"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."
“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.”
Wrong side ||___________|| HISTORY ||______________|| Right side
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.
The latest polling from PPP said that the people against Same Sex Marriage already thought Obama was for it.
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%).
"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.
'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.
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."
Mayor Jerry Sanders of San Diego
Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington State
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.
Mitt Romney's 1994 Letter To Gay Republicans
"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."
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 [+] [!]
The Congress lacks the power to regulate marriage. It is a state power.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:32 PM on May 9 [+] [!]
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."
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
is the future of the supreme court not an issue for you?
Part of Romney's public reaction was (seriously) to accuse Obama of flip-flopping.
Romney's probably not really a bigot, but at the same time he doesn't really care all that muchIf 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?
Romney's probably not really a bigot, but at the same time he doesn't really care all that much
... 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.” *
'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.' *
While the constitutional challenge to California's ban of gay marriage grabbed all the headlines this year  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.
"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.
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.
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.
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."
Bush beat on the Iraq war drum relentlessly.
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.
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.
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.”
"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."
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.
...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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
« Older SynthNet is a brain emulator. Unlike most modern s... | Feel better with the support o... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt