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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Obama Says Gay Marriage Not “Politically Feasible”

posted by on April 1 at 16:12 PM

This according to an Advocate account of Obama’s talk at a recent high-dollar fundraiser in New York. And guess what? The gay, lesbian, and trans donors who were in attendance seem to have appreciated his candor.

(Via Ben Smith)

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I'm sorry but...


are people going to regret "drinking the kool-aid"?????

Gays are the most uppity bunch yet in this instance they appreciate candor?

This guy is magic.

Posted by Non | April 1, 2008 4:21 PM

No, this guy is just honest. It's just easy to mistake honesty for magic in politics; they are equally rare.

Gays aren't stupid, and it makes perfect sense to prefer a guy who addresses issues head on and tells you what you don't want to hear over the traditional evasion and empty promises that typical politicians are only too happy to make.

Posted by also | April 1, 2008 4:34 PM

Oh STFU also, deep down you know if it were anybody else the whole internet would be organizing a special website dedicated to the ordeal with pictures of themselves being politically feasible or some other equally dramatic stunt.

Posted by Non | April 1, 2008 4:40 PM

So was Obama saying HE would not try to bring civil marriage equality to America? I take it this mean Obama has either given up on civil rights for all or he was never committed to civil equality. Which one?

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | April 1, 2008 4:46 PM

The "drinking the kool-aid" phrase strikes me as obtuse and racist, and its catchiness must rely on the latter to some extent, based on how often it's paired with subtly racist expostulations from Hillary supporters and Republicans.

Posted by Stolia | April 1, 2008 4:47 PM


You're trying too hard.

By drinking the kool-aid, I am referring to the metaphor as such that people are going blindly into something they are enamored by.

Thas' all.

Posted by Non | April 1, 2008 4:52 PM

You can take it however you like, Sargon. What he seemed to be saying was that it's not a practical goal at this time. Whether you interpret that to mean that he was never committed to it, or that he used to be but has given up, or would prefer it but thinks it takes time, or any other tea-leaf reading you choose to do is entirely up to you unless or until someone actually asks him that.

Me, my guess is that he doesn't see marriage equality as a top priority, and thinks that civil unions are good enough for now. But that's just my guess and has no more validity than your speculation.

Posted by also | April 1, 2008 4:52 PM


How about he recognizes that achieving civil rights is a difficult process, one that the legislature is often slow in enacting. In case you've forgotten, it took the Supreme Court to strike down the last anti-miscegenation laws, three years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Who do you think you're kidding in implying that granting marriage equality is politically feasible?

Posted by keshmeshi | April 1, 2008 4:54 PM

Really, it seemed obvious to me that he understands the priorities but doesn't think these issues have the votes no matter what he thinks/wants. He sees avenues where there can be progress, and is gonna go there first. Low-hanging fruit (hehe) and all that.

Posted by NaFun | April 1, 2008 4:57 PM

@ 5 - "drinking the Kool-Aid" is a reference to Jonestown.

Posted by UnoriginalAndrew | April 1, 2008 4:59 PM


I know.

See what I did there...I used the word METAPHOR because I didn't want to make it as literally severe as the direct Jonestown reference.

Posted by Non | April 1, 2008 5:02 PM

The kool-aid comment is neither "obtuse" or "racist." Perhaps you weren't alive during Guyana?

But then, it's also not really apropos.

Posted by Wolf | April 1, 2008 5:09 PM

The facts are: Obama said he wasn't gonna go for gay marriage. He said the reason was that he didn't think it was possible. Which is true.

Gay people were cool with that. Which is reasonable. given that it is true that gay marriage isn't going to happen no matter what,

So Jesus christ! cool it! Maybe there is kool-aid drinking. This doesn't demonstrate it. Maybe Obama's a lying whore. This doesn't demonstrate it.

Let's keep the campaign polemic non-retarded, is that too much to ask?

Posted by John | April 1, 2008 5:10 PM

You're right Wolf...incongruent metaphor.


Posted by Non | April 1, 2008 5:11 PM

That was aimed @5, non.

