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Would have Erica posted this if Hillary had been nominated and said the same thing? *discuss*

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | June 19, 2008 12:06 PM

He's been saying that his entire campaign. Weak.

Posted by Carollani | June 19, 2008 12:07 PM

face facts: Obama is a politician

Posted by Angus | June 19, 2008 12:12 PM

Um, opponents of gay rights are going to be voting for Obama all over the place. Only 30% of Americans favor same-sex marriage--and that's an all-time high.

Posted by annie | June 19, 2008 12:12 PM

Cue the "We must support Obama warts and all" posts 3, 2 1 ..

Posted by Mike | June 19, 2008 12:14 PM

Some change huh?...

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | June 19, 2008 12:14 PM

I'm not a big Obama fan but I appreciate that he recognizes that what he believes is somehow distinct from the law and his role in shaping and enforcing it.

Posted by umvue | June 19, 2008 12:15 PM

I knew this was coming. Coward. I'll vote for him anyway because the alternative is MUCH worse. Blech!

Posted by Vince | June 19, 2008 12:16 PM

I agree it's a disappointment. OTOH

TAPPER: Does it bother you, what California's doing?


Eh... he's talking out of both sides of his mouth. At the end of the day I don't know how worked up I am about this sort of "lying"... it's basically a form of neutrality.

I don't agree with you at all that opponents of gay rights aren't going to vote for Obama. After all, I think there's some percentage of people who are pro domestic partnership anti marriage. Not saying they're right but that's certainly a voter that could swing Obama.

Posted by daniel | June 19, 2008 12:16 PM

damn right its clintonesque. you know what else was clintonesque? GET ELECTED PRESIDENT. obama has one job right now: get elected president.

fighting the culture wars is not a smart way to do that. keep your pants on till he's elected.

Posted by max solomon | June 19, 2008 12:16 PM

clintonesque? sort of, but not quite. clintonesque would be campaigning on a platform of, say, reversing the military's stance on gays in the service, then instituting a program that subsequently doubles the number of gays discharged. or, perhaps, signing an act into law that "defends" "marriage" as being only between a man and a woman. and then bragging about defending "family values" on christian radio ads.

i'm disappointed by obama being against gay "marriage" as well, but in my view the difference between marriage and civil unions is mostly a semantic one that allows politicians to position themselves on both sides of the issue. which is totally lame.

Posted by brandon | June 19, 2008 12:18 PM

You know, Erica, I think they're hiring over at McCain's headquarters. Or Leiberman's.

Republicans don't give Democrats any points for intellectual honesty: preemptively discussing our candidate's flaws in public doesn't bring in any swing voters, and it doesn't swing anyone in the opposition. If your only comments about Obama are going to be big sighs and transparent lamentations about how disappointed you are, just go work for the fucking Republicans already. Because that's the only group you're helping.

Posted by Judah | June 19, 2008 12:19 PM

As a gay man who loves his partner, I strongly support the government getting out of the marriage business. Leave it to the religious entities. The government should only grant civil unions for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

Posted by Fitz | June 19, 2008 12:19 PM

Fuck you and your disappointment.

Posted by Ziggity | June 19, 2008 12:22 PM

The only person I could vote for with whom I agree 100%, is myself. And since I am not running I am going to go with the next best thing, which is Obama.

Posted by Giffy | June 19, 2008 12:23 PM

im not pretending like I'm not dissapointed, but haven't we already discussed this on the slog?

Obama is going for the low hanging fruits... hes reaching for the progressive changes that a bigger majority can agree on (health care, etc) than what the minority of americans want to see. And he said that, not exactly like that but with the idea, at a rally with an LGBT communtity.

Posted by mintygreen | June 19, 2008 12:23 PM


30% now support gay marriage.

What do you think it'll be in 7-8 years?


Posted by chicagogaydude | June 19, 2008 12:23 PM

The reason it sounds "Clintonesque" is that 99.9% of their policy positions are identical. Please get over it.

Posted by Jill | June 19, 2008 12:26 PM

For once, I agree with ECB's criticism of Obama.  He gets points for being the least dishonest and cowardly candidate on the issue (umvue @7 and daniel @9), but it's a serious disappointment just the same.

