Thursday, June 23, 2011

Obama Looking for SUPPORT.

Obama says gay couples deserve same rights as all

NEW YORK (AP) — Treading carefully, President Barack Obama praised New York state lawmakers who were debating landmark legislation Thursday to legalize gay marriage. But as expected, the president stopped short of embracing same-sex marriage himself, instead asking gay and lesbian donors for patience.
The president's views on same-sex marriage are a sore point with gay supporters who've otherwise warmed to Obama. The president has said his views are "evolving," but for now he supports civil unions, not same-sex marriage.
As Obama spoke at a Manhattan fundraiser, his first geared specifically to the gay community, a handful of pro-gay marriage protesters shouted out "marriage!" And Obama said, "I heard you guys." He never directly mentioned gay marriage. Coincidentally, the long-planned event occurred just as lawmakers in Albany were debating legislation that would make New York the sixth and by far the largest state to legalize gay marriage.
"I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country," the president said.
Obama said progress will be slower than some people want, but he added that he was confident that there will be a day "when every single American, gay or straight or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, is free to live and love as they see fit.
"Traditionally marriage has been decided by the states and right now I understand there's a little debate going on here in New York," he said to laughter. New York's lawmakers, he said, are "doing exactly what democracies are supposed to do."
Debate on the measure continued into the night at the statehouse, and the outcome was uncertain.
Obama said there were those who shouted at him at events about other causes of the gay community, such as the need for anti-hate crimes legislation and for the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on openly gay military service, and both of those have since been achieved.
Obama also has won favor by instructing the Justice Department to stop defending in court a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Obama told of receiving a letter last year from a teenager in a small town. He said the boy was a senior in high school who was gay and was afraid to come out. The boy wondered to the president why gays shouldn't be equal like everyone else.
"So, yes, we have more work to do," Obama said. "Yes, we have more progress to make. Yes, I expect continued impatience with me on occasion."
Overall the reaction Obama got was warm from the crowd of nearly 600 who paid up to $35,800 each to hear him speak at a midtown hotel. And only a small group of protesters showed up to demonstrate outside for marriage equality. It was a measure of how much the gay community has warmed to Obama since earlier in his administration when donors threatened to boycott Democratic fundraisers to pressure Obama on "don't ask, don't tell."
If Obama were to endorse gay marriage, it would give a jolt of enthusiasm to his liberal base and perhaps unlock additional fundraising dollars from the well-heeled gay community. It's not clear it would get him too many additional votes in 2012 though, because the Republican field's general opposition to gay rights gives activists no alternative to Obama.
At the same time, supporting gay marriage could alienate some religious voters that the politically cautious White House might still hope to win over for Obama's re-election campaign.
Obama has indicated support in the past for states allowing gay people to marry. As a presidential candidate, he went so far as to congratulate gay couples in California who married during the short period when gay marriage was legal in that state before voters shut it down.
The president also signed a questionnaire in 1996 as a candidate for Illinois state Senate saying he supported gay marriage, something the White House hasn't fully explained.
Even as the president deliberates, public sentiment is marching decisively in the direction of supporting gay marriage. Depending on the poll, people are now about evenly split or narrowly in favor.
"There's been a noticeable shift the last couple of years," said Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. In March, the center found that 45 percent of those surveyed favored gay marriage and 46 percent opposed it. That was the first time that the survey found an essentially even split instead of majority opposition.
It's something the president has noted, telling liberal bloggers in October that "it's pretty clear where the trend lines are going."
___
Werner reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Karen Zraick contributed to this report.

11 comments:

J said...

A congressman friend once told me that what the public wanted was high quality bullshit. Unfortunately, the country is in such a sorry state that won't cut the mustard anymore. Obama, that smoothest of bullshit artists, hasn't got the message yet.

Jim said...

Well, I really have to disagree with you 'J'. Even though I am not an American, I feel I am entitled to an opinion seeing as how American politics affects not only Canada but the entire world.
Here's my beef with your statement: it is easy for all of us to criticize from where we are watching. Just imagine for a second......that there are much more serious issues facing a leader of a very huge country than 'gay rights', I'm afraid.

I would love that they (leaders) take us (gays0 more seriously. They have more to do.

At least he had addressed the issue.......more than Bush did.

Jim said...

