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Obama begins shift on gay marriage

The one issue that puts President Obama to the right of Laura Bush, the Cheney family and Meghan and Cindy McCain is his opposition to same-sex marriage. But a meeting with progressive bloggers Wednesday gives hope that he's inching closer to joining those Republicans -- and most of America -- in supporting marriage equality for lesbians and gay men.

When asked his position on same-sex marriage, Obama reiterated his support of civil unions. A quaint convention, it seems, now that five states and the District of Columbia allow gay couples to legally wed. But the president went further, allowing a glimpse into a nascent and welcome evolution in his position.

But I also think you're right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents.

And I care about them deeply. And so while I'm not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it's fair to say that it's something that I think a lot about. That's probably the best you'll do out of me today.

The process of embracing marriage equality is similar to that of coming out. It's a personal journey that has no set path or duration. It requires self-reflection and honesty. And once comfort and clarity are achieved you make your declaration. Obama is clearly well on his way to supporting marriage equality. When he makes it known, he'll get the same response most gay people get when they finally come out of the closet: what took you so long?

By Jonathan Capehart  | October 28, 2010; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Time is overdue for Obama to quit his double talk on this and quit letting right wing nuts intimidate him. He should stand up for GLBT citizens and endorse gay marriage, repeal DADT or suffer the consequences.

Posted by: 10bestfan | October 28, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart - I appreciate the comment that President Obama is "inching closer to joining those Republicans -- and most of America -- in supporting marriage equality for lesbians and gay men."

But didn't "most of America," meaning a majority of states, pass legislation and constittional amendments to prohibit same sex marriages? You may be refering to opinion polls that have moved towards a majority in favor of marriage equality. But the legal landscape across a majority of this country doesn't appear to agree with you.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | October 28, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart - I appreciate the comment that President Obama is "inching closer to joining those Republicans -- and most of America -- in supporting marriage equality for lesbians and gay men."

But didn't "most of America," meaning a majority of states, pass legislation and constitutional amendments to prohibit same sex marriages? You may be refering to opinion polls that have moved towards a majority in favor of marriage equality. But the legal landscape across a majority of this country doesn't appear to agree with you.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | October 28, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Plimton,
Speaking as a Lesbian, what I think Mr. Capehart is referring as "change" is sentiment for minority groups rights. The difference, from past minority groups, is discrimination is delivered through the voting process. This seems ignorant at best. I understand to a certain degree that people have their opinions, but truly this topic doesn't concern you. Your rights will not be tampered with...unless equality makes you uncomfortable. If its religious conviction that directs your opinions, you have your relationship with god... leave it at that. I also have a relationship with god, and am also a tax paying individual that currently lives without my full right of the pursuit of happiness. Why should I be expected to pay equal taxes for fewer rights? It seems like a double standard to me. The 21st century is a growing pain that I hope will erase ridiculousness.

Posted by: jillianr | October 28, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

His attitude will change when Sasha and Malia bring home their lesbian "friends" but by then it will be too late. Mr. Obama is opening himself up to be overtaken on the left. I'm sick of this argument for something that will happen eventually. "Eventually" in this case has lasted much too long.

Posted by: madest | October 28, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

His attitude will change when Sasha and Malia bring home their lesbian "friends" but by then it will be too late. Mr. Obama is opening himself up to be overtaken on the left. I'm sick of this argument for something that will happen eventually. "Eventually" in this case has lasted much too long.

Posted by: madest | October 28, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but his attitude is evolving in reverse, when he ran for office in Ill, he supported gay marriage, now he supposedly doesn't. It is all cynical politics without once ounce of true belief.

Posted by: cambel1 | October 28, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I was Best Man in a friends wedding over in Germany. They had 2 ceremonies, a civil one for the legalities and church ceremony for their religious beliefs. Why we can't just do that here I don't understand.
.
Since Separation of Church and State is in our founding principles, using a religious ceremony to designate a legal status seems a wee bit unconstitutional to me.
.
Not to say we shouldn't have marriage, but the gov't should issue legally binding civil unions to everybody and let those who want religious marriages go to their Church/Mosque/Synagogue/whatever.

Posted by: rpixley220 | October 28, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers state:

"There is no scientific basis for distinguishing between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples with respect to the legal rights, obligations, benefits, and burdens conferred by civil marriage."

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/documents/Amer_Psychological_Assn_Amicus_Curiae_Brief.pdf

Thus, mental health professionals and researchers have long recognized that being homosexual poses no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life, and that the vast majority of gay and lesbian people function well in the full array of social institutions and interpersonal relationships.

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/documents/Amer_Psychological_Assn_Amicus_Curiae_Brief.pdf

The research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality.

http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/therapeutic-response.pdf

The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.

http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/sexual-orientation.aspx

Posted by: shadow_man | October 28, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

This was taken from another poster that shows why we need to legalize gay marriage. If you don't feel for this person after reading it, you simply aren't human.

"I am not sure what our President thinks of this dicission but coming from a poor family and knowing what discrimination is all about I would assume he would not care if "Gays" have equal rights. The whole reason why they are asking for rights to be considered married is from the same reason why I would be for it. My own life partner commited suicide in our home with a gun to his heart. After a 28 year union I was deprived to even go his funeral. We had two plots next to each other. But because we did not have a marriage cirtificate "(Legal Document)" of our union his mother had him cremated and his ashes taken back to Missouri where we came from. That is only one example how painful it is. His suicide tramatized me so much and her disregard for my feelings only added to my heartach. That happened on March 21 of 2007 and I still cannot type this without crying for the trauma I have to endure each day. Oh did I mention I am in an electric wheelchair for life? Yes I am and it is very diffacult to find another mate when you are 58 and in a wheelchair. "

Posted by: shadow_man | October 28, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

The National Library of Medicine pubs confirm that sexual orientation is natural, biologically induced in the first trimester of pregnancy, morally neutral, immutable, neither contagious nor learned, bearing no relation to an individuals ability to form deep and lasting relationships, to parent children, to work or to contribute to society.

From the American Psychological Association: homosexuality is normal; homosexual relationships are normal.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Asociation and American Psychiatric Asociation have endorsed civil marriage for same-sex couples because marriage strengthens mental and physical health and longevity of couples, and provides greater legal and financial security for children, parents and seniors.

America's premier child/mental health associations endorse marriage equality.

Posted by: shadow_man | October 28, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

For those of you claiming homosexuality is a "lifestyle", that is a false and ignorant statement. Homosexuality is not a choice. Just like you don't choose the color of your skin, you cannot choose whom you are sexually attracted to. If you can, sorry, but you are not heterosexual, you are bi-sexual. Virtually all major psychological and medical experts agree that sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Most gay people will tell you its not a choice. Common sense will tell you its not a choice. While science is relatively new to studying homosexuality, studies tend to indicate that its biological.

(Change *** to www)
***-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/differential-brain-activation.pdf
***.newscientist.com/channel/sex/dn14146-gay-brains-structured-like-those-of-the-opposite-sex.html
Gay, Straight Men's Brain Responses Differ
***.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155990,00.html
***.livescience.com/health/060224_gay_genes.html
***.springerlink.com/content/w27453600k586276/


There is overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a choice. Sexual orientation is generally a biological trait that is determined pre-natally, although there is no one certain thing that explains all of the cases. "Nurture" may have some effect, but for the most part it is biological.


And it should also be noted that:
"It is worth noting that many medical and scientific organizations do believe it is impossible to change a person's sexual orientation and this is displayed in a statement by American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, and National Education Association."

Posted by: shadow_man | October 28, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Homosexuality is not a sin according to the Bible. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, prostitution, and rape, not homosexuality.

(Change *** to www)
***.soulfoodministry.org/docs/English/NotASin.htm
***.jesus21.com/content/sex/bible_homosexuality_print.html
***.christchapel.com/reclaiming.html
***.stjohnsmcc.org/new/BibleAbuse/BiblicalReferences.php
***.gaychristian101.com/
***.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Resources&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=2121
***.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/biblical_evidence.html
***.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible-gay-christian
***.goodhopemcc.org/spirituality/sexuality-and-bible/homosexuality-not-a-sin-not-a-sickness.html

Posted by: shadow_man | October 28, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan...

The next time you're on Morning Joe, please remind him that Gingrich years -- Joe's halcyon days in Congress as he regales his viewers daily -- were not so rosy. Thanks to the delightful divided government every pundit seems to think Americans want (this one emphatically does not!) a little thing called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was passed. Without that law, it would be much easier for President Obama to eliminate the ban on gays in the military.

Or how about the Defense of Marriage Act? The first step in the desired Republican path of a Constitutional Amendment to barring gay marriage.

President Obama is not your problem... the incoming class of TeaPublicans who think 1859 was the good ole days and cannot wait to go back.

Posted by: jade_7243 | October 28, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Maybe all gay and lesbian Americans need to send Barack Obama our birth certificates to prove that we are human American citizens. Of course, we would need to attach the United States Constitution with our birth certificates so he could see that there is not one word about the constitution applying only to heterosexuals. He would also see that there is not one word about marriage in the constitution either. Marriage in America is a legal contract between two individuals and the government that has nothing to do with religion. Courts have ruled that religious wedding ceremonies do not confer any of the 1138 federal and state rights of marriage, only the state-issued signed, witnessed and filed marriage license does that. Barack Obama, the constitutional scholar knows that. Barack Obama the heterosupremacist choses not to know that. Send those birth certificates and constitutions.

Posted by: planetspinz | October 28, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Poor, hapless, naive Jonathan Capehart. It's election time. The president makes a promise leaving a huge gaping hole for wiggling out of it. Capehart's faith in Obama rings as untrue as Obama's hollow proclamations.

Posted by: fermata | October 29, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Here's the deal folks. Please give all couples , regardless of gender the right to civil unions. I have no problem with that. The lawyers would love the increase in business. But, no to forcing any religious group to marry anyone it deems contrary to its beliefs. I don't want the ACLU suing the Catholic Church over the failure to marry a gay couple. Meaning, government stay of of religion and religion stays out of government. Got it, good. Lets move on to more important things like JOBS!

Posted by: elcigaro1 | October 29, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Jonathan.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, no one has asked the President publicly whether he thinks that his parents should have been satisfied with a "civil union," not recognized in vast swatches of the country.

And, for Elcigaro1, there has never EVER been any contention or desire to "force" any religious entity to conduct weddings for anybody whom they don't want to. After all, President Obama's good friend Rick Warren named as the greatest American preacher of the 20th century his mentor, W.A. Criswell, who became and remained very long-term president of the Southern Baptist Convention on the basis of the legitimacy of using thugs to keep churches segregated.

Posted by: edallan | October 29, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

If Obama wanted to get real, he would simply voice his FULL SUPPORT for gays in the military and STOP trying to go slowly

There is absolutely no reason to not allow gays to openly serve. NONE

Posted by: Bious | October 29, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Of course he looks like he is changing his mind 4 days till mid term DAH this is what he dose no reason to tell the truth just give them what they want to hear 2010 real change 2012 finally the end to the night mare of OBAMA

Posted by: freedon | October 29, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

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