BREAKING: President Obama Announces He Supports Same-Sex Marriage (With Video!)

Just a few days after Vice President Joe Biden’s comments that he personally supports same-sex marriage, President Barack Obama has made an announcement that he also personally supports equal marriage rights, although he also supports leaving the legislative decision up to the states.

Obama has made moves implying support for marriage equality in the past, from calling on the Department of Justice to stop defending DOMA in court to speaking out against North Carolina’s Amendment 1. But this is the first time he’s openly and explicitly confirmed his personal belief in marriage equality. In doing so, he used the language of “evolution” that’s been used in the past to describe his stance on the issue, and also spoke of the way in which his faith informs his view.

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In an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, Obama said:

“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’s announcement comes the day after Amendment 1, a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and potentially invalidating civil unions and domestic partnerships, passed by 61% in North Carolina. Obama had already declared his opposition to the amendment, and it’s possible that the amendment’s success (and perhaps Biden’s words) motivated him to make a statement, or at least make one sooner than he would have otherwise.

Obama’s position on same-sex marriage has been under much debate as the election approaches; Biden’s comments were seen as “off-the-cuff,” and it’s possible that Biden’s move created some pressure for Obama to make an announcement of his own. After Biden’s announcement, a top aide to Obama’s re-election campaign, tweeted that Obama’s stance was the same as Biden’s — specifically that “What VP said – that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights – is precisely POTUS’s position.” It’s also possible, however, that both Biden and Obama’s statements were calculated as moves that might help them win four more years in the White House. The Washington Post has an in-depth breakdown of the pros and cons of supporting marriage equality in 2012 — for instance, it may help him re-connect with the activist youth base that helped him get elected the first time. On the other hand, it may also distance him from voter demographics that he needs to win from the GOP. (True to form, Fox News is currently describing Obama’s announcement as an instance of “flip-flopping.”)

Romney’s camp has wasted no time re-confirming his opposition to gay marriage: “I indicated my view, which is 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… My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.” Not long ago, Obama’s stated position was fairly similar; in 2004, he said that “I’m a Christian. I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.” It wasn’t until 2010 that he began to describe his views as “evolving,” and he’s now the first US President (and the only candidate in 2012) who personally supports marriage equality.

Biden and Obama were both careful in their statements not to espouse any specific courses of legislative or judicial action; neither went so far as to claim that marriage equality should be federally recognized, or make any statements whatsoever as to the legal future for gay families. To the extent that this announcement may impact the 2012 election, Obama made no promises about what he would accomplish in office around this issue if re-elected. On the other hand, his willingness to take a controversial position at what some would call the riskiest time to do so does raise the question of what he would be willing to do to support the community when re-election wasn’t at stake — perhaps in terms of issues besides marriage, even. With this announcement, Obama has made history as the President to most actively and explicitly support the queer community in the controversy which most Americans think of when they think of gay people. Depending on how the 2012 election goes (and, in part, how this announcement is received), he may have a chance to be our ally in a way we’ve never seen in a politician before.

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Senior Editor and the editor who presides over books and news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

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129 Comments

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    Kudos to Mr. President. I knew he would take this position publicly eventually.

    Somehow I bet you will still have people from the gay community saying that he still isn’t doing enough for the LGBT community.

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        Exactly. He should be doing all the things all at once, instead of taking things like “personal reflection”, “ideological evolution”, and “political reality” into account.

        Also, he is way behind on my jetpack.

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          Do you really believe that he has been going through some big ideological evolution and wasn’t just waiting to make this grand announcement when it was most politically beneficial? I am fully aware of the institutional restraints keeping Obama from enacting wide-spread reforms, but I think we need to be holding him to higher standards nonetheless. On a related note, I’m kind of disappointed that nobody has commented on how the importance placed on this announcement only serves to further glorify traditional marriage (which is based in religion and seeing women as property). Is nobody else bothered that he felt the need to stick the “monogamous” part in there? Marriage is not the cure for homophobia—it’s a good step in the right direction and I fully believe anybody who wants to get married should be able to, but it really doesn’t fix any of the underlying heteronormativity and homophobia that is so pervasive in our society, and we need to make sure Obama knows that.

