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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

AC 360: Obama's Devolution on Marriage Equality

Posted by on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 8:32 AM

Anderson Cooper walks us through the president's long, slow, and insulting ("God is in the mix") walk-back of his support for marriage equality:

Totally maddening. I agree 100% with Cleve. But I gotta say...

It's true that a slight-but-growing majority of Americans support marriage equality. But that SBG majority isn't evenly spread throughout the country. There's the electoral college to think about, the state-by-state battle for the White House. And the electoral college, like the U.S. Senate, is a powerfully anti-Democratic institution. Something can poll well nationally—single payer, abortion rights, gun control—and still be blocked. Again, I'd like to see the president evolve—evolve back, evolve quickly, evolve tonight—to his previous position on marriage equality. But is it wise to do so in this election cycle? Andrew Cuomo is clearly betting that support for marriage equality will be an asset when he runs for president in 2016 or 2020. But what about now? What about 2012?

I'm not making excuses for the president. I think we should press him, and other opponents of marriage equality, because we got that SBG majority on marriage equality by pressing, marching, arguing, suing, and demonstrating. But... if the president doesn't endorse marriage equality and loses the election, Obama lost the election. If he endorses marriage equality and loses the election, the gays lost the election. Even if it wasn't marriage equality that lost the election, even if it was the economy or the wars or irresistibility of the Cain/Santorum ticket, we will be blamed.



Comments (30) RSS

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I'm always happy when a handsome man on TV picks up a print meme. Just think, if marriage equality were already the law of the land, maybe AC's reasons for not coming out publicly himself wouldn't still be strong enough to hold him back.
Posted by gloomy gus on June 22, 2011 at 8:54 AM · Report this
When is DADT going to be repealed?
Posted by cgd on June 22, 2011 at 8:55 AM · Report this
Danny, didn't you strongly endorse Obama?

Are you still buttsore over being TOTALLY PUNKED?

try Desitin......
Posted by us on June 22, 2011 at 8:59 AM · Report this
It still pisses me the fuck off to be 99% certain that Obama is just fine with marriage equality and has been for ages, but equivocates and, lets be honest, lies out of a political calculation. GLBT folks, much like black folks can be counted on to be dependable democratic voters out of the sheer terror that the alternative inspires. That makes them have little political weight.

I do see the calculation, but it doesn't make it much less frustrating. The very minimum that I expect for Obama is for him to agressively push for DOMA repeal and hopefully marriage equality in his second term, and not pull a Clinton and become equality loving just in time to not have the political power to do anything about it.
Posted by Lynx on June 22, 2011 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Plus that endorsement is not worth a whole lot. Obama is not going to be supporting any new restrictions, but no way in hell a repeal of DOMA or some kind of federal marriage rights or even civil unions gets out of congress. Basically Obama has pretty much done all he can save for some potential executive orders on immigration and other things.

This is a state by state battle at the moment and when it is still down to the wire in New York it shows there is a long way to go to convert that bare majority in polls to meaningful political power.
Posted by giffy on June 22, 2011 at 9:14 AM · Report this
Cui Bono 6
Gai, this the 21st century for Bob's sake, I thought by now my biggest concern would be "Jet Pack? or Hovercraft?" but no, I'm sweating how some home-schooled hillbillies might vote if we let PEOPLE GET MARRIED. When are we going to start treating people like people?

Do I care if the president gets re-elected? Yes, ONLY because the alternative will be UNACCEPTABLE. This is our trite, disgusting democratic republic but for now it's all we've got.

Do I feel like the president will lose this election if he support same-sex marriage? NO, but I don't care if I end up being wrong. What, "OH MAN, I wish Barry had supported the homophobes! But I guess they were RIGHT, people shouldn't be demanding to be treated equally!" FALSE. I'll feel like shit, but it won't be because Obama lost, it'll be because he said the same thing we're all thinking but our country is too bigoted and ignorant to just freedom ring already.

