Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Windy City Times exclusive: Obama's Marriage Views Changed. WCT Examines His Step Back
by Tracy Baim, News analysis
2009-01-14

This article shared 22332 times since Wed Jan 14, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


This week's Windy City Times features an exclusive look back at Barack Obama's views on same-sex marriage as they have evolved since his Illinois State Senate campaign in 1996. He has gone from a strong statement in favor of gay marriage in that race to what he viewed as a more practical support of civil unions when he ran for U.S. Senate and then president. This photo is from the "Yes We Can: John Gress on the Campaign Trail with Barack Obama" exhibit opening Friday, Jan. 16, at the third-floor gallery of the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. Gress's work involves commercial and photojournalism/documentary photography, and the show will run through Sunday, March 1.

Obama answers 1996 gay media

Shown here is a copy of Barack Obama's typed responses to the Outlines newspaper 1996 primary election questionnaire. Obama signed and dated the form Feb. 15, 1996, sending it to Outlines political reporter Trudy Ring. In 2000, Outlines newspaper purchased and merged with Windy City Times.

1996 statement: 'I favor legalizing same-sex marriages'

News analysis by Tracy Baim

During the final weeks of the presidential campaign last fall, several media outlets contacted Windy City Times because of an old Internet story from the 1996 Illinois State Senate race. In that campaign, Outlines newspaper, which merged with Windy City Times in 2000, reported that 13th District candidate Barack Obama supported gay marriage. Reporters wanted to know what exactly Obama had said.

Outlines newspaper, as with the new Windy City Times, surveyed candidates for all levels of elected office, and also reported on the results from pro-gay and progressive groups. We summarized the results in that 1996 article by Trudy Ring, but did not list exact answers to questions. In that article Outlines did note that Obama was a supporter of same-sex marriage; that article was never challenged or corrected by Obama.

Now, in the process of sorting through my 25 years of archives of Chicago gay reporting to eventually post materials on www.ChicagoGayHistory.org, I have found the original surveys on which Ring's reporting was based. Sometimes, it pays to keep those boxes.

IMPACT, which was Chicago's main GLBT political action committee for several years, surveyed Obama and other candidates, as did Outlines. What we are including with this special Presidential Inaugural issue of Windy City Times are copies of the answers to the IMPACT and Outlines questions. For IMPACT, the Obama campaign simply responded on the form. For Outlines, the candidate typed in his answers and signed his letter.

More recently, as Obama has run for higher office, from senator to president, he has further shaped his views on marriage, and now he does not back same-sex marriage. In a January 2004 interview I conducted with Obama at the Windy City Times' office, Obama clearly stated that lack of support for full marriage equality was a matter of strategy rather than principle, but in even more recent comments, it appears he is backing off even further, saying it is more of a religious issue, and also a "state" issue, so he favors civil unions. Both are compromises most gays do not support. First, the U.S. has a separation of church and state, and laws are in place locally and nationally that give benefits based on the very word, "marriage." Therefore, marriage as it is now defined is a government ( both state and federal ) institution that comes with specific financial and social benefits ( taxes, benefits, inheritance, immigration, custody, etc. ) . So, until government eliminates the word "marriage" from state and federal laws, it is a government issue, and that includes the federal government.

Obama's answer to the 1996 Outlines question was very clear: "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." There was no use of "civil unions," no compromise whatsoever.

The IMPACT marriage question was a bit less direct. It asked if Obama would support a Marriage Resolution being considered at the time, which read in part "Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual personal choice, RESOLVED, the state should not interfere with same-gender couples who [ choose ] to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of civil marriage." Obama responded: "I would support such a resolution."

What follows are Obama's responses in our Windy City Times 2004 interview, six years after his successful 1996 state Senate run, when he was now running for U.S. Senate:

Tracy Baim: Do you have a position on marriage vs. civil unions?

Barack Obama: I am a fierce supporter of domestic-partnership and civil-union laws. I am not a supporter of gay marriage as it has been thrown about, primarily just as a strategic issue. I think that marriage, in the minds of a lot of voters, has a religious connotation. I know that's true in the African-American community, for example. And if you asked people, 'should gay and lesbian people have the same rights to transfer property, and visit hospitals, and et cetera,' they would say, 'absolutely.' And then if you talk about, 'should they get married?', then suddenly ...

TB: There are more than 1,000 federal benefits that come with marriage. Looking back in the 1960s and inter-racial marriage, the polls showed people against that as well.

Obama: Since I'm a product of an interracial marriage, I'm very keenly aware of ...

TB: But you think, strategically, gay marriage isn't going to happen so you won't support it at this time?

Obama: What I'm saying is that strategically, I think we can get civil unions passed. I think we can get SB 101 passed. I think that to the extent that we can get the rights, I'm less concerned about the name. And I think that is my No. 1 priority, is an environment in which the Republicans are going to use a particular language that has all sorts of connotations in the broader culture as a wedge issue, to prevent us moving forward, in securing those rights, then I don't want to play their game.

TB: If Massachusetts gets marriage and this gives momentum to the proposed federal Constitutional amendment against gay marriage?