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          Do I really believe that people’s views can change over the years, and that in order for that to do so we need to give them time? And once they’ve changed, that we need to respect that instead of second-guessing their timing?
          Yes. I also believe that he probably came to this point some time before this morning, true. But did I expect him to call an emergency press conference with GLAAD the moment that particular light bulb turned on in his head? No.

          Do I really believe that this is the most politically beneficial time to do so?
          No. Hell to the no. If he was just worried about his legacy, he’d have kept the hot-button issue of teh gays off of the attack-ad-table until after the election, and then popped out with a safe and convenient, “I love you, gays!”. As has been said before, while national numbers are in our favor, there are a lot of swing states in which this is still a big issue, and it’s going to cause him problems. Problems which, incidentally, I believe he can overcome.

          Do I really believe that this announcement “glorifies traditional marriage”?
          No. He said today, as he has before, that it comes down to an issue of rights. For him personally, it was of course informed by his own faith, but in the end it’s still about rights. “Marriage” is a useful, well-recognized term in this debate, albeit one that carries a lot of baggage for some people. The truth is, though, that the majority of America doesn’t understand words like “hetero-normativity”. Using a word that everyone recognizes and understands is not only useful, then, but absolutely necessary. And frankly, whether we like it or not, the government ties thousands of the rights we’re after to that word, so it can’t be excluded from the discussion.
          It’s not just a good first step, it’s a great first step, one that will hopefully lead to even more change down the road. But again, expecting him to make all the changes immediately is naive and unrealistic. I’d love to see Obama work his magic to abolish all instances of hetero-normativity and homophobia everywhere in the country/world. Magic doesn’t exist, though. What does exist is the political arena in which he has made and continues to make great strides in fighting both of those things. I, for one, am not going to criticize him for not doing it as quickly as I may like.

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          I agree with you that people’s opinions can evolve, but I don’t think that’s the case with Obama, as when he was running for the Illinois State Senate in 1996 he expressed “unequivocal” support for marriage equality: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/13/obama-once-supported-same_n_157656.html
          In light of that, I’m inclined to believe his “opposition” to it during his U.S. Senate and presidential campaigns was due to political pressure. Besides, Obama is a smart dude who is particularly knowledgeable about Constitutional law; I’m not inclined to believe that someone as intelligent as he is could be confused about such a clear-cut issue.

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          I see where you’re coming from, but that’s just the point. We don’t really know where anyone, even President Obama, “came from” on this. We can point to a lot of things that sway from one end of the spectrum to the other, but in the end it’s a personal belief that’s influenced by a lot of things, from Constitutional law to personal faith, from political pressure to his daughters’ friends’ parents being gay. We can’t read his mind. All we can know is that a lot of things influenced what happened yesterday. We can’t go back in time and make him reach this point faster. We can, however, recognize that whatever led to this, it’s a pretty historic turn of events, and one that I, for one, appreciate deeply.

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          ^This is exactly what I’m talking about, still complaining about the President. Just like the Republicans, he tries to meet them halfway or all the way on an issue & they still complain. The President just can’t win.

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          There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting and expecting our leaders and our country to always be working for change. There is a difference between never being satisfied and never being complacent.

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          but maybe today — this moment, this announcement — isn’t the best time for a nuanced conversation regarding the glorification of traditional marriage, for example. i think we can celebrate this moment without ruling out the possibility of critical thinking in the future. i think a lot of frustration about always second-guessing obama has to do with when people choose to do it. there’s a difference in how people react to rain on a cloudy day vs. rain on a parade, regardless of why it’s happening at all.

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          I get what you’re saying and I did get off-topic, but I think the point still stands. We can send him our thanks and appreciation while also telling him this can’t be the end. I don’t expect Obama to be saying fuck the system, but I think that’s exactly why it’s important for us to do it!

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          I guess I also should say that seeing how happy people are about this is really great and heartwarming and I really really really hope it does lead to real change, but the radical/pessimist in me is also a little scared by all of it! And I’ve been reading a lot of Dean Spade lately, so there’s that. I’ll leave you all to your celebrating now and save my yearning for radical structural change for another day.

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          He is working for change, but people are still complaining about how he’s not doing enough. It would be one thing if the President didn’t give a damn about the LGBT community but he obviously does. So give the President some time to make these changes. It’s not going to happen overnight.