This is on us, it's ALL ON US to counter all the hate-filled SHIT that people say about LGBT people, on NATIONAL television and radio no less. Do I hate the haters? Yes, but I'm not demanding they be treated like an underclass either, am I?

Maybe once TehGayz can marry, THEN we can talk about protecting transgender people from getting fired from their job for using the "wrong" restroom.
Posted by Cui Bono on June 22, 2011 at 9:14 AM · Report this
Mike in MO 7
I agree with Cleve & Michelangelo in principal. But didn't we learn from 2010? Pointing out every little way Obama hasn't delivered everything we want was STUPID. Giving LGBT voters excuses for voting Republican or skipping the vote entirely was obviously self-defeating. You would think we would learn, but there was Signorile yesterday afternoon, ranting & raving about how disappointing Obama has been. I love MS, but that was fucking dumb.

We should be rallying the troops behind Obama, playing up all the ways he HAS come through (which are many despite what Signorile & his callers think). I hope we don't collectively pout our way to President Bachmann.
Posted by Mike in MO on June 22, 2011 at 9:27 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 8
Obama's walk-back is indeed frustrating, but the real (political) fronts are the states (marriage laws) and congress (repealing DOMA). There's only so much the president can/should do on those from where he is sitting anyway.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on June 22, 2011 at 9:55 AM · Report this
konstantConsumer 9
I'd rather have an anti-marriage Obama in 2012 than an anti-marriage *generic Republican.* I think that Dan is right with the Electoral College problem. Obama can't win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and other right leaning states that voted for Obama in 2008 aren't going to go for him if he openly supports marriage equality. Sucks, but it's reality.
Posted by konstantConsumer on June 22, 2011 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Dan, everything you say is true. And you are making excuses for Obama. In the end, you're saying that if this man, who has done awful things well beyond his bigotry, continues to act like a bigot, it could be okay, because then this man, who does terrible things to innocent people, can get re-elected.

This requires a full endorsement and embrace of a political system designed and implemented by two powerful groups of people who destroy lives every day. I wonder what would happen if good people would simply refuse to support candidates who do evil things.
Posted by LJM on June 22, 2011 at 10:18 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 11
It would be wonderful if Obama clearly stated that he supported marriage equality, but the change will come with a SCOTUS decision, much like Loving v. Virginia*, and not from anywhere else. Losing an election on an issue that he cannot directly decide means not being able to appoint 2 more SCOTUS justices who can make that decision.

This issue is the most important one facing America, straight or not, because it is about the fundamental values of liberty & equality. As such, it should be used as a litmus test for leaders. It's sad that we have to assume Obama is going to fail that test so that he can eliminate it in the future.

*I can't imagine living in a pre-Loving world. I'd be in constant trouble.
Posted by Sir Vic on June 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM · Report this
sam2300 12
What's the point of having someone in office who believes as you do, if s/he chooses not to act on those beliefs? Obama has been a HUGE disappointment. I rather he stand up for his beliefs than hide behind insulting rhetoric, even if it does cost him the election.
Posted by sam2300 on June 22, 2011 at 10:21 AM · Report this
ForkyMcSpoon 13
It really depends on the voter enthusiasm question, I think. Can Obama get the youth vote (and gays and liberals) to show up in the same numbers or better than in 2008?

Are the votes he loses more valuable than the votes he gains through increased enthusiasm?

Remember this graph?…

That's from 2 years ago, when national support for gay marriage was more like 43% rather than 51%. And extrapolating from current trends, it'll probably be 53-54% by November 2012. And you can guess which age group has probably made the most change in that time? You earlier quoted someone saying that the youth vote (18-29) supported gay marriage in Virginia by 73%! It was closer to 50% back in 2009. If both of those numbers are accurate, that's huge. The youth vote in almost every state except perhaps Utah and Mississippi probably is on our side at this point. It was already, in the majority of states back in 2009, before we gained about 8 points of support nationally.

