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Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

topic posted Sun, March 25, 2012 - 4:52 PM by  Unsubscribed
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For those wanting to understand why the political deliberation over gay marriage is such a sensitive subject for this White House, look no further than the fact that it splits the two core constituencies that make up President Obama's base: college-aged voters and African-Americans.

Young voters are the driving force behind making gay marriage politically acceptable. But black voters, despite their overwhelming support for the president, are among the leading opponents of gay marriage.

decoded.nationaljournal.com/2012...r.php
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  • What Obama Said

    Sun, March 25, 2012 - 10:02 PM
    NELSONVILLE, Ohio (BP)--Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama defended his belief in same-sex civil unions March 2 by referencing Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and then implicitly criticizing those who view Romans as a binding teaching on homosexuality.

    Obama made the comments during a question-and-answer session with voters in Nelsonville, Ohio. A local pastor asked Obama how he plans to win the votes of evangelical voters when they disagree with him on moral issues.

    "I believe in civil unions that allow a same-sex couple to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other," he said, referring to unions that grant all the legal benefits of marriage, minus the name. "I don't think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans. That's my view. But we can have a respectful disagreement on that."
    www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp
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      Re: What Obama Said

      Mon, March 26, 2012 - 6:47 AM
      What part of the Sermon on the Mount (-from the Gospel According to Matthew, chapters five through seven) is he talking about here?
      • Re: What Obama Said

        Mon, March 26, 2012 - 1:01 PM
        <What part of the Sermon on the Mount...>
        I don't know. It doesn't matter.
        My point is that the title of the article is misleading and the answer the article presents is false.

        Because of his Christian faith (perhaps as influenced by liberation theology) Obama has said he supports gay civil unions but does not promote use of the term gay marriage.

        The claim that Obama isn't backing gay marriage in an attempt to please Black voters is election propaganda. Obama has been a strong and vocal supporter of equal protection for gays since before he was elected President. Certainly more than any Republican candidate has expressed. He hasn't changed his tune to appease Blacks, or evangelicals.
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          Re: What Obama Said

          Mon, March 26, 2012 - 4:24 PM
          <Obama has been a strong and vocal supporter of equal protection for gays since before he was elected President. >

          yes, Obama voters did pass Prop 8 in California. ;-)
          • Re: What Obama Said

            Mon, March 26, 2012 - 6:28 PM
            <yes, Obama voters did pass Prop 8 in California. ;-)>
            Easy enough to make the unsubstantiated claim.
            Now all you have to do is prove it's true. :)
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              Re: What Obama Said

              Mon, March 26, 2012 - 7:13 PM
              Now all you have to do is prove it's true. :)

              LOS ANGELES (AP) — Californians resoundingly embraced Democrat Barack Obama's message of change, sweeping him to an historic presidential win. But their enthusiasm for change did not carry over into a slew of state initiatives and races.

              A controversial measure to ban gay marriage was approved, leaving the status of thousands of same-sex relationships in question.www.usatoday.com/news/poli...008/ca.htm
              • Re: What Obama Said

                Mon, March 26, 2012 - 10:50 PM
                In November of 2008, in the state of California:
                7.6 million voters voted for Obama.
                4.6 million voters voted for McCain.

                7 million voters voted Yes on Proposition 8
                6.4 million voters voted No on Proposition 8

                All you have to do is prove that the 6.4 million who voted No on Proposition 8 were not Obama voters. ;)
  • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

    Mon, March 26, 2012 - 8:45 AM
    black voters are not going to abandon ship in droves just because obama comes out in favor of gay marriage. really? blacks are going to turn republican? far-fetched and ludicrous.
    • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

      Mon, March 26, 2012 - 8:47 AM
      as for college-aged voters; are there enough of them who actually vote to make a legitimate difference?
      • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

        Mon, March 26, 2012 - 8:50 AM
        also, it's a shame more blacks haven't read loving v virginia. it might open their eyes to end their support of discrimination that was used against them up until the late-1960s.
        • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

          Mon, March 26, 2012 - 1:22 PM
          <it's a shame more blacks haven't read loving v virginia. it might open their eyes to end their support of discrimination that was used against them up until the late-1960s.>
          Perhaps you should open your eyes.
          These laws are all primarily about protecting White (male) property interests.

          The root of anti-miscegenation law was primarily protecting White property interests.
          The root of gay marriage law was primarily protecting White property interests.

          Obama does back protecting those interests.
          • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

            Wed, March 28, 2012 - 7:57 AM
            my point is that blacks are supporting law(s) that would have been directed at them if not for the loving v virginia decision.
            • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

              Wed, March 28, 2012 - 8:47 PM
              <my point is that blacks are supporting law(s) that would have been directed at them if not for the loving v virginia decision>
              My point is you are wrong.
              Anti-miscegenation laws were designed to protect the so-called "White race" and White property. They were directed at White people.

              "Precinct-by-precinct analysis and other data shows party, ideology , church attendance and age drove [Prop 8] vote, debunking myths about African-American voting on marriage equality."
              www.letcaliforniaring.org/site/...te.htm
              • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                Thu, March 29, 2012 - 9:06 AM
                how am i wrong if the act is written saying that any race but white is inferior? maybe not explicitly directed at them, but still implicit is the discrimination against any race that is not white.

                the act that was struck down was called the "Racial Integrity Act". perhaps it's not explicitly written saying, "fuck you blacks". implicitly, it's saying that whites and blacks or other non-white races shouldn't mix because blacks and other non-white races are inferior classes of people and whites are the superior class.
                • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                  Thu, March 29, 2012 - 2:08 PM
                  <how am i wrong if the act is written saying that any race but white is inferior?>
                  You are wrong because the Racial Integrity Act doesn't say that any race but White is inferior.

                  <maybe not explicitly directed at them, but still implicit is the discrimination against any race that is not white.>
                  The "discrimination against any race that is not white" is in your mind. It has to do with how you think.
                  Why not say the Act discriminates against Whites?

                  <perhaps it's not explicitly written saying, "fuck you blacks".>
                  No, it is not even suggested. That came from your mind as well.

                  <implicitly, it's saying that whites and blacks or other non-white races shouldn't mix because blacks and other non-white races are inferior classes of people and whites are the superior class.>
                  Again the Act does not state, or imply any of this. The inferiority or superiority of a race is in your mind.