Well, I really have to disagree with you 'J'. Even though I am not an American, I feel I am entitled to an opinion seeing as how American politics affects not only Canada but the entire world.
Here's my beef with your statement: it is easy for all of us to criticize from where we are watching. Just imagine for a second......that there are much more serious issues facing a leader of a very huge country than 'gay rights', I'm afraid.

I would love that they (leaders) take us (gays) more seriously. They have more to do.

At least he had addressed the issue.......more than Bush did.

JustinO'Shea said...

I agree with your logic and viewpoint, Jim. . . .unfortunately it happens some "priorities" ARE more important right now. . .like our 3 war involvement. . . .people homeless, flooded out, crops failed for this year in much of the country. . . .and needs of seniors and elderly for basic needs, children in USA going to bed at night hungry. . .and we disguise hunger/starvation as "nutritionally stressed". . .and slaughtered men women and children as "collateral damage". . .Just a few of our National Sins. . . Anyone want more listing. . . .?

But we crybabies keep yelling "But. .I want what I want when I want it! "

Coop said...

We can withdraw from the wars. I still haven't decided if being in Afghanistan is a good idea or a bad idea.

President Obama. I don't know if I will support him or not. I've lost patience with him.
The cynic in me says that the Republican candidates will support some equal rights (to get elected).
But civil unions etc. is un-cool in Republican circles. I hear people talking about politicians as "true republicans". It's B.S.
That party LOVES the idea of party unity. And they all kiss up to the
Evangelical born again set. Ewww.

Writing in or voting for the outlying parties is looking like a good idea from here.

Gary Kelly said...

Obama is pretty smart. While the opposition is set against legalizing same-sex marriage, Obama's position is "evolving". Seems to me that supporters of same-sex marriage have two choices... either a big fat NO or a maybe, and I think they'd prefer the latter. If Obama is re-elected for a second and final term, he might be more inclined to take his "evolution" to its logical conclusion, which I think is why he's asking for patience.

As to J's comment, I understand that J and Obama have something in common... they're both lawyers. Hehe.

J said...

Of all the problems you catalogue in your response, Justin, you don't mention the deficit. It is flat killing this country, and if we insist on continuing to spend money on "social issues" we will turn into Greece in no time flat. Obama appointed the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction commission to come up with a solution, and it did late last year. The recommendations were very tough, but doable. Erskine Bowles, who was Clinton's chief of staff, and (of all people) the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mullen warned us that this problem was desperate and a grave threat to national security. A president who is a true leader of his country would have appeared before Congress for the State of the Union address and told the Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, that he was going to back the commission's recommendations to save the nation. Instead, we got the usual bullshit about how government intervention create high tech jobs and a new high speed rail system. He has been doing this ever since, running his mouth and pretending to lead. Obama is our Nero, fiddling while the nation burns.

JustinO'Shea said...

OH. .. OK. . ..so let's add the Deficit to the list of American Sins. . .There are so many I cannot remember all of them. . . AND why don't the Gents do their best to support the President in his efforts to reduce all the gross expenditures. . all our war involvement, the lavish donations to our enemies so we can buy them. . . .ho ho ho. . . STOP all the whoring around to the tunes of billions a week. . .. . .that'll reduce the deficit.

. The Gents and Ladies ought to be thanked and sent packing home. Cut their life-time salaries, go on social security and medicare like real Americans do, forgo the perks and live like there "fellow AMericans". . . So be it.

Gary Kelly said...

As an Aussie, I would never underestimate the Yanks' ability to recover. America did it after the Great Depression and went on to beat the crap out of the Nazis and Japanese imperialists.

Sometimes I get the impression that I have more faith in America than Americans do.

Coop said...

The "Gents" are on the gravy train, Justin. Why would they give that up. That's why they don't want term limits either. Also, I'm sure you realize some of them "like" having power ;-)

J is right. The attitude of most Republicans toward US has been hostile. How much longer can I hold my nose. I hear that Huntsman supports some gay rights. But will he win the nomination?
What am I supposed to do?

Coop said...

Jim,

President Obama had a majority in both houses of Congress until January '11. He could have repealed DOMA, no sweat. He could have repealed DADT, no sweat. He didn't.

Yeah, he got DADT repealed this year. And it was a hard fight because the Republicans control the House of Reps. And DADT is not totally dead yet.