On balance, though, he remains the first presidential candidate I've ever wanted to vote for.

Posted by lostboy | June 19, 2008 12:27 PM

It's a God thing:

In an interview with the Chicago Daily Tribune, Obama said, "I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."

The gays just aren't sanctified enough to have full equal rights.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | June 19, 2008 12:37 PM

@21: You're welcome to join me in voting for a winning ticket in the fall.

Posted by McCain/Crist '08! | June 19, 2008 12:39 PM

Has anybody produced any of those "Democrats for McCain" stickers with the coat hanger in place of the star? I wanted to buy some.

Posted by elenchos | June 19, 2008 12:39 PM

I think they make the best "first family" that I've had in my lifetime. They just seem like people who live on my street, who I'd hang out with, and who's daughters would play with my kids.

...and, she's hot too. ;-)

Posted by Timothy | June 19, 2008 12:43 PM

i'm not sure it is "Clintonesque." remember in the 2004 election when WJC wanted Kerry to come out strongly against gay marriage? obama's words are disappointing, but they're not exactly Clintonesque.

Posted by ryno | June 19, 2008 12:46 PM

I wonder what Obama's position is about drinking fountains. Certainly there are a number of voters that would not object to racially designated public accommodations.

Does he feel that those examples of segregation are not acceptable but it is acceptable to segregate in other public accommodations? Are water fountains more significant than recognizing same-sex families?

Isn't it important to him to woo the voters that picked Clinton? If he's going to pander to bigotry at all, he might as well go all the way...inlcude the segreation of drinking fountains. That is the way to clinch West Virginia.

Posted by patrick | June 19, 2008 12:48 PM

Seeing as how whoever ends up being the President can't amend the Constitution, can't tell the states what to do about the issue, can't rule on the constitutionality of existing legislation, and won't be signing any bills on the matter that Congress doesn't send to him, is it just possible that this issue is a bit of a red herring, trotted out by a desperate GOP to mobilize religious conservatives and send the Left of on another of their circular sniping missions?

Naw. Couldn't be. Next up: Does Obama think it should rain more? Or less? My vote hinges on his answer, so he better not disappoint me...

Posted by flamingbanjo | June 19, 2008 12:48 PM

@10 & @13 -- FTW

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | June 19, 2008 12:48 PM

I stand by my earlier prediction that Hils would have "triangulated" away her support for Gay Marriage in the end, whereas Obama will just let states do the dirty work and keep it out of the federal sphere until it's an established fact on the ground.

It's the difference between starting from a fairly conservative stance (Hils) and starting from a fairly liberal stand (Obama).

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 19, 2008 12:55 PM

@17: In 7-8 years (assuming an Obama presidency, and the failure of the anti-marriage amendment in CA, neither of which is guaranteed), I think it's entirely possible that we'll be up over 40% in favor of same-sex marriage. It's currently 41% in the West and 40% among 18-29-year-olds; I think those numbers give a good idea of the upper bounds that we could achieve soon.

You know, Obama came to Christianity pretty late in life and it was Christianity of a social-justice variety. I don't believe him when he says he believes marriage is between a man and a woman. I just don't. One of his most important legal advisors is Lawrence Tribe, and his "conservative" buddies at UChicago (Cass Sunstein, notably) are total libertarians when it comes to gay rights.

He's saying what he needs to say to get elected, given that foreboding 30% figure. I don't find it troubling, because I understand how national elections work. I hope that he'll be better on the issue once he gets elected, but I don't assume he will be. The expansion of same-sex marriage is going to have to happen state by state, for now.

Posted by annie | June 19, 2008 12:59 PM

A little disappointing, yes. Clintonesque, no.

Bill Clinton, if you recal, instituted the failed "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. Both of which Obama has vowed to overturn.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | June 19, 2008 1:01 PM

Our ideas of Gay Rights just are not mainstream enough. You must realize that the idea really bugs most of the country, and that will be the case until most of the boomers die off. Until then you will have to get used to politicians staying more mainstream and pissing off the fewest voters.
Gay Marriage is NOT a big enough issue to lose YET ANOTHER ELECTION over! There are far more important issues than who I can marry. Honestly.