Posted by Wolf | April 1, 2008 5:18 PM

I'd like to sidetrack this even further by mentioning it was actually Flavor Aid. Kinda ruins the metaphor even further though, since even less people will know what you're getting at.

Posted by Dougsf | April 1, 2008 5:24 PM

Back on track: If Hillary said this she would die a thousand deaths.

Posted by Non | April 1, 2008 5:30 PM

And if Hilary said this the phrase "thrown under a bus" would have been used 17,658 times in this comment thread by now.

Posted by David | April 1, 2008 5:43 PM

Honesty ... coming soon to a country near you.

(notice: not valid in Clinton or McCain states, you just get more lies instead)

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 1, 2008 6:04 PM

of course that presumes hillary would ever say something like this in the first place.

Posted by brandon | April 1, 2008 6:06 PM

@17, that's because Hillary lies to us.

Posted by some dude | April 1, 2008 6:13 PM

It's so much fun to watch you Obamazoids scramble to explain away this one. By all means, keep it up - it's very entertaining.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 1, 2008 7:09 PM

Speaking of gay marriage. We could really use your help in Iowa right now.
If you have even a few dollars your willing to spare to help us out, that would be great. The state Supreme Court is expected to rule this year. Either go here, or click my name. Thanks. And go Obama.

Posted by Mike in Iowa | April 1, 2008 7:12 PM

The fact is this fag appreciates the candor. I know which candidate has a GBL section on their website, and its not Hillary. I also know which candidate mentions gay rights at 20,000 plus "mixed company" rallies and its not Hillary. I also know which candidate will talk about GBL issues on MLK Day at an African-American Church and its definitely not Hillary.

Don't get me wrong, Hillary says all the right things at a $1000 a plate HRC dinner. However she definitely doesn't talk about us to her "base" for the obvious reasons. I appreciate Obama's candor to his African-American religious supporters, and I appreciate his candor to me. None of the candidates support full gay marriage, but at least this one doesn't hide my support away when he's campaigning among "lunch pail" democrats and over-65 democrats.

Posted by Jason | April 1, 2008 7:38 PM

@4 What a coincidence, I was just explaining "false dilemma" to my students earlier today.

Posted by Sister Y | April 1, 2008 8:40 PM

Who gives a shit about *candour*? Which is more likely to actually do something positive? The one who says that that won't, right off the bat, or the one that says nothing? It strikes me as a no brainer. With Clinton, gays might have a chance. What does McCain say? After all the Republicans seem to have a wide stance when it comes to homosexuality, and a 'wide stance' is probably marginally better than a straight "no" to equal rights.

Posted by Alex | April 1, 2008 9:13 PM

Obama is being realistic. With the current state of economic and internal/international political fuckups we're dealing with, gay marriage isn't really something we need the next president to start spending his time fighting for off the bat.

My brakes are going out but I want you to fix that goddamn rattly glovebox! It's not supposed to rattle!

Posted by The CHZA | April 1, 2008 9:18 PM

@26 - You don't seem to understand - the President can't unilaterally make gay marriage legal - not even Congress can do that, since family law is left up to the states (limited powers, see the Constitution). However, there's a lot of stuff the President CAN do (nominate non-crazies to the Federal bench, stop letting the DOJ sue universities that want to enforce non-discrimination policies against the military, and oh yeah refuse to sign things like DOMA that make any Federal benefits unavailable to same sex couples, even if their state lets them marry - THANKS BILL CLINTON). I don't think silence is a good indication that a prospective President is going to do something constructive for gay rights. I have a lot more faith in Obama's realistic talk.

Posted by Sister Y | April 1, 2008 9:24 PM

Oh, you mean what's already going on in Massachusetts and England and Spain (!) isn't "feasible" in the rest of the U.S.? Oh. Okay, I guess I'll quit "HOPE"-ing for "CHANGE".

Christ, what a fucking joke this race is turning into.

Feh. The hell with all of 'em.

Posted by MichaelPgh | April 1, 2008 9:33 PM

The founders of the US anticipated such disagreements. This is NOT a federal-level situation. Each state should make its own determination. JeebusLand states will perpetuate their goatfucking status, and Canada's sideburns will do the right thing. I don't see the problem.