Obama: I would oppose that.

After Obama's WCT interview, he called to clarify that he opposed the proposed U.S. Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He said he also opposed the two proposed state bills banning same-sex marriage.

During his presidential campaign, he has remained consistent with his 2004 position, but clearly he has moved away from the 1996 statement of "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages." A rose is a rose is a rose, but civil unions are not "marriage" unless 100 percent of the benefits are the same across all states and the federal government.

The full 2004 interview can be found at: www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php .

This week's related story: Putting Obama's questionnaire in context, can be viewed at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php .

Tracy Baim is publisher and executive editor of Windy City Times. She was the co-founder and publisher of Outlines newspaper.


This article shared 22332 times since Wed Jan 14, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD South Africa, Greek ruling, soccer items, singer attacked 2022-05-08
- South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa praised his country for creating a conducive environment for LGB people to practice same-sex marriages and partnerships, according to Erasing 76 Crimes. Speaking at a Freedom Day celebration in Mpumalanga, ...


Gay News

Same-sex couple have historic wedding in Antarctica 2022-04-26
- RRS Sir David Attenborough crew members Eric Bourne and Stephen Carpenter are now the first same-sex couple ever married in the British Antarctic Territory on April 24, The Maritime Executive noted. The Maritime Executive noted that ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Prop 8, Disney, Andy Warhol, transgender judge 2022-04-03
- The videotaped trial of the 2010 U.S. court case challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage should not be released to the public, defenders of the since-overturned state Proposition 8 told the U.S. Supreme Court in a ...


Gay News

Judge: Former clerk Kim Davis violated same-sex couples' rights 2022-03-20
- A federal judge found that Kim Davis—the former Kentucky clerk whose refusal to sign marriage certificates for same-sex couples made national headlines in 2015—violated their constitutional rights, NPR reported. Now it has to be determined if ...


Gay News

Top UK court upholds Cayman Islands marriage-equality ban 2022-03-14
- On March 14, the UK Privy Council ruled that the Cayman Islands Constitution does not provide a right for same-sex marriage and ruled in favor of the Cayman Islands government by dismissing the case of lesbian ...


Gay News

WORLD Warlord killed, marriage items, Chile president, Tchaikovsky 2022-03-13
- One of the top warlords and a close advisor to Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov was killed recently in the battle for Antonov Airport, also known as Hostomel Airport—an international cargo airport and testing facility northwest of ...


Gay News

WORLD Namibia ruling, crimes, LGBTQ+ film festival, blogger sentenced 2022-01-23
- Namibia's High Court ruled against two same-sex couples fighting for recognition of their marriages, with Judge Hannelie Prinsloo saying she agreed with them but was bound by the nation's prohibition of same-sex relations, Reuters reported. Daniel ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+-rights activist Jim Obergefell announces political run 2022-01-18
- Jim Obergefell the LGBTQ+-rights activist and named plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide announced Jan. 18 that he is launching a bid for the Ohio state House, CNN.com reported. "I took a history-ma ...


Gay News

Plaintiff in historic Florida marriage-equality lawsuit found dead 2022-01-14
- In Florida, Jorge Diaz-Johnston was recently found dead in a Jackson County landfill, ABC News reported. Diaz-Johnston, 54, was reported missing on Jan. 3 near his workplace and police are investigating his death as a homicide, ...


Gay News

Skydeck Chicago announces Valentine's Day 'Love on The Ledge' contest 2022-01-05
- Skydeck Chicago has announced its annual "Love on The Ledge" social media contest. The event at the Willis Tower observation deck gives adventurous couples of all backgrounds the chance to tie the knot or renew their ...


Gay News

Monks separate from school after it hires coach in same-sex marriage 2022-01-05
- The group of Benedictine monks governing Lisle's Benet Academy announced it will cut ties with the school after the hiring of a lacrosse coach who is in a same-sex marriage, according to Naperville News 17. Benet ...


Gay News

Israel allows surrogacy for same-sex couples, trans people and single men 2022-01-04
- Israel Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced that, starting next week, same-sex couples, single men and transgender people will be able to parent children through surrogacy, an option that was previously banned for them in the country, ...


Gay News

New Jersey legislature votes to codify marriage equality 2021-12-21
- On Dec. 20, New Jersey lawmakers took steps to protect marriage equality, with both houses of the state legislature voting to enshrine the right to same-sex marriage into state law, PhillyVoice.com reported. Sponsors of the legislation ...


Gay News

WORLD Chile's marriage law, Tokyo's move, Iran arrest, Mr. Gay World resigns 2021-12-19
- Chilean President Sebastian Pinera signed a historic bill legalizing same-sex marriage into law, days after the measure was approved by Congress, Al-Jazeera reported. The law "puts all love relationships between two people on an equal footing," ...


Gay News

NATIONAL New Jersey, Audre Lorde, LGBTQ book, youth items 2021-12-19
- In the face of growing anxiety over the Supreme Court's conservative bent, state lawmakers in New Jersey are moving to pass marriage-equality legislation, Gay City News reported. According to Garden State Equality, the New Jersey Assembly's ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.