic policies and believe they will work will most likely still vote for him. Those who are against gay marriage and against his policies won't be changing their vote either.

I just don't see this as changing much - unless it re-energizes the younger generation that was such a important part of his winning in 2008 which it could very do.
posted by 2manyusernames at 2:51 PM on May 9, 2012


As someone who watched the Clinton presidency wipe-out early over DADT (remember, it was replacing a policy of "Ask, then Court-martial") and health reform, I'm content to see the Obama administration make changes in these areas slowly and cautiously.

I know that the there needs to be people saying "It's not enough" so that Obama sees the need for and value of moving off his usual timid stances. I just hope these people don't skip voting, and don't discourage so many others from voting that we wake up to President Romney.

Having voted for Ralph Nader changes a man.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:52 PM on May 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


Very pro marriage equality, i also think this may cost him the election

BUT

I am starting to see a trickle of messages on facebook of people who have registered as Independent over many years declare they are voting straight party-line Democratic this year because of today. I am sure there will be some having an opposite reaction, the big question is which side of the fence will most of them fall. A potential bright spot is I suspect the "Independent" voters will skew young ward and as we all know youth favors marriage equality.

I am a pessimistic old fuck through and through, but maybe... just maybe we can actual elect a president that has stated he is for SSM while still in office and facing election. It would be a watershed moment. (still think it move him from 70% likely to win to 45% likely to win)
posted by edgeways at 2:53 PM on May 9, 2012


Ironmouth: You play to win. You wait until you have a chance to actually pass a bill that helps. He's done that so far, with DADT under his belt.

How did DADT pass?

It passed because gay rights advocates spent over a decade raising public awareness of the issue with editorials, letters, protests, tearful news stories of unfairly discharged servicemembers, and outraged news stories of how some units were negatively affected by it.

It passed because key leaders in congress were repeatedly forced to make yes/no decisions about it on the record until they waffled.

It passed because congressional leaders floated bill after bill until one of them finally got the necessary votes to land on Obama's desk.

It did not pass because anyone involved in it waited for a better season to advance the issue.

My gut says the calculus is wrong though.

Your gut has made the exact same argument any time Democrats dare to win or push progressive policy.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:53 PM on May 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


it could be a crafty way to get the middle worried about romney's religion. gay marriage brings to mind prop 8 brings to mind mormons which wrap right around to romney. a guy who might be a seekrit muslim might still be better than what many people consider a cult.
posted by nadawi at 2:54 PM on May 9, 2012


Name me one thing that this announcement enables him to do, from a policy standpoint, that he hasn't already done.

If he already publicly supports every possible pro gay marriage federal policy, then why do you think explicitly supporting gay marriage is such a big risk? Wouldn't Romney be able to hammer on him in the debates for his policy stances if they were actually unpopular with people who would conceivably vote Democrat?
posted by burnmp3s at 2:55 PM on May 9, 2012


Ironmouth: You play to win. You wait until you have a chance to actually pass a bill that helps. He's done that so far, with DADT under his belt.

How did DADT pass? . . .

It did not pass because anyone involved in it waited for a better season to advance the issue.


DADT came about because Clinton tried to allow gay servicemembers to serve and failed. DADT was the compromise policy.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:57 PM on May 9, 2012


Eight years ago, George W. Bush got on TV and said: "Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all. Today, I call upon the Congress to promptly pass and to send to the states for ratification an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife."

One of the darkest days of my life. In an instant, the supposed president of all Americans (however divorced from that reality the fact of his presidency was) got on TV and looked directly into the camera and said to me and millions of others like me: "You are nothing more than a second-class citizen. I will do everything in my power to make sure that you will stay that way as long into the future as I can make it happen."

Something important is missing from this thread, I think. To me, while all the questions of policy implications, not to mention Obama's motives, political calculations, revised election odds, etc., etc., are interesting to watch unfold in discussions here and elsewhere, the main thing is that the man finally got on TV and said that Bush was fucking wrong. If the political calculus is wrong, so be it. If it loses him the election, so be it. I'm tired of standing around biting my fingernails and telling myself that it's not time for Obama to support same-sex marriage until AFTER he's re-elected.

The issue is not one of what decision will cost him the election or win him the election, at least not to me. It matters mainly that he has finally (yes, it took too long) made this move, however symbolic, however much it's contradicted by his coolly pronounced and carefully measured caveat that states still should be able to decide for themselves whether same-sex marriage is allowed or not.

To be clear, the act itself changes very little for me in practical terms. My marriage is still illegal in the state where I live, not to mention my native state, California. I still have to look at far too many states in the union where it's inconceivable that I could hold a job as an openly gay man, let alone get married as one.

But the symbolism? It matters to me a hell of a lot. I don't care what anyone else says. My relationship, my life partnership, my marriage, is no longer on the lips of the president as a crime against the common good that must be expunged to "serve the interests of all."

Yes, Mr. Bush: I hope you are watching this and choking on your bile in Dallas. Fuck you, and fuck your calculated efforts to get same-sex marriage banned that turned 2004 into a year of pain and humiliation for so many.
posted by blucevalo at 2:58 PM on May 9, 2012 [53 favorites]


flex: Keep in mind that if the big story of the day was the capture and arrest of someone who raped an entire kindergarten, Gawker would publish a story about how baby-raping is a good thing.
posted by La Cieca at 3:04 PM on May 9, 2012


i wish less people would instantly flash to rape as their point making tactic.
posted by nadawi at 3:06 PM on May 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


nadawi: I apologize, and I am open to suggestions for less inflammatory while equally non-debatable examples of absolute evil.
posted by La Cieca at 3:08 PM on May 9, 2012


flex: Keep in mind that if the big story of the day was the capture and arrest of someone who raped an entire kindergarten, Gawker would publish a story about how baby-raping is a good thing.

And Will Saletan for Slate would publish a "Are we all wrong about baby-raping?"
posted by Ironmouth at 3:10 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the political calculus is simple. The other side is already going to use the issue to get their troops out, so you might as well use it to get your troops out, too.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:15 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


this baby shit is maybe the least useful derail ever fyi
posted by elizardbits at 3:18 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


La Cieca - murder? kidnap? i mean, any violent thing you flip to is going to catch some people with ptsd around those issues, but it seems like rape is the one most likely to cast the widest net. i'm not even calling you out specifically, just, making a note - that it makes seemingly innocuous threads harder for some people and i'd appreciate if that was kept in mind.
posted by nadawi at 3:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I do not feel he is in danger of losing, but the scope of that argument is beyond the gay marriage subject of the thread so we can agree to disagree.

I disagree. I think that is the primary political consideration here. It is not beyond the scope of the discussion.

I am also concerned about the effect on downballot races too.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:19 PM on May 9, 2012


Joe Biden, in a classic gaffe, starts a chain of events that move democracy forward in America.

Ah, ya gotta love Joe. Dude's all heart. If he made any gaffe it was in the timing, but this had to be on the Obama campaign's radar in a big way. It is the killer app (One of them, along with women's rights, youth right's, immigrant rights etc) for the Left from this point onward against the loony GOTP. This is going to devastate the them.

Also, it's nice that it's made so many people happy and that BO doesn't need to be defended on this anymore. That was getting tedious...
posted by Skygazer at 3:19 PM on May 9, 2012


tzikeh: I think the "savvy" conclusion comes from two places: the link above that shows vocal support of equal marriage means it's easier to bundle donations from some gay and progressive donors and the polling that shows that although somewhere between 40-60% of people support equal marriage, they don't consider the issue critical enough to vote on. If the President can come out and support it, perhaps they will begin to feel it's a critical issue to vote in support of.

I don't know whether it's savvy or not, but I am glad to hear it. I remember the 1996 Illinois state campaign when Obama supported equal marriage and I was surprised when he distanced himself from that stance, even though I think it's important for the president both to appear to be and to be a person of integrity--one who considers his opinions, rather than simply clings to them. So I am glad he has come full circle and landed back in the camp of "equal marriage."

On the other hand, I think his belief that equal marriage rights are good and right is one that is easily reconciled with his statement that (unfortunately) states govern those rights. He's a lawyer, and that's pretty much the lawyer opinion. Even lawyers who want equal marriage right recognize that. Until that changes, there is nothing the man can do except support repeal of DOMA and lead by example, by saying "I see no reason to tell two adults they cannot be married simply because they are a man and a man or a woman and a woman, rather than a man and a woman."

I also remember his first presidential campaign literature which had a comprehensive de-emphasize the personal auto transportation policy, which I'd love to see him resurrect.
posted by crush-onastick at 3:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do not feel he is in danger of losing, but the scope of that argument is beyond the gay marriage subject of the thread so we can agree to disagree.

I disagree. I think that is the primary political consideration here. It is not beyond the scope of the discussion.

I am also concerned about the effect on downballot races too.


How gay marriage will effect the race is on point, debating the race in all it's dimensions is the kind of derail that leads to Nader for the millionth time.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:23 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


How gay marriage will effect the race is on point, debating the race in all it's dimensions is the kind of derail that leads to Nader for the millionth time.

Got you.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


My hope is that this put Romney in even more of a lose-lose position. It seems like Romney still has a lot of work to do to shore up and get any kind of get-out-the-vote momentum from erstwhile Santorum supporters, which means he'll now have to come out firmly against marriage equality... yet of course he can't win the general (can he??) without getting a lot of Independents to swing his way, which one would think requires an even more moderate/tolerant stance.

I can at least see how putting this on the table, forcing Romney to either be with Obama or against him on this issue, might ultimately mean less support for Romney than if both candidates could get away with being wishy-washy about it.

Fingers crossed.
posted by argonauta at 3:26 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Garry Wills: The Myth About Marriage
The Eastern Orthodox and Western Roman churches, and some other sectarians, claim that “church marriage” is a sacrament. It isn’t.

Some of my fellow Catholics even think that “true marriage” was instituted by Christ. It wasn’t. Marriage is prescribed in Eden by YHWH (Yahweh) at Genesis 2.24: man and wife shall “become one flesh.” When Jesus is asked about marriage, he simply quotes that passage from Genesis (Mark 10.8). He nowhere claims to be laying a new foundation for a “Christian marriage” to replace the Yahwist institution.

... The early church had no specific rite for marriage. This was left up to the secular authorities of the Roman Empire, since marriage is a legal concern for the legitimacy of heirs. When the Empire became Christian under Constantine, Christian emperors continued the imperial control of marriage, as the Code of Justinian makes clear. When the Empire faltered in the West, church courts took up the role of legal adjudicator of valid marriages. But there was still no special religious meaning to the institution. As the best scholar of sacramental history, Joseph Martos, puts it: “Before the eleventh century there was no such thing as a Christian wedding ceremony in the Latin church, and throughout the Middle Ages there was no single church ritual for solemnizing marriage between Christians.”

Only in the twelfth century was a claim made for some supernatural favor (grace) bestowed on marriage as a sacrament. By the next century marriage had been added to the biblically sacred number of seven sacraments. Since Thomas Aquinas argued that the spouses’ consent is the efficient cause of marriage and the seal of intercourse was the final cause, it is hard to see what a priest’s blessing could add to the reality of the bond. And bad effects followed. This sacralizing of the natural reality led to a demoting of Yahwist marriage, the only kind Jesus recognized, as inferior to “true marriage” in a church.

... Those who do not want to let gay partners have the sacredness of sacramental marriage are relying on a Scholastic fiction of the thirteenth century to play with people’s lives, as the church has done ever since the time of Aquinas. The myth of the sacrament should not let people deprive gays of the right to natural marriage, whether blessed by Yahweh or not. They surely do not need—since no one does—the blessing of Saint Thomas.
posted by ericb at 3:28 PM on May 9, 2012 [32 favorites]


ultraviolet catastrophe: Yet according to Gallop polling, half of America agrees with him.

mightygodking: The problem is the half that agrees with him is the half less inclined to show up and vote, which is precisely why they've been so cautious about it.

Whether or not this is accurate, the bigger problem is the US isn't a direct democracy.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:33 PM on May 9, 2012


Will the DNC move their convention out of North Carolina? .... Actually, what I'm seeing from gay rights supporters on Twitter (which may not be a representative sample of course) is that the convention needs to stay in NC and be used as a massive point of protest and engagement for gay rights during the convention.

Why the Democratic Convention needs to stay in North Carolina.
posted by ericb at 3:36 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


argonauta: I can at least see how putting this on the table, forcing Romney to either be with Obama or against him on this issue, might ultimately mean less support for Romney than if both candidates could get away with being wishy-washy about it.

There are still a looonnngg way to go until November. It's not just fear of an October Surprise, there's time for a Major May Mishap, some June Gloom, July-gone-awry, the Anguish of August, AND a Sizzling September.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:37 PM on May 9, 2012


Will the DNC move their convention out of North Carolina? .... Actually, what I'm seeing from gay rights supporters on Twitter (which may not be a representative sample of course) is that the convention needs to stay in NC and be used as a massive point of protest and engagement for gay rights during the convention.

Why the Democratic Convention needs to stay in North Carolina.


I assume this means that advocating for SSM to be part of the official platform will also be successful, and since the convention will be in a part of NC that voted against the amendment, it would be a pretty bold statement. Not exactly a "fuck you" to the rest of the state, but not exactly a nice big glass of sweet tea with a smile either.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:43 PM on May 9, 2012


I'm also not convinced that referenda votes translate directly into candidate votes given the amount of cross-issue voting that goes on. People who voted for anti-gay amendments voted for Democrats as well.

I also don't think that 2012 is going to be a single-issue election for most moderates. This comes on the heels of embarrassing battles for Republicans on reproductive rights and criticism of the Republican budget by Catholic Bishops. I don't know if Republicans have a clear foreign policy argument, and anti-terrorism efforts under Obama appear to have been effective. Obama probably knows that some of his voters disagree with him on gay rights, and is making a calculated decision that they'll stick with him in a coalition based on the balance of issues, rather than join a reactionary Republican party.

But, we're still months away from the election, and frankly I don't see Obama's lukewarm support of same-sex marriage as being more substantial than the gay-rights ammunition the right already has.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:47 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The whole "it's never passed when put on a ballot" argument is kind misleading, since there are lots of states that have either same-sex marriage or civil unions where a repeal would never happen (e.g. Massachusetts), and in fact efforts to get a repeal onto a ballot have fallen short.
posted by one_bean at 3:51 PM on May 9, 2012


I'm also not convinced that referenda votes translate directly into candidate votes given the amount of cross-issue voting that goes on. People who voted for anti-gay amendments voted for Democrats as well.

Republicans deliberately put anti-gay marriage referenda on the ballot in Ohio in 2004.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:54 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I personally don't consider 10 states plus DC to be "lots," and if California wasn't repeal-proof, there's not a lot of places that we could say are.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:56 PM on May 9, 2012


I think this is great. I'm reading a lot of comments saying something along the lines of "now he'll lose the election and it will only be two steps back," but I don't get how that's a real problem. Why would we want him to win the election if winning the election means that he will not be able to stand up, in any way, for same sex marriage? I'm not sure I want the promotion of civil liberties in the United States to be determined by a perceived opposition. That just means that all the marketers of hateful agendas have succeeded.

We are not at the point where our presidents are being chosen by carefully designed metrics operating on data mines drawing from every personal computer. So why strategize like we are? Why cower behind the fear of what demographics are supposedly capable of? The Right has basically spent the last four years saying "anyone-but-Obama." I do not want to be in the position of (as a leftish) saying "anyone-but-Romney." I want to be able to say that I am for Obama. And after today, I feel more confident doing that.

The USA has been feeling like a pretty nasty place to me for the last decade or so. Even somewhat equivocal statements like this one give me hope that a progressive attitude can be possible. Let's define an agenda that is actually for something, and not just hopeless reaction.
posted by newg at 4:02 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


While I agree with your interpretation of the Constitution, Obama can do nothing about that between now and November. Nothing. No changes can be effected. He cannot force a single state to recognize gay marriage. So the net benefit is zero.

The Congress lacks the power to regulate marriage. It is a state power.


Changing policy at the federal level is not the only way the president can have an impact on marriage equality between now and November. There will be ballot initiatives in Washington, Maryland, and Maine that will have an immediate impact on gay marriage existing in those states or not. Those are all solidly Democratic states where Obama is popular, and the polling on the ballot questions are close. And in Maryland in particular, African-Americans are 29% of the population, and their votes on the initiative will be especially crucial-- one recent poll found statewide support for marriage equality at 50%, with 71% of whites in support and 41% of blacks. Yes, I know, Obama has opposed anti-marriage equality initiatives before, but as far as I know he's never really actively campaigned for marriage equality. Considering that it's sure to be a relatively close vote, I don't think it's far-fetched to think that Obama's support could make the difference between marriage equality standing or being voted down in Maryland, and possibly in Washington and Maine too.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 4:08 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Republicans deliberately put anti-gay marriage referenda on the ballot in Ohio in 2004.

Bush got 2.8 million votes in Ohio that year. Ohio Issue 1 got 3.3 million yes votes. Interestingly, Ohio Issue 1 got 200,000 fewer votes overall. Would you care to explain the discrepancies?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:08 PM on May 9, 2012


Now if Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and my own beloved Virginia would like to get a fucking grip. . .
posted by TheTingTangTong at 4:10 PM on May 9, 2012


three blind mice: Pathetic, weak, and uninspiring. More of the same from Obama.

Next up, Obama rushes into burning building to save small children, tbm harshly criticizes Obama for undermining American firefighting jobs.
posted by Justinian at 4:13 PM on May 9, 2012 [20 favorites]


I can at least see how putting this on the table, forcing Romney to either be with Obama or against him on this issue, might ultimately mean less support for Romney than if both candidates could get away with being wishy-washy about it.

You kids got is so easy with your gay marriage whatsits forcing a Republican candidate to shoulder the losing side of a controversial social issue.

Why, back in my day, every social issue was a wedge issue that helped GOP candidates and hobbled Democratic candidates.

And we liked it that way cause that the way it was.
posted by notyou at 4:13 PM on May 9, 2012






Pathetic, weak, and uninspiring. More of the same from Obama.

Meanwhile, in Russia, in an exhibition hockey game played between retired All Stars and a group of amateurs, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin scored on his first shift of the game, assisted on the game-tying goal, and potted the OT shootout winner for the amateurs.

But I'm sure Obama has a great drop-step.
posted by notyou at 4:20 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next up, Obama rushes into burning building to save small children, tbm harshly criticizes Obama for undermining American firefighting jobs.

If that happened, I would prolly favourite a comment calling him a Cory Booker copycat.
posted by elizardbits at 4:22 PM on May 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


CBrachyrhynchos: And by my quick tally approximately 400,000 votes were cast in favor of the NC Amendment than for all the Republican presidential candidates.

The state's Attorney General called Ammendment 1 "unclear, unwise and unnecessary", and he's a lawyer. If he thinks it was unclear, why would it be any more clear to the voting public? Especially when the supporters of Amendment 1, Vote FOR Marriage NC, put out a very misleading ad about who would actually be impacted by Amendment 1. Even moreso, the fucking thing was a spiteful add-on to the existing laws that made gay marriage illegal in NC.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:23 PM on May 9, 2012


I also get deeply enraged by the narrative that the weak progressive politics and lukewarm gay rights efforts of the Democratic party do more damage to Democrats in elections than the aggressive multi-million-dollar astroturf, networking, and ratfucking we've seen from the right in my lifetime. Circular firing squad, indeed.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has Cory Booker teamed up with Ryan Gosling to fight crime in our fairy city yet?
posted by The Whelk at 4:27 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"What is the political advantage of this over waiting until December?"

I do think that it helps Obama with fundraising, and I think that doing it now allows him to control the narrative a lot more in AA churches because he'll have time to develop more solid messaging — especially if he works with folks like the NAACP preacher from NC. I'm also hoping that the Dems ran a couple of quick field polls after Biden's blurt and saw that the numbers weren't totally unfavorable.

I'll also say that while I totally understood, and even defended him, over not wanting to come out in favor of full marriage, I am glad that he's taking a political risk here. I think it's a good thing overall, and I think that part of it is probably that he saw his employment numbers were looking pretty decent and figured he had the capital to blow, and that it was better to do it now than further into election season.
posted by klangklangston at 4:28 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


only on tumblr
posted by elizardbits at 4:29 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just popping in to note that I was here watching and listening when a bit of amazing history was being made. Go Obama! This is leadership.
posted by exlotuseater at 4:29 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Republicans deliberately put anti-gay marriage referenda on the ballot in Ohio in 2004.

Bush got 2.8 million votes in Ohio that year. Ohio Issue 1 got 3.3 million yes votes. Interestingly, Ohio Issue 1 got 200,000 fewer votes overall. Would you care to explain the discrepancies?


From the New York Times, the day after the 2004 election:
In Ohio, for instance, political analysts credit the ballot measure with increasing turnout in Republican bastions in the south and west, while also pushing swing voters in the Appalachian region of the southeast toward Mr. Bush. The president's extra-strong showing in those areas compensated for an extraordinarily large Democratic turnout in Cleveland and in Columbus, propelling him to a 136,000-vote victory.

"I'd be naïve if I didn't say it helped," said Robert T. Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. "And it helped most in what we refer to as the Bible Belt area of southeastern and southwestern Ohio, where we had the largest percentage increase in support for the president.

...

Indeed, in Ohio, 221,000 more people voted for president than for the constitutional amendment. But an analysis of several counties also indicated that the drop-off in voting for the amendment was significantly larger in Democratic counties than in Republican ones, suggesting a higher sense of intensity about the measure among Republicans.

In rural Shelby County in western Ohio, for instance, the number of people who cast ballots for the amendment was just 1.5 percent lower than those who voted for president. By comparison, there was a 6 percent drop-off in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland.

Shelby County was significant because it registered the largest increase in support for Mr. Bush among Ohio's 88 counties this year, a jump of eight percentage points from 2000, to 71 percent, according to a Republican analysis.


Also, gay marriage isn't a popular topic among African-Americans (a majority of them are believed to have voted against it in North Carolina yesterday), who generally vote Democratic. Ohio has about a million and a half African-Americans, and I wouldn't at all be surprised to find that a huge number of them voted for Issue 1 and John Kerry, which skews the numbers somewhat.
posted by Etrigan at 4:30 PM on May 9, 2012


How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.
If Orson Scott Card is not right now heading for the hills* to begin the resistance, I for one will be sorely disappointed.


*Strictly speaking, presumably, heading for the Buttes. DON'T SAY A WORD.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:31 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


LOL BUTTES.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:37 PM on May 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


As far as the impact on the presidential election-- check out this chart on support for marriage equality by religion. All of the religious groups except for three have more people favoring marriage equality than opposing it, with support over 50%, strong support equal to or outweighing strong opposition, and strong opposition under 20%. The other three groups look dramatically different-- opposition over 60%, strong opposition over 40%. Those three groups? White Evangelicals, Mormons, and Black Protestants. I have a hard time imagining that Obama's support of marriage equality is going to have a huge impact on voting patterns in those groups, or even enthusiasm levels.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 4:42 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


sotonohito: the Iraq war polled worse, by far, than gay marriage and he did it anyway, and he pounded on the Bully Pulpit and insisted that anyone who disagreed with him was a filthy traitor.

zombieflanders says: At the time of the invasion it had over 70% approval, and it didn't fall under 50% until 2005.

tzikeh: That's ridiculous. The polling was *overwhelmingly against* the idea of invading Iraq before we invaded.

From my quick reading of the Wikipedia page on public opinion on Iraq, it looks like the question of popular support is rather messy. One relevant point:
A consistent pattern in the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion was that higher percentages of the population supported the impending war in polls that offered only two options (for or against) than in polls that broke down support into three or more options given (distinguishing unconditional support for the war, opposition to the war even if weapons inspectors do their job, and support if and only if inspection crews are allowed time to investigate first).
The effectiveness of the bully pulpit will depend on popular attitudes, but it seems likely to me that Bush's propaganda (such as the mushroom cloud speech) helped convince people to see fewer options than actually existed.

I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility for Obama's bully pulpit to help people see the human right of marriage equality as a viable option.
posted by audi alteram partem at 4:45 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Part of Romney's public reaction was (seriously) to accuse Obama of flip-flopping. As part of that, he said something like "Meanwhile, my opinion on this has been the same ever since, uh, well, uh, ever since running for office."

So there you have it. Romney's probably not really a bigot, but at the same time he doesn't really care all that much, and certainly not enough to refrain from acting like a bigot if he believes it will help him politically.
posted by Flunkie at 4:47 PM on May 9, 2012


Romney's probably not really a bigot, but at the same time he doesn't really care all that much

Don't underestimate the importance of his faith. Mormon doctrine is pretty clear on the point, and the LDS church spent millions in California on Prop 8. I've got a bunch of Mormons in my extended family, and it saddens me to put them in the "bigot" category, but they are unblinkingly following church teaching on the point, and the church teaching is bigoted, so there you go. Mitt Romney, a bigot, because that's what his church tells him to be.
posted by ambrosia at 4:56 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage,

I can't even begin to imagine how many gay-hatin' tightey-righties will be totally flummoxed by this.

