The appeal comes at a tough time for Obama, who has been trying to shore up his liberal base ahead of the contentious congressional elections when his fellow Democrats are expected to lose many seats to Republicans. Democrats could lose control of the House of Representatives.To be fair, in his 2008 campaign, Obama said he was opposed to same-sex marriage. But, of course, people who wanted to believe he embodied the hope that they wanted to hope believed that he really, secretly, supported same-sex marriage. And he opposed DOMA:
A key concern has been whether those who have supported Obama in the past will show up to vote in the November 2 midterm elections. He has opposed same-sex marriages but supported civil unions and extended some benefits to gay partners of federal employees.
As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. SenateIf you brightened at that February 2008 statement, did you perceive that if a court said the same thing — that DOMA is antithetical to federalism principles and to equality — that Obama would fight against that court decision? Obama only supports Congress repealing DOMA — did you notice that at the time? — and if Congress — the new Democratic Congress — applies its first burst of power in 2009 to other matters... well, too bad. Vote for them again in 2010 and maybe they'll do something for you some day. The arc of history is long!
But heaven forbid that the courts rouse themselves to the point where they strike down the statute. Did Obama ever give you the impression that he believed that courts should be in the forefront, protecting the rights of the oppressed and downtrodden — that courts ought to have "the empathy to recognize what it's like to be ... gay"? Did you take that empathy remark the wrong way? To say a judge should "recognize what it's like" is not to say the judge should perceive that you have rights and actually enforce them. You silly voter!
Remember how it felt in '08 when Obama won? Remember stuff like "Barack Obama: America's First Gay President"?
Because if Barack Obama follows through with even half of the promises he made to the LGBT community during his campaign, he'll have done more to advance gay rights in this country than any President before him – combined.Remember how it felt in 2009, in the first spring of Obama's power? The NYT had an article titled "As Gay Issues Arise, Obama Is Pressed to Engage." My reaction was:
How can he rake in votes just by seeming to care about the rights and interests of gay people? Not even seeming all that much — he's against same-sex marriage! — but just by stirring hopeful feelings and looking like somebody who cares. Well, he's already done it once. Why shouldn't he believe that what worked once will work again?That was written in May 2009 — Springtime for Obama — and now it's Fall 2010. Things aren't so warm and sunny anymore, and now is when he needs to maximize the votes. Most Americans oppose gay marriage, and he can't alienate them, so won't you gay people (and you people who support them) continue to do what you're supposed to do and vote for those Democratic candidates? You know the Republicans won't help you. That's the grubby argument.
A reading from the word of Obama:
I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike.