During the 2008 election Obama carefully avoided choosing a stance on gay marriage. But now before the official start of his re-election campaign, the president publicly announced his support to allow same-sex couples the right to marry. Yesterday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” President Obama shared with Robin Roberts and the nation, his reasons for coming to such a monumental and historically groundbreaking decision which as he expressed, stems from wanting to promote equality for gay and lesbian Americans who are prevented by law from experiencing some of the most basic benefits of legal marriage such as hospital visitation rights and the like.
“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,” said the President.
As sunshine and misty roses as this all sounds, its merely politics working in action. Though the president noted that the reason he was long hesitant to claim a side on this issue was because he believed that civil union would serve gay couples well and provide them with some semblance of equality, it’s 2+2 logic that the underlying reason Obama stalled so long was to keep voters in the Southern states and regions with strong religious convictions. That’s not to say that he was never in support of it because it’s known that the Obama administration is generally received well by the LGBT community. But this decision to go public and support same-sex marriage was brought on by two very important factors:
1) Biden beat him to it. Over the last weekend Vice President Joe Biden told “Meet The Press” that he was “comfortable” with same-sex marriage. Just a few days short of a work week from when President Obama made his decision public. Though Obama seems to be indifferent to this. “I had already made a decision that we were going to probably take this position before the election and before the convention,” said President Obama on “Good Morning America.”
2) There is money to be raised. DUH! Many of the financial contributors (one out of six, according to a nifty-report by the Washington Post) who have or are expected to donate $500,000 + to the president’s re-election campaign, are gay.
Nevertheless this is (to say the least) a progressive part of history that adds tolerance and social expansion into America’s long-complex-and-conservative legacy (slavery, indian giving and killings, prohibition…) Regardless of whether or not the President intended to pick a side or stay indecisive on the issue, we (America) finally have a presidential administration that openly supports gay-marriage and advocates for the rights of those in the LGBT community. Certainly the road ahead will be interesting since the “big guns” have been pulled out so early in the game but it’s doubtful that same-sex marriage will be a major platform come the campaign.
Later today President Obama will be in Studio City, CA for a fundraiser hosted by actor George Clooney. Hollywood couldn’t be happier and more flooded with traffic.