"Well do I keep hatin' gays or do I support the troops?" Brain asplodes. "Tough call, but DAMMIT I SUPPORT THE TROOPS!1!"
posted by snsranch at 4:59 PM on May 9, 2012


"Well do I keep hatin' gays or do I support the troops?" Brain asplodes. "Tough call, but DAMMIT I SUPPORT THE TROOPS!1!"

You did follow the Republican primary right?
posted by edgeways at 5:09 PM on May 9, 2012


Has Cory Booker teamed up with Ryan Gosling to fight crime in our fairy city yet?

Please tell me that's a typo.
posted by psoas at 5:11 PM on May 9, 2012


yes
posted by The Whelk at 5:14 PM on May 9, 2012


I am totally ordering two of those Biden beer cozys. A shame it won't arrive in time for me to use it with the beer I am enjoying this thread with.
posted by chemoboy at 5:17 PM on May 9, 2012


ohnoes the whelk's seekrit identity as oberon has been revealed
posted by elizardbits at 5:17 PM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think that all anti-gay ballot measures have been bad and/or misleading. But I don't think that anti-gay ballot measures were the only thing that created Republican dominance during the Bush era having seen Democratic failures and quid pro quo concessions in my home state in that time. Yes, Republicans took advantage of ballot measures. They also took advantage of massive religious networks in battleground states, coupled with campaign-funding drives in states that Democrats conceded before the start of the primary season. Democrats lost because they tried to play a chess gambit in a game of total war, giving up millions of votes and potential dollars in the hopes of a swing-state jujitsu.

50-state works. So did the massive astroturfing of the Tea Party. If you want to win, start shaking hands with people and back his play on the ground.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:26 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Now THAT's my President.
posted by 4ster at 5:31 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated that they support the troops until it costs them political capital, and then they swift boat them.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:34 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated that they support the troops until it costs them political capital, and then they swift boat them.

Or until it costs them actual effort and human decency. Quite similar to how they only care about fetuses until they are born, Republicans only care about soldiers until they return home with PTSD.
posted by elizardbits at 5:40 PM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile in Argentina...
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Any adult who wants sex-change surgery or hormone therapy in Argentina will be able to demand that their private or public health care companies provide it under a gender rights law approved by the country's congress.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:40 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thinking about this, I have come to the conclusion that I don't really care to speculate about unknowable motivations. For the first time in human history, the president of the United States has come out in favor of gay marriage. The world has shifted a bit more toward justice.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:41 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm so happy, I'm in raptures. MY PRESIDENT. I love him all over again. This is good, this is very good. I don't see how this could hurt him, hurt anything. It's never wrong to be for civil rights.
posted by agregoli at 5:43 PM on May 9, 2012


(and people want to be a part of the clan - the excitement of this needs to spill out - so haters feel left out. Cause they WILL be left behind if they don't change their minds)
posted by agregoli at 5:43 PM on May 9, 2012


I just donated $5 to the campaign, and the website crashed twice before it accepted the donation. I really, really, really hope that the website is experiencing an overload of traffic.

Obama has disappointed me in a lot of ways, but today is a day to get behind a good act.
posted by Cygnet at 5:50 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


As an outsider, this is fascinating. It's quite amazing the contortions that political candidates put themselves through.

I'd like to see him go further of course, but at least it's a step in the right direction.
posted by knapah at 5:53 PM on May 9, 2012


This might make an interesting study in comparison with the way in which Lincoln timed the emancipation proclamation. From a purely historical, strategical perspective, that is. Lincoln's decision was perhaps delayed, perhaps calculated to energize political support, perhaps could have helped states make better choices if made sooner. Yet it can be argued that it was optimal for achieving a full victory. I had hoped that since the idea of gay marriage was difficult to support without insulting certain religious groups, that government might find an easy out by actually refusing to define marriage at all in favor of instead defining a civil union that every couple who wanted legal rights would have to get. However, NC voters and others like them have made it clear that what they want is for government to never recognize any legal relationship at all between any couple that does not fit their ideal. To me that parallels the way Southern states declared in their constitutions that slaves may never be free (not to mention how later they declared that whites and blacks can never marry.)
posted by TreeRooster at 5:54 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cygnet's comment led me to barackobama.com, where they have a splash screen up with a clip from the interview, a quote saying "Same-sex couples should be able to get married." - Barack Obama, and an email signup box saying "Stand with the President".

That makes me even more convinced that they've polled this to hell and back. I'd love to be in the campaign HQ and see the money come rolling in. Amazing.
posted by knapah at 5:59 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


God, I hope I'm in a country where supporting gay rights can make you a lot of money. Up until now, I have been in the other, worse country.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:00 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Of course, the video cuts the bit about it being a matter for the states...
posted by knapah at 6:01 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


haven't made it through the whole tread yet, but i jist want to ask those of you who said you weren't planning on voting for bho "this time" - is the future of the supreme court not an issue for you? if, as my thoroughly uninformed suspicions says, ginsburg will retire soon, then a president romney will create a right-leaning court for the foreseeable future. that to me is all the reason i need to vote for bho (although i have others, too).
posted by fingers_of_fire at 6:07 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


TIME POLICE BULLETIN:

Credible reports confirm that Barack Obama1996 has opened an unregistered chrono-portal and abducted Barack Obama2012, contemporary President of the United States. Suspect remains at large and may attempt to decriminalize marijuana, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and/or end foreign military interventions covert and conventional.

Any of the above actions may generate Category I paradoxes pursuant to §27-B of the TiME-Crime Act of 2084, possibly precluding future establishment of the Spacetime Regulation and Enforcement Agency and the Homeland Defense Robocommand. If apprehended, suspect should be transported over secure particlewise chronotransfer for immediate questioning-plus and indefinite detention without trial.

Chrono-warrants remain in force for Mitt Romney4/2012, Mitt Romney2/2012, Mitt Romney11/2011, Mitt Romney7/2011 Mitt Romney4/2011 Mitt Romney2006, Mitt Romney2002, and Mitt Romney1994, who may be traveling on the same campaign bus.
posted by ecmendenhall at 6:10 PM on May 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


haven't made it through the whole tread yet, but i jist want to ask those of you who said you weren't planning on voting for bho "this time" - is the future of the supreme court not an issue for you?

I'd like to know what will be done about Democrats having given control to Republicans over my civil rights for the last several decades, without putting up a fight. As a gay man in a domestic partnership with another gay man in one of the fifty states in the union, I am more concerned with what Democrats are going to do — in concrete, unambiguous language — with Obama's announcement. Unless we get some specifics, it sure seems like GLBT Americans are just being pandered to in an election year.

Specifically: How will this affect federal, state and local laws in concrete, unambiguous language? Is Obama's ambiguous nod to "states' rights" just another dog whistle that gives some comfort to his centrist voters, who will continue to do whatever they want with my civil rights and those of my partner (as well as other GLBT folks)? Because that sounds like four more years of the same gay-hating bullshit, raising campaign funds by maintaining and riding off our second-class status. (We'll help you out this time, we swear!)

How this will affect laws is a serious matter with serious consequences for GLBT voters. These important questions were not addressed by Obama or by the DNC today, and they are certainly not addressed with smug snark oozing out of his non-GLBT followers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:11 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


So...not worried about the Supreme Court then?
posted by agregoli at 6:12 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, America, assuming an Obama win - please don't fuck it up at the midterms like you did last time.
posted by Artw at 6:13 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


is the future of the supreme court not an issue for you?

My understanding is that their desire to vote their conscience trumps their desire to have somebody closer to their actual political views in office.

That's their right, to vote their conscience, as it is the right of all Americans. Its a shame that our voting system doesn't allow votes of conscience to be worth anything.

My own personal opinion is that I'd rather have a frequently good president instead of an always bad president and I'm willing to live with some decisions I vehemently disagree with if it means that I don't vehemently disagree with every decision.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:15 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


If I expected a president who believed what I believe every time and acted the way I would act every time, I would have to vote for myself, and then I would express constant disappointment because, let's face it, I'm not actually going to do all the things I promised during campaigning.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:17 PM on May 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


XQUZYPHYR: "Umm... okay I applaud him for this, especially given it's still a pretty ballsy stance to take in light of the election season, but he also in this very interview said he still thinks states should get to decide, which still remains fundamentally and morally really really stupid."

I think it's perfectly reasonable to not be sure whether the federal government actually has the power to force states to sanction gay marriage. If we can get rid of DOMA, states will be forced to recognize marriages performed in other states and it won't matter so much except as a reminder of how stupid so many of us are.

blucevalo: "far too many states in the union where it's inconceivable that I could hold a job as an openly gay man"

I'm just curious as to where that would be. I know openly gay people in Alabama, and I happen to also be absolutely certain their employers and coworkers are aware of that fact. They may be bigoted enough to think gay people shouldn't be able to get married, but they don't think of gay people aren't human, for crying out loud.

I agree that's cold comfort at best, but attacking them with hyperbole isn't going to change their minds. Happily, most folks are already on your side, including the President.

TheTingTangTong: "Arkansas"

The only state in the south that allows gay people, including gay couples to adopt. (thanks to the Arkansas Supreme Court for striking down the law closing that "loophole") They also have a pretty darn strict law against gender or sexual orientation-based bullying of kids in school. It's too bad one of my classmates had to be disfigured from the beatings he received to get that law passed, but pass it did.
posted by wierdo at 6:18 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pathetic, weak, and uninspiring.... predictable moral cowardice:

aaaaaaaaaaand command w
posted by nathancaswell at 6:26 PM on May 9, 2012


The problem for me is that he supported gay marriage in the past. If he were actually someone who was truly deeply uncomfortable with gay marriage, and then changed his opinion, that would be different.

He even went so far as to say it was out of a religious reasons, except the church he went too was actually welcoming to gays.

So I don't really understand how you could believe that he wasn't just lying about opposing gay marriage for the past few years.
posted by delmoi at 6:28 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


God, I hope I'm in a country where supporting gay rights can make you a lot of money. Up until now, I have been in the other, worse country.

The Obama campaign recieved $1 million in donations in the first 90 minutes after the announcement.
posted by vibrotronica at 6:36 PM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think Obama sincerely distinguishes between what he wants and favors as an individual, and what he should do as the leader of all the citizens of the United States. Put a little more cynically, you could say he plays fast and loose with the two.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:38 PM on May 9, 2012


You did follow the Republican primary right?

C'mon now, that's like trotting out MLK at a Klan rally. What did you think would happen?

Down here in San Diego, possibly the greatest military complex on the planet, we (in the military community) were a bit worried about the repeal of DADT. We shouldn't have bothered with worrying. It was very quickly adopted and standards and practices were immediately changed. Most importantly not only was there no back-lash, in my opinion, morale was vastly improved for all.

I bring up the military because it's been an important proving ground for a few social (civil rights) issues that eventually translated into the civilian world. Quick swipe of examples: Minorities and females graduating from being nurses and stewards to having roles in virtually every field and level of leadership in the military.
posted by snsranch at 6:38 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


ohnoes the whelk's seekrit identity as oberon has been revealed

I always thought he looked more Prador-y than whelkish.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:39 PM on May 9, 2012


I'm surprised. Romney's testy response looks weak. Plus I did not know he supported a Federal Gay Marriage ban constitutional amendment. Puts him in a bad spot. God, if this does work, what a coup! Democrat runs on tax hikes and gay marriage and wins.

Some drinking buddies are what passes for libertarian heavyweights here in DC. They were all like "Gary Johnson was for Gay Marriage much earlier than Obama. No response yet to me linking to Johnson's Dec. 1, 2011 announcement. Last year Johnson was explicitly against it.

Also, kudos to Shep Smith.

This could work.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:32 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


"When President Obama was born his parent's marriage was illegal in 22 states."
posted by gwint at 7:35 PM on May 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's weird how some folks acknowledge that gay equality is a sure way to fire up some hardcore Republican voters but don't seem able to acknowledge that it's also a sure way to fire up some hardcore Democrat voters. Just seems weird. Of *course* Obama will get more votes and money out of his gay-supporting base if he makes bold, exciting gay-supporting moves.

We don't know if it will be enough. What we *do* know is that tepid moves do not help Obama fire up his base, and it's impossible to imagine Obama winning without a fired-up base in November, regardless of how many "independents" he gets.
posted by mediareport at 7:49 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


From Politico:

Senior administration officials admit that Biden’s comment was, indeed, the catalyst for Obama to make his historic announcement weeks earlier than planned.

But Biden’s remarks deeply annoyed Obama’s team, people close to the situation tell POLITICO, because it aggrandized his role at the expense of Obama’s yeoman efforts on behalf of the community and pushed up the timing of a sensitive announcement they had hoped to break — at a time and place of their own choosing — in the weeks leading up to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this fall.

Nor did it tickle anyone, from Obama on down, that Biden — who backed the Defense of Marriage Act while serving in the Senate in the 1990s — seemed to be getting more credit in the LGBT community than a president who has actually taken steps to repeal the Clinton-era law that defined marriage as something that could only take place between a man and a woman.

And it chafed Obama’s team that Biden had, at times, privately argued for the president to hold off on his support of marriage equality to avoid a backlash among Catholic voters in battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to two officials familiar with those discussions.


. . . The White House hopes the historic nature of Obama’s decision will eventually overshadow the sloppiness of the process that led to it.

Senior White House officials, speaking to a small group of reporters at a Wednesday background briefing, denied reports that two of Obama’s top political advisers, David Plouffe and David Axelrod, urged Obama to slow-walk the decision for fear of a backlash.

They say the internal debate ended about three months ago when the president told them he supported gay marriage after weighing the personal, religious and political considerations.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:51 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Amazingly well played by the Obama team. Send out Biden to pretend to make a gaffe because that's all my media friends will write about. Let it float for a couple of days. Pick a black, gay TV reporter who will ask good questions but not make the interview uncomfortable and voila. A new policy is born.
posted by etaoin at 7:51 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's weird how some folks acknowledge that gay equality is a sure way to fire up some hardcore Republican voters but don't seem able to acknowledge that it's also a sure way to fire up some hardcore Democrat voters. Just seems weird. Of *course* Obama will get more votes and money out of his gay-supporting base if he makes bold, exciting gay-supporting moves.

The concern isn't the base of either party. It's the independents.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:53 PM on May 9, 2012


Some drinking buddies are what passes for libertarian heavyweights here in DC. They were all like "Gary Johnson was for Gay Marriage much earlier than Obama. No response yet to me linking to Johnson's Dec. 1, 2011 announcement. Last year Johnson was explicitly against it.

So, you bragged about them being right that he was for it well before Obama?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:55 PM on May 9, 2012


The concern isn't the base of either party. It's the independents.

Yeah, we've been over this many times before. There's room for more than one "concern" in this complex process. You do tend to oversimplify sometimes.
posted by mediareport at 7:56 PM on May 9, 2012


Oh, cry me a river Obama, you could have announced it at any time in the past few years.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:56 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


A president has a voice that 311 million+ Americans do not. Even if a president can't pass laws.

Let's assume Obama did indeed announce his support before NC's election. Given the margins, the Amendment would still have passed. How do you think the media would have covered that? How would losing a vote on a matter he espouses look for Obama's presidential prospects?

Finally, in an atmosphere where Republicans are being culled for not toeing the party line, where Romney's chief spokesman was pressurized into leaving just because he was openly gay, to even acknowledge the Republican response on this is, to me, quite a few leaps of faith into cognitive dissonance. I mean, sure, Cheney supported same-sex marriage many years back; so what? Is there any way he could have changed policy-making anywhere?

Part of what got Obama elected in 2008 was the huge turnout of young voters. He's turned most of them off by now, and he's got to get them interested again if he's going to get them to the polls in November.

Yeah, per fivethirtyeight, this enthusiasm deficit is simply a myth; in fact, they say Obama is more popular than he should be:
In fact, it’s worth contrasting Mr. Obama to other recent Democratic presidents. Bill Clinton performed no better or worse than expected among Democrats. Jimmy Carter performed much worse than expected (seven points). These facts may allay frequent fears (or hopes) during Mr. Obama’s first term that he was “losing the base” or otherwise losing support among important Democratic constituencies. This may have been true among some Democratic or liberal activists — many of whom disagreed with the president on various issues — but it was largely not true among Democrats in the public. Not only does Mr. Obama remain relatively popular among Democrats, but he is also more popular than we might otherwise expect. In the most recent quarter, his approval among Democrats (as well as independents) is about six points higher than expected.
posted by the cydonian at 7:59 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fox Nation: “OBAMA FLIP FLOPS, DECLARES WAR ON MARRIAGE”.

Um. Huh. We now live in a world in which I can no longer reliably tell the difference between over the top crazy jokes satirizing Fox News and things Fox News has actually said.

Okay, it's truth time. Fox News is a practical joke, isn't it? It's going to turn out that Murdoch is actually a muppet and that Jim Henson is really still alive and has been spending the past decade writing the most bitingly hilarious satire of US culture ever, isn't it?

On the other thing: Yay! Social progress!
posted by byanyothername at 8:01 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, cry me a river Obama, you could have announced it at any time in the past few years.

Yeah, and that's a Politico article quoting unnamed sources "people close to the situation," so goddess knows how much of it's true and how much is attempted spin. One thing that's clear to me and a couple of my friends: it definitely *felt* like a slap for Obama to announce his oh-so-fabulous States Rights position the day after our state voted to deny us our basic legal equality. Yay.

Anyway, it's just as easy to imagine Obama's advisors telling him to wait until after the vote to make sure he didn't align himself with an obviously losing cause as it is to accept Politico's version of events at face value.
posted by mediareport at 8:06 PM on May 9, 2012


The concern isn't the base of either party. It's the independents.

Would independents gained through down-playing marriage equality make up for a base and/or youth turnout depressed by down-playing marriage equality? Will energizing the Democratic base outweigh the votes of the Republican religious right who may also be energized by the statement to vote against Obama?

As mediareport says, this is a complex process.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:07 PM on May 9, 2012


The concern isn't the base of either party. It's the independents.

Would independents gained through down-playing marriage equality make up for a base and/or youth turnout depressed by down-playing marriage equality? Will energizing the Democratic base outweigh the votes of the Republican religious right who may also be energized by the statement to vote against Obama?

As mediareport says, this is a complex process.


The Dem base is smaller, percentage wise. They win when they get independents. GOP base is proportionally bigger and nuttier. It's also a question of risk v reward. Little policy reward for level of risk. There're no pro-gay federal issues he hasn't already expressed support for.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:13 PM on May 9, 2012


About time too, but well done for putting some skin in the game. Since I'm in Canada, I'd be awfully grateful if someone could proxy vote for Obama for me come the election.
posted by arcticseal at 8:13 PM on May 9, 2012


Since 1998, gay marriage has been on the ballot 32 times. Every time it lost.

This argument is a load of shit. Gay marriage hasn't been brought to the ballot in states where it would lose.

Massachusetts - Holding a constitutional convention to ban gay marriage lost 151-45 in its second vote in the legislature (in which it needed a mere 25% minority to be put on the ballot). The massively-funded 2004 Romney "superslate" campaign, which aimed at ousting legislators that voted against the amendment, actually reduced the number of Republicans in the legislature. Many legislators found it politically expedient to become in favor of gay marriage after this. It has not been seriously debated since.

Connecticut - State residents voted against (59-41) a constitutional convention to consider (among other things) an anti-same-sex-marriage amendment.

Iowa - State residents voted against (67-32) a constitutional convention to consider (among other things) an anti-same-sex-marriage amendment.

Meanwhile, same-sex marriage enjoys 58% approval in Vermont (2011); 55% approval in New York (2011) -- with 68% against overturning SSM; 2-1 support in the New Hampshire legislature (and let's not pretend that doesn't reflect popular opinion 4 years after the fact). I can go on.

The fact is that nobody brings it to the ballot if the result is going to be a surprise. California and Maine are the only times it was even close. And let's not forget the success of Prop 71 in WA, and the 50-43 support for the upcoming marriage referendum there.
posted by zvs at 8:14 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]




this week
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:20 PM on May 9, 2012


Romney's probably not really a bigot, but at the same time he doesn't really care all that much

If you actively support bigotry, then there's no objective difference between you and a bigot.

If you are helping to make or preserve laws that enforce bigotry, then what does it matter what you actually believe?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:23 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here in Maine, same-sex marriage is going back to the voters this November. The scuttlebutt is that they will be emphasizing that Maine is the last holdout (or next to last, I believe RI recognizes same sex unions, not marriage) for New England showing a united front in favor of legalizing gay marriage.

I looked it up on this map, and I can't help but think that that angle could actually work here. Imagine that, the whole of New England, presenting united on such an important issue.

We will be fighting the good fight here in Maine this year, and I hope my fellow Mainers can get their heads out of their asses. I have hope.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 8:25 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Dem base is smaller, percentage wise.

Self identification numbers don't tell the whole story. Only 34% of conservatives are the "moral conservative" type that would likely rank gay marriage a high priority while the liberal base is more unified.

The main reason Republicans have to be more concerned with the base is that they have abandoned the middle, but the middle+the liberal base can be a pretty amazing force. A strong action by the President on an issue like this is an easy way to energize the base without angering the middle, and that's why it's so win-win.

PSMag: According to their research, some people genuinely know what it means to be a conservative in the current political debate and indeed express matching preferences across all issues. But these “constrained conservatives” (as Ellis and Stimson call them) account for only 26 percent of all self-identified conservatives.

More common are the “moral conservatives” (34 percent), who think of themselves as conservative in terms of their own personal values, be they social or religious. And they are indeed right-leaning on social, cultural and religious issues. But they also like government spending on a variety of programs and generally approve of government interventions in the marketplace, hardly making them true conservatives.

And still others, “conflicted conservatives” (30 percent), are not conservative at all on the issues. But they like identifying themselves as conservatives. To them, it somehow sounds better. “They like the word,” explained Ellis. Or at least, they like it better then their other choices in the traditional self-identification questionnaire: moderate and liberal.

Finally, a smaller group of self-identified “conservatives” (10 percent) could be classified as libertarian — conservative on economic issues, liberal on social issues.

Self-identified liberals, on the other hand, are consistently liberal on all the issues, according to Ellis and Stimson. Two-thirds of liberals fit into the category of “constrained liberals,” who pick the label because it actually describes their worldview.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:30 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, stop putting "states' rights" in double quotes, since Obama did not say that phrase.

Nor is he wrong. Marriage is a state issue, much like the minimum age to marry is not a matter of federal law. A federal law regulating marriage in the states would stand a good chance of being struck down. The Civil Rights Act leaned heavily on the Interstate Commerce Clause (see Heart of Atlanta v. US); there's a reason Loving v. Virginia happened in the courts.
posted by zvs at 8:30 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean come on, Obama was never in danger of losing the black church vote.

How many black churches have you gone to over the years? Having been in them, I can tell you this is going to be drama. This is going to cause issues. I have a friend I haven't spoken to in a while that became a pastor after I met him. I can only imagine how he's deciding he's going to talk about this in 4 days.

I'm one of the people who said if Obama came out and said this, that there would be problems, some crazy talk, and some gnashing of teeth. I think it's going to happen.

Instead of all the policy talk, we should be having an in-depth discussion about how to talk to people we know (since we all know people who are anti-same sex marriage) who say they are against this.

What are some good starting points? What are some good things to say when this comes up around the water cooler?

What do you do if you go to a church that says this is against the bible, and therefore supporting Obama is going against god and you will go to hell for doing so? DTMFA is not an option, the point here is to have the discussion now that it is up for discussion - to sway people's opinion and get them to understand.

Websites? Talking Points? Links that debunk common myths? Links to handouts or cards that you can keep on you?

As said above, if you think he should have gone further, if we should just go all out and push things forward, then damnit, arm your army!

I haven't been to church in a while. In fact the last church I was in they were already on Obama for some nonsense they believed about socialism (it wasn't a black church), but I would love to see what people suggest church goers can say when this comes up.
posted by cashman at 8:39 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


zvs, the issue is Obama's inability to say "the right to marry should be a Constitutional right for same-sex couples." Maybe there are legal reasons Obama can't come right out and say he thinks there's a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, I dunno. But asking me to cheer the man taking a position that Dick Cheney took *eight years ago* seems a bit much.

I appreciate the political gamble he's taking, honest. I don't think his position itself is worth celebrating at all.
posted by mediareport at 8:39 PM on May 9, 2012


This could work.

This here is why you're a mensch, Ironmouth: intellectual humility,
i.e., the ability/willingness to concede you might be wrong.

Thousands of MeFites could stand to benefit from your example.
myself included.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:39 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know, but the phrases "states' rights" and "dog whistle" are being used up thread. I mostly want to correct that. I agree that Obama is a wuss.
posted by zvs at 8:40 PM on May 9, 2012


Following up on Cashman's point, this article in the Washington Post gives voice to some big upsets among religiously-minded African-Americans. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Hopefully they'll come around, but there certainly will be drama.
posted by alms at 8:45 PM on May 9, 2012


Cashman, let's wait a few weeks and look at the poll numbers. I don't doubt these folks don't honestly oppose gay marriage, just like I didn't doubt Obama when he said his religious beliefs led him to the same place...but I seriously doubt they think not supporting Obama has any benefits for their community at all.

I personally think it's more likely there is going to be an uptick of support for gay marriage among socially conservative black folks since Obama can be very persuasive when he speaks on issues with moral clarity.

This could work.

This here is why you're a mensch, Ironmouth: intellectual humility,
i.e., the ability/willingness to concede you might be wrong.


Oh jeez, where was this the first hundred times Mefites told him this could work?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:48 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seperate from the internal politics on the Democratic side, it kind of feels like a trip to Palinville if Romney actually thinks he can take advantage of any loss of black enthusiasm here. There are a million and one other issues Obama can judo to if he wants to go there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:50 PM on May 9, 2012


is the future of the supreme court not an issue for you?

It is for me. Stephen Breyer is 73. Anthony Kennedy is 75. Antonin Scalia is 76. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79.
I want Obama picking any potential replacements, not Romney.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:51 PM on May 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Part of Romney's public reaction was (seriously) to accuse Obama of flip-flopping.

That's stupid. Obama went from "it's evolving" (wink, wink) to "it's evolved." Doing something you hinted you were going to do isn't flip-flopping.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:54 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh jeez, where was this the first hundred times Mefites told him this could work?

Is this sarcasm? Cuz I was blocked from commenting all day.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:55 PM on May 9, 2012


No, as someone who has been urging exactly the move the President made today for some time it's kind of annoying that the only thing that could convince him is the President agreeing first.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:58 PM on May 9, 2012


I agree that Obama is a wuss.

Not just Obama. I was at a friend's tonight watching Rachel Maddow interview Newark mayor Cory Booker - he of the "Civil rights should never be put to a popular vote" wonderfulness from last January - and while Rachel found time during the 13-minute segment to call out NJ governor Chris Christie for his absurd comment that putting black civil rights to a vote might have been preferable to violence in the streets during the 1960s, and time to play 3 minutes of clips from Booker's brilliant "no voting on civil rights!" response, neither one of them could bring themselves to even hint at the fact that the position Obama stated today is exactly the same "Let the people vote on civil rights" position Christie espoused - and Maddow just lampooned him for.

It was the most jaw-dropping scene. When the interview ended, I turned to Dusty and said, "Did I miss it or did they just completely skip over that all of Booker's criticisms of Christie apply just as well to what Obama just said?" "I must have missed it too," he laughed.

Maybe Maddow addressed that point in another segment, earlier or later. But that was the most surprisingly manipulative and condescending few minutes I've seen from Maddow in a long time, if not ever. At least Obama has cynical political expedience to justify continuing to play games with gay rights. Maddow has no similar excuse.
posted by mediareport at 8:58 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you can give Maddow a break for a few days for getting caught up in it, she will be the first to say, "Hey, wait a minute..." once she realizes.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:02 PM on May 9, 2012


It was so, so sad to see, furious. So, so sad.
posted by mediareport at 9:04 PM on May 9, 2012


I mean, they were *right there*. They knew what they were avoiding saying. It couldn't have been otherwise, sorry.
posted by mediareport at 9:04 PM on May 9, 2012


*facepalm*
posted by joe lisboa at 9:05 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Y'know, there may be a good political reason to wait until after the NC vote to reveal this (though I'm not saying this is what drove the White House).

Imagine Obama gave this interview 2 weeks ago. I doubt this would have changed the outcome of the NC vote — it was 60% to 40%! You just know the media narrative would be "North Carolina give stinging rebuke to Obama. Voters reject President's proposal". They've avoided that quite well.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:08 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


They've avoided that quite well.

Stop quoting facts!
posted by joe lisboa at 9:09 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


*facepalm*

*ITYS dance*
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:10 PM on May 9, 2012


Maddow has no similar excuse.

Yeah! What does Rachel Maddow possibly have to say about the struggle for gay rights in America? #MSM #whatever
posted by joe lisboa at 9:11 PM on May 9, 2012


*ITYS dance*

Sorry, don't know what this means. Love ya, furiousxgeorge.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:11 PM on May 9, 2012


Sorry, here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:12 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


At this point, joe, it's not clear who or what you're responding to, so feel free to make an argument if you want to continue discussing this.

benito.strauss, I made the exact point you just made previously in the thread:

it's just as easy to imagine Obama's advisors telling him to wait until after the vote to make sure he didn't align himself with an obviously losing cause as it is to accept Politico's version of events at face value.

I agree that's a more plausible scenario.
posted by mediareport at 9:12 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


A Scrubs reference! Thanks for sharing.

Mediareport: ...
posted by joe lisboa at 9:14 PM on May 9, 2012


I think two weeks ago would have not have been ideal given the short time before the vote. However, I think two years ago would have been a good time to try and start changing minds on this issue.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:15 PM on May 9, 2012


On a purely practical level: suggesting the federal government is responsible for deciding who can get married to whom means getting gay marriage past the 60 vote Senate threshold, which seems unlikely to happen anytime soon. Leaving marriage a states' rights issue and repealing DOMA (I realize Obama hasn't done the latter yet) lets gay people travel to any state where gay marriage is legal, get married, return home and have that marriage legally recognized.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:15 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]




furiousxgeorge, just to clarify: given the choice between 1) Maddow and Booker, two of the sharpest mainstream television progressives one could imagine paired to discuss this issue, were both so excited and caught up in the moment that they somehow missed understanding that Obama's "let states decide civil rights democratically" position was the very position Booker so beautifully demolished just a few months ago - even moments after both of them had just watched that demolition - or 2) Booker and Maddow made a conscious, condescending decision to avoid discussing Booker's criticisms as they apply directly to Obama's position in order to help the Obama administration out with positive spin for at least a little while, I think it's obvious - joe's palm and face notwithstanding - that 2) is the more likely scenario, which is what makes it so disappointing.
posted by mediareport at 9:21 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought Joe was facepalming at my comments about his regarding Ironmouth. It's so much clearer when you dance this stuff out.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


(And I haven't really seen Maddow as a water carrier, at least on gay rights issues especially, for what it's worth)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:26 PM on May 9, 2012


(I haven't either. That's why the clip was so shocking. Anyway, the combination of this thread and the Theraflu is telling me it's past time for bed.)
posted by mediareport at 9:28 PM on May 9, 2012


mediareport: Ah, I missed that. (It's a big thread.)
posted by benito.strauss at 9:29 PM on May 9, 2012


Obama's position is not the same as Christie's. At all. Not even close.

Christie was advocating for a popular vote, as opposed to a legislative vote or state court decision.

Obama believes that as a matter of law, marriage is up to the states. That includes court decisions, legislative votes, or popular votes, depending on how each state makes decisions. In addition, he believes that DOMA is therefore unconstitutional.
posted by feckless at 9:30 PM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Mediareport, saying it's a matter for the states does not necessarily mean it's a matter for direct popular vote as Christie would have it. As we've seen, states may adopt gay marriage via the courts or legislative action even in the face of underwhelming public support.

Moreover, I think/hope that this should light a fire under people to elect gay marriage friendly local and state reps, rather than waiting for Washington or the Supremes to fix the problem.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:30 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"What is the political advantage of this over waiting until December?"

The NYT pointed out that it needed to get out into the open well before the convention, and a little thought reveals why that makes sense. THe election might be a little more of a squeaker than the Democrats want, and the handful of socially conservative blue dogs might have aligned with fearful strategists and pushed for the strategic necessity of leaving the gay marriage issue out of the platform or specifically excluding it from the platform. That would have required either rolling over, some overt horse trading, and/or a public refutation of that wing of the party, which is under serious threat from teaparty/right attacks this cycle, which would have eroded support overall and provided a very unwelcome sideshow.
posted by Miko at 9:31 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or what feckless said.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:31 PM on May 9, 2012


Romney's probably not really a bigot, but at the same time he doesn't really care all that much
If you actively support bigotry, then there's no objective difference between you and a bigot.

If you are helping to make or preserve laws that enforce bigotry, then what does it matter what you actually believe?
I wasn't defending him. Read the rest of the sentence which you cut off in the middle.
posted by Flunkie at 9:33 PM on May 9, 2012


I think it's fair to say this is going to leave some folks in a situation where there rights will be up to the popular vote, as a consequence of leaving it to the states. Not the same position, but if your major complaint is that it is ridiculous for civil rights to be left to a popular vote, you still have some complaints there.

Regardless, the history of leaving decisions on rights to the states, regardless of which exact process is involved is very, very bad.

As a libertarian leaner I have some sympathy for the constitutional complaints folks like Paul have about the CRA, however when the result of following the constitution there is that a large portion of the population is unable to freely travel around their country because they can't find a restaurant or a hotel, my sympathy for strict constitutionalism gets put aside. That is where we are on gay marriage, nobody in this country should be denied their right to marry, I don't particularly care if giving people rights doesn't quite make sense to the lawyers, it's still the right thing to do.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:37 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh super, another Obama thread that devolves into catfighting between furiousxgeorge and Ironmouth. Can't you two just get a room?
posted by lalex at 9:50 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not without a marriage first, why do you think this has been so contentious?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:57 PM on May 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


I wasn't defending him. Read the rest of the sentence which you cut off in the middle.

I didn't think that you were. I was responding to the contention that one's personal beliefs matter at all when making laws that run contrary to those beliefs.

As you note, Romney would happily 'act like a bigot' if he thought he could gain a political advantage by doing so.

I just feel like, once you are acting like a bigot, your 'actual' beliefs are no longer relevant. If your beliefs can be put aside for political gain, they're not your beliefs.

My apologies for the incomplete quote - I wasn't deliberately trying to be misleading.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:57 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not without a marriage first, why do you think this has been so contentious?

Are you just missing a bridesmaid? I would totally wear taffeta for you guys!
posted by lalex at 10:01 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am a player of the pink oboe. I am not a Democrat. I just gave the Obama campaign money.

I was not expecting to do that when I got up this morning.
posted by Suddenly, elf ass at 10:15 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Just heard this news! (Today was beyond ridiculous at work.) HURRAY! (Came here first when I heard to find this thread, because I just had to squirt -- going back to actually read it now.
posted by trip and a half at 10:23 PM on May 9, 2012


) Too excited!
posted by trip and a half at 10:24 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


i am

a) pissed that he waited until after the NC vote
b) not surprised by the timing
c) unlikely to donate
d) cynical enough that I recoil from my reflection in a mirror
posted by mwhybark at 10:36 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama deigns to endorse gay marriage when it becomes politically expedient to do so. Whoopee shit. I'm supposed to be impressed?
posted by jet_silver at 10:41 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, fuck him for doing the right thing.
posted by Justinian at 10:44 PM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


I don't think that sort of sentiment should be viewed as damning him for doing the right thing now, it seems these folks are more upset about the years where he wasn't.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:49 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm supposed to be impressed?

We're too busy not giving a fuck about what you think.
posted by special-k at 10:50 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Whoopee shit. I'm supposed to be impressed?
posted by jason_steakums at 10:54 PM on May 9, 2012


So, looking at the "Amendment 1" vote in North Carolina, I have to ask how these ballot measures get their names. When I first saw a friend post on Facebook about "voting against Amendment 1" I thought:

1.) That's a strange way to say "First Amendment" and,
2.) Who would possibly advocate publicly against it!?

Of course, once I clicked the link I saw what was up. Now, I don't think this was a calculated plan by the promoters of the measure (though I could, sadly, be proven wrong), nor do I think it tipped the balance towards the passing of the measure, but I wonder if perhaps a couple hundred people thought they were going to the polls to vote on free expression and association...
posted by dhens at 10:59 PM on May 9, 2012


I don't think that sort of sentiment should be viewed as damning him for doing the right thing now, it seems these folks are more upset about the years where he wasn't.

He's one of the first major politicians to come out in favor while in office. If that's not enough to at least refrain from cursing him, well, people must spend an awful lot of time disappointed in their fellow man.
posted by Justinian at 11:03 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"What are some good starting points? What are some good things to say when this comes up around the water cooler? "

Hey Cashman, I posted a new FPP just for you.
posted by klangklangston at 11:04 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well the thing is Just that jet_silver didn't curse him, just expressed a lack of being impressed. You said fuck, I said damn, but we are both on the same page here of being impressed with the call.

That said, the former Republican governor of New Mexico is also running for President this year and he was well ahead on this so it's not far fetched for me to believe some folks might not be entirely impressed here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:10 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was using hyperbole. But I do think that calling him "pathetic, weak, and uninspiring" as was done early in the thread is pretty clearly cursing Obama (in the non swear-word sense of curse), don't you? That's a harsh attack on the guy.
posted by Justinian at 11:14 PM on May 9, 2012


Okay, but jet kind of got caught in the crossfire there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:16 PM on May 9, 2012


i am

a) pissed that he waited until after the NC vote


I was thinking about this today. His timing makes sense. It was pretty obvious based on polling that the NC amendement was going to pass by a wide margin. The President couldn't change that just be endorsing marriage equality which was already unconstitutional in NC.

By coming out for marriage equality after NC, the defeat in NC can't be seen as a referendum on President Obama. He couldn't help NC but he wont let it drag him down either.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:16 PM on May 9, 2012


no, Justinian, that is clearly NOT cursing him in any sense of the word. It's condemnatory and oppostional, but there's no imprecation of desired ill-fortune nor blasphemous or profane language. Criticism is not hate or abrogation of faith.
posted by mwhybark at 11:19 PM on May 9, 2012


munchingzombie, I understand the timing choice just fine. President Clinton, it should be noted, did go to work in NC. I still am, and will remain, angry about it. There is also the issue of whether ir not it is appropriate for a sitting President to weigh in on a state ballot, and it's prettybclear that it goes against protocol to do so.

But still. Fuck protocol (mind you, I am NOT cursing the President). Fight, already!

If President Obama had chosen to deploy his unparalelled rhetorical skill earlier, don't you think he could have made a diffierence? How often in this administration have you asked yourself this question since you voted for the man? I'm pretty sure this is not the first time.
posted by mwhybark at 11:26 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Obama deigns to endorse gay marriage when it becomes politically expedient to do so. Whoopee shit. I'm supposed to be impressed?

No, you're supposed to be angry that he is destroying the institution of marriage, which has formed the bedrock of human society for thousands of years. Sheesh, didn't you listen to Rush tonight? Now get out there and help us get this socialist out of office!
posted by benito.strauss at 11:27 PM on May 9, 2012


Criticism is not hate or abrogation of faith.

Those aren't the sole meanings of the word "curse", but that's getting down into the weeds. Feel free to substitute a different word if it makes you feel better.
posted by Justinian at 11:31 PM on May 9, 2012


Justinian et al, I just reread all the comments, it was a pile on where "damning" was used innocently in a summary as a synonym. Apologies for jumping in. Hugs, about time already, and hey, if it gets better, maybe the campaign can too.
posted by mwhybark at 11:33 PM on May 9, 2012


> Obama deigns to endorse gay marriage when it becomes politically expedient to do so. Whoopee shit. I'm supposed to be impressed?

"Unicorn? You call that single-horned horselike thing a unicorn? Shit, it doesn't even have rainbow lasers shooting out of its eyes!"
posted by La Cieca at 11:34 PM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


scaryblackdeath writes "It sure as hell IS a Federal matter. Remember that full faith & credit clause to the Constitution? Why is a marriage in Delaware supposed to be of different legal worth than a marriage in Texas?"

How did this work in the anti-miscegenation days pre-Loving? Even though interracial marriages were illegal were they recognized? So say hypothetically if a couple got married in a legal state, moved to an illegal state and then say one spouse died would the other spouse be recognized as an inheritor?
posted by Mitheral at 12:02 AM on May 10, 2012


I can understand being unsatisfied. This announcement is long overdue, as it isn't a matter of political expediency, but an essential human right unjustly denied to a large percentage of Americans on the basis of rank bigotry. There is much that Obama has done, or has not done, to be displeased by. By all means, offer up your criticisms. That comes with democracy. Its an imperfect process, and our role in it is to attempt to perfect it, through voting, through campaigning, through organizing, through criticizing, and through all the other mechanisms of democracy we have at hand.

It should have happened sooner. But it worked. Obama could have sat on this. He didn't. And he felt a real push that made it a bad political move NOT to support gay marriage. This is not Obama's triumph, although he has at long last made a public declaration of justice. This is democracy's triumph. And we're going to have to keep fighting for it.

But once a triumph happens, there gets to be a point when it is counterproductive to complain about the way it happened. It never happens how you want it to, and, because Obama ran on a platform of hope, he functionally ran on a platform of defeated hopes, because there would never be a way to live up to the lofty expectations he generated. He's a letdown, and that's a fair thing to experience and discuss.

But things do move forward. Our hopes are not entirely dashed. And once something moves forward, let's cement it into place and move on to the next disappointment, and try to push it toward triumph.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:05 AM on May 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


beyond just pandering to the GLBT community in an election year.

The day will come when a President is criticized for acting in the interests of Big Gay.

I'm looking forward to that day.
posted by zippy at 12:10 AM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Good I guess.

But he had to wait until the majority of Americans were for it.

Leading from behind and hardly a profile in courage.
posted by bardic at 12:11 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


mediareport: "it definitely *felt* like a slap for Obama to announce his oh-so-fabulous States Rights position the day after our state voted to deny us our basic legal equality."

That's completely understandable, but do realize that if DOMA is overturned his position gets us to the same place. By going on about states rights he makes it less threatening to the nearly half of the country who are still living in the dark ages, even though it's completely meaningless in reality.

Yes, there may be a few years where gay people have to get married out of state if they live in one of the backwards places, but the bans are likely to fall by the wayside as people get used to living around married gay couples that they can do nothing (legally) to stop. I have little doubt that even the current Supreme Court would strike down any laws treating gay marriage differently than hetero marriage in states that refuse to license other-than-hetero marriages. So yeah, you might have to go to Iowa to marry, but once you do so you'll be just as married as anyone else in the eyes of all 50 states.

mediareport: "Obama stated today is exactly the same "Let the people vote on civil rights" position Christie espoused - and Maddow just lampooned him for."

I don't recall hearing or reading that he said that at all, but by all means, make stuff up if it helps you sleep at night.
posted by wierdo at 12:13 AM on May 10, 2012


That's completely understandable, but do realize that if DOMA is overturned his position gets us to the same place.

I think it gets you to a good place, a much better place...but it will still leave gay couples going out of state to get married if they are in a state with a ban. That kind of sucks for couples that grew up in one place and lived their entire lives in one place and have all their family in that place and intend to stay in that place.

Marriage is a deep milestone of a person's life, this stuff matters.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:34 AM on May 10, 2012


I'm impressed that the first sitting president in the history of the United States of America who openly supports gay marriage, who ended the ban on gay people in the military, who ended anti-gay discrimination in government is hated far more than any of the previous presidents who didn't do any of those things (of course, not a few of you are Libertarian/Republican types who are looking for a reason to vote for the guy who explicitly intends to reverse everything Obama has done for gay people because your taxes might go down -- see also the Log Cabin Republicans).

I think it gets you to a good place, a much better place...but it will still leave gay couples going out of state to get married if they are in a state with a ban. That kind of sucks for couples that grew up in one place and lived their entire lives in one place and have all their family in that place and intend to stay in that place.

What does Obama need to do to get your vote?
posted by dirigibleman at 12:48 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


You aren't reading the same thread as the rest of us, I think. I see zero suggestions for Romney, and I'm personally happy as a clam. This statement is all I have asked for from him.

The portion you quoted is only my pointing out that you aren't getting to exactly the same place with DOMA repeal as you are with 50 state legalization.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:54 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"What does Obama need to do to get your vote?"

Oh, he has mine wrapped up. But it's fair to say that this maneuver is typical of his overall fecklessness as a leader.
posted by bardic at 2:09 AM on May 10, 2012


Total bullshit. All this guy does is pay lip service. As far as I know he is still straight married, wake me up when he puts his money where his mouth is and gets gay married.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:15 AM on May 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


This made me so happy. I don't even have words.
posted by Estraven at 2:51 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]




I think I ran out of favorites in this thread. Yay!
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:47 AM on May 10, 2012


... as Mr. Obama has clearly come to recognize, the forces of history appear to be changing. The president was at risk of seeming politically timid and calculating, standing at the sidelines while a large number of Americans — including members of both parties — embraced gay marriage. That is a particularly discordant image, many Democrats said, for the man who was the nation’s first black president.

Mr. Obama’s declaration may have been belated and unplanned, forced out after his vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., during a television interview on Sunday declared his support for same-sex marriage. Still, it is a huge voice added to a chorus that has become increasingly robust, a reminder that a view that had once been relegated to the dark sidelines of political debate has become mainstream.

The very riskiness of what Mr. Obama did — some commentators were invoking Lyndon B. Johnson’s embrace of civil rights in 1964, with all the attendant political perils — made it hard to understate the historic significance of what took place at the White House on Wednesday.

“If you are one of those who care about this issue, you will not forget where you were when you saw the president deliver those remarks,” said Chad Griffin, the incoming president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group. “Regardless of how old you are, it’s the first time you have ever seen a president of the United States look into a camera and say that a gay person should be treated equally under the law. The message that that sends, to a young gay or transgendered person struggling to come out, is life changing.” *
posted by ericb at 4:47 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


From former Clinton official Richard Socarides last December, but still relevant:
'Those principles should apply when it comes to marriage rights for gay and lesbian Americans. Having the President publicly endorse marriage equality will be an important symbolic and substantive turning point. It would likely accelerate the pro-equality shift in public opinion, including in minority communities. It will make it easier for federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, to rule in favor of gay rights in the face of arguments that doing so is out of the mainstream of American political thought. And it might just help get President Obama reëlected.' *
posted by ericb at 4:52 AM on May 10, 2012


"Conservative legal scholar Ted Olson, who teamed with Bush v. Gore rival David Boies to fight Proposition 8, talks to John Avlon about Obama’s new support for gay marriage, North Carolina’s new ban—and whether the Supreme Court will weigh in."
posted by ericb at 4:59 AM on May 10, 2012


Regarding federal matters ...

In addition to the findings in California that Prop 8 is unconstitutional we have other cases winding their way through the courts.

Gay Marriage, the Old-School Way
While the constitutional challenge to California's ban of gay marriage grabbed all the headlines this year [2010] a pair of deliberately narrower cases has been quietly proceeding in Massachusetts federal court. Couples married under Massachusetts' same-sex marriage law, and Attorney General Martha Coakley, challenged the federal Defense of Marriage Act. They argued that in Massachusetts, DoMA's prohibition against extending to gay couples federal benefits—like filing a joint income-tax return or claiming spousal Social Security benefits–is unconstitutional. By starting in Massachusetts, the lawyers avoided a direct challenge to other states' prohibitions on same-sex marriage. They simply asked the federal government to treat the state's gay married couples the same way the feds treat everyone else.

On Thursday [July 8, 2010], in a sweeping opinion in this deliberately narrow case, Judge Joseph Tauro of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts struck down a key part of DoMA. In his opinion in the main case, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, Tauro rejected every possible reason to retain the law. (In the companion case brought by Coakley, he also found that Congress had overstepped the boundary between the federal government and the states, adding a sweet states' rights gloss to the generally liberal decision.) Tauro didn't buy the rationale that apparently sounded reasonable to Congress when it passed DoMA in 1996, the lukewarm defense the Obama administration came up with, or any other reason the court could conceivably imagine.

"The Constitution 'neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,' " Tauro opened, a pointed citation of Justice Harlan's dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson, the universally discredited 1896 Supreme Court ruling that upheld segregation. He then decimated the Obama Justice Department's rationale for DoMA as a legitimate effort to preserve the existing social order to buy time for society to digest the controversial idea of same-sex marriage. The anti-miscegenation laws that spread among the states before the Supreme Court struck them down in 1967, he said, did not cause Congress the concern for social order it invoked in defense of DoMA. Nor did the existing marriage law of Massachusetts' neighbor, New Hampshire, which alone among the states allows a 14-year-old to marry a 13-year-old. Tauro concluded that DoMA was driven only by animus against gay people. And animus alone is not a legitimate basis for the government to act. "If the Constitution means anything, it does at the very least mean that the Constitution will not abide a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group," Tauro wrote.

When it passed DoMA, Congress said that it was protecting heterosexual marriage and encouraging responsible heterosexual procreation. Judge Tauro said these justifications were so attenuated as to be irrational. In American law, he noted, procreation has never been either necessary or sufficient for legal marriage. And anyway, Judge Tauro found, legions of experts in every social science have concluded that "children raised by gay and lesbian parents are just as likely to be well-adjusted as those raised by heterosexual parents." Certainly, making life worse for the children of same-sex couples does nothing to improve the lives of the rest. Judge Tauro also made short shrift of the argument, heavily featured in defense of Proposition 8 in the California case, that it is necessary to exclude same-sex couples from marriage in order to motivate marriage-averse heterosexuals to tie the knot.
posted by ericb at 5:12 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


DoMA's prohibition against extending to gay couples federal benefits—like filing a joint income-tax return or claiming spousal Social Security benefits–is unconstitutional.

Yep. That's why 'same-sex marriage' is a federal and civil rights issue!

Let's have a look -- "Project 1138 is designed to increase public awareness of the 1,138 federal marital benefits and protections denied to same-sex couples as the result of marriage inequality."

And here's a small subset of the 1,138 benefits, rights and protections provided on the basis of marital status in Federal law.
"Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.

Creating a 'family partnership' under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.

Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.

Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.

Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse -- that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf.

Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.

Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.

Receiving public assistance benefits.

Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.

Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.

Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.

Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.

Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.

Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.

Making burial or other final arrangements.

Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.

Applying for joint foster care rights.

Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.

Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

Living in neighborhoods zoned for 'families only.'

Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.

Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.

Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.

Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).

Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).

Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.

Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.

Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
posted by ericb at 5:21 AM on May 10, 2012 [15 favorites]


'... it is necessary to exclude same-sex couples from marriage in order to motivate marriage-averse heterosexuals to tie the knot."

I somehow missed this one. How on earth is that even pretending to make sense?
posted by kyrademon at 5:23 AM on May 10, 2012


. it is necessary to exclude same-sex couples from marriage in order to motivate marriage-averse heterosexuals to tie the knot

read 'marriage averse heterosexuals' as 'closeted gays' and it makes more sense.
posted by empath at 5:28 AM on May 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


"In the past three and a half years, he's repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell, signed hate crimes protection into law, extended benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees, ensured that hospitals must admit the same-sex partners of LGBT patients, stopped defending DOMA, recorded an "It Gets Better" video, prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity within the federal government, and appointed the first LGBT Supreme Court justice."
posted by Mick at 5:44 AM on May 10, 2012


appointed the first LGBT Supreme Court justice.

I... don't think I knew this. Who?
posted by davidjmcgee at 5:56 AM on May 10, 2012


Kagan
posted by empath at 5:59 AM on May 10, 2012


Though she's not openly gay, if she is gay, so I don't think it counts.
posted by empath at 6:02 AM on May 10, 2012


I don't think there's any proof she's gay, and as far as I can tell it's inference from the fact that she's unmarried and childless combined with people (on both sides of the issue) thinking she looks somewhat butch.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:09 AM on May 10, 2012


mediareport: "Obama stated today is exactly the same "Let the people vote on civil rights" position Christie espoused - and Maddow just lampooned him for."

I don't recall hearing or reading that he said that at all, but by all means, make stuff up if it helps you sleep at night.


I honestly don't know how to respond to that, weirdo. If you can't see that "states should decide this issue" instead of "it's a basic constitutional right" is the functional equivalent of "the majority gets to decide whether the queer minority gets full civil rights," then there's not much more to talk about.

Because that is indeed what it is the functional equivalent of. I just lived through it for the past year - the introduction of the Amendment One bill, the legislative infighting over the timing, the conservative Dems who voted with Republicans to create a veto-proof majority (in case our Dem governor showed a spine) out of fear for their prospects in future elections, the final vote....honestly, I don't know what to say to you if you don't think "let the states decide" is a cowardly way of saying "it's ok to let the people vote on basic civil rights."
posted by mediareport at 6:18 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Kagan is] not openly gay, if she is gay, so I don't think it counts.

Yeah, it doesn't. Her friends all swore at the time she was straight in college, for what that's worth (i.e., not much) but even if she's a closeted lesbian there's still no grounds for suggesting she's the first LGBT supreme court justice, since we don't know how many other closet cases have served on the supreme court before her.
posted by mediareport at 6:23 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah. I did find this Mother Jones article "Why Do So Many People Think Elana Kagan Is Gay?"

On the marriage equality front: I've been thinking about how Catholic Charities in the past has stopped offering adoptions AT ALL in places where they couldn't by law discriminate against gay couples. And I realize this is a pretty big leap, but is it possible, as same-sex marriage becomes more and more widespread (or like if/when it becomes a federal mandate), that a particularly bigoted state could choose to stop providing marriage licenses at all? To anyone?
posted by davidjmcgee at 6:27 AM on May 10, 2012


to create a veto-proof majority

I forgot the gov doesn't get to veto ballot measures. Still, the point stands: "let the states decide" = "put civil rights up to a popular vote."
posted by mediareport at 6:31 AM on May 10, 2012


And I realize this is a pretty big leap, but is it possible, as same-sex marriage becomes more and more widespread (or like if/when it becomes a federal mandate), that a particularly bigoted state could choose to stop providing marriage licenses at all? To anyone?

Some of my more libertarian-side-of-Republican friends are advocating this. Make everything a "civil union" and redefine all of the standard marriage rights to apply to these civil unions, then say "This is all the government does, is recognize that two consenting adults are union-ed, and the churches can do whatever the hell they want and call it 'marriage' or whatever."
posted by Etrigan at 6:34 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


So what exactly do you want in terms of results?

It's a legislative impossibility until 2017 at the earliest, and that's assuming retention or big pickups by SSM supporters in Congress for the next three elections (including this one). It's a constitutional impossibility for a slightly longer timeframe, under the same best-case scenario as the previous one, with the state legislatures and governors. It's an executive impossibility because there's no real ability for the President to unilaterally do so (especially if you believe they already have too much power). And, of course, the judicial scenario is completely up in the air in terms of timeframe, of unknown ability to be enforced, and subject to the whims of both the justices and whoever wins the White House this year, as they decide the composition for a long time (i.e. 5-4 either way or 7-2 conservative).
posted by zombieflanders at 6:44 AM on May 10, 2012


Meanwhile here in Holland we had the tenth anniversary of gay marriage last year, he said smugly, and oddly enough we've so far escaped the wrath of an angry god.

It's not nice to brag.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:45 AM on May 10, 2012


Elena Kagan is gay? WTF?

Come one! Give me a break. What does this have to do with the OP?

Even if it were true, it would be just as relevant to this discussion as the fact that I used to have a pet mouse that was homosexual....

True story. . . His name was Homer. . . because I had a strong liking for Greek mythology at the time, of course.


BTW: Jo Biden is awesome!
posted by WestChester22 at 6:57 AM on May 10, 2012


Ertigan: But as we've seen from the start of this war, it's not really about the religious, common, or legal definition of "marriage." It is about having a legal basis to challenge any policy, law, or benefit given to same-sex couples. In Social Conservative rhetoric, piecemeal rights are just as damaging, if not more so, than a handful of states recognizing civil unions or marriage.

That's why these laws were rammed through states where neither marriage or civil unions were on the table. That's why these laws were used against hospitals, municipalities, universities, and legal decisions that recognized same-sex relationships in any form. The religious right doesn't just object to the word "marriage" applied to same-sex couples, they object to adoption, insurance benefits, equal-opportunity housing, military service, and powers of attorney, even when they're not called "marriage" at all.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:59 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is about having a legal basis to challenge any policy, law, or benefit given to same-sex couples.

Yeah. North Carolina Amendment 1 says that heterosexual marriage "is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State." So once recognition of marriage or civil unions becomes basically standard, or federally mandated, I'm guessing at least some state is going to try to pass a law refusing to acknowledge any domestic unions.

"This is all the government does, is recognize that two consenting adults are union-ed, and the churches can do whatever the hell they want and call it 'marriage' or whatever."

FWIW, I'm actually even more of an outlier on this topic. That's probably better for over beer at a meetup sometime. Smiley emoticon.

posted by davidjmcgee at 7:08 AM on May 10, 2012


Remember way up towards the beginning of this thread when someone said we should all be happy together about this happy FPP?....

That was wise...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:11 AM on May 10, 2012


I'm curious if Biden's earlier speech was simply there so that the administration could gauge potential reaction to this ahead of time.
posted by talldean at 7:26 AM on May 10, 2012


talldean: "I'm curious if Biden's earlier speech was simply there so that the administration could gauge potential reaction to this ahead of time."

For what it's worth, the administration is saying that it wasn't. Part of me wonders if they're just milking Biden's reputation as an open book to their advantage. "Oh, that crazy Biden, out there off the reservation... Well, I guess I can clarify my position on marriage equality now that the gaffe-o-matic has let the cat out of the bag!
posted by tonycpsu at 7:31 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


In slightly related and possibly superficial news, Mitt Romney apparently assaulted a gay classmate at his prestigious boarding school in 1965, although it's as much a demonstration of how privileged his life has been as it was how much of an asshole he was/is.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:40 AM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


And his response is: "Back in high school I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended by that I apologize."

Ah, the classic, if anybody was hurt or offended dodge.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:41 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


mediareport: "neither one of them could bring themselves to even hint at the fact that the position Obama stated today is exactly the same "Let the people vote on civil rights" position Christie espoused - and Maddow just lampooned him for."

There are two notable (but perhaps subtle) differences between the Obama and Christie positions.

First, Christie doesn't have a track record of pushing for substantive advances on gay rights, whereas the Obama administration has signed DADT repeal, extended some (but not all) benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees, and stopped defending DOMA in court. (I know, baby steps.)

Second, whereas Christie has explicitly endorsed putting these rights up to public referendum, Obama has only said that he thinks states should decide, which leaves open the possibility that he would like to see state legislative bodies (rather than ballot initiatives) deciding what marriage means for each state. I know this seems like a narrow distinction, since states are free to allow ballot initiatives on whatever they want to, but one can imagine that things would be different in, say, California, if the matter had been decided in the state houses instead of on the ballot. I'd like to see someone press the President on this to see what exactly he means by "letting the states decide," but just one day after the announcement, I'm willing to give him some time to articulate his position before I start comparing him to Chris Christie.

I'm definitely not defending the Rube Goldberg idea of creating federal laws that create advantages for married people but then delegating the definition of "marriage" to the states, but I do think that we should give Obama some time to articulate exactly what he means by "leaving it to the states." Hopefully someone presses him on this in interviews or in a presidential debate or something.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:58 AM on May 10, 2012


In slightly related and possibly superficial news, Mitt Romney apparently assaulted a gay classmate at his prestigious boarding school in 1965, although it's as much a demonstration of how privileged his life has been as it was how much of an asshole he was/is.

A lot of people did dumb shit in high school, and I don't necessarily think they should suffer for it their whole lives, but he should at least own up to it and not deny it happened.
posted by empath at 8:01 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


zombieflanders There was 70% approval **after** Bush invaded. When he first proposed it only around 52% approved, roughly the percentage who approve of gay marriage.

When it was first polled on, back in 2001, 55% of Americans opposed.

Bush beat on the Iraq war drum relentlessly. He, unlike Obama, was very willing to use the Bully Pulpit, and his surrogates constantly reinforced his march to war message.

Point is that Bush went in with his intent and he did what he could to advance his interests regardless of polling. He and his helpers worked tirelessly for their cause, and pushed their cause, and dragged America to his position.

Ironmouth argues that Obama cannot or should not try the same for any leftist causes. he argues that Obama must not try to lead the polls, but must instead follow the polls. That if Obama does anything at all that doesn't already poll well it's bad.

And, regrettably, Obama clearly agrees with the Ironmouth position. I argue that this position is a bad position. Both from a moral standpoint and a political standpoint. The American public does not elect or reelect the timid and cowardly. Bombast sells. Confidence sells. Obama seems to live in a fantasy world where he imagines that if he can just insult the left enough, the right will like him and vote for him.

EmpressCallipygos If it hadn't been for Obama's BS about letting the states decide, IE: letting evil hateful bigots vote on civil rights, then I'd be in agreement that this was happy.

But it isn't happy.

It's an insult. A slap in the face. A giant upraised middle finger telling us on the side of freedom, liberty, and equality that Obama opposes us. Especially since he made that announcement the day after South Carolina (where his party is going to inject millions into the local economy) voted to deny my gay and lesbian fellow citizens full citizenship.

If he'd left off his reflexive pander to Republicans I'd be happy. But he didn't. He couldn't. He doesn't have the spine, the courage, the whatittakes, to actually make a principled stand so he went for a Ron Paul style "well, I personally kind of like X, but if a Good State Government decides to do anti-X then that's 100% their right and it'd be deeply wrong for the Evil Federal Government to intervene".

He's black. Does he not remember that his parents' marriage was illegal in 22 states when he was born? That the very state his party is about to help out with a huge cash injection in fact voted specifically to prohibit the marriage of his parents? That if they'd traveled to Virginia they would have been *imprisoned* for marrying? Does he not remember that Jim Crow was voted on by the states? That freedom came only when the Federal government intervened?

I never once thought I'd see a black Democrat spewing the evil and stupid "State's Rights" garbage Obama spewed to shit on his otherwise good (if about fucking time) announcement.

And, for Ironmouth and the other people who just can't quite seem to grasp what people like me are saying, no I'm not unhappy with the way Obama delivered his "good news", I'm unhappy with the way he chose to deliberately nullify and undermine his "good news" by declaring that it was good, right, proper, and entirely appropriate for the evil states to vote to deny my fellow citizens full equality.

This is not about me disliking Obama's delivery, or his timing (though, I do think his timing is pathetic) it's about me realizing that Obama said a good thing, and then went out of his way to assure the bigots he still, after all this time, seems to think he must appease and surrender to, that just because he supports the gay marriage doesn't mean they can't vote to make gay people second class citizens.

It's the reflexive, spineless, surrender that pisses me off. It's the fact that his reflexive, cowardly, surrender completely undermines and reverses the good his statement might otherwise have done.

Again, this isn't rocket surgery. George W. Bush, a certifiable moron, understood the importance of drawing a clear line and fighting tooth and nail to defend that line. But Obama can't. He still, somehow, after all this time, believes that if he just shits on liberals enough, if he just surrenders enough, then the Republicans will like him.
posted by sotonohito at 8:20 AM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for trying, Klang.
posted by cashman at 8:27 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


davidjmcgee, if I recall correctly some school districts closed rather than integrate so it wouldn't surprise me if some conservative governor or secretary of state stopped issuing marriage licenses in protest at some point.
posted by postel's law at 8:31 AM on May 10, 2012



A thoughtful editorial from Jonathan Rauch. He points out how this declaration shifts the perception of gay marriage acceptance to a mainstream position ahead of two upcoming Supreme Court cases.

As of his announcement, favoring gay marriage is now fully, indisputably, and permanently a mainstream political position. All hint of weirdness or stigma is gone. It is also now the stated position of one of the two major political parties (only 16 years after President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, signed the anti-gay-marriage Defense of Marriage Act). Precisely because the issue is unlikely to decide the election this year, November's result will not revoke the issue's promotion in status even if Obama loses. Though gay couples have not achieved full legal equality, gay marriage, as an issue, has achieved full political equality. That is a landmark in the ongoing marriage debate.

The courts, as Obama, the former law professor, must be well aware, will take notice. Two big gay-rights cases--one challenging California's revocation of gay marriage, the other challenging the Defense of Marriage Act--are on their way toward the Supreme Court. With his switch from ambivalence to advocacy, Obama is sending a signal to the courts that the country is ready for gay marriage, giving them more cover to uphold it. Courts may not go by poll results, but they do like to stay within the mainstream. And Obama has just moved it.

posted by oneirodynia at 9:07 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mitt Romney: Backwards on Equality.
posted by ericb at 9:07 AM on May 10, 2012




There was 70% approval **after** Bush invaded. When he first proposed it only around 52% approved, roughly the percentage who approve of gay marriage.

When it was first polled on, back in 2001, 55% of Americans opposed.


Proof? I couldn't find this. The closest was a Gallup poll where 53% supported, and opposition was at 41%

Ironmouth argues that Obama cannot or should not try the same for any leftist causes. he argues that Obama must not try to lead the polls, but must instead follow the polls. That if Obama does anything at all that doesn't already poll well it's bad.

And, regrettably, Obama clearly agrees with the Ironmouth position.


Which explains the incredibly popular health care reform...oh, right. There's plentiful evidence that this isn't the case, just like there's similar evidence for a lot of what Bush did was popular.

If it hadn't been for Obama's BS about letting the states decide, IE: letting evil hateful bigots vote on civil rights, then I'd be in agreement that this was happy.

I'm sorry, where does it say that he can unilaterally repeal DOMA, add an amendment to the Constitution, and/or rule in lieu of the Supreme Court? He didn't say it was up to referenda like Amendment 1, he said it was up to the states, which is how marriage works in this country.

But it isn't happy.

It's an insult. A slap in the face. A giant upraised middle finger telling us on the side of freedom, liberty, and equality that Obama opposes us.


Just because you have no idea how laws work doesn't mean you're right. And there are plenty of GLBT folks and/or legislative experts who would be happy to point that out to you.

Especially since he made that announcement the day after South Carolina (where his party is going to inject millions into the local economy) voted to deny my gay and lesbian fellow citizens full citizenship.

1) It was North Carolina
2) It was not a unanimous decision, it lost in several districts
3) Did you ever stop to think that he's actually injecting most of those millions into a locality (Charlotte) that opposed the amendment, not the whole state?
4) If SSM is part of the Democratic platform (which it will almost certainly be), it seems holding the convention there would be more of a poke in the eyes of the bigots, and that leaving would be craven surrender in the face of said bigotry, no?

He's black. Does he not remember that his parents' marriage was illegal in 22 states when he was born? That the very state his party is about to help out with a huge cash injection in fact voted specifically to prohibit the marriage of his parents? That if they'd traveled to Virginia they would have been *imprisoned* for marrying? Does he not remember that Jim Crow was voted on by the states? That freedom came only when the Federal government intervened?

I never once thought I'd see a black Democrat spewing the evil and stupid "State's Rights" garbage Obama spewed to shit on his otherwise good (if about fucking time) announcement.


Seriously? It's not as if LBJ just up and made the country integrated one day all by himself, y'know. It required at least three laws (including the Voting Rights Act) written and voted on in Congress over the course of several years--which for SSM would be impossible today and for at least the next 4 years--and even then faced resistance by states and brought in front of the Supreme Court many times. As a a matter of fact, those laws still are being challenged right now, and may have portions repealed in the not-too-distant future, and Obama's DOJ is fighting back hard. All of this is similar to the trajectory that SSM is taking, although the GOP has done so much legislatively to mess it up that anything other than overwhelming majorities at both federal and state legislatures will take years to untangle.

Get a handle on the history of civil rights in this country and how laws are made and enforced, then maybe come back with a more cogent argument if you still think it's bad.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:10 AM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


zombieflanders: When I read Obama's speeches to the HRC in 2009 and 2011, he seems to be quite aware of the limitations on executive power and the need for citizen activism and pressure on congress:
It’s progress led not by Washington but by ordinary citizens, who are propelled not just by politics but by love and friendship and a sense of mutual regard. (Applause.) It’s playing out in legislatures like New York, and courtrooms and in the ballot box. But it’s also happening around water coolers and at the Thanksgiving table, and on Facebook and Twitter, and at PTA meetings and potluck dinners, and church socials and VFW Halls.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:32 AM on May 10, 2012


When I read Obama's speeches to the HRC in 2009 and 2011, he seems to be quite aware of the limitations on executive power and the need for citizen activism and pressure on congress

That's part of what I'm trying to point out, but it seems to elude some folks.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:36 AM on May 10, 2012


zombieflanders You're missing the point, and I think deliberately. Like Ironmouth you choose to dodge the issue by pretending that I'm some sort of child who imagines Obama can wave a magic wand.

Of course I don't think Obama can unilaterally end DOMA or whatever.

The problem is that he went out of his way to stress that in his opinion marriage was properly a state issue. He didn't have to say that. He didn't have to ruin his otherwise ok speech with yet another concession and surrender to the right. He didn't have to include a slap in the face to the left who would otherwise have been overjoyed that he (finally) decided to stop wimping around and actually take a stand.

And, no, it damn well isn't how marriage works in this country. If it was then Loving v Virginia would have been decided the other way on the grounds that the states get to decide such things by themselves.

From the transcript:
And what you're seeing is, I think, states working through this issue-- in fits and starts, all across the country. Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that's a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what's recognized as a marriage.
Here we have Obama telling us that it's "healthy" for some states to encode bigotry in law and deprive citizens of their rights. Here we have Obama saying that, from his standpoint, it's a **GOOD** thing for state governments to deny equal rights to some people.

Again, he's black. Does he not remember the Civil Rights bit? Does he not recall that this is exactly the same line of crap that the proponents of Jim Crow were pushing? Has he not read the Letter From a Birmingham Jail, you know the one where King called out the harmful cowards who kept saying "not yet"?

And, finally, look at that last sentence. The last major shift in marriage laws in the USA was Loving v Virginia, a federal intervention that utterly trampled on "State's Rights" and imposed a single federal level regulation for marriage laws. But there's Obama, the cowardly liar, claiming that marriage is entirely a state issue and it's not appropriate for the federal to get involved.

That, right there, that sort of pathetic, spineless, lying, grovel before the bigots, BS is what I object to. I explicitly am not objecting to Obama being unable to wave a magic wand and I'm really, really, sick of folks like you lying and claiming that I am. I'm begging you, please stop lying about my complaints and address what I'm really saying.

I am objecting to Obama's continued and pathetic pandering to the right. I am objecting to Obama's decision to use the Bully Pulpit to tell North Carolina that they're doing a **GOOD** thing by voting to deny gay people equality. I am objecting to Obama pretending that Loving never happened. That the Civil Rights Act never happened. That it's OK for state governments to deny people civil rights. That is what I'm objecting to.

If Obama had just said that he supported gay marriage and that was all he said I'd be dancing in the streets. But he didn't.

Because, as Ironmouth keeps advocating, Obama takes the spineless, follow the polls, never ever try to lead approach. Is it so horrible that I want a guy who actually stands up for what's right instead of continually pandering to evil?
posted by sotonohito at 9:37 AM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why Same-Sex Marriage Matters!
posted by ericb at 9:39 AM on May 10, 2012


When I read Obama's speeches to the HRC in 2009 and 2011, he seems to be quite aware of the limitations on executive power and the need for citizen activism and pressure on congress...
--CBrachyrhynchos

That's part of what I'm trying to point out, but it seems to elude some folks.
--zombieflanders

There's a element of interaction and reinforcement here, though, between citizens and the president. The more citizen activism advocates for and normalizes marriage equality, the greater the effect of the presidential bully pulpit on both citizens who are unconvinced and legislators.
posted by audi alteram partem at 9:40 AM on May 10, 2012


zombieflanders: That's part of what I'm trying to point out, but it seems to elude some folks.

But your conclusion appears to be that because Obama can't independently do anything about DOMA, that he shouldn't say anything at all about same-sex marriage or DOMA. I'd say that one of the marks of great presidents in history is that, for all of their flaws, they expressed a long-term vision of what America should achieve after they've left office.

You don't wait for the votes to change to pass the policy you want. You make the votes you need to pass the policy you want. For DADT-repeal, that included lobbing bill after bill into a hostile congress, building a large coalition each time, until Republicans blinked.

Obama's willingness to describe his role as part of a larger change process is one of his more admirable traits as president.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:06 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem is that he went out of his way to stress that in his opinion marriage was properly a state issue. He didn't have to say that. He didn't have to ruin his otherwise ok speech with yet another concession and surrender to the right. He didn't have to include a slap in the face to the left who would otherwise have been overjoyed that he (finally) decided to stop wimping around and actually take a stand.

It's not a slap in the face. It's reality.

And, no, it damn well isn't how marriage works in this country. If it was then Loving v Virginia would have been decided the other way on the grounds that the states get to decide such things by themselves.

It hasn't been held up to be so by the Supreme Court as applicable to SSM under Equal Protection Clause, and was made federal law by DOMA. That's being challenged directly by court cases as well as Obama's DOJ and others. That's unfair, but that is in fact how it works.

Here we have Obama telling us that it's "healthy" for some states to encode bigotry in law and deprive citizens of their rights. Here we have Obama saying that, from his standpoint, it's a **GOOD** thing for state governments to deny equal rights to some people.

If you can't see the difference between encouraging the democratic process and encouraging hate, that's unfortunate.

Again, he's black. Does he not remember the Civil Rights bit? Does he not recall that this is exactly the same line of crap that the proponents of Jim Crow were pushing? Has he not read the Letter From a Birmingham Jail, you know the one where King called out the harmful cowards who kept saying "not yet"?

And, finally, look at that last sentence. The last major shift in marriage laws in the USA was Loving v Virginia, a federal intervention that utterly trampled on "State's Rights" and imposed a single federal level regulation for marriage laws. But there's Obama, the cowardly liar, claiming that marriage is entirely a state issue and it's not appropriate for the federal to get involved.


This bears repeating: DOMA DOMA DOMA DOMA DOMA. That was the last major shift in marriage laws. It's federal regulation that allows states to not accepting same-sex rights from other states, essentially devolving the decisions as it applies to gender back to the states. It's also a law written by Congress that can only be repealed by them or overturned by the courts, either of which Obama has publicly supported. There's nothing else he can ask for that doesn't end up advocating some breach in the modern American political system, and no invocation of Dr. King or Loving v. Virginia can change that for now. It sucks, but some of us would rather that than opening up a Pandora's box further down the road.

I explicitly am not objecting to Obama being unable to wave a magic wand and I'm really, really, sick of folks like you lying and claiming that I am. I'm begging you, please stop lying about my complaints and address what I'm really saying.

That's twice now that you've claimed without proof that people are intentionally misreading you. Unless you can read minds, stop equating your unclear points or other's misunderstandings as personal attacks, and stop calling people liars because of it.