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          for some reason, fancyboots, i can’t reply to your post below about not expecting obama to say “fuck the system,” but that’s what i want to reply to. i agree with your comments about how obama coming out in favor of gay marriage only further glorifies “traditional” marriage, and i don’t see why we should celebrate our attempts to get our metaphorical slice of the pie. gay people getting married would only lead to people who don’t want to or can’t get married being further marginalized, and the system’s broken, damn it, why should we want access to it?

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          Some gays can desire “traditional marriage” for themselves while still respecting and supporting the desires of other for something that better matches their own needs. Part of the reason the system is broken is that not everyone who wants it has access to it. Remedying even part of that goes a long way towards fixing the system, and paves the way for further fixes and changes in the future.

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          Goodness.

          I don’t want to join the military, I’m a dedicated pacifist, and I hate US foreign policy. I still celebrated the repeal of DADT. Legalized discrimination is bad.

          Listen, whatever your personal views on marriage, OTHER people want access to it, and don’t have it because of discrimination that affects you too. It’s so incredibly short-sighted to say that just because you don’t want anything to do with the institution of marriage, those of us who do should smile and accept legal discrimination. Seriously.

          Hell, go ahead and choose not to get married once it’s a choice. But just because you would make that choice one way, please don’t deny me the right to make it differently.

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          I definitely agree that any legalized discrimination is bad, but I think it’s important to realize that the lack of legalized discrimination does not equal the lack of discrimination. Additionally, the “well if you don’t like marriage don’t get married” argument is problematic because it means you can either buy into an institution you don’t believe in or forgo basic rights and protections. If you need life-saving healthcare that can only be provided through the insurance of a spouse, there isn’t much of a choice there is there? In this case it’s those of us who don’t want to get married who are told to smile and accept legal discrimination.

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          There is a HUGE difference between “If you want to get married you have to be straight” and “If you want to be included under another person’s health insurance you have to get married.” The two aren’t even comparable.

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          I’m a little disturbed by the suggestion of silencing I see here. While I acknowledge the (relative) gravity of having the first sitting president to explicitly endorse marriage equality (for monogamous some-kinds-of-queer people), I’m not going to fall over myself saying “Thank you” or celebrate this the way I will actual change. I think it’s a wonderful step and one I’m happy to see happen. fancyboots is 100% right that lack of legalized discrimination does not equal lack of discrimination. I can be happy about President Obama taking this step while still acknowledging that marriage is a problematic institution that will still be discriminatory even if monogamous gay and lesbian couples are granted the right to form such legally-recognized partnerships, that “marriage equality” is only one of numerous issues facing the queer community (and one that often ignores the rights and needs of our trans* siblings among others), and that President Obama has also severely trampled on the rights of numerous other human beings (drone attacks, record numbers of deportations, etc.). His statement regarding marriage equality is an exciting and profound moment for the impact it could potentially have – but let’s not forget that the real change has been implemented by generations of activists and community organizers who worked to bring us to this moment. I guess I’m basically saying that while we should be happy and excited about this from a certain perspective, the laudatory accolades I’ve seen showered on President Obama for acknowledging basic civil rights deeply disturbs me.

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    First of all: Yes. This is huge. No sitting president has ever made a statement backing full marriage equality. Awesome, and thanks Mr. President.

    That said: Now comes the hard part, where you actually have to back those words by fighting like hell to see full equality enshrined for everyone, everywhere.

    And the homophobes will fight ever harder as full equality becomes more and more inevitable. After all, it just further proves that there is no “choice” when it comes to ones sexuality – which means they, usually the most questioning/insecure of the bunch, can’t “choose” to be “straight” – and will finally have to face their own demons, instead of lashing out at everyone else.

    The day can’t come soon enough.

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      yeah! my gut reaction was actually the same – “it’s about time!”

      while this is fantastic news, I feel like it should have come a LOT sooner, and the fact that we’re soo grateful and thrilled to have gotten an empty, way-later-than-desirable endorsement makes me kind of sad. i kind of want to respond with a “yeah no shit you support us – you’d have to be an idiot not to – now prove it in your policies, we’re still mad you took so long” but i also know that that’s a pretty shitty, cynical perspective and we unfortunately we SHOULD be grateful for whatever support we can get. merg.

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          just that it isn’t an actual policy that has been passed, or any commitment to a specific course of legislative action.

