Ruling showcases Obama evolution on gay marriage - WRBL

Ruling showcases Obama evolution on gay marriage

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON -

For Barack Obama, the Supreme Court's decisions on gay rights punctuate an evolution as president on the subject of same-sex marriage - a personal journey that has taken him from opposition to ambivalence to enthusiastic support.
    
In many ways, Obama's trajectory parallels that of the nation. But no one's vacillation on the subject has been more closely watched than his. While he always has advocated for civil rights for gay couples, he also very publicly contemplated where he stood on the question of marriage, musing in 2006 that "in years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history."
    
The transition to unequivocal support was reinforced Wednesday by the cheers that erupted on Air Force One when news broke about the court's decision to repeal a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act.
    
"The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it," Obama said in a statement.
    
On Thursday, Obama took that message to Senegal, a country that outlaws homosexuality. While acknowledging differing cultural and religious views, he said he also wanted to stress the importance of nondiscrimination under the law.
    
"People should be treated equally and that's a principal that I think applies universally," he said in a news conference in Dakar. Senegalese President Macky Sall, at his side, responded that while his country is tolerant, "We are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality."
    
Obama has carefully staked out his position on same-sex marriage throughout his political career. In a questionnaire from a gay newspaper in Chicago during his 1996 Illinois Senate race, he replied, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." Two years later, he declared himself undecided.
    
By 2004, as he ran for the U.S. Senate, he said he opposed gay marriage for politically strategic reasons, saying Republicans would exploit the issue, and he advocated instead for gay civil unions. In his 2006 book "The Audacity of Hope," he cited his own faith as a reason to oppose same-sex marriage, though he also wrote, "I must admit that I may have been infected with society's prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God."
    
Despite initial apprehensions, many gay rights advocates now hail him as a hero.
    
Even before he announced his support for gay marriage in May of last year, gay donors were pumping several million dollars into Obama's campaign fund as he ran for re-election. He already had signed hate crimes legislation that made it a federal crime to assault someone because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, had signed a repeal of the "don't ask don't tell" military policy and had instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act.
    
"In terms of American society, he has truly brought us out of the closet," said Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group. "He has lived up to his claim of being a tireless advocate on behalf of our community."
    
Advocates would still like the government in general and Obama in particular to do more. They are pushing the Senate to pass an employment nondiscrimination law that would protect workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Short of that, they want Obama to impose that requirement on federal contractors, a step Obama so far has resisted.
    
"We have our skirmishes with the administration certainly on some issues," Sainz said. Of Obama not signing an executive order on federal contractors, he said, "It's a head-scratcher to us."
    
The court's decision showcased more than just Obama's evolving views. President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.
    
On Wednesday, he and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, issued a joint statement: "By overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the court recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union."

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • NC flags lowered on day of Fulghum service

    NC flags lowered on day of Fulghum service

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:11 AM EDT2014-07-23 09:11:02 GMT
    A first-term North Carolina legislator who died last weekend will be formally remembered within state government and at the church he attended for decades.
    A first-term North Carolina legislator who died last weekend will be formally remembered within state government and at the church he attended for decades.
  • NC counties see sales tax changes in Senate bill

    NC counties see sales tax changes in Senate bill

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:46:55 GMT
    File PhotoFile Photo
    Four large North Carolina counties would see their authority to raise sales taxes scaled back in Senate legislation that its Republican supporters say would level the playing field across the state in generating revenue.
    Four large North Carolina counties would see their authority to raise sales taxes scaled back in Senate legislation that its Republican supporters say would level the playing field across the state in generating revenue.
  • State: Ex-Tarboro town manager used funds inappropriately

    State: Ex-Tarboro town manager used funds inappropriately

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:10 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:10:06 GMT

    The state auditor’s report determined that the former town manager “made nearly $366,000 of purchases" that were inappropriate.

    The state auditor’s report determined that the former town manager “made nearly $366,000 of purchases" that were inappropriate.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Teen mom charged after baby found buried at Louisburg home

    Teen mom charged after baby found buried at Louisburg home

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:44:25 GMT
    Ashley Reed, 16, of Louisburg is charged with concealing a death after her infant was found buried beside her house.
    Ashley Reed, 16, of Louisburg is charged with concealing a death after her infant was found buried beside her house.
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:08 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:08:35 GMT
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.