                  Virginia's 1924 Act called for a person's "racial composition" to be recorded.
                  It also states:
                  "4. No marriage license shall be granted until the clerk or deputy clerk has reasonable assurance that the statements as to color of both man and woman are correct.
                  If there is reasonable cause to disbelieve that applicants are of pure white race, when that fact is stated, the clerk or deputy clerk shall withhold the granting of the license until satisfactory proof is produced that both applicants are "white persons" as provided for in this act.
                  The clerk or deputy clerk shall use the same care to assure himself that both applicants are colored, when that fact is claimed.
                  5. It shall hereafter be unlawful for any white person in this State to marry any save a white person, or a person with no other admixture of blood than white and American Indian. For the purpose of this act, the term "white person" shall apply only to the person who has no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian; but persons who have one-sixteenth or less of the blood of the American Indian and have no other non-Caucasic blood shall be deemed to be white persons. All laws heretofore passed and now in effect regarding the intermarriage of white and colored persons shall apply to marriages prohibited by this act."

                  I would argue the Act was "struck down" because, as a practical matter, the lie of proving "pure White" is unsustainable.
                  And whether the Racial Integrity Act was inspired by a "superiority complex" rather than an "inferiority complex", or some other form of mental illness, is debatable.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                    Fri, March 30, 2012 - 8:30 AM
                    and yes, you are right, the act discriminated against any white who wanted to marry a non-white. the point being that you have to look at the time when the act was passed and the primary reasoning for passing the act. it wasn't to uphold the purity of the black race. it was designed to uphold the purity of the white race.
                    • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                      Fri, March 30, 2012 - 9:36 PM
                      <you mean to argue that white people did not believe blacks and any non-pure white person to be inferior to whites?>
                      Are you trying to flip the script?! LOL

                      I don't care what craziness White people "believe". You made a false claim about what a specific Act says.

                      <the idea that a law needs to be passed saying that whites cannot marry any non-white in order to maintain the pureness of the white race underlines the argument that any race but whites is inferior.>
                      No, it underlines my argument that "White" people are socially insane.

                      "For the purpose of this act, the term "white person" shall apply only to the person who has no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian; but persons who have one-sixteenth or less of the blood of the American Indian and have no other non-Caucasic blood shall be deemed to be white persons."

                      I'm a "Colored" man. I think, if you think passing a law that says I can have sex with or marry exotic women from any nation on the planet as long as they aren't pure Caucasians, but a pure Caucasian man can only have sex with or marry pure Caucasian women is discriminating against me, you must be crazy too!
                      Under the Act, I could marry a woman with any trace of Negro, Puerto Rican, Indian [East, West, or Native American], Chinese, Japanese, Brazilian, Filippino, Mexican, Cuban, etc., etc., etc... and even a White woman with one-fifteenth American Indian blood. But a "White" could only marry a "White". The "White" man took himself out of play ROFLOL!

                      In the Loving case, Virginia's Racial Integrity Act was fought all the way to the Supreme Court so the "White" man could get back into the game.

                      <the point being that you have to look at the time when the act was passed and the primary reasoning for passing the act. it wasn't to uphold the purity of the black race. it was designed to uphold the purity of the white race.>
                      The year was 1924. There was no pure race in melting pot called the USA. Perhaps, the Act was designed to support the myth of a pure White race, growing out of the same insanity that Hitler had. He was preaching about the pure Aryan race, but every day he had to get up and look in the mirror. Hitler also thought his hate made him superior.

                      ALL of us international "Colored" people world-wide were free to LOVE each other.
                      The so-called "pure race" people were committing acts of theft and violence, and making propaganda movies about their greatness.
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          Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

          Thu, March 29, 2012 - 11:09 AM
          >>>>>>also, it's a shame more blacks haven't read loving v virginia. it might open their eyes to end their support of discrimination that was used against them up until the late-1960s<<<<<<<<

          This only holds if you think racial discrimination is the same thing (-or same kind of thing) as opposition to same-sex marriage. But it obviously isn't because such opposition isn't racial at all. Now, if the law held that *white* same-sex couples could marry but not black ones, that would be racial discrimination. But opposing *all* same-sex marriages *cannot* be racial discrimination because it in no way discriminates between (or among) races.

          Looked at the other way, if same-sex marriage became the law in all 50 states tomorrow it would not be an advance in racial equality. It's not a racial issue at all. Pretending that it is is just a lazy way to suggest that those who oppose same-sex marriage are *like* those who opposed inter-racial marriage (-ie, haters).
          • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

            Thu, March 29, 2012 - 2:24 PM
            <Pretending that it is is just a lazy way to suggest that those who oppose same-sex marriage are *like* those who opposed inter-racial marriage (-ie, haters).>
            Some people spread misinformation because they are ignorant of the facts...
            Some spread misinformation because they care about their agenda more than the facts...

            Every controversial conversation is an opportunity for us to discover in ourselves what kind of person we are.
            But that requires the desire and ability to engage in critical thinking.
          • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

            Fri, March 30, 2012 - 8:11 AM
            okay, a similar type of discrimination. basically, they are supporting discrimination which they fought so long to end. whether or not it's directed at blacks solely or not, they are supporting discrimination.
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              Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

              Fri, March 30, 2012 - 10:40 AM
              >>>>>>>okay, a similar type of discrimination.<<<<<

              Well at least we got that far, though for a bit of unsolicited rhetorical advice: telling black people that opposing same-sex marriage is even "similar" to racial discrimination is a blunder.
              • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                Fri, March 30, 2012 - 10:56 AM
                well, if the courts are going to strike down laws against gay marriage based on the 14th amendment, then you are going to have to accept the fact that sexual orientation will be considered on par with race. of course, that's only if the courts use strict scrutiny analysis.

                articles.latimes.com/2010/au...20100809
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                  Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                  Fri, March 30, 2012 - 5:03 PM
                  >>>>>>well, if the courts are going to strike down laws against gay marriage based on the 14th amendment, then you are going to have to accept the fact that sexual orientation will be considered on par with race.<<<<<<<<<

                  Just so long as you don't compare the injustices done to gays (---and that's assuming that is unjust to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples) with those done to black people.

                  (By the way, I'm not opposed to same-sex marriage. I think it's inevitable.)
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      Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

      Mon, March 26, 2012 - 11:02 AM
      >>>>>>>black voters are not going to abandon ship in droves just because obama comes out in favor of gay marriage. really? blacks are going to turn republican? far-fetched and ludicrous.<<<<<<

      Uh, you misread the argument, Gerbil. In 2008, African-American turnout was unusually high. No one is suggesting that many African-Americans will vote Republican for this (or any other) reason; the concern is that (too) many might not vote at all. If African-American turnout is down, the president's chances of re-election suffer.