I am objecting to Obama's continued and pathetic pandering to the right. I am objecting to Obama's decision to use the Bully Pulpit to tell North Carolina that they're doing a **GOOD** thing by voting to deny gay people equality. I am objecting to Obama pretending that Loving never happened. That the Civil Rights Act never happened. That it's OK for state governments to deny people civil rights. That is what I'm objecting to…Obama takes the spineless, follow the polls, never ever try to lead approach. Is it so horrible that I want a guy who actually stands up for what's right instead of continually pandering to evil?

These are all your opinion, few of which are supported by facts, and many of which require ignorance of large swaths of Obama's personal history and political actions. If that's your view, that's your view.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:26 AM on May 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


davidjmcgee: "a particularly bigoted state could choose to stop providing marriage licenses at all? To anyone?"

Weddings and wedding-related tourism are really lucrative. Any lawmaker who floated legislation like this would be quickly besieged by wedding-related businesses with of "You job destroyer! How dare you take jobs away from our state!" Said lawmaker would quietly slink off into the night shortly thereafter.
posted by skye.dancer at 10:27 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


...difference between encouraging the democratic process and encouraging hate...

I read Obama as encouraging the democratic process to redress hate that itself was codified by the democratic process. The US has a long history of using democracy to trample human rights. I can understand why those whose rights the majority has denied feel that the process of redress isn't moving fast enough.
posted by audi alteram partem at 10:37 AM on May 10, 2012


Again, he's black. Does he not remember the Civil Rights bit? Does he not recall that this is exactly the same line of crap that the proponents of Jim Crow were pushing? Has he not read the Letter From a Birmingham Jail, you know the one where King called out the harmful cowards who kept saying "not yet"?

While I understand what you're saying, I'm incredibly uncomfortable with the notion that the color of a person's skin should necessarily dictate that person's political stances.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:54 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, the administration is saying that it wasn't. Part of me wonders if they're just milking Biden's reputation as an open book to their advantage. "Oh, that crazy Biden, out there off the reservation... Well, I guess I can clarify my position on marriage equality now that the gaffe-o-matic has let the cat out of the bag!

I've got half a mind that the Administration has been using Biden this way (quite probably with his full knowledge and consent) the whole time. Not just on this issue, but in general.
posted by gauche at 11:00 AM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm incredibly uncomfortable with the notion that the color of a person's skin should necessarily dictate that person's political stances.

You can learn a lot about a person that, despite their own life experiences, they still have a lack of empathy for others, until it is expedient to pretend otherwise.

It's not just a matter of skin color, either. You can look at folks like Rick Santorum, whose wife has benefitted from healthcare options that he would deny to other women, given the opportunity.

You can learn a lot about these people, when they do not treat others like human beings despite major life experiences that should otherwise have clued them in.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:48 PM on May 10, 2012


Weddings and wedding-related tourism are really lucrative. Any lawmaker who floated legislation like this would be quickly besieged by wedding-related businesses with of "You job destroyer! How dare you take jobs away from our state!" Said lawmaker would quietly slink off into the night shortly thereafter.

A state could privatize marriage licencing. Something like say a notary crossed with a university records office where you'd do your paperwork, get it countersigned, and then the private registar would keep the record. People wanting to verify your status would need name, state, and registar.
posted by Mitheral at 12:52 PM on May 10, 2012


So now Obama doesn't treat gay people like human beings? Perfect, enemy of good, etc.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:52 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]




Scott Lemieux does a pretty good job here explaining why "leave it up to the states" isn't really a betrayal by Obama:
Look, marriage is [primarily a] issue; legislation requiring states to issue same-sex marriage licenses would be of dubious constitutionality and would have no chance of passing, and proposed constitutional amendments are rube-running we should leave to anti-choicers. The primary example of federal intervention into marriage is the abominable DOMA, whose constitutionality Obama is refusing to defend consistently with the position he took anyway. The only space for legitimate federal intervention would be an equal protection holding by the Supreme Court. The only thing Obama can do about this is appoint judges, and the judges he’s selected are overwhelmingly likely to vote this way. Nothing Obama can say will change Kennedy’s vote. There are, as always, many things Obama can actually be criticized for, but this critique is fundamentally misguided."
I can understand wanting Obama to not be using the same arguments as Chris Christie or Dick Cheney, but it really is up to the states, and pretending otherwise doesn't move the ball forward.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:02 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bush beat on the Iraq war drum relentlessly.

Bush also had an approal rating of about 75% (artifically inflated by the 9/11 attacks) and a country that wanted revenge (however misplaced) for the attacks and increasinglybought his bullshit about Iraq being involved.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:22 PM on May 10, 2012


I think a lot of people being polled hear the question "do you support gay marriage?" as actually being "do you want to marry a homosexual?"
posted by Theta States at 1:34 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's the thing, Obama didn't say "I hope the Supreme Court pulls a Loving and ends the bigotry against homosexuals". Obama didn't say "Unfortunately there is little I can do directly, but other branches of the Federal government are working to secure the rights of gay citizens and I stand fully by that goal". Obama didn't say "in this country there is liberty and justice for all". Obama didn't say "civil rights should not be determined by popular vote." Obama didn't say "we've seen this sort of thing before, where some states try and declare that some citizens aren't entitled to equality, and we've had to address that at a federal level, mostly through he courts but sometimes through Congress".

No.

Obama said, and I quote:

"And I think that's a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what's recognized as a marriage."

He explicitly said that he **APPROVES** of various states banning gay marriage as a "healthy process".

Change the group that Obama doesn't mind states discriminating against and ask yourself if you still approve:

"And I think that's a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, whether or not segregation is enforced."

Or heck, why not:

"And I think that's a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, whether or not to keep slaves."

Again, and I'm going to use all caps here in hopes that the willful misunderstanders will address my real complaints: I AM NOT COMPLAINING THAT OBAMA DIDN'T WAVE A MAGIC WAND AND FIX EVERYTHING.

I am complaining that Obama, when faced with horrible evil being done by state governments, chose to praise that evil rather than condemn it. Chose to declare that it was **GOOD** that some state governments have chosen to legally enforce bigotry and hatred.

That's a problem.

Leave it to the states, on any civil rights issue is a problem. Anyone who approves of that is a person contributing to the problem.

I'm also not happy with the way Obama kept going out of his way to praise the bigots and say that he understood and respected their bigotry. Again, I quote:
I think it's important to recognize that-- folks-- who-- feel very strongly that marriage should be defined narrowly as-- between a man and a woman-- many of them are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective. They're coming at it because they care about families. And-- they-- they have a different understanding, in terms of-- you know, what the word "marriage" should mean. And I-- a bunch of 'em are friends of mine-- you know, pastors and-- you know, people who-- I deeply respect.
He "deeply respects" bigots who want to prevent my homosexual fellow citizens from having equal rights. I don't. And I don't respect anyone who does.

Again, let's play switch the victim and see how Obama's speech looks, maybe then Ironmouth et al can comprehend why we on the left are upset:
I think it's important to recognize that-- folks-- who-- feel very strongly that segregation should be mandated -- many of them are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective. They're coming at it because they care about families. And-- they-- they have a different understanding, in terms of-- you know, what the word "equality" should mean. And I-- a bunch of 'em are friends of mine-- you know, pastors and-- you know, people who-- I deeply respect.
Change it from a defense of the bigots denying gay people equal rights to a defense of bigots denying black people equal rights. Now do you get it? Now do you see why the reaction against the idiot let the states decide BS is so visceral?
posted by sotonohito at 1:39 PM on May 10, 2012


> Instead of all the policy talk, we should be having an in-depth discussion about how to talk to people we know (since we all know people who are anti-same sex marriage) who say they are against this.

What are some good starting points? ... What do you do if you go to a church that says this is against the bible ... ?


The government is not in the business of regulating sacraments. The founding fathers put the line "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" for a reason. You can't make something acceptable to God, or not, by voting on it (assuming you believe in God).

All government recognition of marriage does is recognize people as a joint household, and allow them file joint tax returns, own joint property and inherit property from each other. We don't deny people the right to get divorced because the Catholic Church and some other denominations don't approve of it. And Catholics who get a civil divorce still regarded as married by the Church and can't get remarried in the Church. In the same way, we don't need the government to refuse to recognize marriages performed by the Unitarian-Universalist congregations or the United Church of Christ, because they perform same-sex marriages and believe they should do this, even though most denominations don't regard this as a valid sacrament. It's not up to the government to decide this. They just need to recognize households.
posted by nangar at 1:40 PM on May 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Boehner punts. "“The president and the Democrats can talk about all this all they want. But the fact is, the American people are focused on our economy and they're asking the question, where are the jobs?” Mitch McConnell didn't mention the announcement in his weekly floor speech. It also apparently wasn't mentioned in the House Armed Services Committee debate.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:01 PM on May 10, 2012


Reporting is currently that Biden went to the Oval Office to apologize to Obama. So either they're basically lying or Biden's remarks were not approved trial balloons.
posted by Justinian at 3:02 PM on May 10, 2012


I'm perfectly OK with the idea that Biden went to the Oval Office so he & Obama could light up a couple of cigars, pour a couple of nice big glasses of scotch, put their feet up, and say, "Well, that went just about the way we planned it."
posted by soundguy99 at 3:18 PM on May 10, 2012




Reporting is currently that Biden went to the Oval Office to apologize to Obama. So either they're basically lying or Biden's remarks were not approved trial balloons.

The news media 'bending the truth'? Unpossible!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:17 PM on May 10, 2012


What an asshole. Good to see the Palin's keeping their special brand of hateful ignorance going at full steam.
posted by billyfleetwood at 4:27 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge: "I think it gets you to a good place, a much better place...but it will still leave gay couples going out of state to get married if they are in a state with a ban. That kind of sucks for couples that grew up in one place and lived their entire lives in one place and have all their family in that place and intend to stay in that place. "

I completely agree that it's suboptimal, but at least anybody who wants to marry will be able to do so and be recognized as married in their home state. I know a lot of gay people who are married but are obviously not recognized as such by the feds or a fair whack of states. DOMA being overturned will change that. I suspect the laws banning gay marriage will either be repealed or overturned soon after.

Even the present Supreme Court isn't crazy enough to gut the full faith and credit clause.
posted by wierdo at 5:54 PM on May 10, 2012


Pam from Pam's House Blend, a generally sharp, smart lesbian blogger if you're not already following her, had some thoughts this morning:

Robbed of the ability to celebrate the President’s statement on marriage equality

...The reaction by some to my feeling that “it smarts sitting here in NC where his evolution is cold comfort for those of us now living under the thumb of a marriage discrimination amendment” was to chide me for not giving the President credit for this groundbreaking statement that sets the standard for future Democrats running for office on this issue...nothing I wrote implied ”Romney should be elected” or suggested “don’t vote for the President”....[bit that] doesn’t mean I will fawn over this marriage equality and lie down and ignore the real harms that his policies and political decisions have wrought, the President has an opportunity to take measures in his hands at this moment to actually advance equality in places that are hurting right now.

That pesky executive order

Like signing an executive order barring discrimination in employment by contractors and agencies dealing with the federal government. Apologists say that this is a matter for Congress to deal with — I have no quibble with that, but the President has chosen to sign many executive orders saying “we cannot wait.” Why is it that he has hesitated on stopping discrimination where he can when it comes to LGBTs? Why can this wait? Put the EO in place and work to change the statute in Congress. Walk and chew gum at the same time.

Pointing this out is essential in the wake of his decision to support marriage equality, a symbolic gesture of great impact, on an issue that actually has less support publicly than the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Signing an executive order to address it where he can is surely not more risky politically, yet he has not done it.

I feel strongly about the EO because it does affect LGBT progress in states that do not have state level ENDAs. If one cannot come out of the closet at work without fear of being fired, that’s one less person that can openly advocate for marriage equality, civil unions or DPs, change hearts and minds, any of the long-term acts that will change states like NC on a cultural level. We’re realistic that a permanent fix will have to come at the federal level, but when the EO comes at such a small cost politically and is avoided, it sends a terrible message to the LGBTs still most at risk in this country...

posted by mediareport at 6:02 PM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jay Smooth's take (2:50 video)
posted by cashman at 7:03 PM on May 10, 2012


(a) pissed that he waited until after the NC vote
b) not surprised by the timing
c) unlikely to donate
d) cynical enough that I recoil from my reflection in a mirror

Then enjoy your privilege.

Because whatever your orientation, if you could afford a reliable internet connection and a Mefi membership and the time/energy to post this, then if you DO NOT donate and/or get out the vote, you are part of the problem.

Congratulations! You are now a Republican. Don't apologize for it. OWN IT. You know, like people.

posted by joe lisboa at 7:25 PM on May 10, 2012


I eagerly await the news that Mitt Romney was for marriage equality before the president was.

NPR: Romney's Views On Gay Marriage: Also Evolving?
posted by ericb at 7:57 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back when Romney was running for the U.S. Senate in 1994, he promised to be a champion for "full equality" for gays and lesbians — which many understood to include even gay marriage.

"His campaign distributed at the gay pride parade pink flyers that asserted that he would be a better and a stronger advocate than Ted Kennedy," recalls lobbyist Arlene Isaacson.


Oh, pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease let someone have saved one of those flyers. Either way, that's pretty damning stuff against someone whose current theme is "I've never changed on this issue."

Romney did everything he could to keep Massachusetts from becoming the "Las Vegas of gay marriage," backing a constitutional ban at the state and federal levels. But he denies any inconsistency, saying when he said he was for equality, he meant in employment and housing — not marriage.

Well, shit, Obama, there it is. Your opponent just said he's for equality in employment for lgbtq people. What's stopping you from signing that executive order on federal employees now?
posted by mediareport at 5:57 AM on May 11, 2012


Oh, pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease let someone have saved one of those flyers...

Here ya' go.

Romney disavows 2002 Pride proclamation
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is trying to distance itself from a 2002 campaign flier in which the then candidate for Massachusetts governor commemorated gay Pride, triggering accusations of flip-flopping.

In a statement distributed to the media, Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesperson, said the comments from Romney’s presidential campaign represent yet another change in position for the candidate.

“After Mitt Romney claimed he’d be a stronger advocate for gay rights than Senator Kennedy when he was running for office in Massachusetts [see below], and one day after saying that gays should have ‘full rights,’ Romney’s campaign today disavowed a flier that simply said ‘all citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference,” LaBolt said. “What on that flier does Mitt Romney disagree with?  Does he not believe all Americans should have equal rights? Who is he trying to pander to now? This is why Americans will have trouble trusting Mitt Romney — he doesn’t keep his word.”

The pink flier, which according to Buzzfeed was distributed by Romney’s gubernatorial campaign in 2002, reads, “Mitt and Kerry Wish You a Great Pride Weekend! All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference.” The message references both Romney and his then-running mate for lieutenant governor Kerry Healey.

The flier is consistent with remarks that the former Massachusetts governor made during a presidential debate on Sunday when asked about a letter he wrote while running for U.S. Senate in 1994 in which he promised to be stronger on gay rights than the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

During the Meet the Press/Facebook debate, Romney said he’ll advocate for “full rights” for gay people, although he said he remains opposed to same-sex marriage.

“If people are looking for someone who will discriminate against gays or will in any way try and suggest that people — that have different sexual orientation don’t have full rights in this country, they won’t find that in me,” Romney said.

Asked about the last time he spoke out for increasing gay rights, Romney replied, “Right now.”

But according to the Huffington Post, Romney’s chief spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom said the 2002 pamphlet wasn’t a campaign publication — despite the tag line at the bottom of the flier reading, “Paid for by the Romney for Governor Committee.” The campaign spokesperson was quoted as saying he doesn’t know who was responsible for the flier.

“I don’t know where those pink fliers came from,” Fehrnstrom reportedly said. “I was the communications director on the 2002 campaign. I don’t know who distributed them … I never saw them and I was the communications director.”

The Huffington Post article doesn’t address whether the presidential campaign has disavowed the message in the flier, but reports that Fehrnstrom said he “never approved” the flier before it was distributed.

In the article, Fehrnstrom clarifies that Romney not only doesn’t back same-sex marriage, but also doesn’t support civil unions, despite his purported advocacy for “full rights.”

“[H]e has not been in favor of civil unions, if by civil unions you mean the equivalency to marriage but without the name marriage,” Fehrnstrom said. “What he has favored, and he talked about this, I believe, last night, was a form of domestic partnership or a contractual relationship with reciprocal benefits.”

But in a later report from Buzzfeed, Josh Barro, a former Romney campaign volunteer who is now a fiscal policy scholar at the conservative think tank The Manhattan Institute, told BuzzFeed the flier calling for “equal rights” was indeed campaign literature.

Barro said he was a college intern for Romney’s campaign and answered mail for Healey. Barro said the task of distributing the fliers was organized by a full-time staffer, but added he couldn’t remember her name.

“On Pride weekend, the campaign sent a contingent of about a half-dozen of us to the post-parade festival on Boston Common to hand out those fliers,” he reportedly said in an email.

But Buzzfeed also obtained a new document showing that Fehrstrom’s claim that Romney hasn’t backed civil unions is inaccurate. In response to the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage Romney called for civil unions legislation.

The document states, “Gov. Mitt Romney told reporters that he believed a civil unions statute would ‘be sufficient’ to satisfy the justices’ concerns. Joining Romney in the call for civil unions legislation was Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty, chairman of the House’s Committee on the Judiciary.”
Mitt Romney's 1994 Letter To Gay Republicans
'I need your support more than ever.'

On Dec. 8 Bay Windows obtained a copy of a letter Gov. Mitt Romney wrote to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts in 1994. At the time the letter was written, Romney was in a heated campaign against U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy. In the letter, Romney, who is an all-but-declared candidate for president in 2008 and who has made opposition to civil marriage rights for same-sex couples one of his signature issues, pledged to be a more effective leader on gay civil rights than Kennedy. He promised to cosponsor the federal Employment Nondiscrimination Act and expand the legislation to include protections for gay men and lesbians in housing and credit. He also pledged to back the creation of “a federal panel to find ways to reduce gay and lesbian youth suicide …”

The letter, which is written on “Romney US Senate” letterhead, was widely reported on at the time. In an Oct. 20, 1994 oped, Boston Herald columnist Don Feder said that the letter proved that “Romney is the Mormon Bill Weld, the man he looks to for inspiration. Nowhere is his social radicalism more apparent than on the cutting-edge moral issue of our age — the normalization of homosexuality.”

On Dec. 9, the New York Times quoted from the 1994 letter and noted that Romney aides “did not dispute the letter’s legitimacy.” Bay Windows determined the letter’s authenticity by comparing quotes from the letter from 1994 news reports on the letter published in Bay Windows, the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. Bay Windows also considered the credibility of the source — a former officer of the Log Cabin Club — who provided a copy of the letter to Bay Windows.
posted by ericb at 7:21 AM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Here's the thing, Obama didn't say "I hope the Supreme Court pulls a Loving and ends the bigotry against homosexuals".

I'm not even sure if he can do this without fucking things up vis-a-vis separation of the judicial and executive branches, but he's stated support for equality a hojillion times.

Obama didn't say "Unfortunately there is little I can do directly, but other branches of the Federal government are working to secure the rights of gay citizens and I stand fully by that goal".

Which is completely false.

Obama didn't say "in this country there is liberty and justice for all".

Also completely false.

Obama didn't say "civil rights should not be determined by popular vote."

Which would have been a shitty thing to do to the pro-equality people working on referenda overturning bans in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington for November. But, fuck those folks and the consequences, they're not following the rules, amirite?

Obama didn't say "we've seen this sort of thing before, where some states try and declare that some citizens aren't entitled to equality, and we've had to address that at a federal level, mostly through he courts but sometimes through Congress".

First of all, it's been mostly through Congress, not the courts. And second, he's already stated multiple times support for said legislation.

Again, and I'm going to use all caps here in hopes that the willful misunderstanders will address my real complaints: I AM NOT COMPLAINING THAT OBAMA DIDN'T WAVE A MAGIC WAND AND FIX EVERYTHING.

I am complaining that Obama, when faced with horrible evil being done by state governments, chose to praise that evil rather than condemn it. Chose to declare that it was **GOOD** that some state governments have chosen to legally enforce bigotry and hatred.


Or, y'know, chose to praise the process that's already in place and moving at both federal and state levels, completely legal, and would lead to a stronger defense if it comes up in the future. FWIW, it seems worth reminding you that Loving came after the big civil rights bills, not before. In other words, the current process is essentially following the same trajectory as best it can due to the structural changes that have been inflicted on government from cities on up to the country as a whole. Changes, it bears reminding, were instituted by Republicans over the last 30+ years by packing lower levels of government and moving their way up, while the Democrats mainly chose to fight over how much they disagree with federal representation and Presidents they've elected and how they don't deserve to be (re-)elected.

I'm also not happy with the way Obama kept going out of his way to praise the bigots and say that he understood and respected their bigotry...He "deeply respects" bigots who want to prevent my homosexual fellow citizens from having equal rights. I don't. And I don't respect anyone who does.

That's your feelings on the matter. That's not how a lot of people who are deeply religious, many of whom are liberal (and vice versa), deal with the issue. Of course, they're actually trying to change people's minds, not vilify them. You can't build yourself a bubble that reflexively hates people and ever have a hope of trying to convince someone that they're wrong. You're just being an asshole to them. But by all means, try to bring people on to our side by telling them how evil they are and see how well that works.

Change it from a defense of the bigots denying gay people equal rights to a defense of bigots denying black people equal rights. Now do you get it? Now do you see why the reaction against the idiot let the states decide BS is so visceral?

I see why it's visceral, I don't see how it's effective in trying to get people to see why they're wrong.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:21 AM on May 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Of course, they're actually trying to change people's minds, not vilify them. You can't build yourself a bubble that reflexively hates people and ever have a hope of trying to convince someone that they're wrong. You're just being an asshole to them. But by all means, try to bring people on to our side by telling them how evil they are and see how well that works.

I'd suggest that progressive social change works best when we have arguments similar to what both sotonohito and zombieflanders offer.

Yes, some may change their minds when offered a more conciliatory, slow-go reform approach. But this conciliatory approach only works when we also have clarion demands for human rights that accept no half measures. Call this shifting the Overton window if you like, but progressive social reform in the US has always involved both moderates and radicals. Activists for abolition, women's suffrage, and anti-racism were all seen as "assholes" by their opponents. Those who starkly demand their human rights push the envelope, creating a space in which reform is later seen as possible instead of radical.

Exposing viscera is a necessary step in getting people to see why they're wrong.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:49 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, some may change their minds when offered a more conciliatory, slow-go reform approach. But this conciliatory approach only works when we also have clarion demands for human rights that accept no half measures. Call this shifting the Overton window if you like, but progressive social reform in the US has always involved both moderates and radicals. Activists for abolition, women's suffrage, and anti-racism were all seen as "assholes" by their opponents. Those who starkly demand their human rights push the envelope, creating a space in which reform is later seen as possible instead of radical.

Yes, but a lot of activists also understood perfect is not the enemy of good, too. Radicals aren't the problem, the radicals who believe in purity are. Those that would sabotage their fellow advocates and politicians who mostly agree with them because the journey is too long for their tastes or not ideological enough do nothing to move their cause forward, and often set it back. Being assholes to your enemies can work, particularly if they're nasty enough to horrify the moderates, but it's not a long-term winning strategy. Respectful but forceful disagreement is far better for both the people who mostly support you or only partially oppose you.

Exposing viscera is a necessary step in getting people to see why they're wrong.

Sure, to a point. A lot of people aren't just dealing with random folks in a faraway state, they're dealing with parents, grandparents, good friends, co-workers, and neighbors. A good amount of them may in fact be frothy-mouthed biblethumpers, but what about those that aren't? You can't just look at them like they're something you scraped off your shoe and yell at them for being bigots who deserve nothing but contempt. If my grandmother were alive and told me that my brother can't get married to his boyfriend because it's not right, would I scream "BIGOT" at her and tell her she doesn't deserve my love or respect? Of course not; I'd start a dialog with her on why I think she's wrong, one that may have taken months or years, and would likely change her mind enough to not take the opposition's stance. Same for politicians who support the same end results that we do, who are often constrained by a framework that has been built by other frothy-mouthed biblethumpers. You can't just go ahead and tell them they're modern day George Wallaces, unworthy of any respect let alone votes. I know that they want what I want, and that the other guys really really really don't, and that in some cases a lack of support is as good as being part of the opposition. I spend time pushing them on it, work with others to do the same, and barring the institutional barriers of government, get what I want. This is how the other side's been doing it for years, and it's worked very well for them.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:26 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]






zombieflanders: Those that would sabotage their fellow advocates and politicians...

This is rich given that you've just spent two days spreading FUD about the relationship between gay rights and Democratic politics.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:02 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


African Americans who oppose gay marriage are reconsidering their beliefs, thanks to Obama’s shift, Allison Samuels reports.
"This isn’t a wedge issue for blacks with Obama, no matter how much the media would like it to be,’’ says James Petersen, Lehigh University professor of African Studies."

...

"A 2008 Pew poll showed that nearly 67 percent of blacks were not in favor of same-sex couples marrying. Those high numbers, especially when compared to the attitudes of other races, helped feed the belief that feelings of homophobia are much more of a problem in African-American communities, where many of the country’s top black ministers use their pulpits to rail against the “homosexual lifestyle.”"

...

