It's a big day to be gay in New York! Pride is underway, Obama's visiting, and something may or may not happen with gay marriage in the State Senate tonight/tomorrow.
President Barack Obama hosted a $1,250-a-plate fundraising gala at the Sheraton earlier tonight, apparently part of a larger Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender leadership gala in the city. From NY1:
... Obama said "that gay couples "deserve the same legal rights" as all couples, and that New York State is having a proper, democratic "debate" on the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Obama told a very receptive crowd of about 600 at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender leadership gala at the Sheraton that while he is personally against discrimination based on sexual orientation, the final battle for marriage equality should take place in the state Legislature.
The president noted how much lawmakers accomplished during his term, including the passing of a hate crimes law and the repeal of the military's former "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that banned openly gay service members.
Americablog has a full transcript of the president's remarks, upon which they commented:
The President just concluded his remarks at the big LGBT fundraiser in NYC. And, it's confirmed, he didn't evolve on marriage.
Here's two videos from Think Progress. In the first, Obama discusses his opposition to DOMA:
In the second video he gets interrupted:
Outside "dozens of LGBT community supporters" gathered to encourage Obama to take a prominent stand in favor of same-sex marriage. After his gig at the Sheraton, Obama moved on to a private fundraiser at Daniel Restaurant, "where participants have paid $35,800 for a seat." They will enjoy a special fundraising performance of the Broadway musical Sister Act and then Obama will address the audience. Seriously.
So what do you think? Is this -- and all the progress the Obama administration has made in the are of gay rights -- enough? Personally I've been unable to think negatively about President Obama since the Correspondent's Dinner when he played The Lion King video, which was hands-down the best joke of 2011, but we could really use his full explicit support right now -- and Christ, he could certainly use ours!
...looks like we'll need to keep up the pressure. Remember, we're doing this for his own political good. The President is already behind the curve of public opinion on marriage, particularly with young voters. He looks out of touch. It's still early. There's still time for Obama to evolve. It will be another political calculation on his part. Hopefully, he's beginning to understand that it's good politics to be on fully on our side.