Obama Endorses All The Same-Sex Marriage Things In Maine and Washington!

Barack Obama, who you may recall from Monday evening’s Foreign Policy Television Superspecial or perhaps from his present position as President of the United States, endorsed same-sex marriage initiatives in Maine and Washington today. Obama had already expressed his support for Maryland’s Quesiton 6 during a fundraiser in Baltimore this past June, and in April, Obama “explicitly came out against” Minnesota’s proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. These announcements add to a building momentum suggesting that this election year could see marriage equality’s very first victories at the polls.

Referendum 74 in Washington is a vote to approve or reject the Ferbuary 2012 bill that would legalize same-sex marriage for Washingtonians. Obviously anti-equality advocates were pretty upset about that bill and by June had gathered enough signatures to put the measure up for a vote. The statement from Paul Bell, Obama’s Northwest regional press secretary, is as follows:

“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. Washington’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally, and that is why the president supports a vote to approve Referendum 74.”

Washington State Senator Ed Murray of Seattle, a 17-year advocate for gay & lesbian rights within the political system, was overjoyed and surprised to hear of the president’s endorsement: “I would never have dared to dream that a President would one day step forward at this crucial moment in the middle of his own close reelection campaign, to offer his support to our efforts.”

Washington United for Marriage is the most visible advocate of Referendum 74 and, unsurprisingly, the heathens at the National Organization for Marriage are the most visible opponents of the measure. Washington United for Marriage has garnered heaps of support from the bigshots of Seattle’s world-renowned tech industry — Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos donated $2.5 million to the cause and Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer each put in $1000,000, and on Tuesday, Bill and Melinda Gates donated another $500,000. Other local corporate supporters include Starbucks, REI, T-Mobile, Expedia and Nordstrom. NOM is relying primarily on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and “in-pew donations” from various parishes, including lots of out-of-state money (surprise!). Also, Obama wasn’t the only endorsement Referendum 74 got this week — The Washington State NAACP announced its support today as well.

Polling is mixed and as of last Wednesday, equality advocates maintain a very slight lead.

“Sylvia Rolle of the activist group Washington United for Marriage adds new names to a wall of support at the organization’s headquarters in Seattle.” (Photo by  Stee Ringman for The Seattle Times via The LA Times)

Over in Maine, Question 1, “An Act to Allow Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples and Protect Religious Freedom,” will ask voters “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?”

Michael Czin, Obama’s Northeastern regional press secretary, delivered the following message on this topic:

“While the President does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the President believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. The President believes same sex couples should be treated equally and supports Question 1.”

Maine’s struggle for marriage equality is one we’ve been following since this site launched — in May 2009, Governor John Baldacci signed a same-sex marriage bill into law, and it was to take effect 90 days later. But before those 90 days passed, the lovely people of Protect Marriage Maine and their supporters mobilized to put the issue up for a vote in November. Team anti-equality won, 53%-47%. It was profoundly disappointing. Recent polling, however, suggests that this year’s initiative might actually go our way — supporters narrowly lead opponents, according to Public Policy Polling.

anti-equality propaganda

According to research conducted by the centrist Third Wave Think Tank released this week, a shift in attitudes about same-sex marriage isn’t the result of newer and younger voters, as many believe. In fact, only one-quarter of the change can be attributed to young people. The LA Times reports that “75% of the increase in support for gay marriage has come from Americans reconsidering the issue.” Obama, of course, is amongst those Americans who have recently “reconsidered the issue” (at least publicly). When Maine lost the same-sex marriage vote in 2009, many were disappointed that Obama hadn’t spoken out in favor of equality for Maine, but this year, he did. Let’s hope he’s one of many ready and willing to do what they weren’t willing to do three years ago or four years ago and speak out in favor of equality.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.


  1. Obama is the first President brave enough to support the GLBT community’s access to basic civil rights. The church and conservative hands paint a Blackface on him for defending this human-rights issue. Religious doctrine and the bigotry which goes along with it have NO place in politics. Read about how Obama and simple logic are being bamboozled at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/10/bamboozling-obama.html

  2. Yay for Obama!

    That Protect Marriage ad makes me very sad. Especially the argument about children.

    The whole time I was reading this, I was thinking of Rachel Maddow: “But here‘s the thing about rights—they‘re not actually supposed to be voted on. That‘s why they‘re called rights.” Though I’m usually thinking about Rachel Maddow anyway, let’s be honest :P

  3. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high, particularly with Ref 74, in case the measures don’t pass, but fuck I would really love to be able to get married in the state I was born in.

    I also heard today, that at least some absentee ballots sent out in Maryland didn’t have the marriage question on them.

    • Well, they’re missing all the ballot questions, not just Question 6. That’s why I was paranoid at first, with regard to the voter suppression efforts nationwide this year aimed at liberal and young voters (and absentee voters include a lot of college students), but I don’t think that’s an issue in Maryland – it being a blue state and all – and missing a page really just seems like a mistake.

  4. One minor nitpick:

    Preserve Marriage Washington is the group spearheading the anti-gay side. They are essentially the front group for NOM.

  5. It continues to baffle me how these fuckwads keep spewing “Every civilization everywhere for everytime forever and ever had marriage between one man and one woman.” Uhh. No. Just. No, they don’t know anything if they are trying to assert that. ESPECIALLY since their precious Bible holds so many examples of polygamous cultures.


  6. The ‘say no to gay marriage because children need a mum and a dad’ argument is one of ones that annoys me the most, because of it’s stupidity. Not allowing same-sex couples to get married isn’t stopping them from having kids. Gay couples have kids all the time. Idiots. Added to that, besides devaluing families with same-sex parents, with that argument they are also devaluing any family that doesn’t have a mother-father setup, regardless of the reason.

  7. Riese, I just went back and re-read your “I’m still mad at Maine” piece and had all the feelings…however, you write them much better. So, I’ll just stick to saying “Thank you” times infinity.

  8. I’m really trying to read this article properly but none of it’s going in because I’m kinda freaked out by the fact that there are TWO CLONES standing either side of the sign in the the first picture.

  9. This will be the second time I’ve voted in favour of marriage equality for my home state. Hopefully it will be the last. Yes on 1!

  10. If Romney wins I am going to douse myself in olive oil and light my fucking pubes on fire

  11. It really infuriates (but doesn’t surprise) me that the anti-equality group in Maine is explicitly saying “God defines marriage” and quoting the Bible in their advertising. Um, no. God should be the last person to be the “author of marriage” IN A COUNTRY WITH THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. How at all do they think that’s acceptable?

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