"The most recent Pew poll taken this past April (2012) showed only 47 percent of African Americans oppose gay marriage today, nearly 20 percentage points lower than in 2008."
That's still a high number, but that's a big shift in the years since Obama has been in office. Daily Beast article found via Ta-Nehisi Coates' comment section.
posted by cashman at 10:08 AM on May 11, 2012


zombieflanders, I don't disagree with a lot of that (after all, I said social change occurs when a variety of rhetorical approaches are at work, and this includes, but is not limited to, your own preferred methods).

If I have time I'll come back and elaborate on some more nuanced differences between our positions. There's one point of disagreement I'll note now. You say, "Being assholes to you enemy can work...". The problem, as I see it, is that there's no uncontested definition of "asshole" behavior. The mere expression of non-majority identity can seem disrespectful and offensive to those in the majority.

Of course you shouldn't scream "BIGOT" at your grandma. (Do you think that would be one of the contexts in which I endorse a confrontational approach?) However, when those who have heteronormative privilege read arguments that attempt to normalize homosexuality and that honesty describe how anti-marriage laws violate the rights of GLBT citizens, they will often perceive those arguments as outrageous indictments akin to the shouting “BIGOT” no matter how they are phrased. To be homosexual in public and ask that one’s rights be respected, even today for many Americans, is to be disrespectful.

I'd start a dialog with her on why I think she's wrong, one that may have taken months or years, and would likely change her mind enough to not take the opposition's stance.

That dialogue would work in part because the social context would change as radical and seemingly offensive GLBT activists normalize GLBT identities.

It is bigoted that voters in states use democracy to alienate what should be unalienable human rights. I don’t expect the President to come out and say that, because I know he operates within the constraints of politics. I don’t expect all who believe anti-marriage equality measures are bigoted to emphasize bigotry in their arguments in all contexts, for reasons you demonstrate in your comment.

But those laws are bigoted nonetheless. One hard part of reform is working within a system that inflict great harms in the hope that one day our work may diminish or eliminate those harms. Even as we work to end legalized bigotry we are in a sense complicit in bigotry, which is I will always welcome frank assessments of the brutality of our laws.
posted by audi alteram partem at 10:09 AM on May 11, 2012


And that's not about ideological purity, it's about the behavior of attacking progressives for lobbying for progressive laws, and now attacking the President for expressing a progressive position.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:13 AM on May 11, 2012


To be homosexual in public and ask that one’s rights be respected, even today for many Americans, is to be disrespectful.

To those with bigoted opinions, it may. But to a disinterested third party, it doesn't appear so, which is important given the need for support from a wider coalition.
posted by Miko at 10:38 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is rich given that you've just spent two days spreading FUD about the relationship between gay rights and Democratic politics.

If you're going to make that accusation, at least provide quotes where I do that.

And that's not about ideological purity, it's about the behavior of attacking progressives for lobbying for progressive laws, and now attacking the President for expressing a progressive position.

It seems to be a matter of phrasing, but either way it's the wrong call for getting the results that we here want.

If I have time I'll come back and elaborate on some more nuanced differences between our positions. There's one point of disagreement I'll note now. You say, "Being assholes to you enemy can work...". The problem, as I see it, is that there's no uncontested definition of "asshole" behavior. The mere expression of non-majority identity can seem disrespectful and offensive to those in the majority.

You're right, and that's not something the other two of us are really addressing, certainly not directly. I'm interested to see your discussion.

Of course you shouldn't scream "BIGOT" at your grandma. (Do you think that would be one of the contexts in which I endorse a confrontational approach?)

No, but in this case I was actually something sotonohito said: "He 'deeply respects' bigots who want to prevent my homosexual fellow citizens from having equal rights. I don't. And I don't respect anyone who does." The only way to interpret that seemed to be that there bigots existed, and that anyone who tried to reason with that viewpoint instead of flat-out opposing it was unworthy of any respect regardless of personal viewpoint. I mixed that into my response, but it wasn't aimed at you.

However, when those who have heteronormative privilege read arguments that attempt to normalize homosexuality and that honesty describe how anti-marriage laws violate the rights of GLBT citizens, they will often perceive those arguments as outrageous indictments akin to the shouting “BIGOT” no matter how they are phrased. To be homosexual in public and ask that one’s rights be respected, even today for many Americans, is to be disrespectful.

I'm certainly aware of that perception, but I'd also argue that those that conform to an strict or exaggerated form of that persona are doing a disservice to the rest of us, no? That just reinforces that concept of the "other" who is hateful, especially to those who have the capacity to be convinced that they are wrong. To me, it's like the folks who go to Occupy more to trash a Starbucks and fight cops than to actually push for economic change on both sides of the system. I have no problem with making anger and confrontation part of activism, in fact, I would argue it's necessary. But if it's what drives you and it makes you unable to differ hate from a deep misunderstanding or confusion, then IMO you've either already lost or are indeed sabotaging the work of others.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:40 AM on May 11, 2012


To those with bigoted opinions, it may. But to a disinterested third party, it doesn't appear so, which is important given the need for support from a wider coalition.

I'm having troubling conceiving the mindset of a disinterested third party. Attitudes toward sexuality are deeply embedded in American culture. I can think of people who are unaware of the implications of marriage equality, but, to my mind, that group includes people who are either sympathetic or hostile to seeing homosexuality as an acceptable part of one's identity.

We're suing the word "bigot" a lot here, but not all hostility toward homosexuality results from conscious, explicit hate. I think the greater number of people operate from cultural norms that, until recently, treated homosexuality as abnormal. In my discussion of perception of disrespect, I'm including people who may not be aware of their implicit homophobic views and wouldn't see themselves as bigoted (thus their strong reaction to accusations of bigotry).

Maybe "bigotry" isn't the most productive word to use in those contexts when discussing someone's heteronormative privilege. But the result of that privilege is the same whether someone sees themselves as a bigot or not: supporting laws that violate fundamental rights of their fellow citizens.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:05 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


FUD: It could very well be political suicide, we don't know yet. And if it is the issue that kills his re-election, then for all the good feelings it produced, then it will have set back gay rights for years, possibly a generation.

FUD: None of this matters if Romney does win, and if you'd rather have had a pat on the back several months ago when people lose their rights for the foreseeable future, that's mind-bogglingly selfish.

Now: It seems to be a matter of phrasing, but either way it's the wrong call for getting the results that we here want.

What's the wrong call? Supporting same-sex marriage as a Democrat?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:48 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I fail to see how pointing out a hypothetical of the election becoming single-issue or that Romney's election (in concert with a GOP Congress and his SC nominations) would be a huge setback for gay rights, including marriage. That's what's going to happen according to him and to the GOP mouthpieces, and both have given plenty of evidence to support that.

As for the wrong call, you're going to have to clarify what you mean here. You seemed to say that people attacking fellow supporters and politicians pushing for progressive laws is an issue, which I took to be similar to what I was saying about radicals demanding purity over progression, either of which is the wrong way to get results.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:03 PM on May 11, 2012


I'm certainly aware of that perception, but I'd also argue that those that conform to an strict or exaggerated form of that persona are doing a disservice to the rest of us, no?

Perhaps it's because I'm both middle aged and cranky, but I'm a bit tired of being held responsible for the confirmation and stereotype bias of others. I'm a friendly and soft-spoken because I like people, and that's how I roll. But I'm not going to take responsibility for the prejudices of others because I cross my legs the wrong way, or don't wear a manly enough shade of blue.

I fail to see how pointing out a hypothetical of the election becoming single-issue or that Romney's election (in concert with a GOP Congress and his SC nominations) would be a huge setback for gay rights, including marriage. That's what's going to happen according to him and to the GOP mouthpieces, and both have given plenty of evidence to support that.

Every time Democrats do something for gay rights, I read the same FUD that gay-rights advocacy by Democrats is going to cost us the election (as opposed to the hundreds of other issues that conservatives get bent out of shape about.) The only reasonable conclusion when this concern is raised is that Democrats should stick to only advancing the safest of gay-rights policies, which probably would be limited merely to congressional resolutions that most of us don't sodomize goats.

It's not ideological purity to suggest that you'd do us all a favor by getting out of the office and backing Obama's play on the ground, rather than preemptively blaming Obama and uppity queers for sabotaging an election six months away.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:17 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps it's because I'm both middle aged and cranky, but I'm a bit tired of being held responsible for the confirmation and stereotype bias of others. I'm a friendly and soft-spoken because I like people, and that's how I roll. But I'm not going to take responsibility for the prejudices of others because I cross my legs the wrong way, or don't wear a manly enough shade of blue.

Not what I was saying, which was that the fanatics give the radicals and moderates a bad rap by association. True of the other side by the way. For example, anti-choice in all instances "baby killer" picketers vs those who don't personally support abortion but support the right to choose.

Every time Democrats do something for gay rights, I read the same FUD that gay-rights advocacy by Democrats is going to cost us the election (as opposed to the hundreds of other issues that conservatives get bent out of shape about.) The only reasonable conclusion when this concern is raised is that Democrats should stick to only advancing the safest of gay-rights policies, which probably would be limited merely to congressional resolutions that most of us don't sodomize goats.

Which isn't what I'm saying at all, quite the opposite in fact. I'm in favor of action as opposed to just words. A politician can go on and on about how they support gay rights, but if they don't match that with policy, then they're pretty much useless. Conversely, if they actually act in favor of gay rights (which Obama has done rather often, moreso than any other President, Dem or GOP), they don't need to say it for me to believe it. Apparently some people feel that words speak louder than actions, and that reassurance no matter the consequences is preferable to doing something about it.

It's not ideological purity to suggest that you'd do us all a favor by getting out of the office and backing Obama's play on the ground, rather than preemptively blaming Obama and uppity queers for sabotaging an election six months away.

Again, the opposite of what I'm saying. What I was saying was that it's ideological purity to just give up on those who don't fit a very narrow definition of support. Given that sotonohito doesn't even respect Obama or anyone that doesn't fit this viewpoint, I can assume that support for them of any sort is not forthcoming. I wasn't implying this of you, and would actually like to think that this assumption is wrong of anyone in this thread. I'm all in support of uppity queers saying their piece, and despite disappointments on other topics, I'm all for Obama getting things done. I'm not in support of people who think that not being in lockstep 100% of the way equals being a traitor.

FWIW, even before I was able to vote I was "backing plays on the ground" for Presidents (including Obama in 2008 and now), US Reps and Senators, state Reps and Senators, county council members, school board members, and referenda that I support. So maybe you shouldn't make up images of people in your head before going off on them.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:01 PM on May 11, 2012


zombieflanders Perhaps I've not expressed my position properly.

It is not my job to filter through dozens of policy papers and try to divine, like the Oracle at Delphi, whether Obama is really being liberal or not. It is his job, as the guy giving the interview with a national audience, to make his position clear.

Just as it's my job to try and express my position in a clear way that you can understand, and that's why I'm trying again instead of simply assuming you get it or demanding that you search all my other comments in order to determine what I mean here.

More to the point, people's positions change. Obama's certainly do. There was a time he claimed to respect the Constitution and expressed outrage that then President Bush would merely wiretap American citizens without a warrant or any other sort of oversight. Over time that position shifted radically and Obama now claims he has the power to *KILL* American citizens without a warrant or any other sort of oversight. That goes well beyond merely reversing his prior position.

So even if I were predisposed to dig through past position papers, speeches, and interviews in an effort to try and put a positive spin on the very negative and horrible position he expressed here I don't think it's really safe to assume that his past positions mean much of anything.

Here, in this interview which he held (among other things) to clarify and expound on his position WRT equal rights for gay people, President Obama did not say that civil rights should not be up for majority vote. In fact, he took the opposite position by praising the state level approach which has done exactly that.

Here, in this interview, Obama did not declare that it was deeply wrong for states to deprive gay people of equality, in fact he took the opposite view by saying explicitly that he thought the matter was and should be determined by state governments. Worse he said he liked that we had a multitude of laws regarding equal rights for gay people, that he thought it was "healthy" for gay people to be oppressed in some places.

Here, in this interview, Obama did not say that the Federal government was needed to protect the rights of all since the states were manifestly failing to do so. In fact he said the opposite, and declared that he did not want to "nationalize" the issue of equal rights.

Here, in this interview, Obama said things about rights for gay citizens that had he said the exact same thing about rights for black citizens you would be outraged about.

I don't care what stuff you've dug up from the past, Obama's positions change. And he discussed his current positions in fair detail and all of what I've pointed out as being very, very, bad about those positions is valid and discussed right there in Obama's interview.

Furthermore, here, in this interview, Obama seemed to repudiate Loving. His position, in fact, was very reminiscent of the people arguing on behalf of Virginia. He said, as they did, that marriage was a state issue, that the federal government had no business interfering in state decisions and that it was improper for the federal to intervene.

You've also, despite my repeated use of all caps to attempt to prevent such things, insisted on confusing my desire that Obama express support for federal action with a demand that he personally fix things.

I don't particularly care what Obama can and cannot personally do. I care what he supports. I care what he says is right and proper. I also care about what he argues are valid and invalid tactics for achieving the goal.

And in that interview Obama explicitly said that he did not favor federal level intervention to assure equal rights for all, but rather supported the "rights" of local bigots to deny civil rights to my gay fellow citizens. Again, and I hate repeating myself, I'm not upset that Obama didn't fix everything. I'm upset because he declared that even if he could fix everything he wouldn't. I'm upset because he said it was wrong to even try to fix everything.

I am not claiming that Obama is a screaming homobigot motivated by a desire to personally restrict the rights of homosexuals. I'll take him at his word when he says he is personally in favor of gay marriage. But he is aiding and abetting the bigots. He is granting legitimacy to the bigoted belief that rights aren't universal but rather change from state to state and that if a local area has a high concentration of bigots it is right and proper for those bigots to encode their bigotry in law.

If he'd stopped right after "At a certain point, I've just concluded that-- for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that-- I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." I'd have been happy. I'd have been delighted.

But he didn't. he went on to say, essentially, that despite his beliefs in equality he thought it was perfectly appropriate and correct for state governments to deny gay people equality.
That I've got a problem with.

And I've got a problem with his declaration that he "deeply respects" evil bigots. I don't, and I don't respect anyone who does. Nor do I count such people as true allies.

Finally, I don't expect you to scream mean words at your grandmother. I've asked in the past that you stop strawmanning me, and while I have little hope that you'll knock it off, I'll repeat that request again here.
posted by sotonohito at 1:10 PM on May 11, 2012


...that's not something the other two of us are really addressing, certainly not directly.

Not directly in the question of what Obama said or should have said. But in that exchange I’m seeing echoes of other discussions about addressing the injustices of privilege through legislation.

Particularly in this exchange:
sotonohito: I am complaining that Obama, when faced with horrible evil being done by state governments, chose to praise that evil rather than condemn it. Chose to declare that it was **GOOD** that some state governments have chosen to legally enforce bigotry and hatred.

zombieflanders: Or, y'know, chose to praise the process that's already in place and moving at both federal and state levels, completely legal, and would lead to a stronger defense if it comes up in the future.
I can see either of these as good interpretations of what Obama said, depending on the context and audience, because both of you are right. Obama’s statement works within the legal reform structure in place and will, hopefully, lead to full marriage equality in the US. But that reform structure, as I said above, means that until then we work with a system that deprives people of their rights.

...those that conform to an strict or exaggerated form of that persona are doing a disservice to the rest of us, no?

I’m not quite sure what persona you’re referring to here. If people are outraged about the state and their fellow citizens abrogating their right to marriage equality, I’m not going to ask them to suppress their outrage, even if they mistake “hate [for] a deep misunderstanding or confusion,” because the consequences are the same regardless of the motivation for denying marriage equality.

If a partner is denied access to his/her dying beloved in a hospital, I’m not comfortable describing that as a result of deep misunderstanding or confusion. It isn’t the result of cartoonish, twirling mustache evil, or robes-and-burning-cross bigotry, but it is the result of a system that operates with a deep and abiding abhorrence of homosexuality.

That just reinforces that concept of the "other" who is hateful,especially to those who have the capacity to be convinced that they are wrong.

As I suggested in the grandmother example, and as you seemed to suggest yourself, the process of being convinced one’s wrong can take a great deal of time. And changing one’s mind results from a variety of influences, not just explicit arguments.

I’m white, male, and heterosexual. Despite growing up in a fairly liberal home, I was a homophobe in my youth and teens because those were the attitudes I learned from my peers. Fortunately I was never in a position to do worse than call people “gay” (unlike some), but it still makes me sick that I participated in such hurtful behavior.

I had actually believed that gay men were almost certain to try molest me and any other young male who wandered into their grasp. I found coverage of gay pride events revolting. It wasn’t until I went to college and got to know some gay men and GLBT allies that I managed to move away from my bigoted beliefs. My homophobia did indeed arise from “ a deep misunderstanding or confusion” but it was also bigotry and it resulted in my saying hateful things.

But if it's what drives you and it makes you unable to differ hate from a deep misunderstanding or confusion, then IMO you've either already lost or are indeed sabotaging the work of others.

I think if people recognize the prejudice directed at them by a social system, then they’ve won an important battle. If they come to see that they are human, that they aren’t a freak who deserves to be beaten or killed, that it is the prejudice of others that is wrong, not their perfectly natural identity, then they have won.

If those who insist on calling out the bigotry of others do a disservice to reform, and I strongly believe they do not, then that disservice is negligible compared to the injustices they face and that motivate their anger. “Sabotage” connotes willful intent to impede progress. Even if someone is unable to differentiate hate from ignorant prejudice and impedes reform, I don’t see how “sabotage” fits that behavior, unless they somehow wish to preserve the bigotry they criticize.
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:16 PM on May 11, 2012


I can see either of these as good interpretations of what Obama said, depending on the context and audience, because both of you are right. Obama’s statement works within the legal reform structure in place and will, hopefully, lead to full marriage equality in the US. But that reform structure, as I said above, means that until then we work with a system that deprives people of their rights.

No disagreements here.

I’m not quite sure what persona you’re referring to here. If people are outraged about the state and their fellow citizens abrogating their right to marriage equality, I’m not going to ask them to suppress their outrage, even if they mistake “hate [for] a deep misunderstanding or confusion,” because the consequences are the same regardless of the motivation for denying marriage equality.

It's not the outrage that's the problem, but the friendly-fire direction it goes in and the vehemence of it.

If a partner is denied access to his/her dying beloved in a hospital, I’m not comfortable describing that as a result of deep misunderstanding or confusion. It isn’t the result of cartoonish, twirling mustache evil, or robes-and-burning-cross bigotry, but it is the result of a system that operates with a deep and abiding abhorrence of homosexuality.

The results are indeed a problem, but there can be a lot of misunderstanding or confusion. Look at NC, where a large portion of people didn't know that it took away all civil union rights (such as visitation) as well as legal marriage. Those that do it despite that, yeah, they're being bigoted, but I'd prefer to think that at least some of them have the ability to be changed without being attacked.

As I suggested in the grandmother example, and as you seemed to suggest yourself, the process of being convinced one’s wrong can take a great deal of time. And changing one’s mind results from a variety of influences, not just explicit arguments...homophobia did indeed arise from “ a deep misunderstanding or confusion” but it was also bigotry and it resulted in my saying hateful things.

Which is exactly the process I would like to happen, and I hoped didn't happen because you were told that you were evil.

I think if people recognize the prejudice directed at them by a social system, then they’ve won an important battle. If they come to see that they are human, that they aren’t a freak who deserves to be beaten or killed, that it is the prejudice of others that is wrong, not their perfectly natural identity, then they have won.

Again, I don't disagree with this.

If those who insist on calling out the bigotry of others do a disservice to reform, and I strongly believe they do not, then that disservice is negligible compared to the injustices they face and that motivate their anger. “Sabotage” connotes willful intent to impede progress. Even if someone is unable to differentiate hate from ignorant prejudice and impedes reform, I don’t see how “sabotage” fits that behavior, unless they somehow wish to preserve the bigotry they criticize.

Perhaps sabotage is the wrong word, then. But I still feel that if someone is willing to turn their backs on those that don't follow a standard of perfection, even if doing so will end up in greater injustice, then they're not moving the cause forward at all.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:30 PM on May 11, 2012


"But I still feel that if someone is willing to turn their backs on those that don't follow a standard of perfection, even if doing so will end up in greater injustice, then they're not moving the cause forward at all."

The ideals Obama espoused in his interview would not bring about greater justice. He **EXPLICITLY** said he did not want to see gay marriage nationalized and that he wanted it determined on a state by state basis which means the bigoted areas will keep it illegal for decades to come.

Am I really such a poor communicator that you haven't understood my point yet?
posted by sotonohito at 1:41 PM on May 11, 2012


Perhaps I've not expressed my position properly.

Well, at least we've gotten to a point that either of us can say that we're missing something here.

Here, in this interview which he held (among other things) to clarify and expound on his position WRT equal rights for gay people, President Obama did not say that civil rights should not be up for majority vote. In fact, he took the opposite position by praising the state level approach which has done exactly that.

Again, that's the framework that exists. Not saying anything about it wouldn't change the facts, just the rhetoric.

Here, in this interview, Obama did not declare that it was deeply wrong for states to deprive gay people of equality, in fact he took the opposite view by saying explicitly that he thought the matter was and should be determined by state governments. Worse he said he liked that we had a multitude of laws regarding equal rights for gay people, that he thought it was "healthy" for gay people to be oppressed in some places.

Not a particularly correct observation, especially the last part.

Here, in this interview, Obama did not say that the Federal government was needed to protect the rights of all since the states were manifestly failing to do so. In fact he said the opposite, and declared that he did not want to "nationalize" the issue of equal rights.

Probably because that's how it works.

Here, in this interview, Obama said things about rights for gay citizens that had he said the exact same thing about rights for black citizens you would be outraged about.

If I didn't think he was working with people against that, sure. But I happen to believe he is.

I don't care what stuff you've dug up from the past, Obama's positions change. And he discussed his current positions in fair detail and all of what I've pointed out as being very, very, bad about those positions is valid and discussed right there in Obama's interview.

They are very, very bad, but they are constraints of the real world.

Furthermore, here, in this interview, Obama seemed to repudiate Loving. His position, in fact, was very reminiscent of the people arguing on behalf of Virginia. He said, as they did, that marriage was a state issue, that the federal government had no business interfering in state decisions and that it was improper for the federal to intervene.

If that's what you think the defendants of Loving said, or that it was the opinion of the SC, you may want to re-read it.

You've also, despite my repeated use of all caps to attempt to prevent such things, insisted on confusing my desire that Obama express support for federal action with a demand that he personally fix things.

Cite, please.

I don't particularly care what Obama can and cannot personally do. I care what he supports. I care what he says is right and proper. I also care about what he argues are valid and invalid tactics for achieving the goal.

And you believe that what he says and the tactics he can use are improper. That's your call.

And in that interview Obama explicitly said that he did not favor federal level intervention to assure equal rights for all, but rather supported the "rights" of local bigots to deny civil rights to my gay fellow citizens. Again, and I hate repeating myself, I'm not upset that Obama didn't fix everything. I'm upset because he declared that even if he could fix everything he wouldn't. I'm upset because he said it was wrong to even try to fix everything.

I am not claiming that Obama is a screaming homobigot motivated by a desire to personally restrict the rights of homosexuals. I'll take him at his word when he says he is personally in favor of gay marriage. But he is aiding and abetting the bigots. He is granting legitimacy to the bigoted belief that rights aren't universal but rather change from state to state and that if a local area has a high concentration of bigots it is right and proper for those bigots to encode their bigotry in law.


Again, not what he said, nor what he's said in the past.

If he'd stopped right after "At a certain point, I've just concluded that-- for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that-- I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." I'd have been happy. I'd have been delighted.

But he didn't. he went on to say, essentially, that despite his beliefs in equality he thought it was perfectly appropriate and correct for state governments to deny gay people equality.
That I've got a problem with.


Look, you want to continue to confuse process with sentiment, go ahead. It's getting tiring to me.

And I've got a problem with his declaration that he "deeply respects" evil bigots. I don't, and I don't respect anyone who does. Nor do I count such people as true allies.

It's not what he said, and you've already condemned them now and forevermore. As I said before, good luck with that. I'd rather try and change their minds, but I guess that's not badass enough.

Finally, I don't expect you to scream mean words at your grandmother. I've asked in the past that you stop strawmanning me, and while I have little hope that you'll knock it off, I'll repeat that request again here.

So, in this hypothetical let's assume you were in my place. I should somehow not be mean, yet I should--and I'm using your words here--consider her a "bigot," and therefore "evil," and "unworthy of respect." By extension, if I do respect her, than I myself am unworthy of respect and should not be considered an ally of the gay rights movement (or more correctly, your personal version of it).

The ideals Obama espoused in his interview would not bring about greater justice. He **EXPLICITLY** said he did not want to see gay marriage nationalized and that he wanted it determined on a state by state basis which means the bigoted areas will keep it illegal for decades to come.

Again, not what he said. Nor is it what he's said in the past. And what if bans are overturned in the states that vote on it in November, or next year, or any of the years after. Are those efforts invalidated because it didn't happen because of national movement?

Am I really such a poor communicator that you haven't understood my point yet?

