May 10, 2012

"Ann -- Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer: I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry."

Obama emails:
I hope you'll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality:
I watched. What struck me was how much he struggles to drag the statement out of himself and, specifically, how intently he stared down and to the left. There's some evidence that a person's eye direction indicates whether a person is accessing their memory or making something up. For a left-hander like Obama, looking down and to the left happens when the person is experiencing an internal dialogue — talking to himself.

Back to the email:

I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
"Affirm" is such a studied word choice. I think he's pretty directly saying I decided to stop lying.
I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.
In the end, he's going to leave it to the states. Would he support a federal law to require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states?
If you agree, you can stand up with me here.

Thank you,



Michael K said...

The truth is such a struggle for Barack

Scott M said...

They're claiming now that he was going to do this "affirming", completely unforced, at the convention in NC. Biden's latest oomp-pa-pa forced him to do so yesterday. The fact that this administration has Biden second in line for the presidency is enough, even if everything else were going swimmingly, to t'row da bums out.

Brian Brown said...

The last line was a call for donations: "More than 1.9 million people like you power this campaign. If you can, please donate today," Obama wrote while linking to a form for giving money to his campaign.

Such bravery!

Q: Is Obama's federalist stance on gay marriage racist?

Brennan said...

If the President had truly evolved on equal treatment before the law, wouldn't he oppose special recognition for heterosexual couples beyond civil unions?

Michael Haz said...

Barack Obama's belief in same sex marriage is inversly proportional to his need for campaign money..the less money his campaign has, the more he believes.

He solved his "gay bundlers" problem yesterday, or so he thinks.

Moose said...

He's not stupid, this one. He's moving just as fast as he *needs* to, and no faster.

He's been watching and I suspect he might have orchestrated Biden's comments as a feeler to see if coming out -as it were- was a good idea right now.

He's going to reap the adoration of the gay funding raising machine, and the simpering approval of people like Sully.

As always a good politically strategic thinker. When it comes to pandering.

rhhardin said...

Marriage means whatever the government says it means, like freedom.

Anonymous said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Anyone who thinks a pro wrestling match is a scripted charade with a predetermined outcome has never watched a liberal wrestle with his conscience.

I'm Full of Soup said...

We need to de-construct the job description of the presidency. After 12 straight years of generally sub-par dare I say incompetent presidents, it is obvious the job's role has been expanded way too much.

Let's go back to when the president only showed his face for big big important issues.

My proof is that almost everyone becomes sick of a two-term president as he nears the end of his 2nd term and most of us get sick of a one-term president when he is an obvious failure.

Beta Rube said...

Will the O's fallback "State's Rights" position caise the NYT et al to invoke memories of the Klan?

Lem said...

He's not stupid, this one. He's moving just as fast as he *needs* to, and no faster.

Under general rules of conduct, its patronising to the extreme.

Obama shows up way late to a party and he is praised for finally finding his way.. the usual reaction to that is derision.. not praise.. unless.. Obama was thought to be handicap somehow.

The patronising is so systemic, I even doubt the majority of his supporters even knew about his unevolved stance.

Who the hell is waited on to evolved?

Paul said...

'The truth is such a struggle for Barack"

For Obama, truth is like 'situational ethics'.

Remember, his beliefs 'evolve'. They can evolve the other way if the polls show it will get him re-elected.

Erik Robert Nelson said...

This whole debate is silly. It's not even over "marriage" (if you're gay just go to any church that will marry you and do it--plenty of churches will) but over government benefits. That government is even involved in any way in such decisions is ludicrous.

Want marriage equality? Simple. Get government out of it altogether. Treat it like any other contract between people, let the government enforce them, and let people get on with living.

Tank said...

Ann gets it exactly right. This was all about whether this was, or was not, a good time to finally tell the truth about what he thinks.

Who here ever believed otherwise?

This may work for his gay bundlers, but how will it effect black people in general, who, in general, are the most anti-gay group in America?

Calling Andy R for his nuanced insight !

mariner said...

< i> never watched a liberal wrestle with his conscience.

At least in a professional wrestling match there are two contestants.

Known Unknown said...

Want marriage equality? Simple. Get government out of it altogether. Treat it like any other contract between people, let the government enforce them, and let people get on with living.

This is pretty much sums up my thoughts, which means I get pilloried from both sides.

Roger J. said...

