Barrack Obama made it official May 9, becoming the first sitting U.S. President in history to officially endorse homosexual marriage. Following several years of equivocation, during which Obama claimed to be “struggling” personally over whether the definition of marriage should be extended to include same-sex partnerships, the President said during an interview on ABC News that his views had finally “evolved” following years of conversations with family and friends.
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years,” Obama said in a rambling explanation, “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 to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Seeking to make his announcement a family affair, Obama noted that his daughters have already been conditioned to believe that homosexual behavior is normal. “You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples,” Obama related. “There have been times when Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and were talking about their friends and their parents, and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them, and frankly that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”
The President even claimed that his faith was a significant factor in his decision to come out for same-sex marriage. “When we 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, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated,” Obama intoned. “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 dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as President.”
Obama’s past reluctance to declare his complete embrace of same-sex marriage had prompted criticism from some homosexual activist groups, but once he pulled the trigger all appeared forgiven. “Today President Obama made history by boldly stating that gay and lesbian Americans should be fully and equally part of the fabric of American society and that our families deserve nothing less than the equal respect and recognition that comes through marriage,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s premier homosexual lobbying group.
At least one homosexual activist group, however, noted with measured contempt the political expediency at the root of Obama’s announcement. R. Clarke Cooper of Log Cabin Republicans, a pro-homosexual GOP group, called Obama’s move “offensive and callous,” saying in a prepared statement: “Log Cabin Republicans appreciate that President Obama has finally come in line with leaders like Vice President Dick Cheney on this issue. But LGBT Americans are right to be angry that this calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch.”
Obama’s declaration came on the heels of a more low-key announcement by Vice President Joe Biden, who, reported The New American, emphasized May 6 on NBC’s Meet the Press that he is “absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”
A former White House senior aide told The Hill.com that Biden’s supposedly off-the-cuff remark forced the President to come out with his own concession to homosexuals. “It put him in a position that he didn’t want to be in,” the former aide said. “The White House has been so incredibly nuanced on this issue. They’ve really been walking the line and had tremendous message discipline. But Biden’s comments blew that up. The timing on this isn’t exactly ideal.”
The former aide said that the announcement could prove damaging to the Obama campaign, infusing social conservatives with the impetus to fight more diligently for the President’s defeat in November. “Up until now, the gay community was satisfied with what our message had been,” the aide said, adding that the announcement most likely would not significantly increase Obama’s support, but could push some undecided voters toward a GOP ticket.
Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage, which has led the battle for traditional marriage nationwide, said that Obama’s announcement will provide a big boost for those leading the fight for traditional values. “Politically, we welcome this,” she said. “We think it’s a huge mistake. President Obama is choosing the money over the voters the day after 61 percent of North Carolinians in a key swing state demonstrated they oppose gay marriage.”
While GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney declined to publicly comment on Obama’s announcement, according to the Associated Press he did take the opportunity to officially confirm his own supposed position, declaring during an Oklahoma campaign stop: “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
UPI News also reported that during an interview in Denver, Romney stated his opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage. “When these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view,” Romney told KDVR-TV, “which is that I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name.” He added that “my view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate, but that the others are not.”
Pro-family leaders were quick to react to the President’s announcement. Focus on the Family head Jim Daly noted that the President’s announcement came the day after North Carolina overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. “President Obama’s announcement that he has changed his position and now personally supports same-sex marriage is disappointing,” Daly said. “This is obviously a hot-button political issue on which there is much disagreement nationwide, and people of good faith will come to different conclusions. But the presidency comes with a bully pulpit that ought to be used with respect for the will of the people — and the will of the people on this issue is crystal clear.”
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said that he was not surprised Obama had finally come clean on his position. “The President’s announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions,” said Perkins. “From opposing state marriage amendments to refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to giving taxpayer funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the President has undermined the spirit if not the letter of the law.” He added that the President’s announcement “ensures that marriage will again be a major issue in the presidential election.”
Jim Campbell of the conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defense Fund noted that in the past the President “has spoken eloquently about how fatherless homes often hurt children and society. Today’s statement is a tragic contradiction that promotes the creation of even more fatherless and motherless homes.”
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that Obama’s remarks “undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society,” adding that “the people of this country, especially our children, deserve better.”
Similarly, Bryant Wright, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, expressed his sadness at the announcement. “It is very depressing news when the President of the United States uses his power of influence to endorse same-sex marriage,” Wright told Baptist Press News. “Scripture is very clear that from the beginning, God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman. It is important for us who are followers of Jesus to uphold the sacredness of marriage according to Scripture.”
Wright advised that “Christians are called to pray for our government leaders, and it is now more important than ever to pray for President Obama in this very misguided decision.”
President Barack Obama is seen on a monitor in the White House briefing room in Washington, May 9, 2012.: AP Images