Posted by calvin | June 19, 2008 1:17 PM

I for one don't want America to suffer the loss of the entire US Supreme Court just because of this issue.

Besides, you can always legally get married in Canada and insist on your legal rights under NAFTA, if you don't want to go to Cali.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 19, 2008 1:25 PM

@15: The only person I could vote for with whom I agree 100%, is myself.

Wow, bravo. This sums it up so well. There's never going to be a candidate who thinks exactly the same way you do, so pick the one who agrees on enough of the important things. Very nicely said.

Posted by Organized Lightning | June 19, 2008 1:27 PM

This whole "marriage vs. civil union" thing always drives me nuts. I don't know who started it, but I wish everyone would stop.

Marriage is a civil union. It's what we call civil unions in this country. A civil union is a civil contract. Religions don't create, control or enforce contract laws in the USA.

Weddings are what religions do. They're in the wedding business. Religions don't marry you, the state does. Religions choose to say whether or not they think your marriage is okay by them, but they have no legal say.

If you get married and no religion is involved at any step of the way, you're still married.

Separate is inherently unequal. The point isn't to bend to an extremist viewpoint of some religions, the point is to enforce equality for all. You can either get married or you can't. You're either equal or you're not. That's it.

And Obama has been consistent and he's been doing what he has to do and it's exactly what Clinton did -- except he goes much, much further just by vowing to eliminate DOMA, which Clinton's husband was kind enough to make part of his/her/their legacy.

Posted by whatevernevermind | June 19, 2008 1:30 PM

You know what gets people mad at you, ECB? The relentless negativity. You're still going after Obama because you have no other lens through which to look at people besides hate. Post something you LIKE for a change.

Posted by Fnarf | June 19, 2008 1:39 PM

Obama a homophobe? Who could have seen that coming? Oh, yeah--anyone paying even a little bit of attention for the past six months. He's certainly been nothing if not consistant on the issue (as was Hillary).

Not to worry, there are plenty of other candidates on the ballot besides the big two, and even though he's eschewed public financing, I'm sure he'll do fine without the dirty queer money.

Posted by usagi | June 19, 2008 1:39 PM

It's interesting just when there is allowance of gay marriage in Califiornia, I read this:

Boy, the Episcopal/Anglican Church is in trouble.

Posted by lark | June 19, 2008 1:41 PM


Interesting, Fnarf. Maybe relentless negativity is the key to the deep connection I feel with ECB. All life being utterly hopeless, &cet.

Posted by elenchos | June 19, 2008 1:50 PM

As a gay man, I can say that I am less concerned about my right to marry right now and more concerned about the state of the country.

The tide of events seems to be moving towards legal gay marriage anyway -- let's worry about the economy, health care, and ending foreign conflicts.

Posted by Dawgson | June 19, 2008 1:55 PM

#13 pretty much nails my position on this.

Posted by w7ngman | June 19, 2008 1:58 PM

@35 has a really good point, ECB.

We need more puppies.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 19, 2008 2:12 PM

I thought America was all about believing whatever you wanted and allowing others to do the same. But I guess that's just the policy of a bigot who's pandering. Now you not only need to support the correct policies, but you have to support them for the correct reasons.

Posted by Jesse | June 19, 2008 2:14 PM

I think we will be hearing a lot more of that type pandering as Obama tries to woo more right-leaning voters.

Posted by inkweary | June 19, 2008 2:19 PM

I think you're underestimating just how fluid public opinion is on this issue. Maybe it's a difference in polling methodologies, but ABC had a poll in 2004 (I think) that showed 41% in favor of same-sex marriage. A poll of Californians just recently showed majority support for same-sex marriage.

Posted by Bison | June 19, 2008 2:45 PM


Thanks for your thoughtful response. Of course I think Obama, as was Clinton, is about where you have to be on gay issues to thread the needle of the Dem nomination and the national election. I agree that there’s only so much a President Obama/safely-Democratic Congress can do, and for that reason I don’t care so much about his head-space; I just wanted to see what people thought about how fast things would change nationally. I think the actuarial waiting game for federal legal equality is about 15-20 years: it’s sure to come, but let’s not kid ourselves, that’s a long time. Call me cup half empty.