      Many African-Americans are socially conservative. (As are many Hispanics, for that matter.) If one went by the MSM, one could be forgiven that "socially conservative" was code for "white."
      • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

        Mon, March 26, 2012 - 11:06 AM
        not voting is just as bad and short-sighted. stupidity reigns in the electorate, though, on both sides of the aisle.
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          Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

          Mon, March 26, 2012 - 11:15 AM
          >>>>>>>not voting is just as bad and short-sighted. stupidity reigns in the electorate, though, on both sides of the aisle.<<<<<<<<

          Stupidity may abound but there's such a thing as realizing you can't support your party's candidate and won't support the other one's. (Some conservatives won't vote for Romney, but I don't expect them to vote for Obama instead.)
          • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

            Mon, March 26, 2012 - 11:42 AM
            if it's based solely on one issue, then it's beyond stupidity and deserves a healthy heaping of scorn.
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              Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

              Mon, March 26, 2012 - 2:35 PM
              >>>>>>>if it's based solely on one issue, then it's beyond stupidity and deserves a healthy heaping of scorn.<<<<<<<

              Why? Many people have voted for or against a candidate primarily because of his view of slavery, or war, or abortion. Hell, taxes. One could argue that same-sex marriage is a less important issue and doesn't deserve so much weight in one's decision on how to vote, but that view binds no one *else*. The issue could be profoundly important to many people (-on both sides of the issue).

              Further, the charge of "solely on one issue" is easier to raise than to prove. Issues connect with other issues in the minds of voters. This one touches on ideas about family, education, law, tradition, and society. It's rare to find any two people who disagree on solely on this issue.
              • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                Wed, March 28, 2012 - 7:46 AM
                let's break this down.

                voter A supports candidate X. candidate X comes out in favor of gay marriage. suddenly, voter A no longer supports candidate X. what else but the support of gay marriage changed voter A's mind?

                a single issue voter is foolish.
  • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

    Mon, March 26, 2012 - 10:45 PM
    What's the mystery? It's an election year!

    If something confuses or mystifies you in the mundane world, always follow the money. If there is a similar mystery in the political world, follow the votes, or lack thereof.
    • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

      Fri, March 30, 2012 - 9:17 PM
      "What's the mystery? It's an election year! "

      My first thought too. Obama is a vote whore just like anyone else.
      • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

        Fri, March 30, 2012 - 9:53 PM
        "I believe in civil unions... I don't think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state... That's my view. But we can have a respectful disagreement on that."
        <What's the mystery?>
      • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

        Sat, March 31, 2012 - 6:48 PM
        <My first thought too. Obama is a vote whore just like anyone else.>

        Shocking! A person running for president would say things that would help them in achieving that goal! Wow! A true revelation!

        No, seriously. He's doing what it takes to win. Otherwise, he'd not win and be relegated to wherever Ron Paul & Ralph Nader currently reside.
  • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

    Mon, May 7, 2012 - 9:07 AM
    thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012...iage/
    Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday became the third member of the Obama administration to publicly embrace same-sex marriage, a position at odds with that of the president, who has limited his support to civil unions between gay men and lesbians.
    • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

      Mon, May 7, 2012 - 9:27 AM
      Do you think it possible that the reason Biden and Duncan have recently came out in support is because Obama may well be preparing his own full throated endorsement before the election?
      • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

        Mon, May 7, 2012 - 9:33 AM
        i would hope so. to not come out in favor only helps to legitimize any opposition to gay marriage.
        • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

          Mon, May 7, 2012 - 1:33 PM
          Hypothetical: Let's say he does not come out in support before the election, but does so after he is reelected based on the idea that support may hurt his chances in the fall. Knowing that there is more of a chance of affecting change in that regard if he is President, as opposed to zero chance of that change happning under a Republican President, would that possible practical reality be illigitimate? What if he came out in support now, Republicans used it as a lightening rod issue thereby increasing evangelical voter turnout which puts Romney in the White House? That could very well work against the movement rather than helping it to progress. Whereas coming out in support in a second term could in fact give the movement the Bully Pulpit in order to promote the cause of Marriage equality.

          That said, I recognize that coming out in support now could well energize progressives as well, but ultimately it is an unkown quantity at this point regarding who would glean the most advantage from the issue with their base electorate.
  • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

    Mon, May 7, 2012 - 12:37 PM
    thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012...ney-biden/
    Joe Scarborough: ‘When Is The President Going To Be As Brave As Dick Cheney?’ | This morning, Joe Scarborough and David Gregory mocked the White House’s efforts to push back against Vice President Joe Biden’s embrace of marriage equality, with the Meet The Press host remarking “that this administration appears poised to change its position on same-sex marriage.” Scarborough asked why the president’s rich gay donors “don’t just give to Dick Cheney because Dick Cheney supports gay marriage?” “When is the president going to be as brave as Dick Cheney?” he pressed.
    • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

      Tue, May 8, 2012 - 3:18 PM
      The only answer as to why he doesn't back it is "votes". Obama isn't some principled hero like some people fantasize about; he's just a vote whore like anyone else and he has almost always done whatever is most politically beneficial to him.
      • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

        Tue, May 8, 2012 - 4:47 PM
        If the ultimate goal is repeal of DOMA and the legalization of gay marriage, that is a task Obama very well can't have an influenceo on from the sidelines. Certainly about 50% of America supports gay marriage, but the key to this election is how the issue plays out in swing states like Ohio. There are a few ways it could go: 1.) Obama comes out in support of gay marriage but loses the election, thereby having no possible chance to move this issue forward, something that will definately not happen under a Republican President. 2.) Obama waits to come out in support of gay marriage until after he wins the election, thereby giving him the power of the Presidency to address this issue and help it move forward. Option 1 may in reality hurt the cause and set the movement back in the end. Whereas option 2 could very well help the cause in the end.
        • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

          Tue, May 8, 2012 - 7:40 PM
          please. he's been twiddling his thumbs from the beginning. needs more time to think about it? really?

          this could have been a non-issue if he came out in support months ago, even years ago at the outset of his administration. instead, he's been playing politics with the issue and now it might come back to bite him in the ass.
          • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

            Wed, May 9, 2012 - 12:22 PM
            You have basically ignored everything I wrote Gerbil.
            • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

              Wed, May 9, 2012 - 12:37 PM
              i didn't ignore it. i chose not to respond to it. obama has, until today, twiddled his thumbs in relation to gay marriage. he supported it, then he modified that to support civil unions and then he said his views were evolving, then he finally comes out in support today.

              rather than feeding us the bullshit that his views are evolving, it's about time he came out in support of it. i look forward to the rabid rightwingers flipping their shit over this public support. it's a shame the support didn't come years ago, though.
              • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                Wed, May 9, 2012 - 1:14 PM
                <<i didn't ignore it. i chose not to respond to it.

                Not responding = ignoring.