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | April 1, 2008 9:45 PM

#29: "England" does not have gay marriage. The UK has created virtual marriage equality (but its not quite the same) via immigration reform, domestic partnership laws, and secular marriage laws. Very few nations worldwide actually have merely taken existing marriage laws and suddenly said they are valid for same-sex couples. Even liberal France dodged that debate by enacting a secular partnership law which two heterosexual widows could take advantage of, for instance. This is what Clinton and Obama are arguing as well. To date only South Africa, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium are the only countries that have true gay marriage. The others have more or less done the equivalent of civil unions or some other legislation that gives an alternative to marriage that is (arguably) just as good.

The fact that perhaps a dozen (maybe 20 tops?) or so US States would enact similar legislation still puts the US ahead of over 80% of the world.

Posted by Jason | April 1, 2008 9:47 PM

I agree......I think it is "candor" on the part of Obama to admit that Mississippi and Texas are not going to follow Belgium and Spain anytime soon. A state by state strategy is the best system for the time being and besides the president doesn't get to wave a magic wand and "ordain" gay marriage even if they wanted to. I also agree that it says a lot about Obama that he at leasts addresses gay people in his big rallies, unlike Clinton.

Posted by AmyK | April 1, 2008 9:52 PM


You must be kidding. Hillary ignores you, so you think she's better. Right.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 1, 2008 11:09 PM

Nice spin, Eli...

First, the reportage of this talk is all second-hand -- purportedly no members of the press were present. Take what you want from that.

Second, the impressions of his talk described in this article are consistently positive.

There's a huge difference between "not politically feasible" and "not politically feasible right now," in this political environment, in the context of discussing achievable ends, such as the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" (Bill's "politically feasible" accomplishment in the 90s) and the passage of a hate crimes bill with muscle. Obama obviously made this comment, if we are to believe the reports, in the context of supporting all of these objectives.

Remember, you're talking about a guy who had the audacity to admonish the African American community on Martin Luther King Day, in MLK's church, to look in the mirror and improve its treatment and acceptance of the GLBT community.

Posted by JME | April 1, 2008 11:13 PM

The expansion of rights in this country has rarely come from "the people", women's sufferage being the rare exception. Do any of you think that slavery would have been abolished if it needed an election to do so?

Could the civil rights gains of the 50's/60's and 70's have happened if an election were needed?

Queer folk will never get full civil equality by way of the ballot. It comes from the courts or emancipation proclamtions or some such--or it doesn't come at all.

Posted by Karl Schuck | April 1, 2008 11:20 PM

JME, you left out one detail about how he "had the audacity to admonish the African American community on Martin Luther King Day, in MLK's church, to look in the mirror and improve its treatment and acceptance of the GLBT community."...

He did it when there were still several front-runners in the Dem nomination race -- and he wasn't really one yet.

In other words: he thought enough of the point to say it at the risk of committing political suicide. (the same can be said of his Wright speech.)

Posted by Steve | April 2, 2008 3:39 AM

@24: Hear, hear!

I prefer someone addressing the issues out in the open to someone who sweeps them under the rug. I also appreciate that Obama doesn't treat the voters like children, but as equals who can understand the subtleties of politics -- it's not all (excuse me) black and white.

Posted by singingcynic | April 2, 2008 6:15 AM

Both the Politico post and the Advocate article use the term "same-sex marriage" instead of "gay marriage". Why change it for this Slog post? Same-sex marriage opponents love saying "GAY marriage" because they know that it automatically causes a negative reaction in a lot of people, and makes it sound different than "normal" marriage. We should at least try to keep the wording right on our own turf.

Posted by matias | April 2, 2008 7:11 AM

obviously McCain is far worse than either Clinton or Obama on gay rights.

So, off topic:

Clinton now doing better than Obama or tied w Obama on four key electability factors:

from real clear Politics:

National: McCain +0.2 over Obama, Clinton tied with McCain

Pennsylvania OBAMA LOSES to McCain by 1.0 point; CLINTON WINS over McCain by 0.8 points.

Ohio OBAMA LOSES to McCain by 5.0 points; CLINTON wins over MCain by 2.5 points.

