So we just witnessed history.
This is something that had never happened before. And now it has. No sitting president had ever said this before. And now one has. Cool.
“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 [ABC News' Robin] Roberts in an interview.
… “It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president continued. “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, sexual orientation, that they 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.”
… “This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and [Michelle Obama], you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and, hopefully, the better I’ll be as president.”
E.J. Graff: “I Am Gobsmacked”
Of course, there are many questions that the pundits will be flapping on about all week. … But I can’t think about any of that right now. Because apparently not everything in the world is politics, is it? Sometimes — just for a minute — politics is very, very personal.
… There’s something very deep about having your government declare you a stranger to its laws, defining your love as outside all respectable recognition. For my president to stand up and say that I should belong fully to my nation, that my wife and I should be considered as fully married as my brother and his wife — well, it reopens and washes out some very deeply incised sense of exclusion, a scar inflicted when, at age 15, I first panicked at the realization that I might be queer.
Shep Smith: “I am curious whether you believe in this time of rising debt and medical issues and all the rest, if Republicans would go out on a limb and try to make this a campaign issue while sitting very firmly without much question on the wrong side of history.” On FOX News.
Andrew Sullivan: “Obama Lets Go of Fear”
So let me simply say: I think of all the gay kids out there who now know they have their president on their side. I think of Maurice Sendak, who just died, whose decades-long relationship was never given the respect it deserved. I think of the centuries and decades in which gay people found it impossible to believe that marriage and inclusion in their own families was possible for them, so crushed were they by the weight of social and religious pressure. I think of all those in the plague years shut out of hospital rooms, thrown out of apartments, written out of wills, treated like human garbage because they loved another human being. I think of Frank Kameny. I think of the gay parents who now feel their president is behind their sacrifices and their love for their children.
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. But even then, you knew he saw that woman’s son as his equal as a citizen.
Rob Tisinai: “Obama Opens the Yellow Brick Road”
Obama can claim another civil rights first. He hasn’t just broken the color barrier — he’s opened the yellow brick road. He’s giving back, repaying the fighters and activists of previous generations who made his own election possible, so that now, somewhere, in a tiny little no-name corner of the nation, a bright and talented gay kid has suddenly realized: I can be president.
David R. Henson: “Obama, Marriage Equality and the Political Ploy of Liberation”
No matter how politically motivated his endorsement of marriage equality may be, Obama still did what no other president has done, what very few politicians have done.
He endorsed marriage equality without equivocation.
Don’t let the political timing of his announcement limit the recognition that this is a profound moment of justice and liberation coming not from activists but from the highest office in our country.
For once, the voice of liberation is the voice of the President.
Tony Jones: “Obama Gets Off the Pot on Gay Marriage”
Many will write this off as yet another political ploy — an attempt to re-ignite young voters next November. It may do that, or it may backfire — this may turn out to be Obama’s Jimmy Carter moment.
Regardless of the politics of it, the significance will long-lasting and far-flung, for it’s difficult to imagine anything that would do more to normalize homosexuality in our culture than this.
Kudos, Mr. President.
Samuel Smith: “When followers lead, the leaders will follow”
As I said last night, losing on Amendment One was a temporary setback, the lost battle that sparks us to win the war. Today, thanks to the passion and the righteous outrage of so many millions of Americans, Mr. Obama has finally accepted that to lead, he must follow the will of the people and stand for what is right.
Make no mistake. May 8 was a dark day for civil rights in North Carolina, but May 9 marks one of our biggest victories yet. It’s now up to us to lead the president to more important realizations.
- eQualityGiving.org: “Accomplishments by the Administration and Congress on LGBT Equality“
- “When Obama Endorsed Same-Sex Marriage“
- Amanda Marcotte: “Obama comes out for gay marriage: Why this is a BFD“
- RJ @ When Love Comes to Town: “Stunned … and encouraged“
- David Badash: “President Obama Supports Gay Marriage, Cites Christ and the Golden Rule“
- David Badash: “GOP, FOX, Religious Right Freak Out Over Obama Gay Marriage Support“
- Kenneth Quinnell: “Major Labor Unions Back Obama’s Support for Marriage Equality“
- Cheryl Contee: “How to Talk to Your Christian Black Relatives About Obama & Same-Sex Marriage“