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          Except that a loud and clear endorsement of equal rights has just been made by the sitting President of the United States who has, during his first term:

          – extended benefits to federal employees in same-sex partnerships
          – signed the Matthew Shephard/James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
          – Allowed trans* people to get true-gendered passports without having had gender-reassignment surgery
          – Repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
          – Declared DOMA to be unconstitutional and indefensible by his administration
          – Included same-sex partnership as a factor in the consideration of deportation cases
          – etc.
          – etc.
          – etc.

          All of which is, in fact, a specific course of legislative action, rendering this newest endorsement anything but empty.

          (A handy graphic:
          http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/imagebuzz/terminal01/2011/9/20/17/progress-president-obama-has-made-for-the-lgbt-co-16852-1316554012-4.jpg)

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        In addition to not thinking its empty I don’t really get the “no shit you support us – you’d have to be an idiot not to.” No other sitting president has ever come out in support of same sex marriage, yeah it’s been pretty obvious that Obama himself has supported it, but it being a stated position was far from being a done deal. There is also a fair amount of political risk involved for Obama with stating his support. The day before his announcement a major swing state that supported him in ’08 voted to ban civil unions in the state constitution. Obama did a good thing, give the man his due.

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    I’m conflicted on the timing of his statement. On the one hand it would have been nice to have his support before the Amendment 1 election, but this way it seems like he’s going to be able to capitalize on all the outrage and pro-gay sentiment following Amendment 1.

    I guess you could say my feelings on this issue are “evolving.” I’m super happy nonetheless!

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      See I disagree. I think this energizes the base of the democratic party and will help him win independent voters. Obama was never going to win the non college educated white male vote anyway… or not with out pivoting to his right on issues and that would create more friction with his base. The people organizing the Democratic convention were planning on making it a plank in the platform. The polling is there. Biden backed him into a corner, North Carolina in an off election year had depressed turn out of Democratic voters, another little push. Do I think this is exciting yes, a little scary totally, but I think this perceived weakness will be overshadowed by the support and enthusiasm it will garner.
      Romney rode in the pride parade in Ma and has pandered more times than I can count ALREADY and the republican primary is barely over. Independent voters don’t like him. The 1% supports him and the tea party/republican base can’t decide what to do with themselves. If they stay home or decide not to care the election is over months before the voting happens.

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        It also energizes the GOP, especially those that weren’t particularly wild about Romney. They might go out and vote for the Romneybot when they wouldn’t have made the effort otherwise because they’d hate to see the legalization of same-sex marriage.

        I’m trusting that Obama’s polling is sound, especially after Biden treaded the waters on Meet the Press. As much as I want to see same-sex marriage enacted, I don’t want Romney and the current GOP to hold the presidency, and I don’t want to see that happen because homophobes were invigorated to head to the polls…the plight of LGBT Americans won’t get any better if they’re in charge

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          i think this is exactly the kind of (sad, but true) ‘revolutionary’ action that Obama’s base elected him for to begin with. I think this will energize disillusioned Obama supporters who may have skipped the election altogether. We voted for him because we thought he was super-smart — and opposing same-sex marriage isn’t logically or intellectually sound.

          we voted for obama because we wanted somebody who would surprise us, stand up to idiots and bigots, and do the right thing for the country instead of the right thing for his bank account — i think this will help him, especially with four years worth of new voters (who were too young to vote last time) at the polls.

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          A large majority of those new young voters seeing marriage equality as “ummm…duh” will help, too.

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          yes. i think a huge majority of the people who’ve come of age in the last four years (me!) are going to be energized by this.

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          I know I just added a 0 to the amount I was going to donate to his campaign because of this endorsement.

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          This. I feel like energizing voters is what won him the election last time, and he needs to do it again. I HOPE I have to get up at 6:00am and wait in line for over an hour to cast my vote for him again this year, like I did last time. Voting for the leader of our country should always be that important.

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          I agree that Obama would not have said anything without polling the crap out of it (of course all my knowledge of presidential politics comes from The West Wing, so)
          Clearly he wants to be on the right side of history and he knows that this is it.

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    I am slightly worried about the election but I also assume that Obama has excellent analysts on his side, so he wouldn’t have come out in support of same-sex marriage if they thought it would cost him the election.

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    Came home after the calculus bc ap exam to find THIS excellent news on my television. well done, president obama. now all the gay kids that just did 4 hours of math can have something good in their day!