Florida: OBAMA LOSES TO McCain by a whopping 8.0 points. Shite, not even worth putting money in. CLINTON WINS over McCain by 3.0 points.

While it's true Obama is ahead in pledged delegates are the Obama folks still staying he's vastly more or even electable?

Why's he behind in OH, PA and FL -- the 3 states where we need 2 out of 3 to win?

Is he going to overcome losses in OH PA and FL thru wins in.....SD....UT.....MT??

Posted by unPC | April 2, 2008 7:39 AM


I goofed. The part on Florida should read:

____Florida: OBAMA LOSES TO McCain by a whopping 8.0 points. Shit, not even worth putting money in. CLINTON LOSES TO McCAIN by 3.0 points. CLINTON DOES 5 POINTS BETTER than Obama.
[More proof what you "see" depends on where you stand!]


Posted by unPC | April 2, 2008 7:49 AM

I'm just amazed. I thought this might break the fawnicating going on at The Stranger and with its readership--apparently not.

You're stupid and your mother dresses you funny. There, don't you like me more? I'm being honest.

Posted by MikeD | April 2, 2008 7:57 AM

Saying gay marriage is "politically unfeasible" is not saying "I don't support marriage rights for gays."

Step out of the current hysteria and set your way-back machine to 2004. Bill "DOMA" Clinton himself told Kerry to denounce gay marriage because of the ballot measures in key states. Kerry refused because he knew it was wrong, but he also didn't do anything else.

Obama--like Hillary--supports civil unions, and--like Hillary--does not support "gay marriage." Do both of these candidates want gays discriminated against? No. It means they read the electorate, see what it can and cannot handle at this point, and strike the best possible compromise without sacrificing the key to all of this--rights and benefits. It's political pragmatism.

Twenty years ago, the concept of marriage equality was barely on the political radar. Political movement might be frustratingly slow, but the movement is progressive.

Posted by Andy Niable | April 2, 2008 8:03 AM

i think a black president is politically unfeasable. how bout that.

Posted by adrian | April 2, 2008 9:09 AM

"It strikes me as a no brainer."

Funny, that's how your post struck me.

You really prefer someone to pander to you for political expediency, then tell you something honest that you may not want to hear? That attitude is why the US has been continually saddled with incompetent leadership.

Posted by AMB | April 2, 2008 9:26 AM


Posted by Non | April 2, 2008 9:42 AM

I see the racists (adrian @ 43 & non @ 45) are out in full force.

Posted by You're pathetic | April 2, 2008 10:31 AM


No, not homophobic. IRONIC.

I find it funny that gay marriage is so unfeasable, when 2 years ago most would have said a black pres is manifestationally unfeasable. I mean. HELLO? DO YOU REMEMBER BEING ALIVE BACK THEN AND THINKING ABOUT HAVING A BLACK PRESIDENT? Sharpton? Anybody?

So.....I'm racist, but he's not a homophobe for saying our marriages are unfeasable?

Whatever, 46. Burn in the agony of your loss.

Posted by Non | April 2, 2008 11:04 AM

^ No, not *racist*. IRONIC.

Posted by Non | April 2, 2008 11:06 AM

Wow. I really appreciate how everyone just lets Obama off the hook when it comes to...well everything! Why is it not politically feasible here when it is in other parts of the world? Doesn't he mean it's not politically "convenient" for him because he's going to lose the voters who will comfortably place him in office so that he can go back on the rest of the promises he's been making to the gullible and uneducated people who are hoping for CHANGE? Is he really scared of a little gay? Yes.

Posted by Emily | April 2, 2008 11:21 AM

I'm not exactly enamored with the political climate either. Keep in mind, Obama is running for NATIONAL office, not a Seattle office. I would rather have someone tollerant of my moral beliefs than to be persecuited for them. Is it a step in the right direction yes ... perhaps yes. Is it a painful and most cynical truth that the political climate is not in favor of gay marriage, most certainly yes.

I mean, gay people are more often than not leaving the bible country in DROVES. The bible belt, for better or worse has always had some of the best voter turn out numbers.

