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Posted at 2:58 PM ET, 01/26/2011

Shocker! No same-sex marriage nod in SOTU from Obama

By Jonathan Capehart

I know you're probably all SOTU'd out. I was, too, until a story on advocate.com caught my eye and caused it to roll. "Obama: Mum on Marriage" bemoans the absence of any mention of support for marriage equality in the State of the Union. Stand in line, folks. He didn't mention gun control, either. Would anyone suggest he didn't really care about that issue or the folks who care about the issue?

A mention in SOTU is the most coveted rhetorical real estate in presidential addresses. One line can propel an issue from back-of-mind to front-burner. That's what happened last year with the repeal of don't ask don't tell. President Obama said he wanted to work with Congress to get rid of it. By December it was gotten rid of. A feat he dutifully celebrated last night as part of America's evolving tradition of doing right by its citizens. Yet there was nary a peep last night about same-sex marriage.

Some folks quoted in the Advocate story weren't surprised. I certainly wasn't. Given the consistent hell Obama caught from all quarters, especially gays, when it appeared he wasn't doing anything to follow up on his DADT repeal pledge, I don't blame him. We should also be mindful of the distinction between the two issues. Obama had been consistently in favor of DADT repeal. Marriage equality? Not so much. Actually, not.

But I want to reiterate something I said back in December about this. When it comes to Obama and marriage equality, gays need to take a page from Obama and his handling of DADT repeal. Richard Socarides, former adviser to President Clinton and the new head of Equality Matters, told the Advocate, "Press him at every turn," he said, "and do so creatively and strategically."

Here's what's missing: that outside cajoling must be coupled with private meetings with the president where his evolution can transition from his heart to his head. Give Obama the room and space needed to make this necessary evolution and he might be ready to come out for marriage equality in time for the 2012 elections. Evolutions require as much patience as persistence.

By Jonathan Capehart  | January 26, 2011; 2:58 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Next: It's official: The debt is ballooning. Now can we think clearly?

Comments

Why would he mention it? With the Tea Party pulling the Republicans hard right, the middle is wide open.

Posted by: YUTZ | January 26, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

the countyr is broke, gas prices are off the charts, we have two wars raging, al gore says it is going to be 80 and sunny in d.c. today, gittmo still wide open, homeowners going broke at record pace, and you want to talk a bout a couple of guys getting married when the country is imploding! there are equal rights for all americans in place and marriage is not even in the top 20 issues we face today.

Posted by: doyouktt | January 26, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, why was this article necessary? I'm not surprised that Obama didn't mention marriage equality in the SOTU address, but I'm also not surprised that 'The Advocate' was disappointed that Obama didn't mention marriage equality in the SOTU address. Marriage equality is important to gay folk. Surprise! We talk about it- a lot. I'm sure if I picked up a 'Sports Illustrated' I would find a lot of articles about football... or something.

You aren't telling marriage equality advocates anything new; all you are doing is giving ordinary, everyday non-bigots yet another distorted example of how gays are all "me-me-me", further enforcing the notion some have that we have no regard for the nation's other priorities.

Ordinary Americans don't read gay publications, nor do they seem to analyze issues that are important only to their neighbors all that compassionately. By all means, write about why marriage equality is important to gay people, but don't act all surprised and eye-rolly when we talk-- amongst ourselves-- about the things that are most important to us. Besides, it isn't as if we aren't also reading and commenting on all the other SOTU angles.

Posted by: siwen | January 26, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

capehart, if you want to tiptoe down the aisle with your significant other, do it we don't have to hear about it in the president's address. he can't cover every person's indiviual issues, he has a lot on his plate.

Posted by: ninnafaye | January 26, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

there are equal rights for all americans in place

Posted by: doyouktt
-----------------------
That's a laugh! If equal rights were actually in place, we could stop talking about it. Until then, get used to hearing about it.

Posted by: jake14 | January 26, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Still the perpetuation by WaPo that equal rights are special rights. Marriage equality is a civil right, not a privilege, and the fact that marriage is denied to anyone is reason enough for it to be on the President's agenda. Snide remarks do nothing to promote fairness.

Posted by: sab001 | January 26, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Capehart, give it a rest on the same-sex marriage crap. We don't want to hear about it every day. We don't want to hear you continously whining about what you don't have.
Not everything has to include 'gay acceptance', 'gay rights'....so just shut up on the same-sex marriage issue.