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    I appreciate the timing for two reasons.

    A: It can, as others have said, capitalize on the anger a lot of people feel toward NC’s Amendment 1. (Relatedly, I know that many people wish he had come out in support of our rights before the NC vote,. If we’re being really honest here, the POTUS’ coming out against the Amendment would not have swayed 29% of voters to change their minds. It’s just plain impossible.)

    B: By saying this now instead of after the elections, he’s effectively nullifying the argument that he waited to state his true beliefs for the sake of political safety. This will most definitely be a big issue in the coming months. President Obama has now set himself squarely on the right side of history, and very boldly at that.

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    Biden needs to mention that every Wednesday should be free ice cream day.
    But in all seriousness, this makes me so happy that I could cry. Thank you, Obama, and you too, Biden. ^_^

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    When Biden announced his support, I did not see THIS coming. I’m hoping that numbers won’t tip towards Romney (PLEASE GOD NO) because the homophobe/Republican base is rejuventated…especially when this race had a Kerry/Bush style apathy on the Republican side and it appeared to be in the bag. Let’s hope that the pollsters made sure it still will be. Because we cannot afford to lose.

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    This is so great. Even though it took him a bit, I’m so glad Obama announced his support fully. It’s a huge deal that he did this now instead of waiting until after the elections, hoping it helps him more than it harms him.

    And anyone else still smiling since they’ve heard this?!

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    I found out about this because Tegan and Sara (and, well, everyone else) was posting about this on Facebook. But it just feels more real and exciting to celebrate here. Kudos to us. Kudos to Obama. I’m a little skeptical about how much ‘teeth’ a statement like this will have, but I’m excited to see how it plays out. Even baby steps are steps.

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    It warms my queer poc heart that Obama supports same-sex marriage.

    Oh the scandal of Prop 8….you guys know what I am talking about…*side eye* and OBAMA supporting same-sex marriage….*side eye*

    Hmmmhmmmm.

    *drinks*

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    THANK YOU Obama!

    I actually cried a little tear when he said LGBT, not gay. As the B in that statement (although homoromantic, so if i were ever to marry it would be to a same sex partner) it felt so wonderful to be included, not excluded as i do when i hear people talk of GAY as opposed to same sex marriage. So thank you for not erasing me Obama :).

    What an amazing thing to have the sitting President of America come out (no pun intended) about his views on this. So happy that him seeing the love of same sex couple around him change his mind.

    Sure as many of you are saying, marriage is just the tip of the iceberg, but it also really matters to the mainstream. A statement like that says our love is equal – by our current terms (ie monogamous marriage). That WE are equal. To deny us the rights to marriage does say we and our romantic relationships are less, however any of us feel about marriage.

    Tl;dr? YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

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    Things I have learned this afternoon: More than one of my facebook friends didn’t realize that Obama didn’t already support gay marriage, based on his policies since taking office. This makes me optimistic that this won’t affect the election as much as I initially thought it would. Or maybe I just live in a bubble.

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    i’m obviously super stoked about this, but, honestly, i’m still not gonna vote for obama in november.

    not to be a debbie downer, but i’m just not down with a president who signs shit that says that any US citizen can be detained, indefinitely, without charges. after saying he wouldn’t. also, he says he has the authority to unilaterally order the assassination of US citizens, even in foreign countries. not cool.

    JILL STEIN 2012!!! no more bullshitting, i’m voting 3rd party, i’m not being guilted by “that’s a vote for the other guy” rhetoric anymore. how can me make real change happen if we’re too scared to risk something?

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        oh, i completely understand that. but, i can’t in good conscience vote for obama again based on some of his policies. and, as crazy as this may sound, i’d rather risk 4 years of romney in the hopes of showing people that voting for a 3rd party could actually work if we tried it instead of being too afraid to. i want real liberal policies, real changes, and that won’t happen while we have this fucked up two party system. so i’m gonna use my vote to voice my displeasure instead of bitching about the guy i voted for until 2016.

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          “i’d rather risk 4 years of romney in the hopes of showing people that voting for a 3rd party could actually work if we tried it instead of being too afraid to.”

          From the old guard, I will just say that I saw this argument in 2000 and we got 8 years of George W Bush. Do you remember the world before George W Bush? Because I do and it was better then.