                <<rather than feeding us the bullshit that his views are evolving,

                Most Americans views have evolved on this issues, so I am unsure as to how Obama taking a similar path is out of bounds.
                • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                  Wed, May 9, 2012 - 5:02 PM
                  uspolitics.tribe.net/thread/...c31f73e5

                  while polls gauging support for gay marriage are important to get a feel for how the public feels, the real polls that matter are general polls, i.e. obama v romney.

                  www.realclearpolitics.com/epoll...1.html

                  it'll be interesting to see what kind of dip or jump obama will get from his announcement today.

                  prospect.org/article/doi...-right-thing
                  But I don't think there's any reason to believe that Obama doing the right thing today will help Romney in November. It's important to remember that Obama and Romney were substantially different on gay and lesbian rights before this afternoon. To believe that Romney will benefit significantly from Obama's embrace of same-sex marriage rights, you would have to believe that there's a group of voters who 1) care enough about same-sex marriage to make it their top priority in a federal election, but 2) are willing to ignore Obama's pro-LBGT rights record as long as he doesn't nominally support same-sex marriage. The number of people who fit into this class is too trivial to be worth worrying about. It's likely that some-risk adverse advisers cited the argument that same-sex marriage cost John Kerry the election in 2004. But there's no evidence that this is true. Given that same-sex marriage is significantly more popular now than it was eight years ago, it's even more unlikely that same-sex marriage would damage Obama now.
          • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

            Wed, May 9, 2012 - 12:25 PM
            Obama Endorse Gay Marriage!

            www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...45.html

            I had a feeling he was working up to this. And while the timing of the announcment may be political, the fact still remains that he can do more to advance the cause of gay marriage as President than he could sitting on the sidelines and allowing the Anti-gay GOP to run the show. Perfect timing in my opinion.
            • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

              Wed, May 9, 2012 - 12:32 PM
              WASHINGTON -- In a nod to a dramatic shift in public opinion, Barack Obama on Wednesday became the first sitting president to announce his support for same-sex marriage.

              In a sit-down interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Obama completed what has been a markedly long and oft-mocked evolution on the matter.

              "I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly," Obama told Roberts, in an interview that will air in full on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday.

              "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," he said.

              The statement constitutes an act of political bravery on the president's behalf, as well as a major victory for the gay rights community, which has been pushing him to declare his support for marriage equality for several years. With the issue back in the news this week, the pressure intensified.

              On Sunday, Vice President Joseph Biden told NBC's "Meet The Press" that he was personally comfortable with same-sex marriage, which was followed the next day by Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying the same.

              The White House insisted that there was no daylight between the vice president's position and the president's, noting that Biden clarified his statement as being in reference to civil rights for gay couples. But the explanation was largely dismissed by both supporters and critics as a convenient way for the president to signal support for marriage equality without having to declare it himself.

              On Tuesday evening, the state of North Carolina passed an amendment that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The president expressed his disappointment with the measure, but it remained difficult to square his opposition to a measure outlawing same-sex marriage with his opposition to same-sex marriage itself.

              As the political pressure continued to mount, the president finally chose to speak out Wednesday, with the White House hastily scheduling a sit-down interview.

              “It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president said. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”

              The president's support of same-sex marriage will have little political impact, from a practical standpoint, as much of the activity on the issue is currently occurring in the states and the courts. Already the Obama administration's Department of Justice has stopped defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. Legislation to overturn DOMA outright would likely be blocked by congressional Republicans.

              The more promising path for same-sex marriage advocates remains a friendly hearing by the United States Supreme Court.

              Still, the symbolism of Obama's remarks is hard to ignore. In becoming the first president to publicly support marriage equality, he sets the bar for its political acceptance. He also has the ability to shape public opinion further on the matter.

              Of course, there may be drawbacks to such a strong expression of support. While recent polls show that popular support for marriage equality is gaining widespread acceptance, some pivotal swing states remain largely opposed to the concept. And one of them, North Carolina, remains a major target for the president's reelection campaign.

              "The question is, is there a risk?" a prominent Democratic Party official who requested anonymity told The Huffington Post after Biden's remarks. "It is not nationwide [polling] we are talking about. We are talking about Virginia, North Carolina and other swing states. And we are talking about, would Karl Rove and his team stoop to using horribly grotesque and hateful tactics ... and would that peel off 10,000 votes?"

              As of Wednesday, that question was hypothetical. Now, it's a critical component of the 2012 election.

              www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...45.html
              • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                Wed, May 9, 2012 - 12:39 PM
                lol at "political bravery". he was basically forced out of the closet by biden and duncan and growing pressure from those on the left. a brave stance would have come out in favor years ago.

                again, i can criticize the means while concurrently supporting the ends.
                • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                  Wed, May 9, 2012 - 1:18 PM
                  <<lol at "political bravery". he was basically forced out of the closet by biden and duncan and growing pressure from those on the left.

                  That is assumption on your part. Three people in Obama's administration, including the Vice President of the United States, coming out in support may well of been the intended lead-up to this moment. I would assume that during an election year that these sort of things are intentional. It is a historic and brave stance being that Obama is the first President in US history to lend such support to the movement.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                    Wed, May 9, 2012 - 4:47 PM
                    it seems like pretty stupid timing. when his administration stopped litigating in support of DOMA, he should have come out in support of gay marriage. it would have made the issue less of a political football in an election year. i'm guessing the administration looks at the numbers in various "battleground" states and sees the daunting challenge to overcome those numbers. lighting a fire under those opposed, especially in the wake of a 69-31 defeat of gay rights in north carolina, seems wrongheaded and foolish.

                    but, who knows? maybe this will garner obama more votes from independents who saw his reticence to voice explicit support as reason enough to keep their vote in the republican column.

                    i don't see it as brave at all. it's a position that he HAD to come to eventually. and the orchestration behind it with duncan and biden coming out in favor just makes it that less brave. a real brave decision would have been to come out on his own, without orchestra.
                    • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                      Wed, May 9, 2012 - 5:11 PM
                      <<it seems like pretty stupid timing.

                      Yeah, rallying his liberal base 6-months before the election is "stupid timing" *rolls eyes*....lol. : )~

                      <<it would have made the issue less of a political football in an election year.

                      Maybe he wants it to be a poltical football.

                      <<i'm guessing the administration looks at the numbers in various "battleground" states and sees the daunting challenge to overcome those numbers.

                      Actually his numbers look fairly decent in the battleground states, so I would not go so far as to call it "daunting". As a matter of fact, Obama is currently winning the estimated delegate count. And while this issue may motivate the progressive base, this position may in hurt him in the battleground sates, where it is necessary for him to win those delegates. And yet at the same time you claim it is not a brave position? You can't have it both ways Gerbil.

