Today, we found out that Obama no longer thinks the federal government should ban gay marriage. This is not likely a change in the man's personal views -- but it does indicate a huge change in the cultural climate of the U.S.
The flip flop of President Obama on the question of gay marriage has been in the news quite a bit lately. Way back when, in the time before he was a national sensation, Obama told the Windy City Times that he supported full and equal rights for gay couples. Then he ran for president on an anti-gay marriage platform -- repeating again and again that it was a state issue.
Today, he reverted back to his original position, fully endorsing the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Those who knew Obama way back when (and I run into a number of these people in and around Chicago these days) have consistently felt that he personally supported gay marriage. He has many long standing relationships with LGBT people and is generally considered to be a social liberal -- his hopefulness about racial equality in the US did seemed to be in contrast with his position on gay rights.
I always assumed he thought being for equality would lose him votes -- another example of a moment when Obama didn't have the courage to stand up for what was right.
Obama is a pragmatist. That hasn't changed just because he has decided to come out in full support for the repeal of DOMA. He is treading carefully, this time making sure his statements doesn't mandate equal rights, but allow states to still choose whether to grant equality legislatively or abide by state court decisions demanding gay marriage. But the repeal of DOMA would significantly change the way federal systems approach same-sex couples, notably opening the door for same-sex partner sponsorship in immigration.
Obama's support for the repeal of DOMA, before the bill has even made it through Congress, likely proves that gay rights are no longer a taboo subject for most of the American electorate. Some number cruncher in the Democratic Party has done a rough calculation of dollars lost from LGBT donations and votes lost due to outward support for gay rights and found that our cash outweighs the election costs.
That wasn't the case in 2008.
If this staffer or team of staffers is correct (and we, for the sake of the future of this country, surely hope so), the U.S. has made huge strides on tolerance for LGBT equality -- a tolerance that is one step closer to acceptance and, eventually, protection and promotion.
So, today I am excited about Obama's decision to stand up for equality in America. But I am mostly celebrating America's decision to stand up for equality in America.
Follow Emma Ruby-Sachs on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EmmaRubySachs
Maria Miller defending the indefensible grubby deal with Labour to ram #gaymarriage bill through. #welldoneDave
18 minutes ago from web
|AndrewSparrow Gay marriage - my late night summary - http://t.co/no0wIa2kbg - #Equal #EqualMarriage|
|TimesNewsdesk Gay marriage revolt drives Cameron into Labour arms http://t.co/8mJM33Y71o|
|politicshomeuk Tomorrow's Times front page: Gay marriage revolt drives Cameron into Labour arms http://t.co/AGxysgRVZq|
|thetimes In Tuesday's Times: Gay marriage revolt drives PM into Labour arms and Stock market at highest point since 2000 http://t.co/D4kKPt6o9d|
|SkyNews Gay Marriage 'Wrecking Amendment' Rejected http://t.co/gSgNBMja1C|
Tuesday's Times front page - "Gay marriage revolt drives Cameron into Labour arms" #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers http://t.co/NvbJPNOimt
31 minutes ago from web
|dariomazzocchi Gay marriage vote: live via @Telegraph http://t.co/FpzSGiaazq|
Gay marriage bill saved: @Ed_Miliband @YvetteCooperMP to vote against @timloughton amendment on civil p'ships after appeal from Con whips
1 hour ago from web
"I don't think he's voting for you." Tory heckle of Nick Herbert (pro-gay marriage) who says Tim Loughton (anti) is a constituent of his.
1 hour ago from web
|PennyRed Almost none of the queer people I'm close to- including myself - could afford to get married right now, even if we wanted to #gaymarriage|
|PennyRed Obviously, LGBT people deserve the same right to ruin their lives as straights enjoy. But equality doesn't end there. #gaymarriage|
|gdnpoliticswire Gay marriage: would legalising straight civil partnerships really cost £4bn? http://t.co/hdCdBU2EXR|
Astonishing. Gay marriage rammed through Parliament in a few months, but same-sex civil partnership will need a 5-year review.
3 hours ago from web
Gay marriage Tory revolt tonight #skypapers 2230 & 2330 with @annabotting officiating. Tory Boy in US so me and @tnewtondunn
3 hours ago from web
|standardnews Gay marriage Bill to go ahead after Government and Labour agree to work together http://t.co/tmGBs94jQd|
|BlogsofWar Gay marriage law strains UK Cameron's leadership, government http://t.co/xTE2eE3wXW|
|FullFact Gay marriage bill: will civil partnership amendments cost £4 billion? http://t.co/uxLVsinIwN|