Get a life, dude. Get a new hobby. Go on a mission trip to a very poor third-world country so you can see how good you actually do have it here in the US. Do anything but continue to whine about what you don't have. It's not our responsibility to give you everything you think will make you happy. Shut up.

Posted by: momof20yo | January 26, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Gapehart,,,

Do both yourself, and America a favor please move to France.

Here's to hoping you finally get too wear that wedding gown.

Posted by: Defund_NPR | January 26, 2011 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The President *did* pledge to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. It was one of his campaign promises.

Posted by: xcrunner771 | January 26, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

You will never, ever hear the term "Gay Marriage" move across his lips in the next two years..... This guy is up to here in problems.. By mid June, he will be stunned by the unemployment numbers many of whom will be union guys laid off by municipalities that are beyond broke...The wars will not get better...The folks in Pakistan will finally get tired of our drone damage done to innocents who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time....The defaulted mortgage situation will be a lot worse than it is now as there is a minimum of 5 million household in default now.. more than 60 days in arrears..He will not be able to reign in the budget ... I'm not sure he wants to anyway. Whats the fun of being a Progressive if you don't have other folks cash to spend..We need 'wealth redistribution ' and social justice programs and they are expensive...It will will be one of BAM's many campaign promises that got tossed..

Posted by: james_m_reilly1 | January 26, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Deal with same sex marriage in the second term.

Posted by: GBED989 | January 26, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

The toxic nuclear family model of marriage is useless anyway... time for group marriage models that create more financial security in unsteady times and more skill sets, and someone to stay home some of the time to keep hearth and home running smoothly and have biodiversity in relationshsips plus nurture a lower parent to child ratio for a sustainable world. And reduce the fears of abandonment and isolation in padded suburban insane asylums.

Posted by: Wildthing1 | January 26, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Deal with same sex marriage in the second term.

Posted by: GBED989

----

That must be very easy to say if you're already allowed to marry, you can inherit marital property, you share social security survivor benefits, you don't have to pay more money in taxes because you can't file jointly, you're able to share in health insurance benefits, etc. etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: popkultur | January 26, 2011 7:02 PM | Report abuse

there are equal rights for all americans in place

Posted by: doyouktt
-----------------------

That isn't true. The residents of DC still have no representation in Congress yet we pay more in Federal taxes than Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming combined. (Per 2009 income and business tax charts.)

Posted by: Fabrisse | January 26, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

there are equal rights for all americans in place

Posted by: doyouktt
-----------------------

That isn't true. The residents of DC still have no representation in Congress yet we pay more in Federal taxes than Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming combined. (Per 2009 income and business tax charts.)

Posted by: Fabrisse | January 26, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh, look. Capehart is spreading administration propaganda again. Obama isn't having any "evolution" on anything. He supported gay marriage in 1996 and changed his position to run for president. His supposed opposition is purely political. He doesn't need anyone to hold his hand and gently help him have an epiphany. He needs the gay community to say stop insulting us or you're getting no more money for that fancy re-election campaign.

But, of course, that's our Capehart. Say anything to shill for the black president, including selling out the gay community. Black first; gay a distant second, at best.

Posted by: uh_huhh | January 26, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

That must be very easy to say if you're already allowed to marry, you can inherit marital property, you share social security survivor benefits, you don't have to pay more money in taxes because you can't file jointly, you're able to share in health insurance benefits, etc. etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: popkultur
________________________

you too are free to marry, no one is stopping you. In every state in the U.S. men and women are free to apply for a marriage license. Just like in every state every man and woman can apply for a driver's license.

I do find it funny and sad though how the importance of marriage is now equated to receiving government benefits. If none of the government benefits existed that you mention, then marriage would not be of any benefit for you. So maybe we should just eliminate marriage benefits because afterall don't they discriminate against single people.

Posted by: kthhken | January 26, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Of course Obama didn't mention redefinition of marraige. He wants to get re-elected. Getting re-elected is his only goal in life and judging by the number of lies he told last night, he will do anything to achieve that goal. ANYTHING. Normal people realize that marraige doesn't need to be redefined. Gays don't need special rights. That is why the "gay marraige [sic]" foolishness has been voted down by normal people every time it has appeared on the ballot.

Posted by: oldno7 | January 27, 2011 1:07 AM | Report abuse

If there are "equal rights" for all americans, why is it only men have to register with the selective service or go to jail and be denied federal jobs, student loans, etc?

