AC360: Is Obama’s opposition to marriage “real or just political posturing”

Great segment on AC360 last night, via Andy Towle. Anderson plays a clip of Obama’s interview with Rick Warren back in August of 2008. In the wake of Prop. 8 and so many advancements, the answer that he opposes marriage because “God is in the mix” seems archaic.

Let’s be clear here: Supporting marriage would be a very good political move for the President. Public opinion is on our side and gets better every day. Conversely, he looks more and more out of touch on this issue every day.

Last year, the geniuses in the White House, led by then-Deputy Chief of Staff/now-Campaign Manager Jim Messina, concocted a plan to repeal DADT in 2011. When the Pentagon officials said it would complete its report on December 1, 2010 and wanted no legislation til the report was done, they weren’t thinking lame duck. They were thinking 2011. But, a lot of us, including some great allies on Capitol Hill, pushed ahead. Now, repeal of DADT is touted as one of the Obama administration’s great victories. I checked through some of the speeches Barack and Michelle Obama are giving at DNC fundraisers. Here are some recent excerpts:

The President on June 20, 2011:

We’ve made tremendous progress on a whole host of social issues, from ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” so that every American can serve their country regardless of who they love, to making sure that we’ve got equal pay for equal work, to making sure that we’ve got national service so that our young people can use their talents to help rebuild America.

Michelle Obama in San Francisco on June 14, 2011:

We’re working to live up to our founding values of freedom and equality. And today, because this President ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, our troops will never again have to lie about who they are to serve the country they love.

It’s a great applause line for them. And, we helped Obama and his team achieve that great victory — against their wishes. Same can be said of marriage.

Every time I see another article where Messina claims the campaign is going after the youth vote, I wonder how’ll they’ll do that if Obama is opposed to marriage. For example, in Virginia (one of the 2012 battleground states and not a liberal bastion in any way), 73% of 18-29 year old voters support marriage. Not saying all young voters make their choice for President on marriage equality, but it could influence whether some of them actually vote. The current position of the President is dated and looks way out-of-touch — and it doesn’t inspire the base.

When Kerry Eleveld and I hosted Mike Signorile’s show on May 3, 2011, one of our guests was Nate Silver who had just written a post titled, “Gay Marriage Opponents Now in Minority.” He told us that Obama was already behind the trend of public opinion, “It’s too late for [Obama] to get ahead of the trend.” But, it’s not too late for him to get on the right side of history.

Evolve already, Mr. President. It’s the right thing to do on so many levels, including politically.

Now, if only the donors attending the big LGBT fundraiser in NYC tomorrow would convey the same message…..


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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