                      <<lighting a fire under those opposed, especially in the wake of a 69-31 defeat of gay rights in north carolina, seems wrongheaded and foolish.

                      If that is your opinion, then how exactly can you say he is making this decision for political expediency? Your statements are seemingly at odds with each other.

                      <<but, who knows? maybe this will garner obama more votes from independents who saw his reticence to voice explicit support as reason enough to keep their vote in the republican column.

                      We should also remember that this could motivate the crucial youth vote being that they are leaps and bounds ahead of their parents on this issue. As a matter of fact, Obama is now taking a 7 point lead with independents and did so even though he allowed openly gay people to serve in the military.

                      <<it's a position that he HAD to come to eventually.

                      No it's not. The historic gay rights actions this president has taken will be on par with Lyndon Johnsons work on civil rights in the 60s. Our children and their children will learn in the history books about how the first black American President stood up for gay rights in our country like no other President has in our entire history. But feel free to keep poopooing the historic nature of this presidents stand and actions regarding gay rights, history will not be so cynical.
                      • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                        Wed, May 9, 2012 - 5:20 PM
                        themonkeycage.org/blog/2012...-marriage/
                        The Electoral Implications of Obama’s “Evolution” on Same-Sex Marriage

                        by John Sides on May 9, 2012 · 9 comments

                        in Campaigns and elections

                        There will be much speculation on what this means for the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. What will make such speculation even minimally informed and worth paying attention to? Here’s a guide.

                        The president’s announcement could affect voters in one or more of three ways:

                        1) Changing how they feel about gay marriage itself—perhaps even persuading some to support it.

                        2) Changing how much their own feelings about gay marriage predicts who they will vote for. A possible hypothesis is that attitudes toward gay marriage will become more strongly related to voter choice, now that the president has stated this position (again) and thereby provided a definitive point of contrast to Romney.

                        3) Changing whether or how they will vote in November. Perhaps via some combination of #1-2.

                        So the first task in evaluating speculation is to say, how many of these 4 3 are being discussed? Using the same numbering, the follow-up questions to ask are:

                        1) How many people’s feelings about gay marriage would change as a result of the President’s interview? What is a plausible estimate? Support for gay marriage has grown by 5 percent in the past 2 years, according to Pew data. Could the president’s announcement create that much change all at once? More? Less? Why?

                        2) If same-sex marriage becomes a bigger factor in voters’ minds, that means the president might both lose support among those who oppose gay marriage and gain support among those who favor gay marriage. If both things happen, which involves more votes? In other words, what are the net effects? Moreover, why would the issue of gay marriage remain salient from now until November, despite the host of other issues that could easily outweigh it (such as the economy)? How many voters are really “single-issue” voters with regard to same-sex marriage, and how many of their votes were really up for grabs anyway?

                        3) What percentage of people really make the decision about whether to vote based on the candidates’ positions on a single issue? And what percentage of voters are truly persuadable in terms of the candidate they support? Why would these voters make a decision about whom to vote based on Obama’s position on gay marriage? Are these “marginal” voters the kinds of people who are likely to follow the news closely enough to know Obama’s position? If particular groups of voters might be turned on/off by the president’s announcement, what fraction of the electorate do those voters comprise? Are those voters located in battleground states? If so, in what proportion?

                        My prediction is that, once these factors are put together and doing the math—small changes in attitudes among small numbers of voters, etc., etc.—it’s not likely that Obama’s announcement will be a significant factor in November. In the meantime, if pundits want to speculate, these are the questions they should ask and answer.
                        • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                          Wed, May 9, 2012 - 6:22 PM
                          fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2...s/
                          Mr. Obama’s electoral calculation may hinge upon three questions related to the politics of the Democratic and Republican base. Social issues often do more to reinforce the loyalties of each party’s core voting groups than to sway the opinions of swing voters, especially in middling economic circumstances.

                          First, there is the question of how much emphasis Republicans will choose to place on gay marriage, which could motivate their base but increasingly divide Republican voters and independent ones. Next, how much might Mr. Obama’s stance be embraced or opposed by African-Americans, who have more conservative attitudes about same-sex marriage than other Democrats? Finally, could the issue motivate younger liberals and Democrats, who tend to support same-sex marriage, to turn out for Mr. Obama when they might not otherwise?
                          • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                            Thu, May 10, 2012 - 9:43 AM
                            The Obama campaign, which declined to discuss political implications of the decision, could be pleased that independent voters support the legalization of marriage 57%-40%, according to the latest Gallup Poll. On Wednesday evening, the president sent a fundraising e-mail to supporters explaining his position.

                            Meanwhile, 71% of voters ages 18-29, another crucial group for Obama, said they favored legalization of gay marriage in three Gallup polls taken over the past year. "The middle can be won on this issue," said Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, director of social policy and politics at Third Way, a Democratic-leaning think tank . "There's a lot of energy among young voters on this issue, a group they sorely need in November."

                            www.usatoday.com/news/wash...54866752/1
                      • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                        Wed, May 9, 2012 - 5:26 PM
                        <Actually his numbers look fairly decent in the battleground state>

                        i was speaking more to views regarding gay marriage.

                        <And yet at the same time you claim it is not a brave position?>

                        risky electoral strategy? sure. brave? i don't agree.

                        <then how exactly can you say he is making this decision for political expediency?>

                        because his whole evolution has been about political expediency since 1996 when he supported gay marriage and then 2004, when he suddenly didn't. the ebb and flow of support for gay marriage doesn't usually work that way. most people oppose, then slowly and eventually come to support it. perhaps i'm wrong, but i don't think a lot of people support gay marriage then oppose it. it's worked more the other way.

                        <No it's not.>

                        yes it is. it's a position that puts him in line with his administration's legal strategy and no longer puts him at odds with the majority of the democratic base.

                        <But feel free to keep poopooing the historic nature of this presidents stand and actions regarding gay rights, history will not be so cynical.>

                        i never said it wasn't historic and i commend obama for finally coming out in favor.
                        • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                          Wed, May 9, 2012 - 5:33 PM
                          <<risky electoral strategy? sure. brave? i don't agree.

                          So you are claiming that taking a stand that is risky for his election and yet is morally correct, that is somehow not brave? Those two ideas don't jive.
                          • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                            Wed, May 9, 2012 - 5:35 PM
                            sorry, i don't tend to think of politicians taking stands as being brave.
                            • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                              Wed, May 9, 2012 - 5:38 PM
                              That is a rather odd opinion, in particular considering the wide reaching ramifications of any Presidents actions. It is much more brave for a President to take a stand on a controversial issue than it is for the general public, his entire job, the affects on the direciton of our country, and his place in history ride in the balance. I can support gay marriage and that is that, no ramifications for my support. Not so for the President.
                              • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                                Wed, May 9, 2012 - 5:51 PM
                                there's nothing odd about it. i don't think of politicians as brave. i'd more likely think of him as brave if he took the opposite stance, flouting his base and putting in jeopardy a large number of votes and a large amount of donations. this decision, while it is historic, just solidifies what his administration has been doing the past 3 years.

