Wednesday, May 09, 2012

BREAKING: Obama (finally) supports gay marriage

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U.S. President Barack Obama
Pres. Barack Obama

It took a full term in office (not mentioning the preceding campaign), but President Obama has finally “evolved” back into his previous stance and now declares his support for full-on LGBT marriage equality [my emphasis]:

President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president.
In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this place, based on conversations with his own staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and conversations with his wife and own daughters.

"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,” Obama told Roberts, in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday. […]

The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. But he said he’s confident that more Americans will grow comfortable with gays and lesbians getting married, citing his own daughters’ comfort with the concept.

While this is an important victory, it’s still worth noting how none of this build-up would’ve been necessary if the President hadn’t felt compelled to play political games with his views on marriage equality these last few years. After all, he was all for same-sex marriage as a sitting Senator from Illinois, only purportedly changing his mind and opting instead for civil unions as he turned into a presidential candidate. It’s also somewhat irksome to see him appeal to “states’ rights” on the issue, particularly given last night’s disappointment in North Carolina. (A southern state acting bigoted? Surely you jest …) Why is it still deemed acceptable to leave civil rights to popular vote?

Still, it’s certainly refreshing to see yet more progress on the LGBT rights front, which is one area where the current administration has generally done an impressive job so far. And it’ll be absolutely schadenfreudelicious basking in the incoming tide of anti-gay wingnut outrage for a while, especially given how they can no longer claim to share the President’s position on the matter.

Who knew that Vice-President Biden would finally prove useful for a change?