The youth in swing states like New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Virginia were already majority on our sides in 2009 - in 2012 in most of these they'll be overwhelmingly on our side. They're even on our side in some states like Alaska, Arizona, Montana that were only relatively safe states for Republicans in 2008 (McCain put Arizona out of play, but had he not been on the ballot, it would've been in swing state range). And probably the majority of the population overall supports us in most of those states by now.

So the question is whether in states like those, is getting the youth, gay and liberal voters to be more excited and show up and vote going to help him more than the votes he'll lose will hurt him- and as I've said elsewhere, most of the white anti-gay minority is already anti-Obama.

The issues I think matter more are timing and how malleable the current level of support is (will the GOP campaign hard against us like in 2004? Will it work as well as it did then?) and whether you think states like Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina, where supporting gay marriage is more likely to hurt Obama, are going to be in play again like they were last time.
Posted by ForkyMcSpoon on June 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM · Report this
The so-called homosexual agenda (one I wholeheartedly agree with) was always going to be a second-term issue, if only because dealing with it today would get the right-wing assholes riled up enough to elect some douchebag like Palin instead of Obama for his second term. Yes, Obama has disappointed on many fronts, but he's been better than a McCain/Palin administration ever would have been. And it's going to be key to keep Democrats in power so long as the cold, reptilian hearts of Scalia and Thomas are still beating. No way would Obama ever appoint anyone even remotely as conservative, backwards or unethical as those two fuckwads.
Posted by Ivan on June 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM · Report this
It's frustrating, and for some reason I still consider it shitty, but I understand it.

It moves into the realm of unforgivable if it's not an upfront priority for a 2nd term.
Posted by hominidX on June 22, 2011 at 11:20 AM · Report this
Obama is a politician. He will do what all politicians do and say whatever the people want to hear so he can get re-elected. He's back peddling on gay marriage because he's afraid of losing votes. He'll still get the gay vote but he's just afraid of chasing away some of the straights.
Posted by iamveryseriousnow on June 22, 2011 at 11:23 AM · Report this
Yeah, Obama just sucks.
McCain would have been way better.
In 2012 Romney or Pawlenty or WHOEVER will do better
by you in all the ways you care about than Obama.
*end sarcasm*

In the real world you make real choices between real people. Sorry you can't have everything 100% your way all the time. That's just how it is.
Posted by Robby on June 22, 2011 at 11:32 AM · Report this

BTW - not even the President, whoever that is, gets to have things 100% his/her way all the time.
Posted by Robby on June 22, 2011 at 11:33 AM · Report this
very bad homo 19
A politician should never mention God. An imaginary being shouldn't be allowed to steer your political beliefs.
Posted by very bad homo on June 22, 2011 at 11:37 AM · Report this
TLjr 20
As a 100% gay-ass Homo-American, I'm happy to sit in the back of the bus long enough for O'Bama to win the 2nd term. He's done enough good stuff to earn a "trust me."

No time for waffling, no time for fussing over his imperfections. You want imperfect? Just have fun filling in this one: "Today President Romney announced ___________."
Posted by TLjr on June 22, 2011 at 11:40 AM · Report this
I honestly don't care what he says - it's what he does. Good things have happened this term which wouldn't have happened under McCain or anyone else in the running.

But the big deal is marriage imo. Here's hoping.
Posted by hominidX on June 22, 2011 at 11:48 AM · Report this
The Beatles 22
Anderson Pooper is not a Democrat--he's playing for the establishment team. Divide and conquer, fuck the people.
Posted by The Beatles on June 22, 2011 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Hey, would you people frigging wake the frig up already!

Your one-issue mindlessness is quite annoying.

All one need to have bothered paying attention to was Obama's appointing of Larry Summers and Diane Farrell to his administration, no need to pay any attention to the hundreds of other ultra-neocons he also appointed.

Farrell has made ALL her millions as an adult working to offshore as many American jobs as possible --- to the American worker she is Public Enemy (or enema to youse guys) Number One.

Larry Summers is the guy who believes global climate change to be a hoax, women can't do science and the American worker is lazy and never deserves unemployment insurance.

