The Evolution of Barack Obama
For so long now we have heard that the US President’s thinking on same sex marriage is “evolving”. After a while you get sick of it and you feel he is just walking the line, not willing to stand up and make a statement one way or the other. Would he do so before November, I had my doubts to be honest.
I had thought when Vice-President Biden had told NBC of his support for marriage equality that that put an end to any hopes the President would comment. Biden said
I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties
Yesterday however, Obama did stand up, only a day after North Carolina voted in amendment one, defining marriage as between one man and one woman, the President was interviewed on ABC and endorsed gay marriage saying
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
Lets be honest, Obama is up for election in November and may well have sat back and hoped that the revoking of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was enough to get him the “gay vote”, afraid that the hot topic of marriage was too much at this stage, that, for me, makes this endorsement even more significant.
A new poll in the states tells us that 50% of people are in favour of marriage equality throughout the country, although this is down 3% on last year it is interesting to see how the vote splits. Two thirds of Democrats favour full marriage rights for same sex couples and 57% of independents, in the light of those numbers it looks like Obama’s move isn’t as risky as it may first appear. However, the importance of a sitting President endorsing our rights is historic, whichever way you read it.