Earlier today, current president Barack Obama came out in support of gay marriage. This is absolutely awesome. It's the first time that a sitting president has come out in support of gay people's right to get married. While I'm super excited about his admission, I'm also slightly annoyed.
It's been an open secret that the Obama administration was pro-gay since day one. But the man himself -- along with his Vice President -- has been incredibly mum on the topic. Most recently, prior to this announcement, Obama had been quoted as saying that his position on gay rights was "evolving." Then a few days ago VP Biden came out in support of gay marriage.
"I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women," Biden said in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." "...heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”
Obama finally broke his silence this afternoon by saying,
"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."
About damn time.
Although this seems like a full on endorsement, it's nowhere near as candid as his 1996 answer on a questionnaire for the Chicago LGBTQ newspaper Outlines.
“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” Obama said, according to a post on ThinkProgess.org.
It is also a far cry from a full on pro-gay marriage amendment, especially when you consider that he also stated that he thinks it's a state by state decision.
Don't get me wrong, I am very happy that Obama has finally put some quotes behind his suggested support. But let's be real, he waited this long for a reason. It was a brilliant political play for a campaign that has gotten off to a rather lack luster start.
He said nothing in the interview that suggests we're any closer to actually having equality than we were yesterday. In fact, he made sure to clarify that this announcement was his personal position, which means that his political choices and behaviors will probably remain the same. This was probably just a strategic loophole if it didn't work out for him but it's still annoying.
That being said, it does feel damn good to have Obama on our side.
Welcome to the party Barack.