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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Obama Comes Out for Same-Sex Marriage

Posted by Dan Savage on Wed, May 9, 2012 at 1:13 PM

The news:

President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president. In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this place, based on conversations with his own staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and conversations with his wife and own daughters.

The video is here. The straddle is here:

The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. But he said he’s confident that more Americans will grow comfortable with gays and lesbians getting married, citing his own daughters’ comfort with the concept.

Today Barack Obama announced that he supports the freedom to marry. Personally. Because he knows monogamous same-sex couples who are raising children. (Non-monogamous couples aren't allowed to get legally married, of course, unless they're straight.) But the president also supports the "concept" of states "deciding the issue on their own." (States like, say, North Carolina, which yesterday banned any recognition of same-sex relationships in reality, not in concept.) So the president supports same-sex marriage while also supporting the right of states to ban the same-sex marriages that he supports. Which means, of course, that once the dust settles... everyone is going to be upset, supporters of marriage equality and opponents alike.

I wouldn't say that this "completes a turnabout" for the president on the issue of marriage equality. I'd say he's almost there. His support for marriage equality in concept is huge, of course, and it's welcome, and I'm pulling out my gay checkbook. (I'm pulling it out again.) But as delighted as I am by this news—and I'm freakin' delighted—I'm nevertheless disappointed that the president's support for marriage equality doesn't extend to same-sex couples in North Carolina and other states that have already banned same-sex marriage.

Of course, everyone else on Gay Earth is absolutely delighted—so, yeah, I realize I'm an outlier here. Forgive me for being Debbie Downer about this. But if a politician came out for legal interracial marriage and then said in the very next breath that he also supported the right of states to ban interracial marriage, well, I can't imagine that supporters of legal interracial marriage would let pass without comment.

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