Posted by: scoran | January 27, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

That isn't true. The residents of DC still have no representation in Congress yet we pay more in Federal taxes than Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming combined. (Per 2009 income and business tax charts.)
---

The Constitution sets out that DC isn't a state, and thus doesn't have the rights of a state. If you want representation, you move out of DC. If you choose to live in DC, that is a consequence of your choice. Don't blame others for the choices you are making. Act like an adu lt, not a tantrum throwing child.

Posted by: scoran | January 27, 2011 7:25 AM | Report abuse

The main reason why Congress passed the DADT repeal was that it was about to be dismantled by court decisions anyway, and the military and political powers wanted to manage the transition rather than implement it by fiat.
In addition to lobbying the politicians, the battle for marriage rights must be taken to the courts.

Posted by: AlanGrotheer | January 27, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I like you, Mr. Capehart, when I see you on TV and I generally like your columns. I repect your opinions, but the issue of gay marriage or marriage equality is a non starter for the president and I highly doubt that he will ever get into it in this term or if he wins a second.

Posted by: Sandydayl | January 27, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, he didn't mention marijuana legalization either. Allowing commerce in the nation's largest cash crop would boost tax revenues, save billions on enforcement and incarceration of users, deal a fatal blow to drug cartels, and significantly reduce violence on the Mexican-American border. Our last three presidents seem to believe only well-heeled students at Ivy League universities should be permitted to use marijuana (and cocaine).

Posted by: dnahatch1 | January 27, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

No nod to the thousands of people killed in car accident. No nod to the crazy number of children molested everyday. No nod to the women tortured by their husbands in domestic violence incidents. What about kids on meth? Babies died of SIDS?
Move on Jonathan. Life is unfair and ENOUGH OF THE GAY THING. Look up the number of gay people and then compare to the number of people in the world. Not even a drop to make a ripple.

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | January 27, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"It is ridiculous and nonsensical to hear liberal attorneys claim that homosexuality is 'the same' as marriage between a man and woman, and that the effect of a married father and mother upon children is 'the same' as in homosexual environments.

Since Proposition 22 passed in California in 2000 – defining marriage as between one man and one woman – people have attacked the voters’ decision from all sides. They say that this definition of marriage is unconstitutional and backward thinking.

Here’s what we know:
God ordained marriage is between one man and one woman.
The history of this country was built upon the foundation of marriage and Biblical principles.
The traditional institution of marriage is the best institution for raising children.

Posted by: lyn3 | January 27, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

you too are free to marry, no one is stopping you.

Posted by: kthhken

--

Nice try, but the courts are a step ahead of this phony argument already. Don't worry, you're still free to hate whoever you want.

Posted by: popkultur | January 27, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

You know Jonathan, the POTUS didn't talk about how anybody else likes their sex either.

That's the trouble I have with gays, they always want to keep their sex life on the front burner and on everybody's mind.

I happen to think the way Jonathan Capehart likes his sex is disgusting.

Give us a break will ya!

How many high hard ones do you need Capehart?

Posted by: lindalovejones | January 27, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

You know Jonathan, the POTUS didn't talk about how anybody else likes their sex either.

That's the trouble I have with gays, they always want to keep their sex life on the front burner and on everybody's mind.

I happen to think the way Jonathan Capehart likes his sex is disgusting.

Give us a break will ya!

How many high hard ones do you need Capehart?

Posted by: lindalovejones | January 27, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

You know Jonathan, the POTUS didn't talk about how anybody else likes their sex either.

That's the trouble I have with gays, they always want to keep their sex life on the front burner and on everybody's mind.

I happen to think the way Jonathan Capehart likes his sex is disgusting.

Give us a break will ya!

How many high hard ones do you need Capehart?

Posted by: lindalovejones | January 27, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart,
I would like to think that Pres. Obama is respecting the purview and limitations of his office, though I doubt it. But for whatever reason, he, as Commander in Chief, has the ultimate authority to make decisions as to military regulations. He does not, however, have any authority to affect marriage laws. Having a legally recognized marriage is not a right, and for that matter it is not a federal privilege.

Posted by: GnirJ | January 27, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

You know Jonathan

Posted by: lindalovejones

--

You know, lindalovejones, if you post this comment a FOURTH time, Reince Priebus will emerge from a magic lamp and grant you three wishes.

Posted by: popkultur | January 27, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

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