Trotting out his discussion with his daughters was the low point for me. The POTUS is the ultimate panderer and using his daughters as a reference is beyond the pale. His daughters deserve better.

Moose said...

Re: getting the government out of marriage completely. I'm sure Ann has a better grasp of this than I, however if that was truly the case, we'd have a nightmare as to child custody, inheritance, visitation rights and so forth. We'll unfortunately see the gov't involved in this as long as people are lying schmucks and take each other to court.

I would much rather see marriage laws made gender neutral. Or perhaps not so species-ist. I suspect that we need to also just remove sentience and the age of consent from the them too.

Imagine all the people, animals, children and refrigerators that are being denied their civil rights!

TomB said...

Maybe he was looking down and to the left simply because that was where TOTUS was positioned.

TomB said...

Moose, I agree with the other poster about government being out of marriage altogether. Let churches marry who they want and allow the 1st amendment protect that label. Any 2 people should be able to enter into what is known today as a "marriage contract". Hire a lawyer (or use legalzoom) and draw up a binding agreement between the 2 parties as they wish. The government's only role is in ensuring that proper contract law is followed when it comes to violation or dissolution. Child care, visitation, inheritance, would all be covered in the standard contract subject to change as the parties see fit. The only outside role the government has today in whether 2 people could enter a contract would be for tax filing purposes. However, tax reform is a topic best left for a different thread.

Wince said...

Now Obama can blame the "haters" if he loses reelection, rather than his job performance.

yashu said...

White House-MSM coordination and collusion: what coordination and collusion?

Via a comment at Ace's, I hear there's a Washington Post story today-- what an absolutely amazing coincidence, today of all days!-- raising suspicions that Romney was involved in anti-gay bullying in high school.

Memories of anti-gay bullying. High school kid Romney. 1965.

Seriously, MSM? And so it begins. I predicted we'd see a coordinated "war on gays" (after "war on women" and "war on dogs"). But this is so absurdly ridiculously transparently cynical. Here's hoping the American people are as repulsed by it as I am.

Hey, how come we never heard any stories at all from any of Obama's school chums... from high school or college or law school? Silly me, Obama's memoirs constituted a self-vetting-- he did all the work of the MSM for them in advance.

But who's going to look into Romney's history of pulling girls' pigtails-- a war against women starting from childhood? That's a job for the MSM.

They have to find something after the Seamus story imploded. (NB how the kind of thing Republicans treat as fodder for twitter jokes-- Obama's dog-eating as a kid, which O admitted to in his own memoir-- is material for serious MSM investigative reportage when it comes to Romney. They've got to follow that Axelrod-directed narrative wherever it leads, ferret out every useful scrap they can.)

At what point during the 2008 campaign did the MSM (NYT) pull the (later roundly debunked) McCain adultery story from their bag of tricks? (IIRC that was the NYT.) I'm sure they have plenty of fun stuff for us this go round too. Oh joy.

Matt Sablan said...

Conveniently, the victim died in 2004, and one of the major sources for the story was a member of the Obama campaign in 2008. So, you know.

Joe said...

Add my name to list of people wanting government out of marriage. One huge advantage of reducing the government's roll to one of contract law is a massive reduction in bureaucracy that is actually more destructive to traditional marriage than not. Right now, the government is taking sides--it heavily favors women--to the point where any sane man should avoid marriage all together.

dreams said...

"For a left-hander like Obama, looking down and to the left happens when the person is experiencing an internal dialogue — talking to himself."

Obama has been faking it his whole life, winging it.

Matt Sablan said...

"He never uttered a word about Mitt Romney or the haircut incident to his sisters."

-- You know what? I'm going to go ahead and say it: This story is most likely exaggerated or an outright lie. I was hesitant to say it about the NYT's affair story about McCain in 2008, but I'm not any more.

The WaPo posting this, and spending five pages, then closing the article like it did -- that's just patently awful journalism.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

If Obama were sincere, we'd have video of him at a same-sex wedding.

"May I kiss the grooms?"

* smooch *


* smooch *

pm317 said...

"I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry."

What are you going to do about it? You won, remember.

buster said...

Erik Robert Nelson said:

"Want marriage equality? Simple. Get government out of it altogether. Treat it like any other contract between people, let the government enforce them, and let people get on with living."

Marriage is not a contractual relationship. (Technically, it's a legal status.)