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          I get that, and I respect that, but at the same time I gave Obama a chance. I felt like he was nothing but rhetoric in his first campaign, but I voted for him anyway. And I celebrated like a motherfucker when he won. But these things he has done in the name of “safety” and “security”, I refuse to give him my support after that. So, if we end up with a Republican for 8 years then so be it. I’m taking a stand. I’m living abroad right now and can’t participate as actively as I’d like to back home, but I can still vote and I’m not going to compromise with ideals this important to me.

          But, on the real, I’m gonna stop going super off topic and being a party pooper, because this is fabulous news and I am excited because it is a signal of what’s to come and I’m excited for the real and lasting change that I know is just around the corner. Yay gays!

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          I totally respect your point of view too. You can only vote your conscience. Best of luck getting your girl in.

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          Thank you. And thank you Autostraddle, for being the only place on the internetz where you can have a civilized conversation about politics with somebody who you disagree with.

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          Focus on local/state elections! That is my plan, because regardless of any endorsement of marriage equality, I doubt I’m going to be able to swallow everything else and vote for him in November.

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          However I made this argument myself to many many people in the UK and this last election so many people finally took a chance and we voted for the Lib Dems and it was amazing. And then they promptly turned around and formed a coalition with the Tories and I have never felt so utterly politically betrayed in all my life.

          So it is possible I am bitter about third parties just now. You do you.

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          I still think they did the right thing. Not the thing i’d have liked them to do, but the right thing.

          Put simply, the tories got the most votes, parliament is there to represent the majority of the people, majority vote tory, tories deserve to be in.

          The public at large being wrong doesn’t really matter here. :P

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          Well no, because people who voted for the Lib Dems voted for the exact opposite of Tory policy on any issue you can name. So to use those votes to allow the Tories to do whatever the fuck they want (because let’s be real that’s what’s happening) is stunningly, stunningly wrong. I sometimes still can’t believe it’s happening. A majority of people voted against them, but thanks to the Lib Dems they’re in power and tearing the public sector down around us that may not be reversable.

          tl;dr I voted for the Lib Dems and it turned out that was a vote for the Conservatives. So, never again.

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          But they did have the largest share of the vote. the seats taken did not reflect total vote however, Lib Dems should have had way more seats by pure numbers but that’s what we get for a shitty electoral system that they tried to change but no one could be arsed to show up to vote on.

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          I understand that I’m a bit late to this conversation, but I want to add in here that if Romney is elected it is pretty likely that we will be in trouble for a lot longer than 4 years. If you look at the ages and ideologies of the current SCOTUS justices:

          Liberal
          Ginsberg is 79 with serious health problems
          Breyer is 73

          Swing
          Kennedy is 75

          Conservative
          Scalia is 76

          If Ginsberg, Breyer, or Kennedy leave office when a Republican is in office the Court will move further right. If that happens the likelihood of SCOTUS taking a stand for LGBT rights (or really any other liberal cause) anytime in the next 20 years becomes really small.

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          Yeah, this is why, even as someone who is sitting pretty in a blue state, I can’t get behind voting for a third party. Preserving the delicate balance of the Supreme Court is way too important, and we are really risking that if Romney wins. The issue of SCOTUS appointments alone blow apart the notion that Republicans and Democrats are just “the same thing in different clothes.”

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          I should say that I’m registered in South Carolina, so, realistically, if I’m not voting for Romney it really doesn’t matter who I vote for. But it’s the principle of the thing damnit! :)

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          Ah, okay. Yeah, now that I’m in a blue state I can’t say I haven’t considered the idea of voting for a third party. When I was growing up in Michigan (and where I voted in the 2008 election), it was unthinkable because Michigan was, and still is a critical swing state.

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          What I meant to add is that, personally, I just think there are other ways, ones where I’m more likely to be listened to, that I can voice my displeasure with the current system than voting for a third party, which is why I’ve decided against it even though I’ve thought about it. Nobody but the vote counters know who I put down on a ballot, but agitating for issues that I care about through writing about them or participating in protests is much more visible and much more likely to make an actual change.

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    I’m happy for everyone who’s happy about this, but I’m really worried about the general election. Same-sex marriage has never won a legally binding popular vote, anywhere, ever, not once, and this election is even worse: Obama needs the swing states, and this announcement will hurt him there.