Posted by chicagogaydude | June 19, 2008 2:52 PM

Clinton did fail in his gays in the military initiative, but face it: he simply failed. He argued for it. It was one of his first acts as president in 1993 to push for it. And he got his ass whipped by Congress. So he settled for something that's ugly but was the best he could get: don't ask.... I can't blame him. He tried.

Posted by Algernon | June 19, 2008 2:52 PM

@46 - actually, it was his inexperience at working with the military that did him in.

Arguing for it was the wrong approach.

To work successfully with the military, you give them an order, you ask them for operational feedback details on how they're going to do it, and when they stray off-target you say "No, that was an order, not a suggestion."

And if they balk you fire them.

Anything less rarely works.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 19, 2008 3:00 PM

'Clintonesque' would be pandering to gays then throwing them under the bus.

Let the guy get elected then see what he does. Do you think McCain would be better? No.

Basically sweetie, you need to get over Clinton for president. Shoulda coulda woulda all you want but it's just not reality and continuing to compare their would-be presidencies is just stupid at this point, unless of course you're trying to steer people away from Obama.

In other words, what 11, 12 and 35 said.

Posted by monkey | June 19, 2008 3:03 PM

I think it's amazing how quickly mainstream opinion has shifted, to where gay civil unions = no big deal, for most people! We've come a long way fast.

Posted by banjoboy | June 19, 2008 3:06 PM

i agree with banjoboy and i think chicagogaydude should take note. it may be frustrating that things aren't where we would like them to be, but the momentum and progress on gay equality is pretty remarkable.
it is disappointing that obama isn't coming out (ha!) stronger on this, but he is making the smart move. this disingenuousness is the truly ugly side of national politics.

Posted by douglas | June 19, 2008 3:25 PM

How is Obama's position pandering to homophobes? Yes, it's disappointing, but he supports repealing DOMA (something he could do if Congress initiated it) and he supports people in civil unions having the same rights as "married" people. If he was pandering to homophobes he wouldn't take either of those stances. He's trying to appeal to moderates.

I would like to vote for someone who is more outspoken for true marriage/civil union equality, but honestly if we get federal change it's going to come from the Supreme Court, not Congress or the President. And since the next president is probably going to appoint 2 justices I'm voting Obama.

Posted by asteria | June 19, 2008 3:26 PM

And isn’t he in a position—now of all times, when acceptance of the idea of gay marriage is at an all-time high—to take a bolder position than “I oppose gay marriage but I support civil unions”

Yep. Look how far endorsing gay marriage got Kucinich. The social conservatives would have one more reason to vote for McCain, setting Hillary up beautifully to run and win in 2012 -- just as ECB planned.

Posted by adam and steve | June 19, 2008 3:51 PM

Waiting for Hils to fix it in 2012 would be pointless.

She'd throw gay marriage under the bus at her first crisis as a bargaining chip.

It's what she does.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 19, 2008 4:11 PM

Will in Seattle may be right! Bill Clinton stuck his ass out the window and let folks line up to kick it, on this one. He was always working for consensus and harmony, it seemed, with the folks who didn't vote for him and wanted nothing of the sort. An executive order - the way Harry Truman began desegregation of the military - might have been a better strategy.

chicagogaydude, yes, 15-20 years may be what we're looking at, esp. considering how slowly the demographics (old people dying) and public opinion will change on this.

But 15-20 years is NUFFIN' compared to the Supreme Court. We're about to lose the Supreme Court for a LONG time. It's not just the lifetime appointments, it's the precedential rulings that can influence thing for generations after their death!

So many things we need to do/continue to do/get back to doing with the EPA, FDA, FCC, NLRB, OSHA, on and on and on, could be hacked to death... further (heck, the stymying began with King Ronnie...) by a bunch of crazed ideological lulus. Just look at the the creepazoids who are salivating at the chance to take over right now.

Stand by for list of Democrats other than Bill Clinton who have won the White House in the past 28 years:


Posted by CP | June 19, 2008 4:52 PM

@25, Clinton's position on gay marriage was the same-- she said repeatedly that marriage was "between a man and a woman".

You cannot logically support her position and fault him for his.

Posted by V | June 19, 2008 4:58 PM

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