Contracts are for self-interested persons dealing at arm's length. Marriage is the central institution every society relies on to create and raise children, and teach them morality, and pass on the society's accumulated culture. It's difficult to think of a legal relationship that is less suited to be treated as contractual than marriage.

Public utilities enter into a contractual relationship with each of their customers. No one can seriously argue that these relationships shouldn't be subject to government regulation.

Why is it different for marriage, which is far more important than the supply of water and electricity?

Saint Croix said...

Ann, I think he likes you, girlfriend. You ought to hit that.

buster said...

I don't think the legal remedies for breach of contract are even close to adequate for dealing with the problems of ending a marriage with minor children involved.

Joe said...

Marriage is not a contractual relationship.

Except it has already been reduced to that by government entanglement.

All the more reason to get government OUT of marriage all together, save for those aspects which are undeniably contractual--such as disposition of property, what happens when one spouse become unable to function or make their own decisions.

Right now, the GOVERNMENT says what marriage is, despite all the protestations of marriage defenders, and as long as the government has that much power they have no choice but to allow same-sex-marriage. (Most pre-nups are invalid in part, if not in whole. This is quite telling about the roll of governmental power in dictating what marriage is or isn't.)

Joe said...

I don't think the legal remedies for breach of contract are even close to adequate for dealing with the problems of ending a marriage with minor children involved.

Your faith in government to deal adequately with ending a marriage with minor children involved is hopelessly naive.

Current child custody and child support laws and practices in most states is a disaster. It is strongly antagonistic toward fathers and their civil liberties. Many issues which previously could be decided by the parents in a divorce are now taken from them, which a largely arbitrary solution forced by the state.

buster said...


Marriage involves children. Angry divorcing husbands and wives can't be relied on take the interests of their children into account.

I agree that whether people of the same sex should be allowed to marry is not obviously the government's business. That means that courts have no business creating contstitutional rights to same-sex marriage.

The proper way to handle it is to wait until the broader society has come to a broad consensus about same sex marriage, and then for the goverment to pass laws supporting the consensus.

buster said...


Sorry I missed your last comment before posting an answer to your first.

Government isn't very good at resolving child custody disputes, but divorcing couples would be worse. The real problem is that law is replacing social mores in regulating marriage. In most things relate to morality, law should only support a pre-existing social consensus. Otherwise we get tyranny, like the tyranny of the Massechusetts Supreme Judicial Court or the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, or Justice Kennedy in Lawrence v. Texas.

What if there isn't a social consensus about same sex marriage? Wait until there is one. Or don't systematically try to destroy the existing one. That way lies social decadence.

yashu said...


It is awful. But the silver lining of it is that it corroborates one of Romney's repeated themes-- that we're going to see all sorts of distractions and distortions from the Obama campaign and the "left-wing conspiracy" MSM, attempts to distract us from O's record and the economy.

In a way, all these obviously desperate and dishonest distractions only strengthen Romney's credibility on that point, hence the credibility of his attacks on O's record. The more exaggerated and blatant these sideshows become-- allowing Romney to point to them as distractions-- the more the American people will note what the O campaign is trying desperately to distract us from. At least so I hope.

"It's still the economy, and we're not stupid." I think (I hope) that will resonate.

edutcher said...

And Carter asked Amy what scared her most, and she said nucular proliferation.

I'm sure there are people stupid enough to buy this, but you really have to work at it.

Peter said...

So, when is he going to kiss a man on TV (just to show that even though he isn't into that, "there's nothing wrong with it")?

David said...

Stop lying? Are you kidding?

He's lying about stopping lying.

bgates said...

Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer

Historic! Unprecedented!

David R. Graham said...

The email glosses the "on my behalf" reported in yahoo's transcript of the interview:

""I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that 'don't ask, don't tell' is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," Obama told Roberts in an interview to appear on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday."

The "on my behalf" is the salient fact of the event. Conlaw prof ... ?

jim said...

Yes, it surely is shocking to think that Obama may have been ad-libbing ("making something up") during his announcement on ABC.

Also, changing your mind means you have stopped lying?

People must then be amazingly honest critters indeed: on average, it is a rarity for us to switch opinions on much of anything - even trivial things ... & history shows with monotonous clarity that we'll mass together in the millions for the sole purpose of gleefully defending some of the most trivial of them all, literally to the death.