Jaysus H. on a Harley, but don't you ever wonder what happened to those consultants that Cheney's Poindexter had working on his short-lived (supposedly) Total Information Awareness project?

That's right, they've all been appointed to Obama's administration. (Try Googling Mary DeRosa, for example!! [As in "Mary Derosa" "TIA" and "Mary Derosa" "Obama administration"])

Posted by sgt_doom on June 22, 2011 at 1:44 PM · Report this
I think Obama has been running for re-election as if it would cause him physical pain to lose a single vote from the middle. He's taking left-of-center voters completely for granted. He's disappointing me. I'd like to vote for him again for a better reason than "the Republicans are far more loathsome".
Posted by Smhill on June 22, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
sam2300 25
@23 - you forgot to mention his appointment of Tom Vilsack, a Monsanto loyalist, to head the Dept of Agriculture. GE foods have been scientifically proven to cause a whole host of illnesses, but the Obama Administration doesn't seem to care about science!

That's why I said what I said in post 12. And I'm NOT a single-issue voter.
Posted by sam2300 on June 22, 2011 at 3:17 PM · Report this
Regular Polyhedra 26
@23, what do you mean 'you people'?
Posted by Regular Polyhedra on June 22, 2011 at 4:47 PM · Report this
I'd love it if Obama could campaign on a platform much further to the left, but the cold reality is that he cannot afford to do that. Either he's going to be indistinguishable from a more moderate Republican opponent on gay rights and other such issues, or he's going to be the centrist running against a foam-mouthed extremist on the Right. Either way benefits him; going further to the left is not helpful. I will never understand why Democrats are not hell-bent on the desire to WIN elections, but instead make these pointless stands on principle that undercut their own cause. You can get your business done once you WIN. If you don't win, you won't get shit. That is the truth.
Posted by Suzy on June 22, 2011 at 5:19 PM · Report this
Why the fuck are our minority folks in Congress not taking more of a stand against the right? C'mon, people! We have SC Justice Thomas who is begging to be fired, plenty of shady folks on the hill who seem to get a pass because of the (R) after their title....while Weiner was forced to resign for doing something stupid that was not illegal? I wish that somehow a person without shitloads of money could be elected in this country for more than city dog catcher. While I disagree with some of the actions taken by our current administration, I'd rather eat dirt than to vote for anyone of the gang who are trying to unseat Obama.
Posted by TampaDink on June 23, 2011 at 1:32 AM · Report this
Exactly Dan. If Obama endorses same gender marriage before November 2012 I will vote for him. If he doesn't, I won't. To base his 2012 win or lose on this gay marriage question and position though is a bit pushing the envelope onto the gays and not the POTUS himself. No, Obama will fall on his own sword. It is his choice on how to sharpen the edge.
Posted by Vanhattan on June 23, 2011 at 8:02 PM · Report this
My greatest wish for you "Obama Haters" is to be in a position of great poverty and need from your Federal Government to assist you and your family to survive. You would all be dead under the Republican regime for they only care about those who agree with their philosophy and are as rich as they are. They claim to have Christian values, however they turn their back on anyone who does not support their ideaology. They are in fact the real "ugly americans." The spinmasters of the "I hate Obama" campaign name his healthcare efforts as "Obama-care" to try to draw out more hate and negativity. So, what is so wrong with the leader of your country trying to show and lead efforts that displays his deep concern for everyday people? How sick most of you people truly are. What happened to care and concern for your fellow man? Are you that mean and selfish? We live in this country together and we, like it or not, rely upon each other. Again, my deepest wish is that you face personal adversity, poverty, job layoffs, cancellation of health care benifits, no food in your house, parents having their health care taken away, late mortage payments, forclosure; maybe when you have to deal with those types of life-changing situations you will have an appreciation for other people who are less fortunate. There is no United States for all, just those who "have." Where is your love? ~Peace
Posted by thesage on June 25, 2011 at 11:04 AM · Report this

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