Maybe. Or maybe I'm just being boneheaded about it. Probably a bit of both, to be quite honest. I just have faith in my sentiments regarding process and understanding, for all the good that's worth.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:51 PM on May 11, 2012


Also, I feel like we're both being tiresome and monopolizing the thread with the back and forth. Perhaps we should just retire to our corners on this one and just as be happy or disappointed as before.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:54 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Via the estimable Charlie Pierce, it looks like Nebraska's not quite ready to evolve on gay rights.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:55 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


...the friendly-fire direction it goes in and the vehemence of it.

On this point I think we'll just have to part ways. I think no amount of friendly-fire, no matter how vehement, poses an obstacle that requires others on the same side to spend time addressing. If friendly-fire was a problem, though, I would suggest that ignoring it while focusing on the strategies that do work might be a worthwhile direction.

...I hoped didn't happen because you were told that you were evil.

I was never personally accused of being evil or bigoted. But some of my friends and acquaintances did not mince words about the evils facing GLBT Americans or the moral responsibility of those who permit injustice to continue. I of course bristled at their language, but it didn't prevent me from changing my mind.

But I still feel that if someone is willing to turn their backs on those that don't follow a standard of perfection, even if doing so will end up in greater injustice, then they're not moving the cause forward at all.

The question of what will bring "greater injustice" is complex, and it evokes the other progressive movements I mentioned earlier (e.g. the debate during suffrage of whether to support extending the franchise the African American women). Internal conflict is common in US reform movements. So far, it hasn't resulted in a net loss of liberty.
posted by audi alteram partem at 2:06 PM on May 11, 2012




What an asshole. Good to see the Palin's keeping their special brand of hateful ignorance going at full steam.

JWoww Slams Bristol Palin For Criticizing Obama's Gay Marriage Endorsement.
posted by ericb at 2:11 PM on May 11, 2012




Oops ... Tamron Hall post -- wrong thread.
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on May 11, 2012






Via the estimable Charlie Pierce, it looks like Nebraska's not quite ready to evolve on gay rights.

I don't want to say anything about the lady, because I think she may have some kind of mental illness, but the guy in the background makes that video.

What an asshole. Good to see the Palin's keeping their special brand of hateful ignorance going at full steam.

As someone on another web site pointed out, two of the loudest voices for "traditional" marriage are a single unwed mother and a man on his fourth marriage.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:44 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nebraska's not quite ready to evolve on gay rights.

It's a bit harsh to judge the whole of Nebraska on one batshit insane lady's incoherent ranting. You'll find those people everywhere.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:27 PM on May 11, 2012


Blazecock Pileon: "It's a bit harsh to judge the whole of Nebraska on one batshit insane lady's incoherent ranting. You'll find those people everywhere."

Yeah, I guess I was a bit flippant with my summary of the clip. Nebraska is a socially conservative state (support for gay marriage polls around 36%) but this lady is just one data point, and I didn't mean to suggest that her ramblings were typical of the average Nebraskan.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:50 PM on May 11, 2012


More than 1/3 of Nebraska supporting gay marriage equality - I'm assuming you're not talking about civil unions, which almost always polls higher - seems a fairly solid base of support to work from.
posted by mediareport at 6:21 PM on May 11, 2012


mediareport: "More than 1/3 of Nebraska supporting gay marriage equality - I'm assuming you're not talking about civil unions, which almost always polls higher - seems a fairly solid base of support to work from."

Well, it was 38% in the recent vote in NC, and I didn't hear a lot of progressive types heralding that as a solid base to work from. NC has been a bit more Democratic-leaning in recent years as compared to NE, so 38% in NC might be more of a disappointment because of heightened expectations, but you need to remember that it's 36% in NE with no actual legislation/referendum on the table right now to overturn the state's ban, and we've seen that once the Hate Squad rolls into your state and starts catapulting the propaganda, the numbers get worse for proponents of marriage equality (certainly the case in CA and NC.)

The nationwide trend is definitely toward equality, and it's certainly nice to see that Nebraska's next-door neighbor Iowa has legalized same sex marriage, but they're a major outlier. If we can get states like Washington, Maine, Oregon, California on board, maybe we can imagine the national consciousness changing enough to bring along states like Nebraska.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:23 PM on May 11, 2012


Well, it was 38% in the recent vote in NC, and I didn't hear a lot of progressive types heralding that as a solid base to work from.

But it is a solid base to work from. First, it was 39% (well, 38.95, but come on). More importantly, the amendment was confusingly written, with language no one had ever seen before. Check this post about pre-vote polling from PPP, a relatively reliable, relatively new shop here in Raleigh, to get a feel for the complexity:

In some sense North Carolinians are voting against their own beliefs. 53% of voters in the state support either gay marriage or civil unions, yet a majority also support the amendment that would ban both. The reason for that disconnect is [that] even with just 24 hours until election day only 46% of voters realize the proposal bans both gay marriage and civil unions. Those informed voters oppose the amendment by a 61-37 margin but there may not be enough time left to get the rest of the electorate up to speed.

I dare you to tell me again that doesn't count as a solid base to work from. Civil unions are very close to being a winning issue even here in good ol' North Carolina.
posted by mediareport at 8:46 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


To reiterate what I said in my comment above: This is THE KILLER APP of the 2012 election year. Period. Full stop. The issue that's going to devastate the Republican Party/GOtP in this country perhaps as effectively as civil Rights did in the Democratic party (as Lyndon Johnson predicted accurately) for a generation. It's really the crack in the far right base that's going to open up the whole plethora of social issues at bond it together with the pro-business, corporatist minions of the 1%.

For those who still cannot get away from the argument that Obama did not do enough, quickly enough, and even still, is not doing enough, you're in danger sounding completely behind the curve. Try and do a little evolving of your own here before you begin to sound silly and antediluvian and perhaps like your issues lie elsewhere in regard to the endless, hating on the guy....

Andrew Sullivan:
...a memo circulated by Jan van Lohuizen, a highly respected Republican pollster:, (he polled for George W. Bush in 2004), to various leading Republican operatives, candidates and insiders. It's on the fast-shifting poll data on marriage equality and gay rights in general, and how that should affect Republican policy and language. And the pollster's conclusion is clear: if the GOP keeps up its current rhetoric and positions on gays and lesbians, it is in danger of marginalizing itself to irrelevance or worse.

[...] This is the GOP establishment talking to itself. And the Republican pollster who arguably knows more about the politics of the gay issue than anyone else (how else to explain the Ohio campaign of 2004?) is advising them in no uncertain terms that they need to evolve and fast, if they're not going to damage their brand for an entire generation...



....and there we have it. The whole shitty house of Republicanism circa 2012 falling the fuck apart. And I mean the Tea Party and I mean K street, and Citizens United and the ultimate goal: Total Campaign finance reform in Obama's second term.

Hallelujah.
posted by Skygazer at 11:51 PM on May 11, 2012


mediareport: "More importantly, the amendment was confusingly written, with language no one had ever seen before."

Yeah, and there's no way they'd try that again!

I saw those stats on amendment #1, and I agree that NC is fertile ground for Democrats in general. If the momentum keeps building, it could very well be the first Southern state to get on the right side of marriage equality. ("Woo! Thinnest kid at fat camp!") But let's be honest and admit that neither Nebraska nor North Carolina are going to be at the tip of the spear.

Social justice movements tend to build slowly until they hit an inflection point, then everyone else rushes to avoid being the last one on the wrong side of history (well, almost everyone.) My hunch with marriage equality is that we'll see a few years of mostly blue states either striking down bans or passing affirmative legislation guaranteeing equality, then we'll see the wave of "me too" states (including NC and NE) join them, leaving the deep South, along with a few other socially conservative states as holdouts until we do get some federal action (probably a SCOTUS case, probably not a Constitutional amendment) that forces their hand.

Maybe you see it playing out differently, but looking at Nate Silver's modeling work on this issue, I don't see either NE (ranked as the 35th worst state on the issue) or NC (ranked as the 43rd worst) as ripe for accepting marriage equality any time soon. Perhaps Nate's model is overly simplistic, or fails to capture more recent trends since it was published, but it seems pretty credible to me, and absent some major event that changes the fundamentals of the issue nationwide, I see these two states being followers rather than leaders on the issue. (I'd much rather have them be followers than dead-enders, of course.)
posted by tonycpsu at 11:56 PM on May 11, 2012


Skygazer, it's not "hating" on Obama to point out the obvious, deep contradiction in the "I'm for gay marriage but it's fine to leave it to the states" position he just espoused. That position is clearly absurd and deserves to be called out. Don't distort it with lies.

Nor is it "hating" to suggest that it's way past time for Obama to finally acknowledge the poll data and move forward clearly on ENDA (now that Romney of all people has said he's in favor of employment equality, we should demand Obama act on it before the conventions). Someone is certainly "behind the curve" there, and it's not those of us who've been waiting patiently for 18 fucking years.

And while I admire your excitement, "The whole shitty house of Republicanism circa 2012 falling the fuck apart" seems a bit of an overreach at this point. There's no doubt queer equality can and will increasingly be a winning issue (I've been saying that for much longer than folks like, say, Ironmouth have been listening), but let's not go crazy.
posted by mediareport at 4:17 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


any time soon

tonycpsu, I said it's a solid base to work from. Since the start of the USA's gay marriage crisis, which I peg to Clinton's signing of DOMA in 1996, I've been rolling my eyes and saying "we should be working on employment discrimination protection instead; the straights have too many fucked-up issues about their own marriages to give us this one without a huge fight." But it couldn't be more obvious that there's been a huge change in both law and opinion since then, and I'm pretty damn sure it won't be another 16 years before lgbtq folks finally get justice under the law.

I see no reason to not feel extremely hopeful when I think of that.
posted by mediareport at 4:26 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, tonycpsu, at the link you pointed to, Nate Silver's "Accelerated Model" for NC clearly banning civil unions (I honestly don't give a shit about calling it "marriage" as long as the rights are there) showed only a 53.5% chance of being "favored to receive majority."

How you are able to not see that as hopeful is beyond me.
posted by mediareport at 4:52 AM on May 12, 2012


Skygazer, it's not "hating" on Obama to point out the obvious, deep contradiction in the "I'm for gay marriage but it's fine to leave it to the states" position he just espoused. That position is clearly absurd and deserves to be called out. Don't distort it with lies.

It really isn't. I'll let EJ Graff, longtime writer of GLBT issues, and who is in a same-sex marriage herself, explain it like how I've been trying to for this thread (italics hers, bold mine):
Marriage is a state issue. It always has been, under the Tenth Amendment. Each state writes its own laws of marriage and divorce—who can marry and divorce, and on what terms. Fourteen-year-olds, with parental permission? First cousins? Waiting period, either to tie or untie the knot? Divorcing because of irreconcilable differences or mental cruelty? Depends where you live, and in what decade. You may think that's appalling, and that your idea of appropriate marriage should be imposed on every American, but well, so does the conservative American Family Association. That's the system. And I like this system. We're not really one country, folks. The people in Jones Hollow, Kentucky, where my stepmother is from, have one marriage culture; the Satmars in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, have another; and none of those would approve of the marriage culture in Marin County, California. Okay, so those might be hyperlocal views of marriage, but if you want to carve the U.S. up into just two cultures instead of many microcultures, Red Families versus Blue Families can explain how different our marriage views are. We can scarcely agree, as a country, on a president. Getting South Carolina, Texas, Ohio, and Vermont to agree on how to define and run marriage? Ha. On same-sex marriage, most states just aren't there yet.

Here's the truth: If we had national marriage laws, I would not be married right now.
[...]
The U.S. has only recently been able to break through and try out same-sex marriage, which is leading people to realize, albeit slowly, that it's no threat to anyone. But that's only been possible because our federalist marriage system allows each state to make its own decision. And because we have a federalist system, LGBT advocacy groups are able to challenge the one national marriage law that the U.S. has passed: the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In 1996, when it first looked as if Hawaii might try out same-sex marriages, the U.S. Congress passed DOMA. If it could have, Congress would have banned marriage equality outright, saying not only that the federal government wouldn't recognize marriages performed in the states, but make it impossible for states to do this at all (I believe that President Bill Clinton would have signed it, as he did DOMA). But it could not. Congress's lack of power to regulate marriage is precisely the ground on which the court challenges to DOMA are being brought. In these cases, LGBT groups aren't asking the Supreme Court to say that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry; they are saying that because the Constitution reserves this power to the states, the federal government doesn't have a choice in which marriages it recognizes and which it doesn't.
[...]
But getting people there requires time. Some parts of the country have been more willing than others to extend that gender-neutral, equal marriage philosophy to marriage's entrance requirements. And what all the DOMA lawsuits are saying to the federal courts is this: let the states decide. The federal government has no power to write marriage's rules, or to pick and choose which marriages it likes and which it doesn't. The federal government's only power is to apply its own decisions—on such things as pensions, health insurance, immigration, Social Security—to whatever marriages the states make.

Obama has supported the repeal of DOMA unequivocally. First, as Chris Geidner has explained in great technical detail, the Obama Justice Department has refused to defend DOMA, and in fact has been filing briefs on the side of same-sex marriage. Second, the Administration supports the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the law outright.
[...]
A lot has been made of the fact that when Loving v. Virginia was issued in 1967, most Americans were oppsoed to interracial marriage. But their laws weren't. The California Supreme Court had ruled the same way 19 years earlier, in Perez v. Sharp, 1948. Most states had already dismantled their interracial marriage bans, leaving only 17 on the books in 1967. Loving was earth-shatteringly important--and it made it possible for my aunt and uncle to travel in the south, if they wanted to--but it was a mop-up operation.

There are still 30 states with constitutional amendments restricting marriage to male and female. Let's undo some of those before asking for a federal fiat imposing a foreign marriage ideology on the regular folk. In other terms, let the president's soft declaration of belief work to open people's minds, combined with the daily efforts of LGBT folks talking to our friends, colleagues, and families about why we want to marry. Let change come from the bottom up.
Nor is it "hating" to suggest that it's way past time for Obama to finally acknowledge the poll data and move forward clearly on ENDA (now that Romney of all people has said he's in favor of employment equality, we should demand Obama act on it before the conventions). Someone is certainly "behind the curve" there, and it's not those of us who've been waiting patiently for 18 fucking years.

First of all, Obama is the President, not Congress, and can not legally do anything direct about moving forward on ENDA (or for that matter, DOMA repeal and/or the RMA). All he can do is say that he would sign it, which he has. Second of all, it's already been introduced this year as HR 1397 (with 164 cosponsors) and S 811 (with 41 cosponsors). And third of all, as a result of Obama's announcement, lo and behold: A bipartisan coalition of Senators is calling for hearings on ENDA yesterday, moving it forward.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:57 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


That was quick: Romney Backs Away From Gay Adoptions
posted by zombieflanders at 5:22 AM on May 12, 2012


can not legally do anything direct about moving forward on ENDA

This has been covered above. I don't plan on engaging you further, zombieflanders, but the least you can do is read the thread.
posted by mediareport at 5:45 AM on May 12, 2012


zombieflanders I think one of the major areas of disagreement we have is that you seem very focused on the president's official powers, and take it as a matter of course that the president neither can, nor should, ever say anything beyond a bland recitation of what he can do officially.

I'm looking for some rhetorical ammo, some fire in the belly, some leadership beyond the official signing of bills. I'm looking for use of his Bully Pulpit to drag the nation in a positive direction even if he can't actually legislate what needs to be done; and even (especially!) if the polls don't go the right way. That's part of his job, and it has always been a part of his job he ignores to the detriment of the nation. We saw it with health care reform, Obama sat out the important parts of the battle, the war of words, the rhetorical combat, the hard and necessary work of selling the idea, and joined in at the last minute, after we'd suffered grievous losses. And we're seeing the same sitting out the real fight here too.

Obama seems, as you seem, to think that his job consists of nothing but robotically signing bills approved by Congress. That isn't his job. His job is to be out there **LEADING**, his job is to use the power of persuasion and rhetoric to convince America to go in a direction that isn't currently leading in the polls. His job is not to follow the polls, but rather to change the polls.

To you the president saying "well it's a state issue so there you go" is fine, because you claim the law says it's a state issue. I want him out there, on the forefront, at the tip of the spear, using his enormous rhetorical power and the attention that is always given to what the president says helping us with the PR battle and trying to change the law.

And, to me, it appears that Obama did great harm on the PR front. You want to talk about undermining and sabotage? Now all the opponents of equality can crow and strut and say that even Obama, the most liberal president ever, agrees that it is right and proper that they oppress gay people on a state by state basis.

Further, I continue to be infuriated by the lies that marriage is and always has been a state issue. It is not. Loving made it a federal issue. What I don't understand is why, if you claim to be on the side of equality and justice, are you lying in order to discard the federal government, which is our greatest weapon for equality?

The article you linked sounds like "fuck you, I've got mine" to me. I hope the American Prospect goes bankrupt if that's the sort of tripe they're publishing.

That bit of slime at the beginning of her article, where she espoused the neo-Confedrate view that America isn't really one nation but rather fifty? WTF?
getting South Carolina, Texas, Ohio, and Vermont to agree on how to define and run marriage? Ha. On same-sex marriage, most states just aren't there yet.

"Ha." Yeah, fuck you lady. So glad you're safely married and can laugh and sneer at us fighting for equality.

The states weren't there when Loving or Brown came down either. That's the point. We don't let the backward bigots of the nation rule us, we use the power of the federal government to stomp their evil bigotry and bring equality to all, **ESPECIALLY** in places that "aren't there yet".

She's got hers, so she's willing, eager even, to sacrifice her fellow citizens who aren't lucky enough to live where she does on the alter of federalism and to laugh at us who dare to think that maybe, just maybe, it'd be a good idea to bring equality to all.

And you have the gall to accuse me of undermining the cause?
posted by sotonohito at 5:57 AM on May 12, 2012


For reference:

Obama Won’t Order Ban on Gay Bias by Employers
April 11, 2012

WASHINGTON — President Obama disappointed and vexed gay supporters on Wednesday with his decision, conveyed to activists by a senior adviser, not to sign an executive order banning discrimination by employers with federal contracts. The executive order, which activists said had support from the Labor and Justice Departments, would have applied to gay, bisexual and transgender people working for or seeking employment from federal contractors. Current law does not protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and legislation to do so, which Mr. Obama endorses, lacks sufficient votes in Congress.

“While it is not our usual practice to discuss executive orders that may or may not be under consideration, we do not expect that an executive order on L.G.B.T. nondiscrimination for federal contractors will be issued at this time,” said an administration official who would speak about the controversy only if provided anonymity. “We support legislation that has been introduced and we will continue to work with Congressional sponsors to build support for it.”

That stance departs from the White House’s prominent “we can’t wait” campaign: Since last fall, Mr. Obama has signed executive orders on a variety of issues, arguing that “we can’t wait” for legislation that Republicans in Congress refuse to let pass.

By not acting on the employment nondiscrimination order, Mr. Obama has newly angered a gay constituency that has been a source of campaign cash and that had been willing to overlook his failure so far to endorse same-sex marriage, given his actions on its other priorities, like repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against openly gay service members.


His decision is what led to this:

Top Obama donors witholding money over executive order punt

Some leading gay and progressive donors are so angry over President Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination by federal contractors that they are refusing to give any more money to the pro-Obama super PAC, a top gay fundraiser’s office tells me. In some cases, I’m told, big donations are being withheld.

Jonathan Lewis, the gay philanthropist and leading Democratic fundraiser, is one of many gay advocates who has been working behind the scenes to pressure Obama to change his mind. When Obama decided against the executive order last month, arguing that he would pursue a legislative solution instead, advocates were furious — such a solution will never pass Congress, the executive order has been a priority for advocates for years, and the move smacked of a political cave to conservatives who will not support Obama no matter what he does.

Now these and other donors are beginning to withold money from Priorities USA, the main pro-Obama super PAC, out of dismay over the president’s decision. (Some of these donors have already maxed out to the Obama campaign, I’m told.) It’s the first indication that areas in which Obama is at odds with gay advocates — and in fairness, his record on gay rights has been very good — could dampen overall fundraising.

Paul Yandura, a political adviser to Lewis, emails me a statement:
A number of gay and progressive donors, unsolicited, have indicated to us that they aren’t considering requests to donate to the Obama SuperPac because of the president’s refusal to the sign the order. And those are high-dollar asks, some in the seven digits. We have heard from at least half a dozen major gay and progressive donors that they stand united with us. There is still time for the President to do the right thing and sign this executive order, our great hope is that he does so immediately.
He declined to name names.

This comes as the White House is on defense on gay rights today, after it furiously clarified Joe Biden’s vague but supportive comments about gay marriage. The walkback is mystifying to donors and advocates who are already miffed about the executive order, and could stiffen their resolve to keep their wallets closed.


Which got us to where we are today. We need to keep pushing. And pushing. And pushing. Until we get full action on basic justice from our President. Pushing him is the only thing that works.
posted by mediareport at 6:07 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some points on the Graff article:

Regarding the title, "Supporters of Marriage Equality Need to Quit Whining," "whining" isn't exactly the best term to use to encourage productive dialogue.

So I've been surprised by the number of people declaring that the announcement was too little, too late.

Graff unfortunately does not provide any examples. This is a common issue in arguments. We forget to tie our response to concrete examples of our interlocutor's speech and risk distorting what others are saying or providing a blank canvas onto which multiple positions can be projected.

So, I'm not sure what exact position she's describing with the paraphrase "too little, too late." Maybe she's not talking about the positions I'm about to discuss, maybe she is.

As I've said above, supporters of marriage equality can espouse either view "too little, too late" or "I'm happy" or even believe both at the same time.

You may think that's appalling, and that your idea of appropriate marriage should be imposed on every American, but well, so does the conservative American Family Association.

I do think it's appalling that marriage is not a state issue. Just like I though it was appalling in our history that slavery was a state issue and women's franchise was a state issue. Someday I want a constitutional amendment to guarantee marriage equality to all Americans.

The anti-equality folk do want to impose their vision. This is a risk in any reform movement. Look at prohibition. Just because the tools of democracy can be used to restrict rights does not invalidate using them to guarantee rights. And affording a right to equality does not "impose" my idea of marriage on every American. That line of reasoning is dangerously close to the conservative paranoia that marriage-equality means churches will somehow be forced to perform gay marriages.

Let's be honest, folks: Same-sex marriage is a very recent new idea.... But getting people there requires time.

It sure does take time, and it requires both incremental reform and those demanding more dramatic change.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:18 AM on May 12, 2012


I'm looking for some rhetorical ammo, some fire in the belly, some leadership beyond the official signing of bills. I'm looking for use of his Bully Pulpit to drag the nation in a positive direction even if he can't actually legislate what needs to be done; and even (especially!) if the polls don't go the right way. That's part of his job, and it has always been a part of his job he ignores to the detriment of the nation. We saw it with health care reform, Obama sat out the important parts of the battle, the war of words, the rhetorical combat, the hard and necessary work of selling the idea, and joined in at the last minute, after we'd suffered grievous losses. And we're seeing the same sitting out the real fight here too.

Obama seems, as you seem, to think that his job consists of nothing but robotically signing bills approved by Congress. That isn't his job. His job is to be out there **LEADING**, his job is to use the power of persuasion and rhetoric to convince America to go in a direction that isn't currently leading in the polls. His job is not to follow the polls, but rather to change the polls.


I don't know how many times I can tell you that your blind faith in the bully pulpit really isn't supported by evidence. I'm still awaiting yours.

To you the president saying "well it's a state issue so there you go" is fine, because you claim the law says it's a state issue. I want him out there, on the forefront, at the tip of the spear, using his enormous rhetorical power and the attention that is always given to what the president says helping us with the PR battle and trying to change the law.

And, to me, it appears that Obama did great harm on the PR front. You want to talk about undermining and sabotage? Now all the opponents of equality can crow and strut and say that even Obama, the most liberal president ever, agrees that it is right and proper that they oppress gay people on a state by state basis.


And to me, I haven't seen any evidence of that crowing and strutting. What I have seen is almost every major SSM advocate, both current and historical, including those who are currently working to overturn bans at the state level, say how inspired they are. That's not to say it doesn't exist, but I haven't seen it. If you've got any evidence to back up your statements, by all means throw it out there.

Further, I continue to be infuriated by the lies that marriage is and always has been a state issue. It is not. Loving made it a federal issue. What I don't understand is why, if you claim to be on the side of equality and justice, are you lying in order to discard the federal government, which is our greatest weapon for equality?

No, Loving did not make marriage a federal issue, otherwise we would have a federal marriage ban instead of DOMA, by now. If you haven't understood that by now, then you're just not going to get it, sadly.

The article you linked sounds like "fuck you, I've got mine" to me. I hope the American Prospect goes bankrupt if that's the sort of tripe they're publishing.

That bit of slime at the beginning of her article, where she espoused the neo-Confedrate view that America isn't really one nation but rather fifty? WTF?


So you don't even have basic understanding of how laws work in this country? After all, this so-called "Neo-Confederacy" goes both ways, you know. There's currently a ton of states that basically make abortion illegal via loopholes in Roe v Wade, do you want their laws to become federal? What about redefining rape or birth control access? Or allowing people to carry guns wherever they go? Or teach creationism and not the civil rights movement? These are all things that actually exist, some of which have a ton of support in Congress.

