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President Obama endorses marriage equality

President Obama endorses marriage equality

In an interview with ABC News, Barack Obama today became the first sitting U. S. President to endorse marriage equality:

“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. Excerpts of the interview will air tonight on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.”

The New York Times report is here.

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell writes:

As a priest and pastor my commitment to marriage equality is grounded in my belief that the values that make up a marriage transcend the gender of the partners married to each other, that what God cares about is not our sexual orientation but our theological orientation, and that the question the church should be asking is not whom you love but whether you love. And so I was particularly gratified to read that President Obama addressed the faith-based component of his own “evolved” support for marriage equality with these words:

When [Michelle and I] think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule and treating others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids, and that’s what motivates me as President, and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband, and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.


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It’s progress. It happens in stages. I wish it would happen all at once, but it doesn’t. So, yes, right now he leaves it to the states–but DOMA is bound to fall. And the momentum continues.

So when marriage for same sex couples was legalized in CA, we considered: what difference would it REALLY make? It isn’t federally recognized, because of DOMA. But we felt it was important to take every step we could, to demonstrate its importance and keep the momentum.

And I’m so glad we did; marriage affected us in ways we didn’t begin to anticipate, even as it complicated our lives legally (again, because of DOMA). It feels a lot better to step out on the rocky road rather than wait till it’s paved.

Similarly, with the blessings issue. Yes, there are some additional hoops for a same sex couple in our parish. But we were happy to jump through them, because again, the only way to make the path easier for those who follow, is to start walking on it now.

In time, marriage will come back to CA and be federally recognized. In time (I hope!) TEC will recognize same sex marriages formally, and not leave them in a gay ghetto of “different”. Meanwhile, we’ll take every step that we can along that road.

And as a gay person, I can’t begin to tell you how much it meant to me to hear that our president is now walking that road too.

Susan Forsburg

Adam Spencer

All great points, Cynthia. Thank you for broadening my own understandings of this issue.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Adam, the problem with saying that it is a state issue is multiple. First of all, it is a basic human right that shouldn’t be subjected to popular vote any more than Civil Rights for African Americans. Second, there are Federal issues at hand with Social Security and taxes. My partner and I have thrown in our lot together, I’m the “trailing spouse,” and I’m not eligible for her social security if she passes first (and vice versa). This would/will be a huge financial hit, likely at a time when I’ll be elderly. Medicaid, here I come, even though we’ve been responsible as a couple. Plus, we need to do the Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney and our Wills at great expense, to get a small fraction of the rights of marriage. Who wants to pay the legal bill? And these are the problems of middle age. Let’s not forget that LGBT teens hearing the debate about how they aren’t accepted is taking a terrible toll. The teen suicide rate is awful. Leave our human rights and legal rights in the hands of state government, which is even easier to purchase than federal (cheaper)… Human Rights for sale, or not, to the highest bidder!

Adam Spencer

Glad news on a number of fronts. The obvious one being what he said. The less obvious one being that a politician actually publically spoke to changing his mind. Not so long after John Kerry and others were accused of flip-flopping on issues, to have a politician come right out and say, “I used to think that, I had these experiences and conversations, and now I think this?” That’s huge. Also, yes, as difficult as it is – I do believe, personally, that marriage SHOULD be regulated on a state by state basis. Not everything should be a federal law. (In fact, MOST things probably shouldn’t be!)

Cynthia Katsarelis

I wish TEC would come around on offering the Sacrament of Marriage to LGBT couples. It would be very nice if my church supported us in this way. And it’s hurtful that it doesn’t. And still debates blessings, a separate and unequal alternative.

I’m glad the President came around. When my partner and I are eligible for each other’s social security, and have all the rights of legal marriage, I’ll take it seriously. Until then, it seems like cynical rhetoric.

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