Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Obama reinforces struggle for marriage equality

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on May 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm with 2 Comments »
May 11, 2012 9:09 am

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

It’s hard to look at President Barack Obama’s announcement Wednesday in support of same-sex marriage as anything more than anticlimactic symbolism, welcome that it is.

It’s not likely to be much of a political game-changer in the presidential election. Those strongly opposed to expansion of gay rights probably weren’t inclined to vote for Obama in November anyway after he overturned restrictions on gays in the military and announced that his administration would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

Because of Obama’s longtime support for gay rights, supporters of same-sex marriage were probably already inclined to vote for him even though his public position on the issue was only “evolving.” His reluctance to come out in favor of same-sex marriage had widely been interpreted as being politically motivated: He hoped not to alienate the independent voters so crucial to his re-election. His announcement this week certainly was prompted by Vice President Joe Biden’s earlier comments of support for same-sex marriage.

This announcement may win Obama more donations from gay rights advocates, but probably not significantly more votes in the battleground states he needs for re-election. Voters are more likely to base their votes on such pocketbook issues as job creation, taxes and government spending.

But for supporters of same-sex marriage, Obama’s public embrace of their cause is tremendously galvanizing – he is the first president to voice his support – and welcome news after North Carolina voters soundly rejected same-sex marriage on Tuesday.

Same-sex marriage likely will be the law of the land someday, whether it happens incrementally, state by state, or through a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Surveys show that young people are much more accepting of gays and lesbians and supportive of marriage equality; ultimately they will decide the issue if the court doesn’t beat them to it.

While Obama’s announcement is a significant step forward in the journey toward marriage equality, an equally important one could take place right here in Washington state.

Supporters of Referendum 74, who seek to overturn the same-sex marriage law approved by the Legislature, are halfway to gathering the signatures they need by June 6 to put the measure on the November ballot. If R-74 is approved (it would affirm the same-sex marriage legislation) it would be the first time in U.S. history that same-sex marriage was approved by state voters. In six other states, legalization has occurred through the legislative or judicial process.

This state’s voters rejected an effort to get rid of “everything but marriage” civil unions in 2009. They should advance marriage equality again by voting yes on Referendum 74 if it makes it to the ballot.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. DavidAnderson says:

    Why Obama is Wrong – and why then he may win

    Comedian Groucho Marx quipped, “Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”

    When President Obama became the first sitting president to endorse same-sex marriages with his announcement May 9, 2012, was his decision the result of having:

    a. Consulted with staff, openly gay and lesbian service members
    b. Asked his wife and daughters
    c. Hoped it would engender financial support for his re-election bid
    d. Prayed about it
    e. Sought the advice of his spiritual advisor
    f. All of the above

    If you answered ‘f: All of the above’ you are almost right. Only ‘e’ is in error. He didn’t seek the Rev. Joel Hunter’s advice.

    He told him.

    Hunter, who Obama calls his spiritual adviser, is pastor of the 15,000 member Northland church in Longwood, Florida. He said Obama called him before ABC News broadcast the announcement Wednesday.

    “One of the reasons he was calling was to . . . give me a ‘heads up’ on an interview he had just done,” Hunter said, adding that the President said he had “prayed about it.”

    Praying done, Obama and his aides are now passing the offering plate, hoping to fill it with cash, lots of it, in a fundraising gambit for his re-election campaign.

    “Within hours of his interview in which he declared for the first time his support for gay marriage, Obama blasted out a fundraising email to supporters.”

    Just one day from his heart-to-heart with a higher power, Obama will be preaching to a congregation of celebrities in Hollywood – “home to some of the most high-profile backers of gay marriage and the 150 donors who are paying $40,000 to attend (George) Clooney’s dinner”, featuring Obama.

    It’s sold out – not a reference to the President but to the well-heeled guests who are expected to shell out $15 million – “an unprecedented amount for a single event. And it means that in one single evening the Obama camp and the Democratic Party will collect more than Romney has amassed in his best single month of fundraising.

    “House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday rejected any suggestion that the president was looking to use his announcement to raise campaign funds.

    “‘I really dismiss the idea that this had anything to do with money, I really do,’ she said.”

    Spare us Nancy. Hardly anyone else believes that.

    At last check a whopping 75.7% of poll responders believed money trumped Obama’s piety as the primary motivator of his new-found evolutionary position. Only 3.1% believed that “his conscience was clawing at him, and he had a genuine change of heart.”

    “By Wednesday evening, Obama had sent out a campaign email saying: ‘Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer: I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.’

    “The email included a link for supporters to donate to the campaign.”

    As many of you read this, Obama will be in Seattle “where he is expected to collect at least $3 million toward his re-election effort.”
    Then it’s off to Hollywood, Reno, and New York fundraisers sponsored by gay supporters.

    In an essay entitled “The Anatomy of Compromise”, the author writes: “The present state of our culture may be gauged by the extent to which principles have vanished from public discussion, reducing our cultural atmosphere to (a) . . . sordid, petty senselessness . . . while betraying all its major values, selling out its future for some spurious advantage of the moment . . . . (that) one must compromise with anybody on anything . . . and by panicky appeals to ‘practicality.’”

    As this presidential political contest proceeds, principles – or lack thereof, certainly principles diametrically opposed – may well determine the outcome. A review of the essay on principles suggests that when two groups have not the same principles, “the more evil or more irrational entity will win. If principles are clearly defined and the groups hold opposite views, the more rational one will win. The more irrational one will win when the principles are hidden and not clearly defined.”

    Certainly doesn’t say much for the culture that supports a candidate who principles appear to be in flux and suspiciously tied to fundraising junkets.

    Neither is it commendatory to hear, as I had a conservative congressional candidate once tell me that “sometimes, in order to get elected, you have to sacrifice your principles.”

    He lost.

  2. biblethumper says:

    DavidAnderson,,,Politics as usual ,,,what do you think about Obama and Hillary as a “Prayer Team”??? would they identify their God / god???
    Praise King Jesus for Salvation and Healing… Acts 2:38 …

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0