Obama Gets Off the Pot on Gay Marriage


After years of hedging on gay marriage — which many of us who supported him thought was a political ploy — President Barack Obama today declared his support of gay marriage. What had been a day of mourning for many GLBTs and allies in the wake of the Amendment 1 loss in North Carolina, has turned to a day of victory.

For the first time ever, a sitting president has had the courage to voice support for marriage equality. It’s hard to overstate the importance of that. From the AP article:

In the interview, Obama said, “I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient.” He added, “I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word ‘marriage’ was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.”

Now, he said, “it is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Obama said first lady Michelle Obama also was involved in his decision and joins him in supporting gay marriage.

In the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people,” he said.

Well, that last quote is startlingly Christian.

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. Thanks for doing something so deeply Christian.

  • Charles

    Yes, kudos to our President!

  • Rachel

    Yes, amen, yes.

  • http://clayfiremedia.org Eric

    Totally agree, Tony. I like how you framed this.

    p.s. Don’t you mean to say “Obama shat on Gay Marriage”? I guess that doesn’t sound quite right.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Yeah, that was my first headline. Didn’t seem quite right.

  • Douglas Koch
  • http://www.knightopia.com/blog Steve Knight

    Yes, and amen.

  • Sundown

    Sigh… if only he had done this sooner. Still, better late than never.

  • http://troybronsink.com Troy Bronsink

    Amen indeed.

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  • http://workingonmyrewrite.blogspot.com/ bob c

    this part really moved me:

    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.

  • Curtis

    I believe Obama is a good man. Not to be too cynical, he is also a very good politician. He wouldn’t say this if he didn’t think the political upside was at least as great as the political downside of staying silent. It was the right thing to say, at the right time, and done in the right way.

  • Basil

    Today, the arc of history bent a little closer towards justice.

  • ME

    It’s crazy that gay people can’t get married. Obama is doing the right thing. But to call it deeply Christian is a disservice to that which is deeply Christian. It sets the bar too low. Deeply Christian would be to lay your life down for another, to give of yourself to others, to forgive others over and over. What Obama is doing is correcting a wrong. There is no sacrifice on his part, if he was willing to sacrifice he would have had that position the first time. Furthermore, he appears to suggest that homosexual sex is ok in the eyes of God. It may well be, but, it’s hard to call that deeply Christian when there is so much gray area on the issue.

    If what Obama did is “deeply” Christian then Christianity is awfully shallow.

    • Rich

      ME, gays CAN get married. It’s intellectually dishonest to claim otherwise. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/299394/north-carolina-biden-and-same-sex-marriage-ryan-t-anderson

      • Scot Miller

        Rich, the issue isn’t whether same-sex couples can make up some private ceremony and call themselves “married.” The issue is whether same-sex couples can have the same legal rights, privileges, and responsibilities as heterosexual couples who are married. The article you cite does a pathetic job of trying to re-frame the issue as “coercision.” That, of course, is nonsense, since the state already coerces businesses and others to recognize heterosexual married couples. (That’s not a trivial matter, either, since it wasn’t that long ago that interracial couples were prohibited by law from being married, and states and businesses could legally discriminate against interracial couples.) The real intellectual dishonesty is asserting that “gays CAN get married.”

  • Colleen

    It was on Nightline this eve briefly thank to the 24 hr news focus;) i am not well read on this issue, and Call me a sinner, but the church has enough problems to deal with. Let the state decide the legalities and let the church decide whether or not they support the decision. Not everone in America prays to the same God. I wouldn’t want a Muslim dictating who I should pray to. Sometimes I think it is the easy way out and I should be more vocal and honestly compassionate regarding my beliefs, but you know, sometimes we just have to choose our own battles.

    • ME

      You are more right than you think you are. Is it good to force Christian beliefs on people who aren’t Christian? I think Jesus’ ministry indicates it is not. Therefore, we shouldn’t force a Christian conception of marriage onto a secular society, to do so probably does much more harm than good.

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  • Robin Smith

    Is “off the pot” a US phrase?

    Does it equal ‘stop sitting on the fence’, or imply he’s stopped smoking?

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      The full phrase is, “shit or get off the pot.” :-)

  • T. Webb

    …but what about bisexuals? What about marriage FOR ALL? If we’re going to do the right thing, the inevitable thing with gay marriage, then we must go all the way and allow polyamory/polyfidelity.

    • Curtis

      I don’t think secular society has any interest in sanctioning anything other than monogamous marriage. The legal messiness that polygamy would create would far outweigh any individual benefit. But if Christians want to advocate for polygamy, we certainly have a Biblical basis to do so. Who wants to be the first to start standing up for true, Biblical marriage?

      • Justin F

        And don’t forget biblical incest! (Sarah and Abraham)

        • Carl

          Have you guys never heard of the difference between descriptive and prescriptive? Or are you intentionally being obtuse?

          • Curtis

            You mean like when people use Biblical descriptions of sinful behavior as a Biblical basis to condemn all homosexual behavior, instead of following Jesus’ clear prescription to love one another? That difference?

          • Carl

            You’ve got to be kidding me, right? So lying is no longer a sin? Adultery, Jesus was only DESCRIBING it as sin.

            No, I meant the difference where the Bible describes how certain people lived (in polygamy, adultery, incest) and where the Bible prescribes how they should live (in the Law, in what Jesus said, etc).

          • Curtis

            Lying and adultery are both violations of Jesus’ prescription that we love one another.

          • Carl

            And homosexuality is a violation of Jesus’ prescription that we love God… you know, the MOST important commandment, according to Jesus anyway.

          • Curtis

            Saying homosexuality is a violation of the commandment to love God is a new one. I guess I have something new to add to my list of clobber verses. The old list was growing pretty stale, anyway.

          • Carl

            One doesn’t love and serve God if one doesn’t listen to or obey Him.

    • T. Webb

      Ummm…. I don’t know what you mean about “secular society” not caring about bisexual marriage. The Netherlands, one of the most secularized societies on earth, allows “triad marriage” (Google it). But this isn’t about secular society, whatever that is, it is about the Christian principle of love, between straights, gays, or whoever.

      I just get frustrated when people only talk about “gay” marriage, and ignore bisexuals. Forcing them into a “two person only” relationship at best is the same as telling gays that they can’t marry. The principle of love means that we must allow *all* to marry regardless, and if that be three people (or potentially more), then we must do the right thing. Why Christians are only supporting gay marriage but not polyamory is besides me.

      • Carl

        T. Webb, Christians aren’t supporting gay marriage. People who claim to be Christians do. Big difference. And the reason they support gay marriage and not polyamory is they’re bigots. If they really embraced the “ethic” of “love” they claim to follow, they would embrace polyamory. Don’t worry though, their generation is passing.

        • John (not McCain)

          I’d like to thank the conservatives of the world for the daily reminders to do whatever I have to do to stay out of heaven. I would much rather spend eternity in hell than 5 minutes around filth like Carl.

      • Curtis

        What I mean is, as long as marriage is viewed as a legal, civic contract, with specific legal rights granted to married couples, something like a thousand specific rights and benefits the last time I heard, there is would be little interest in trying to rewrite those thousands of laws to factor in three or more people. I guess if we removed marriage from any legal contracts or civic laws, that would solve the problem. But nobody wants that, as far as I know.

        Bisexuals who want to marry have one person in mind they want to marry. They are not interested in marriage groups.

        I don’t even know why I am wasting my time with these strawmen.

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  • Colleen

    Not to change the subject or anything, but did anyone notice the article on Bristol palins column? It mentions obamas kids. Not that Bristol writes her own column anyway.

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