                                here's the email from obama:

                                Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:

                                I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

                                I hope you'll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality:

                                my.barackobama.com/Marriage

                                I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

                                But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

                                What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

                                Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

                                So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

                                I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

                                Thank you,

                                Barack
                                • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                                  Wed, May 9, 2012 - 6:02 PM
                                  <<there's nothing odd about it. i don't think of politicians as brave.

                                  Politicians are human and be brave or cowardly, they don't stop being human just because of their career path.

                                  <<this decision, while it is historic, just solidifies what his administration has been doing the past 3 years.

                                  I am sorry, but the word "bravery" is not dependent upon as to if these changes have happened in different areas at differing times over the course of 3 years or not. But we can agree to disagree.
                                  • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                                    Wed, May 9, 2012 - 6:10 PM
                                    yeah, sure, politicians are human just like me and you. i don't consider their POLICY POSITIONS brave.
                                    • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                                      Thu, May 10, 2012 - 9:28 AM
                                      << i don't consider their POLICY POSITIONS brave.

                                      I am unsure how taking a stand on a controversial policy position somehow negates brave, politicians have more to lose over such a stance than the general populace. Were Truman, Kennedy, and Johnsons POLICY POSITIONS on civil rights examples of political courage? I certainly think so.
                                      • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                                        Thu, May 10, 2012 - 9:53 AM
                                        staking out a position that a majority, growing by about 2-4% yearly, of americans already hold falls short of bravery. sorry, on this point we are just not going to agree.
                                        • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                                          Thu, May 10, 2012 - 10:38 AM
                                          You would have a point if elections were determined via popular vote. Being that they are not, and being that Obama currently has a 20% electoral lead, he very well could lose that electoral lead based on this position. I am not sure how anyone can deny that politically this is not a gamble.
                                          • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                                            Thu, May 10, 2012 - 9:05 PM
                                            4 elections in us history have seen the candidate with the highest popular vote not win the presidency or the electoral college.

                                            1824: john quincy adams was elected president by the house of representatives after no candidate obtained a majority in the electoral college
                                            1876: rutherford b hayes won the presidency after a deal was struck between democrats and republicans see:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit...l_disputes
                                            1888: the only legitimate election where the popular vote winner did not win the electoral college (if cleveland had won new york, he would have won the electoral college)
                                            2000: bush v gore; we all know that was decided by the supreme court, not the electoral college.

                                            so, only 1 out of 56 elections, thus far, has seen the popular vote winner not win the electoral college, without any outside influence.

                                            see also:presidentelect.org/art_evpvdisagree.html
                            • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                              Wed, May 9, 2012 - 5:41 PM
                              Obama Same-Sex Marriage Position: Why He Made His Decision

                              WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama came to the decision that he personally supported same sex marriage early in 2012, top administration officials told reporters shortly after the president announced that support.

                              The plan had been to announce his position before the Democratic National Convention. But after Vice President Joseph Biden declared his support for marriage equality on Sunday, the issue touched off a political firestorm and the timeframe for Obama's announcement was expedited.

                              Those top officials, speaking on condition that they not be named or quoted, said that the president was not agitated about Biden's appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." Instead, he decided that he had to make his position known sooner rather than later. The administration had knowledge of Biden's remarks after he taped his interview last Friday. By Tuesday morning, aides began putting a plan in motion.

                              The president would conduct an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, during which he would explain how he had come to take the final step in an 18-month-long evolution of his stance on marriage equality.

                              The White House had wanted to break the news in such a setting from the get-go. Now, however, it had to be done rapidly and with some secrecy. On Monday, Press Secretary Jay Carney was peppered with an estimated 50 questions on Biden's statement, the most he had received on any one topic during a single briefing since the beginning of his tenure. By Tuesday, the White House had notified ABC that Obama wanted to do a sit-down. Aides were instructed not to tell a single outside stakeholder in the gay rights debate about the forthcoming announcement.

                              Speaking just minutes after portions of that interview were broadcast, senior administration officials took pains to stress that the president had made a personal and not a political decision to speak out. He had been moved, they said, by a fundraising trip he had made to New York shortly after that state legalized gay marriage, during which he thought to himself how he would have voted on the issue as a state legislator. He also marveled at the fact that his daughters, who had friends with gay parents, could never conceive of gay marriage being controversial.

                              Taking counsel from a small group of advisers -- six to seven people in total -- Obama outlined how, exactly, he would break the news.

                              The senior administration officials declined to say whether the president would now push for gay marriage to be part of the Democratic Party's platform at the convention. They also said they were not changing positions on an Executive Order that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against federal contractors. The president has said he would not sign that order.

                              As for the politics of the matter, the senior administration officials cautioned that it was too early to read into the electoral fallout. They noted that public opinion had changed faster on this issue than on any other they had followed in their own political careers. And they noted that presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's viewpoint –- that the Constitution should contain an amendment asserting that marriage is between a man and a woman -- was quite unpopular.

                              There were, however, reasons why even party officials were insisting, not all that long ago, that the president needed to put this off until after the election. There is concern that support for gay marriage will drive away voters in some conservative-leaning swing states. There is even more concern that Republican operatives can and will use the issue to go after the president.

                              "The question is, is there a risk?" a prominent Democratic Party official who requested anonymity told The Huffington Post just days ago. "It is not nationwide [polling] we are talking about. We are talking about Virginia, North Carolina and other swing states. And we are talking about, would Karl Rove and his team stoop to using horribly grotesque and hateful tactics ... and would that peel off 10,000 votes?"

                              www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...67.html
                            • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                              Wed, May 9, 2012 - 5:48 PM
                              Michael Bloomberg: "This is a major turning point in the history of American civil rights," said New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. "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. 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 back to the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village."

                              www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...57.html
                • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                  Wed, May 9, 2012 - 1:26 PM
                  And with exposure comes understanding, as Obama himself outlined regarding his own evovling views. This book by Zach Wahls addresses this kind of exposure and understanding in his book My Two Moms. www.amazon.com/My-Two-Mom.../1592407137

                  It is essentially this exposure and subsequent understanding that has helped to lead Americans to their increasing support.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

                    Wed, May 9, 2012 - 4:49 PM
                    "evolving" = whatever position is politically expedient

                    if he came out opposed, he loses the support of a lot of rich, democrat donors. see:his decision not to issue the executive order banning discrimination in federal contracts.
  • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

    Wed, May 9, 2012 - 8:23 AM
    www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...08.html
    Amendment One North Carolina

    RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman, becoming the latest state to effectively slam the door shut on same-sex marriages.