Do you see the issue here?

"Ha." Yeah, fuck you lady. So glad you're safely married and can laugh and sneer at us fighting for equality.

The states weren't there when Loving or Brown came down either. That's the point. We don't let the backward bigots of the nation rule us, we use the power of the federal government to stomp their evil bigotry and bring equality to all, **ESPECIALLY** in places that "aren't there yet".

She's got hers, so she's willing, eager even, to sacrifice her fellow citizens who aren't lucky enough to live where she does on the alter of federalism and to laugh at us who dare to think that maybe, just maybe, it'd be a good idea to bring equality to all.


Again, this goes both ways. I'm guessing you won't be so excited about the federal government's power if both the White House and Congress go GOP this year, which is fairly likely. All they need is a couple of conservative Democrats (and maybe not even that if the filibuster is killed off per Harry Reid's warning yesterday), they've already got a conservative Supreme Court at 5-4, and it would likely go 6-3 or 7-2 with the other branches held by the crazies. Voting Rights Act clearance? Invalid. Roe v Wade? Reversed and/or the Blunt "personhood" amendment passed. DOMA? Upheld, strengthened by executive orders reversing Obama's.

You still excited about the federal government stomping around when you're considered the bigot?

And you have the gall to accuse me of undermining the cause?

If you actively work towards the above, sure, but like I said above I'm fervently hoping that my assumption is wrong. Otherwise, be sure to let the equality advocates in the four states where it's on the ballot this year know how wrongheaded they are.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:50 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and FWIW, in terms of polling of actual electoral value, Obama is ahead of the curve in pretty much every swing state he's looking to win. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida all have majorities or pluralities that don't approve of same-sex marriage. Some of them support civil unions, but that was Obama's position prior to Wednesday anyway. So tell us again how he's only following the curve instead of leading it.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:03 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You want to talk about undermining and sabotage? Now all the opponents of equality can crow and strut and say that even Obama, the most liberal president ever, agrees that it is right and proper that they oppress gay people on a state by state basis."

Yeah, this is not a real thing. The NOM and Focus on the Family statements have not been, "High five, Obama loves NC!" Reading Obama's statement as "Go ahead and oppress people" is stupid on the face of it — his broad position is that same-sex marriage should be legal, and you disagree with him on the process of assuring that legality. Don't translate that into disagreeing with him on the broad position just because you've been accusing him of being a bigot for so long now that it feels uncomfortable to change.

"Further, I continue to be infuriated by the lies that marriage is and always has been a state issue. It is not. Loving made it a federal issue. What I don't understand is why, if you claim to be on the side of equality and justice, are you lying in order to discard the federal government, which is our greatest weapon for equality?"

The right to marry has been affirmed several times in Supreme Court decisions, but states still decide whom is entitled to the license. What is unconstitutional indubitably is DOMA. For example, not every state will let a 14-year-old marry a 13-year-old. New Hampshire will. But every state recognizes that marriage as legal, even if that couple wouldn't have been able to get married in whatever state.

This doesn't mean that I don't think that bans on same-sex marriage aren't also unconstitutional, but for a variety of other, different reasons. But a federal court issue is only forced by the failure of the state courts to honor the supremacy of the constitution broadly, and we're going to see the Supreme Court deal with Prop 8 within the next year or two. But that's not based on federal law, e.g. the Civil Rights Act, but rather on the underlying constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment (to my mind — I understand arguments against the 14th being the best amendment to challenge under).

But it seems like you're upset by the plain fact that because the federal government does not issue marriage licenses, it can only give incredibly broad guidelines to the states, and even that's through the judiciary, not the executive or legislative.

"The article you linked sounds like "fuck you, I've got mine" to me. I hope the American Prospect goes bankrupt if that's the sort of tripe they're publishing."

The American Prospect also broke the story on the retraction of the only evidence for reparative therapy. I'd rather they not go bankrupt, thanks.

""Ha." Yeah, fuck you lady. So glad you're safely married and can laugh and sneer at us fighting for equality."

Uh, I actually work for an organization whose sole mission is to fight for LGBT equality. She's not sneering, and it's weird to interpret her article as a personal insult. Further, it seems like you're sneering at people working this year to get marriage proactively fixed, e.g. in Maine. I agree that people shouldn't vote on civil rights, but I'd rather have another state win the freedom to marry than stroke myself over ideological purity.

This is especially true when you look at what you're proclaiming makes it a federal matter: SC decisions. The timeline on that is at least a couple years out; longer if they affirm the Walker decision on narrow grounds (like the appellate court did). Repealing DOMA is also a couple years out, either through the judiciary or legislation — there are cases challenging DOMA in the pipeline now, but they're likely to take a bit to resolve, and there's no way that the current, or even the likely congressional make-up will allow a repeal of DOMA through the legislature.

"She's got hers, so she's willing, eager even, to sacrifice her fellow citizens who aren't lucky enough to live where she does on the alter of federalism and to laugh at us who dare to think that maybe, just maybe, it'd be a good idea to bring equality to all. "

Again, this is such a weird, wrongly personalized interpretation of what she wrote. It's wrongly positioning her as against equality for all, and saying that she's eager? You're just making up things out of whole cloth. I understand being incensed over the whole thing, but really, try to be honest.
posted by klangklangston at 8:38 AM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


mediareport: "Also, tonycpsu, at the link you pointed to, Nate Silver's "Accelerated Model" for NC clearly banning civil unions (I honestly don't give a shit about calling it "marriage" as long as the rights are there) showed only a 53.5% chance of being "favored to receive majority."

How you are able to not see that as hopeful is beyond me.
"

We just saw NC ban civil unions with 61% opposed, so I suspect Nate Silver's model would look different after including that outcome. As I said, it was built on year-old polling data, so an actual outcome at the ballot box would probably alter those projections drastically, not just for NC, but many other states.

In terms of how hopeful I am: I haven't made any specific prediction on timelines. All I was saying is that I wouldn't expect NC to be leading the pack on this issue, and I stand by that statement. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer here -- I am hopeful in the general sense that I feel like we'll get there, especially as older voters with retrograde attitudes die off, but I just don't see how it's controversial to point out that NC might not be among the next group of states to endorse equality.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:47 AM on May 12, 2012


Rand Paul: “Call me cynical, but I didn’t think his [Obama's] views on marriage could get any gayer,”


woo boy
posted by edgeways at 8:48 AM on May 12, 2012


Mittens doubles down at Falwell U.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:16 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was just watching CNN's Don Lemon interview Paul Babeau, the Arizona sheriff who resigned from Romney's campaign after he came out as gay due to a connected political scandal. Lemon asked him what he would like to see change in his party and he hemmed and hawed and wriggled out of some of the specifics but used "evolution" all over the place to describe how he thinks there's an "evolution of thought" about gay and lesbian issues, at least, among the Republicans.
posted by XMLicious at 10:21 PM on May 12, 2012


Wait republicans are admitting evolution exists?
posted by The Whelk at 11:29 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Stole this from the comments section of a political blog. Thought the point was worth re-iterating:
Fwiw, I find it very tiresome that some liberals seem annoyed that this new position was (at least partially) driven by politics, and not by pure conviction. This has it backwards! If it was just driven by personal conviction, it wouldn't actually be that significant - it would just be one guy changing his mind. The fact that it was driven (at least partially) by politics is much more profound and important - it shows that the incentives now support (at least some) politicians doing the right thing. That's hugely important for any kind of permanent progress.
posted by Weebot at 11:49 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


And to add to that, I think that this pretty much means that the assimilation of the LGBT activists concerns into the Democratic Party platform (both in the sense that the actual platform will support same-sex marriage and in how Democratic Party is thought about among the electorate) is basically complete because of what Obama said. Same-sex marriage will become a litmus test for Democratic politicians much more rapidly, and the issue/support profile will probably look a lot like what pro-choice support looks like among Democratic politicians now: An unspoken assumption of a Dem politician, only contradicted if the politician wants to signal "independence" to a hostile constituency.

Where to now for LGBT activists? Well, obviously, pushing legislative and judicial remedies for that pesky problem that we don't actually have these rights yet. But, politically, the more intriguing frontier is actually now within the Republican party. LGBT activists will now have the task to disincentivize gay rights and same-sex marriage opposition with the GOP. We've actually seen the beginnings of this already! While folks (including myself) like to make fun of the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud -- and a lot of time they are working at cross-purposes with the LGBT movement as a whole -- they're doing important work by laying the support system necessary to allow GOP politicians to support the correct position on gay rights issues. Susan Collin's probably wouldn't have been so instrumental in the DADT repeal if it weren't for groups like that. We also saw this in New York, where they got the same-sex marriage law through the GOP-controlled legislature by mobilizing GOP major donors to pressure GOP senators to pass the law.

Make no mistake about it: the GOP is still in no way the party for LGBT folks. But it looks like clear that, as time goes on, their opposition will become less and less intense, making it easier for LGBT-friendly policies to become law.
posted by Weebot at 12:19 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]




After Obama’s Decision on Marriage, Call to Pastors (NYTimes)
WASHINGTON — About two hours after declaring his support for same-sex marriage last week, President Obama gathered eight or so African-American ministers on a conference call to explain himself. He had struggled with the decision, he said, but had come to believe it was the right one.

The ministers, though, were not all as enthusiastic. A vocal few made it clear that the president’s stand on gay marriage might make it difficult for them to support his re-election.

“They were wrestling with their ability to get over his theological position,” said the Rev. Delman Coates, the pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md., who was on the call.

In the end, Mr. Coates, who supports civil marriages for gay men and lesbians, said that most of the pastors, regardless of their views on this issue, agreed to “work aggressively” on behalf of the president’s campaign. But not everyone. “Gay marriage is contrary to their understanding of Scripture,” Mr. Coates said. “There are people who are really wrestling with this.”
Anybody got stories from church today?
posted by cashman at 8:22 PM on May 13, 2012


MOM! We need to be a little bit more productive right now, ok?
posted by cashman at 7:46 AM on May 14, 2012


R.I. Governor Orders Recognition For Same-Sex Marriages Performed Outside The State:
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) has signed an executive order declaring that his state will provide legal recognition to same-sex couples married elsewhere.

Civil unions are permitted in Rhode Island, but gay marriage is not. The governor’s order ensures that same-sex couples married outside the state will be afforded the same rights and recognition as heterosexual marriages.

Chafee, who served Rhode Island in the Senate as a Republican until he was defeated in 2006, said that he will continue to make an appeal for full marriage equality in the state.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:25 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Marriage Equality Will Not Hurt Obama Among Black Voters At All
As of April, the gap between African-Americans and white support for gay marriage was eight points (39 percent of African-Americans support, while 47 percent of white support.) The gap between the same groups in terms of opposition was four points (47 percent of blacks oppose and 43 percent of whites opposed.)

This not strike me as the kind of yawning gulf which could sever Obama from his base. I would go further. Given black America's particular characteristics--more Southern, more culturally conservative, and more religious--focusing on "race" as the defining difference seems like a bad idea.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:31 PM on May 14, 2012




Poll Sees Obama Gay Marriage Support Motivated by Politics

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed by The New York Times and CBS News since the announcement said they thought Mr. Obama made it “mostly for political reasons,” while 24 percent said it was “mostly because he thinks it is right.” Independents were more likely to attribute it to politics, and nearly half of Democrats agreed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:27 PM on May 14, 2012


Amongst right wing types there's actually quite a lot of effort expended on the issue of why Obama killing Osama Bin Laden "doesn't really count", ranging from how anybody could of done it to he didn't really have anything to do with it to (my favourite) he could have done it at anytime but timed it for electoral reasons.

Boy does this thread feel like that.
posted by Artw at 11:06 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love love love how so many people are talking about how he only did this for political gain. It presupposes that supporting gay marriage gets you political gain, so by decrying his calculated political move you're actually dragging that tired old Overton Window a few hundred feet to the left to make a nice cozy little frame around this debate exactly how the President wants it to be framed. And he can still shift his weight to the other foot and hit with the old "it was risky but I needed to stand up for my convictions" thing and it'll still generate less cognitive dissonance than anything the opposition's got.

Sometimes the eleven-dimensional chess thing is laughable, but sometimes you see a pretty obvious eleven-dimensional chess move play out right in front of you and it's kinda impressive. It's weird as hell to see someone bringing A-game statecraft like it's judo in this day and age, most people are still comfortable milking the same old tired moves. Obama plays more than his fair share of old and busted politics too, but when he's on he's on.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:16 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


It seems especially weird to claim that he only did it for political gain because a.) All polls suggest he lost votes because of it, and b.) He's a politician running for elected office, thus everything he does down to the times he goes to the bathroom are inherently done for political reasons.

(Of course, Obama detractors -- both left and right -- want to portray Obama as uniquely incompetent. I know what right-wingers want to portray Obama that way. I'm still unclear why left-wing Obama detractors want the most pro-gay president in American history to lose the next election [or at least pretend not to care that he wins] to someone who openly supports the most extremist anti-gay policies of the conservatives.)
posted by dirigibleman at 11:40 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jay-Z:
“I’ve always thought it as something that was still holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. It's no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple...I think it's the right thing to do, so whether it costs him votes or not - again, it's not about votes. It's about people. It's the right thing to do as a human being.”
posted by ericb at 5:56 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]








In each of North Carolina's five largest cities, voters in majority-black precincts rejected the measure: Charlotte (52 percent), Raleigh (51 percent), Greensboro (54 percent), Winston-Salem (55 percent), and Durham (65 percent). Durham's results were dramatic: Not a single majority-black precinct supported the amendment. Several crushed it by margins of 3-to-1 and even 4-to-1.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:06 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]






Turning Mitt Romney into Rick Santorum is exactly what Obama wants, and Santorum is far too vain and venal to see that he's playing right into the trick.

Santorum famously lost his last home state election, and he would never stand a chance in a national election. He can get an impassioned minority of people behind him, but they're only that: a minority. The more Romney comes off like a guy who talks about having sex with box turtles, the more independents and moderates will be turned off.

Nothing is guaranteed about this election. It won't be a walk for Obama. It's not a guarantee that gay marriage will help him win this. But I can see the outlines of the plan, and it's a savvy one.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:40 AM on May 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Rick Santorum Urges Romney to Use 'Potent Weapon' of Gay Marriage Against Obama: Video.

Yes, yes, pleeeeeease do.
posted by Miko at 1:01 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


My brain is trying to turn "Santorum" and "weaponized gay marriage" into a coherent joke but it's just not coming together.

Which I also can't make a coherent joke out of.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:10 PM on May 15, 2012


College Humor: Obama Comes Out.
posted by ericb at 1:36 PM on May 15, 2012






On the pastor's gay-marriage sign (which was pro-DOMA in spirit):

Okay, yeah, the sign was pretty shitty, but...hey, lady-who-threatened-to-burn-the-church-down, you really aren't helping the cause much yourself either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:21 PM on May 16, 2012


Coming in here to say that I am happily surprised to be wrong about the effect the President is having on actual gay marriage balloting across the country. Looks like a poll is coming out tonight that shows that there have been big shifts in Maryland and Minnesota on referenda on the issue.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:33 AM on June 5, 2012


@Ironmouth: That would be the effect of the bully pulpit. A power I've longed for the President to exercise more often and more effectively.
posted by sotonohito at 8:10 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


He said the intent was simply to put out a message that is consistent with church teachings and the gospel. He said he never expected such a hateful reaction.
He put up a message of hate and was surprised when he got hated back? No argument that threats to burn the church down are wrong and should be prosecuted, but why would the man in the funny hat be surprised that people reacted with hate to his message of hate?
posted by sotonohito at 8:14 AM on June 5, 2012


@Ironmouth: That would be the effect of the bully pulpit. A power I've longed for the President to exercise more often and more effectively.

On jobs he railed away all last year, no GOPer did a thing.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:02 AM on June 5, 2012


Previous Maryland polls showed a 12 point shift. A PPP poll in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania last weekend found a shift of 19 points in favor of same-sex marriage among black voters.

Michelangelo Signorile: The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that in the wake of President Obama's support for marriage equality, opposition to it is at an all-time low, at 39 percent. For the first time, strong support exceeds strong opposition. Moreover, there is now greater support for marriage equality among African Americans -- a whopping 59 percent -- than in the general population, breaking long-held stereotypes.

Look at that: Leadership happens.

And there's a lesson here for all progressives -- and for the Obama campaign. We were told by the Democratic strategists and the campaign pollsters, the Democratic establishment, that coming out for marriage equality would be harmful to the president. The establishment pundits, gay and straight, were defending the White House, giving the president a pass, as were the establishment gay groups. The DNC's openly gay treasurer, Andy Tobias, continually defended the president's record and continually predicted disaster if he were to go further on LGBT rights.

But the opposite has happened.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:07 AM on June 5, 2012


Frankly, it'll probably be a year or two before we have a really clear idea on how much Obama influenced marriage attitudes. I think that Obama definitely had a positive impact, but how much is him and how much was other stuff (even down to the racial coding of political beliefs mentioned a few posts from here) probably won't be known until there's some analysis of polling data that we just don't have yet.

I'll say that I've been pleasantly surprised, though.
posted by klangklangston at 10:33 AM on June 5, 2012


Tesler’s body of research suggests that instead of delivering what many suggested would be a post-racial presidency, Obama will have polarized corners of American politics previously untouched by race. Not only have racial considerations affected whether voters will support Obama, but they are beginning to renovate the entire architecture of public opinion....The latest issue to fall into this pattern is gay marriage, although PPP’s Maryland findings seem to confirm that racialization can work in multiple directions. Tesler has repeatedly found that the polarization he has documented is partly a function of the voters he describes as “racial liberals”—those who score low on the resentment battery, a category that includes blacks and progressive whites—being more likely to support a policy when they learn that Obama does, too.
posted by caddis at 10:37 AM on June 5, 2012


—being more likely to support a policy when they learn that Obama does, too.

like my 81 year old mother and her 75 year old sister, who were raised by a father who said black people didn't belong in their church because they didn't have souls.

times do a-change.
posted by philip-random at 11:54 AM on June 5, 2012


Ironmouth I think you misunderstand the point. Of course the elected R's aren't going to change just because the President talks. The Bully Pulpit is a power to affect the dialog in the citizenry, not a way to directly influence elected representatives.

It keeps coming back, I argue, to the Overton window. The American right is extremely adept at moving the window, and the American left seems depressingly content to allow the entire national discourse to shift to the right without any significant opposition.

On gay marriage the dialog was mainly between those who argued, on the right, that it was a horrible thing that would destroy society itself, and on the left those who argued that the right was correct in that marriage should be denied to gay people but maybe we could give them a consolation prize in the form of separate-but-equal "civil unions".

The important thing to note is that in public debate and discourse those arguing for full marriage equality were marginalized. In the mass media the furthest left position that was permitted was civil unions.

Obama, much as I continue to hate his kowtowing to "state's rights" and his implicit approval of state measures to discriminate against gay people, did a very important thing by dragging the Overton window to the left. Suddenly, as the result of one milquetoast speech filled with qualifiers and caution, the range of allowable discourse in the mass media expanded to include marriage equality.

It isn't going to change a single vote from House or Senate Republicans this session. Shifting the window is a long term political thing. It'll change the parameters of public debate. It'll change the situation come the elections. It'll change how the voters for each party think and react.

For all that I've been frequently accused of whining about lack of immediate progress, the truth is that I'm pretty intensely focused on the long game. Which is why so much of what Obama has been doing disturbs me so greatly.

The sad fact is that a lot of people do tend to follow whatever their party and party leaders say. I'd rather it were different, I'd rather that people were more independent in their thinking, but facts are facts. Obama's decision to embrace and extend many of the worst excesses of the Bush administration has had a disastrous effect on the American left.

Cast your mind back to the mid 2000's and you'll find an American left howling in outrage over mere illegal wiretapping; that is wiretapping without oversight and review. Obama first joined in that howl of outrage, he swore to filibuster any bill that included retroactive immunity for the illegal wiretapping. He declared in speeches that the illegal wiretapping was a violation of our nation's core principles, and he was right. Then he abandoned the issue, and the left sort of coasted on it's prior outrage. Then he decided that as President he really liked the idea of having people killed illegally; that is without any oversight or review (much less charges being filed, trials, and all that other inconvenient stuff).

And the left, for the most part, went along with the leader and now the national discourse on presidential powers, human rights, etc has moved so far to the right that the old outrage over mere illegal wiretapping is difficult to remember or imagine. What was once within the area of standard political discourse has become marginalized to the great benefit of the right. Obama's adroit use of the Bully Pulpit for the cause of vastly increased executive power and vastly decreased protections on civil and human rights didn't change any/many votes in the House or the Senate. But it changed the attitudes and opinions of a great many American voters.

So I'm glad to see, for once, Obama using his enormous power to the benefit of the left rather than the detriment of the left.

The Republicans, much as I despise them, understand the long game. They know that losing an election or two is less important than shifting public opinion their direction. They've got a frighteningly effective propaganda machine that has little purpose but to move the Overton window ever further to the right, and the left has bupkis in that regard.

I don't claim the Bully Pulpit is magic. Some issues move one way even despite massive attempts to shift the window the other. The American public, despite the right wing noise machine, has been moving steadily to the left on equal rights for gay people, in part I'd argue because it's one of the very few areas where the left has anything even faintly resembling an effective propaganda department, and because the outright and naked bigotry of the anti-equality movement is so very blatant.

But I do think that Obama has done us a lot of harm in the long run not so much from a policy standpoint, but from an Overton standpoint. Absent some blatant abuses, it'll take decades of hard work to bring us back to BUSH ERA levels of respect for human rights now that Obama, and thanks to Obama much of the left, has decided that it's perfectly fine for the President to kill random people with no oversight at all. In the long run that's a disaster.

So, gripe as I do about Obama's kowtowing to the right on state sovereignty and all that BS, I am very happy to see Obama (finally) return to his 1995 position and endorse gay marriage. It's had a measurable effect on the public already, and will have even greater effects in the long run. I sincerely hope that he'll join us in the long run fight for other important issues rather than continuing to embolden the bad guys on those issues. Using the Bully Pulpit might not always work, but it's worth a shot and having Obama us it for us beats having him use it against us as he so often does.
posted by sotonohito at 12:51 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Politics is a game of total war. And if you're not using the resources available to you to make the votes at the ballot box, you're on the losing side.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:43 PM on June 5, 2012


"On gay marriage the dialog was mainly between those who argued, on the right, that it was a horrible thing that would destroy society itself, and on the left those who argued that the right was correct in that marriage should be denied to gay people but maybe we could give them a consolation prize in the form of separate-but-equal "civil unions".

The important thing to note is that in public debate and discourse those arguing for full marriage equality were marginalized. In the mass media the furthest left position that was permitted was civil unions.
"

This is not at all true — the far left position (advocated by plenty of LGBT activists) is the abolition of marriage full stop. From there, the dominant left position is full marriage, from there the center-left Dem position is incrementalism through civil unions. It's the center right folks that advocate only for civil unions (of which some are Democrats, Republicans having effectively ceded the center — which is part of shifting the window).

Trust me, I watch the media pretty constantly for discussions of marriage equality, and the view that you're advancing just isn't true. It can feel emotionally true, but it's not a fair representation of beliefs on the issue.
posted by klangklangston at 3:14 PM on June 5, 2012


klangklangston, which of the political talk shows regularly had the "liberal" guest arguing for the complete abolition of marriage? Somehow I completely missed that.
posted by straight at 4:35 PM on June 5, 2012


I've heard people, all over the political spectrum really, argue for the position that the government should only recognize civil unions. You leave the word "marriage" to religious ceremonies or personal definitions.

I don't have a problem with it at all, but the social conservatives aren't really going to be satisfied by changing definitions.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:12 PM on June 5, 2012


What furiousxgeorge says is also true, and that's been advocated all over. But the radical position is articulated pretty well in this MeFi post.
posted by klangklangston at 5:17 PM on June 5, 2012


klangklangston I'd say that abolishing civil marriage entirely and replacing it with civil unions is more a Libertarian than liberal position. There are liberals advocating that, but the majority on the left seem more into expanding marriage rather than abolishing it.

I'll concede that I haven't followed the Talking Heads as closely as I could on the issue, but I have not seen hardly any advocates of marriage equality on the various shows until after Obama's interview. The chatter seemed to be split between opponents of any rights for gay people and conciliatory types who agreed that marriage was a bridge too far but argued for civil unions as a sort of consolation prize. Perhaps I've been watching the wrong shows?
posted by sotonohito at 1:43 PM on June 6, 2012


I have not ever heard the position outlined in that FPP outside of the links in that FPP. It's not like I'm going looking for them, but I read a lot of lefty politics stuff and I never saw it pop up elsewhere.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:45 PM on June 6, 2012


I'm familiar with that position, klangklangston (I've argued for it myself), and of course there's people to the left of Obama on the internet. But I don't think you're right that abolishing civil marriage has ever been a mainstream political position in the USA (certainly not as mainstream as "never allow any sort of same-sex union ever"). I think Obama, caveats and all, actually has dragged the discourse significantly to the left.
posted by straight at 2:42 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


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