    And anyway, if he “personally supports” equality but also favors allowing inequality to flourish unchecked, it’s a pretty toothless kind of support.

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    I’m on the volunteer staff in my area, and I have to say this makes it all the nicer. He’s been in favor of it for years I’m sure, I remember in 08′ when the NYT posted some of the fact patterns he gave to his Con Law students and they raised the issue (remarkably they dated back to the early 00’s). It must be a relief to him that he can say it openly. And I’m sure that he and his staff took care to do so at a time NOT posing a grave or serious threat to his re-election, which I certainly don’t mind either.

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    If you were planning to donate to his campaign, today would be a great day to do it….

    It’s like that time in the Hunger Games when Katniss did a thing, and Haymitch sent her a little silver parachute full of stuff that would help her in the arena.

    You know. Like the Political Arena. See?

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    As Laneia’s Mom, I would like to say WoooHooo!! I really appreciate the President finally admitting this is the right thing to do! I thought it was interesting to learn his decision was partly made by having conversations with his family who know children being raised by gay parents. It it finally time!

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    I’m still so full of joy and happiness from catching this breaking news on ABC this afternoon that I’m shitting out rainbows. Married ones. I have no doubt that #lovealwayswins. We’ll get there, you guys.

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    So I was reading comments on Jezebel and someone was saying that it was ironic that he did the interview with a closeted lesbian. Is this a thing that I’ve somehow missed by never watching morning news shows? I’ve never heard any rumors about Robin Roberts being gay, but I’ve never particularly paid attention either.

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    I have seen so many cynics today, and just want to my romantic idealism a voice.

    This Slate article pretty much sums up my beliefs: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2012/05/obama_gay_marriage_and_the_law_what_his_support_means_.html

    Obama isn’t really saying that he’s changing anything about how he’ll legally act. Also, he supported gay marriage in 1996 in a survey, and then backed down when he became President, so this isn’t the huge personal evolution he makes it out to be.

    BUT. I can’t let go of how significant it is to have families and kids all over the country see their President voice his support for gay marriage. I think personally of my mom, who blindly supports Obama and “thinks he’s kind of handsome” and also doesn’t want to talk about “that gay stuff” or my girlfriend. Or my brother, who is super conservative and until I came out, thought is was “unnatural” and “how could two men hold hands”. Gay marriage is now officially in the mainstream conversation, and isn’t just a fringe belief.

    In order to overcome miseducation and fear, gay marriage and gay rights need to be voiced as a mainstream, “ordinary” belief. As generations switch, we are getting closer and closer to the point where not accepting gay rights and gay people as ridiculous and backwards of a belief as segregation (not just among liberals, but among all Americans).

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      But the Libertarian Party has screwy politics on a host of other issues (especially economic issues, which are kind of a big deal since we’re in a recession right now) and also, voting for a third-party candidate, I’m sorry to say, really is “throwing away” your vote in a system like the one the United States has where we use “first past the post” voting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7tWHJfhiyo&list=PL87DB3F7E8107A4AE&index=1&feature=plcp

      (this video got linked upthread but I thought it bore repeating)

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        It will always be “throwing away a vote” until people stop seeing it that way and more people vote for the lesser of many equals rather than just two. And you may see the libertarian views as screwy, but I don’t, so I’ll continue to vote for the candidate I most support.

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          Actually, no, the reason it’s “throwing away a vote” has to do with the way our voting system is set up, and it’s not going to change unless we push for a system that is more amenable to a multiparty system (or at least allows one to vote for one without helping the candidate they dislike most, like the alternative vote). Again, watch the video I linked, it addresses your argument here.

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          Also, usually the MORE support a third-party candidate gets, the more it ends up hurting the candidate with whom its supporters most agree. See, for example, the 1912 election, where the Democratic candidate (Wilson) won despite not having a majority because the Republican vote was split between the party’s actual candidate (Taft) and Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party.

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    Ok. First of all – I know I’m late. Sorry^^
    I’m from Germany and I don’t know if it’s already been said here, but the fact that the president of the USA is outspoken about this is awesome because it’s also influencing other (european) countries. Just the fact that he stated his personal opinion about it results in german (or european/non-US) politicians having to take a stance on the issue. And I think that’s kind of thrilling regaring to the election tomorrow in North Rhine-Westphalia!

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