    With most of the precincts reporting Tuesday, unofficial returns showed the amendment passing with about 61 percent of the vote to 39 percent against. North Carolina is the 30th state to adopt such a ban on gay marriage.

    Tami Fitzgerald, who heads the pro-amendment group Vote FOR Marriage NC, said she believes the initiative awoke a silent majority of more active voters in the future.

    "I think it sends a message to the rest of the country that marriage is between one man and one woman," Fitzgerald said at a celebration Tuesday night. "The whole point is simply that you don't rewrite the nature of God's design based on the demands of a group of adults."

    In the final days before the vote, members of President Barack Obama's cabinet expressed support for gay marriage and former President Bill Clinton recorded phone messages urging voters to oppose the amendment.

    Supporters of the amendment responded with marches, television ads and speeches. Church leaders urged Sunday congregations to vote for the amendment. The Rev. Billy Graham was featured in full-page newspaper ads backing the amendment.

    North Carolina law already bans gay marriage, but an amendment effectively seals the door on same-sex marriages.

    The amendment also goes beyond state law by voiding other types of domestic unions from carrying legal status, which opponents warn could disrupt protection orders for unmarried couples.

    The campaign manager for the group that opposed the amendment said the nation watched North Carolina on Tuesday night, wondering how the anti-forces came through.

    "I am happy to say that we are stronger for it; we are better for it; our voices are louder now," said Jeremy Kennedy of Protect All NC Families. "We have courage like we never had before, and we have strength to continue on."

    Both sides spent a combined $3 million on their campaigns.

    Six states – all in the Northeast except Iowa – and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages. In addition, two other states have laws that are not yet in effect and may be subject to referendums

    The North Carolina amendment was placed on the ballot after Republicans took over control of the state Legislature after the 2010 elections, a role the GOP hadn't enjoyed for 140 years.

    Joe Easterling, who described himself as a devout Christian, voted for the amendment at a polling place in Wake Forest.

    "I know that some people may argue that the Bible may not necessarily be applicable, or it should not be applicable, on such policy matters. But even looking at nature itself, procreation is impossible without a man and a woman. And because of those things, I think it is important that the state of North Carolina's laws are compatible with the laws of nature but, more importantly, with the laws of God."

    Linda Toanone, who voted against the amendment, said people are born gay and it is not their choice.

    "We think everybody should have the same rights as everyone else. If you're gay, lesbian, straight – whatever," she said.

    North Carolina is the latest presidential swing state to weigh in on gay marriage. Florida, Virginia and Ohio all have constitutional amendments against gay marriage, and Obama's election-year vagueness on gay marriage has come under fresh scrutiny.

    Obama, who supports most gay rights, has stopped short of backing gay marriage. Without clarification, he's said for the past year and a half that his personal views on the matter are "evolving."

    Later Tuesday, Obama's campaign said he was "disappointed" with the amendment. Obama campaign spokesman Cameron French said in a Tuesday statement that the ban on same-sex unions is "divisive and discriminatory." Same-sex couples deserve the same rights and legal protections as straight couples, French said.

    Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated on Monday his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage, a day after Vice President Joe Biden said he is "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex married couples getting the same rights at heterosexual married couples.

    One fault line that could determine the result is generational. Older voters, who tend to be more reliable voters, were expected to back the amendment.

    State House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican from a Charlotte suburb, said earlier in the day that even if the amendment passed, it would be reversed as today's young adults age – within 20 years. "It's a generational issue," Tillis told a student group at North Carolina State University in March about the amendment he supports.

    "Also, that amendment is against women, I believe, because also underneath the amendment, other laws are saying that people who aren't married at all, they can't file for domestic abuse cases, if they're living with their significant other. Which is wrong," Toanone said.

    In North Carolina, more than 500,000 voters had cast their ballot before Tuesday, which was more than the 2008 primary when Obama and Hillary Clinton were fighting for the Democratic presidential nomination. Both sides said that bodes well for them.
    ___
    Associated Press writers Allen Reed, Allen G. Breed, Emery P. Dalesio and Gary D. Robertson contributed to this report.
    ___
    Martha Waggoner can be reached at twitter.com/mjwaggonernc
    • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

      Wed, May 9, 2012 - 8:25 AM
      <Joe Easterling, who described himself as a devout Christian, voted for the amendment at a polling place in Wake Forest.

      "I know that some people may argue that the Bible may not necessarily be applicable, or it should not be applicable, on such policy matters. But even looking at nature itself, procreation is impossible without a man and a woman.>

      i wonder how this guy feels about heterosexual marriages that don't result in children. should those be outlawed too?
  • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

    Wed, May 9, 2012 - 11:21 AM
    www.cjr.org/swing_states...flip-flop.php
    NEW HAMPSHIRE—Are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney so different after all? Despite the media’s portrayal of Romney as a uniquely craven politician, the recent controversy over Obama’s views on gay marriage highlights the ways that both candidates—like nearly all politicians—have adjusted their positions over their careers for political reasons.

    On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden made unexpected news by saying he is “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage—a remark that seemed to contradict Obama’s stated opposition to same-sex marriages. Though Obama adviser David Axelrod promptly denied that there was any difference between the two men’s views, many observers interpreted Biden’s statement as the latest example of the administration’s hedging of its position on the issue. President Obama indicated support for gay marriage in a questionnaire as a state senate candidate in Illinois but has opposed it since his 2004 US Senate campaign. As public support for gay marriage increases and the Democratic base’s demands grow more insistent, the President has acknowledged their concerns, stating last year that his views were “evolving” and that he “struggle[s]” with the issue.

    In the wake of Biden’s comments and Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s open declaration of his support for gay marriage, White House spokesman Jay Carney was battered during his press briefing Monday by reporters who are frustrated by the administration’s doubletalk on the issue.

    What’s striking, though, is the way in which the controversy has been framed. While reporters acknowledge the political concerns facing the administration, few have personalized the issue as providing some insight into Obama as a person. In Monday’s Boston Globe, for instance, correspondent Callum Borchers notes that Obama’s “position on same-sex marriage has vacillated over the years,” but does not portray the issue as one that reveals some weakness in the President’s character. Borchers even adopts the administration’s preferred framing of Obama’s changing views in the kicker to his report (though perhaps derisively), stating that “Some Democrats have called on Obama to include support for same-sex marriage in the party’s presidential platform,… [b]ut Obama campaign officials have given no indication that the president’s policy on the subject will evolve further before November.”