Quite honestly, I am a little unnerved about some of the political rhetoric by ALL the candidates. I'm sort of anti-family and aethist at this stage of life, and I do feel that my rights are slowly being impinged.

Posted by OR Matt | April 2, 2008 11:30 AM

@ 46
go to hell and fuck a shoe, you ignorant turd. apples=apples. PERIOD.

Posted by adrian | April 2, 2008 11:32 AM

Non, I still stand by my comments. Dems are "blind" to racism. And, by the way, why would I "burn in the agony of my loss"? McCain is my candidate. And he will beat Hillary and/or Obama in a landslide.

Posted by You're pathetic | April 2, 2008 11:36 AM

@41, that is an example of insulting, not being honest. the pretend you cannot tell the difference is both dishonest and insulting.

Posted by infrequent | April 2, 2008 11:38 AM

adrian, your vocabulary is rather limited. angry much? see my comment at 52.

Posted by You're pathetic | April 2, 2008 11:38 AM

my vocabulary? limited? indeed. please, keep talking. let's see just how stupid you can get.

Posted by adrian | April 2, 2008 11:50 AM

Yes, Adrian, it is limited. Glad you admitted it. Now, repeat after me...President McCain. Good. I knew you could do it.

Posted by McCain/Crist '08! | April 2, 2008 12:21 PM

it's tough. it's obvious what the right thing to do is -- even though it's highly unpopular. what's obama to do? i don't get the feeling he'd be worse then clinton, and i get the feeling he's saying he'll do what he can. but it's tough. as pointed out, would you say other civil rights weren't practical to support?

Posted by infrequent | April 2, 2008 12:38 PM

Can we all just admit that MAYBE we are on the loosing end of a culture war?

Posted by OR Matt | April 2, 2008 3:07 PM

The fact that gay marriage is unfeasible shows how stupid the average voter is. The fact that a politicians stance on gay marriage can make or break a decision to vote on them shows that the average voter is so stupid that they worry about the least significant thing. The voter should be interested in the candidates stance on foreign trade and what type of sanctions they intend to impose on Communist China which is flooding America with cheap quality goods and driving down prices which will cause a trade deficit. They need to be worried about how the candidate intends to stabilize the US dollar and create more equitable trade relations with certain countries who have good export agreements with the US but do not have fair import regulations, such as Japan. They need to worry about the banking and loan market. Instead what do they do? They become commie slaves by shopping at walmart and dollar stores, get ripped off by adjustable rate loans, and then beat up on the gays.

Posted by Booger | April 2, 2008 3:13 PM

i don't know, that seems to oversimplify the problem. people have different views on all those matters. in fact, the type of person who's against gay marriage is, stereotypically, the same walmart shopper you refer to above. so they are not showing their stupidity. instead, they are showing their consistency.

furthermore, if gay marriage wasn't an important issue, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Posted by infrequent | April 2, 2008 3:48 PM

I agree. I'm a homo, but unfortunately, our country is not ready for it. Does that mean we should not continue to fight for it? Hell no! Of course, much of America was not ready for interracial marriage and voting rights for minorities when they became legal. It's (civil-unions, gay marriage) going to happen state by state for awhile. Not sure when something will happen in the Supreme Court, but it will become reality some day. America is not ready for a president to push gay marriage, until then, it will be mayors, governors, state legislatures and the courts. I hate to think the older homos will never see this, but I believe I will or the yet to be here homos will. Right now, it's not about me getting the right to marry today.

Posted by Deacon Seattle | April 2, 2008 5:37 PM

Wow. I've loved reading the progression of this debate. I myself am on the fence between candidates at this point, as none of them have convinced me that they are really for 'change'.

It's not Obama saying that gay marriage isn't feasible that worries me right now. It is his saying that his position might 'evolve' in the future. To me, that makes this his issue with Gay marriage, not just Americas. I can appreciate his candor about his position.

But I'm not going to vote him into office for telling me he doesnt' agree with me either!

Posted by Sarah | April 2, 2008 11:07 PM

There 280 million Americans ... and well we can't all be right. Welcome to modern life. I'm right your wrong ... no no no no

Posted by OR Matt | April 3, 2008 3:45 PM

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