    The second wave of coverage of the debate Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning was more critical (see, for instance, this report from the AP’s Julie Pace), but with the exception of The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, journalists still generally refrained from framing the issue as providing some insight into Obama’s character or psyche. (Disclosure: I sometimes blog for HuffPost.) If anything, Obama has been faulted not for his shifting views, but for failing to flip on the issue before the election (ABC’s Jake Tapper: “Why not just come out and say [that he supports gay marriage] and let voters decide?”).

    By contrast, the press has treated the changing positions of Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, far more harshly. Consider the Globe, which has probably written more about Romney than any other publication due to his stint as Massachusetts governor. Reporter Glenn Johnson, for instance, has written of “the numerous flip-flops undertaken by Romney before, while, and since he served as governor of Massachusetts,” and suggested that they raise “character questions” about Romney. Like most of the press, the Globe thus gave significant coverage to the reference to “an Etch a Sketch” by Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom despite the ambiguity of the statement in question. Johnson himself wrote that “the Etch a Sketch comment affirmed… basic truths about the candidate, his staff, and the nature of the campaign they have run for the nation’s highest office,” including the fact that “there appear to be few core beliefs that bind Romney to any governing or political philosophy.”

    Why have Obama and Romney’s “evolutions” been covered so differently? As Joshua Green of Bloomberg Businessweek noted on Twitter, the difference between the candidates is far less clear than the media coverage would suggest. In both cases, electoral incentives are the primary factor shaping the positions that candidates publicly profess. When those incentives change, so do their positions.

    The reason is that it’s necessarily difficult to win election if you hold unpopular views. Our political system selects for candidates who have appealing messages and platforms and creates incentives for them to further adapt those messages to the preferences of the electorate. When candidates don’t adapt—e.g., Jon Huntsman in the most recent Republican presidential primary—they lose. (Which is not to say that they are consciously lying: politicians also face strong incentives to sincerely adopt the views that are necessary to receive a major party nomination and/or win a general election.)

    In this case, Obama and Romney each adopted an initial set of positions that were helpful in seeking office given the constituencies to whom they were appealing—primary voters in a liberal state senate district (Obama) or general election voters in a Democratic state (Romney). As they ran for higher office, they changed and adapted those positions to better match the preferences of primary and general election voters at the state and national levels. The mismatch between Obama’s state senate district and the national electorate was quite severe, but he was protected by the fact that his position changes were mostly made under relatively little scrutiny during his freakishly easy campaign for the US Senate in 2004 and were considered old news by 2008. By contrast, Romney has been forced to revise his initially moderate positions under the hot lights of the 2008 and 2012 presidential primary campaigns, which caused him to develop a reputation as a flip-flopper with no “core.”

    The difference in their circumstances—and Romney’s lack of skill at glossing over his changed views—help explain the disparity in media coverage. The underlying problem, though, is the media’s authenticity fetish. Reporters should of course fact-check false and misleading claims from political figures and pressure candidates and their surrogates to be truthful. Journalists have an important role to play in pushing back when candidates dissemble about their opponents or their policy proposals. But in a system in which politicians must adapt their own views to a shifting electorate, the media’s focus on discovering the “real” person behind the candidate’s public statements frequently produces pathological coverage. The straight-talking politician who always says what he thinks and never changes his mind for political reasons is a fiction. In a democracy like ours, true honesty is the price of representation.
  • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

    Wed, May 9, 2012 - 6:16 PM
    www.nytimes.com/interactiv...rriage.html
    After two years of what President Obama called his “evolving” stance on same-sex marriage, he has announced that he supports it. In doing so, he has taken a definitive stand on one of the most contentious issues of our time. He is also the first president to publicly endorse same-sex marriage. Mr. Obama’s announcement produced an outpouring of reaction, much of it suggesting his views would have a powerful impact on the coming presidential election.
  • Re: Why Obama Isn't Backing Gay Marriage

    Fri, May 11, 2012 - 11:04 AM
    themonkeycage.org/blog/2012...-marriage/
    What If Every American Favored Same-Sex Marriage?

    by John Sides on May 9, 2012 · 5 comments

    in Campaigns and elections,Public opinion

    Earlier I suggested that anyone writing about the electoral implications of Obama’s support of gay marriage needed to think rigorously about some key questions. This is in lieu of flabby statements about how Obama’s endorsement “could” lead “some voters” in “key battleground states” to “reconsider” their support for him. Etc. The upshot of that post was: don’t necessarily expect big effects on voters.

    Let me illustrate why I think that expectation is reasonable. I am going to simulate improbably massive changes in attitudes toward same-sex marriage and see what would happen to Obama’s vote share in a head-to-head race with Romney.

    I’ll begin by stacking the deck in favor of a big effect of same-sex marriage. Let’s assume that only two things matter for people’s votes: (1) what party they identify with and (2) their views of same-sex marriage. In a May 5-7 YouGov poll, respondents were asked “Do you favor or oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally?” 30% said strongly favor, 17% said somewhat favor, 12% said somewhat oppose, and 33% said strongly oppose. 8% were not sure, and I exclude these people from the analysis. In a model of support for Obama vs. Romney, both party identification and attitudes toward same-sex marriage are statistically and substantively significant. Needless to say, the more favorable one’s attitude toward gay marriage, the more likely one is to favor Obama over Romney.

    Now imagine a world in which every person who opposes same-sex marriage now “somewhat favors” it. How much would Obama’s vote share increase? 4.7 points.

    Of course, other things matter for vote choice besides party identification and same-sex marriage. Let’s add a variable for black respondents. And let’s loosely proxy other issues that might affect vote choice by adding a measure of respondent’s self-reported ideology on the liberal-conservative scale. Now the apparent effect of same-sex marriage shrinks by about a quarter—in line with my earlier point about how you have to consider the possible effect of gay marriage alongside the effect of other things.

    Now imagine this same world in which all same-sex marriage opponents change their minds. Obama’s vote share would increase by 2.5 points.

    What if we pick a more reasonable counterfactual? What if only that 12% who “somewhat opposed” gay marriage changes their mind and decides they “somewhat favor” it? Now Obama’s share increases only by 0.6 points—even though I’m still stacking the deck in favor of a larger increase by assuming that only a small handful of factors might affect voter choices.

    One can nitpick any counterfactual, of course. For example, if all Americans supported same-sex marriage, both parties would support it and it wouldn’t be an issue at all. But these counterfactuals still serve an important purpose: disciplining our thinking about what is really plausible in a presidential campaign where most votes aren’t up for grabs and very few single events and issues are game-changers.