Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Obama (r)evolves on gay marriage
News analysis
by Tracy Baim, Windy City Times
2012-05-16

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Barack Obama returned to his 1996 view on same-sex marriage last week, but this time he did so as president of the United States.

In an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Obama confirmed that he has "evolved" on the issue and personally backs same-sex marriage.

While he said the issue is for the states to handle, which disappointed some, the fact is that Obama can't regulate what states do—and it will be up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and other federal district courts, to decide the application of federal laws that force states to recognize another state's contracts, including on marriage.

Obama's revolution back to his 1996 view, stated in a response to an Outlines newspaper candidate questionnaire ( Outlines purchased and merged with Windy City Times in 2000 ) , was part personal and part practical. In 1996, when he was first running for the Illinois state senate, Obama said he would support same-sex marriage and fight any efforts to limit it—this was in light of the then-new plans for "defense of marriage" state and federal laws.

At the core, Obama actually never changed his view that same-sex couples should have the same rights and benefits as those given to opposite-sex couples. What changed after 1996 was a slow move away from the word "marriage."

In 1998, again surveyed by Outlines, he took no position on the topic of same-sex marriage. By 2004, when he was running for U.S. Senate, Obama told me in an interview that he supported civil unions and all the benefits and rights of marriage for LGBT couples—but not the use of the word marriage—because it was a more realistic and practical goal to have. By the general election that year, Obama first injected religion into the argument.

Which is pretty much where he has stayed ever since—using a religious excuse as a basis for keeping the word "marriage" out of the debate, while remaining in favor of the rights and benefits.

But that practical, academic approach was never going to be enough, because the word "marriage" has very real legal and economic benefits. Setting up an entirely new set of laws for same-sex couples will always be separate and unequal.

Parallel to Obama's own shift on same-sex marriage has been a tremendous shift in public opinion. Some polls show a slight majority of Americans now favor gay marriage. Even though the right wing still campaigns vigorously on social issues, there is a momentum building in favor of marriage equality. Obama boarded the train mid-trip, but the belief is that his words will play an important role moving forward.

I am the first to state that there should be no government involvement in our relationships, including any benefits given to two people who happen to be married. But while there are more than 1,000 financial benefits of marriage federally, plus many locally, those benefits should be equal. I also see the value of the marriage movement in pulling along, in the jetstream of the marriage fight, so many other LGBT rights issues.

What caused this shift for Obama? He has said in recent months that he was evolving on this issue, but most expected the complete evolution to happen after the November elections. That would have been the practical, cynical thing to do. But the other risk was that his base would continue to see his position as hypocritical and without integrity, and that part of his base would stay home, and stop writing campaign checks.

This delicate political balance, however, seems to have been only part of the reason for Obama's "coming out" for marriage equality. In the end, his and Michelle's own personal friendships, and the friendships of his daughters with children of gay and lesbian parents, is said to have also fed into this change. He could no longer reconcile his support of "everything but" marriage in his support of equality. He came to realize that civil unions were not the answer. And he made a decision that may hurt him politically, but relieve him emotionally.

As he told ABC May 9:

"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."

With those words, Obama made history. No president has done as much as Obama has already for LGBT rights and for individual LGBTs ( healthcare, hospital access, etc ) . He can't overturn the Defense of Marriage Act without a bill to sign, he can't rule in the courts, and he can't stop states from voting on anti-gay laws.

But by speaking out as president for marriage equality, Obama can change hearts and minds. And in the end, we will only have long-term success by changing those hearts and minds. The 1964 Civil Rights Act did not overnight make it easier for African-Americans. Had the Equal Rights Amendment passed, it would not have stopped sexism. And the federal hate-crimes law won't stop violence against LGBTs. Racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia will always exist.

But words do matter. And by speaking out, by giving his own personal view, Obama will make a difference. His taking a stand has ramifications beyond the LGBT movement, because other communities who have felt let down by Obama's differed hopes and dreams may now see that he can get out of a middle ground made of quicksand, and take a step on the solid ground of equality.

Tracy Baim is publisher of Windy City Times and author of Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage.

Photo Captions:

Photo #1: Two Obama supporters, Karen Dixon ( left ) and Nan Schaffer, held a $1.4 million-dollar LGBT fundraiser for the president in their Washington, D.C. home Feb. 9, 2012. This photo of their 2008 Chicago wedding was on prominent display for Obama to see. The LGBT donor community has been pressing Obama hard to "evolve" fully on marriage equality. [ Schaffer is a co-owner of Windy City Media Group. ] Photo by Joel Schachtel

Photo #2: Windy City Times Publisher and co-founder Tracy Baim ( right ) and her partner Jean Albright, a 20-year Air Force veteran who is director of new media for Windy City Media Group, held a private wedding April 28 in Chicago. The couple have been together 18 years. They did not register as a civil union in Illinois in protest of the unequal treatment of LGBT couples. Mona Noriega, director of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, lead the ceremony. Also pictured is Nancy Poore ( left ) and David Strzepek ( near right ) and Marcy Baim ( far right ) , who stood up with the couple at the ceremony. Photo by Hal Baim

Photo #3: Group shot of The Civil Rights Agenda's "Unite with Pride" event from June 2011. This event took place last year in celebration of Illinois' decision to legalize civil unions. President Obama's recent statement is significant of the culture's continuing evolution on the subject of same-sex unions. Photo by Kat Fitzgerald, www.MysticImagesPhotography.com


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project launches to build community power 2017-12-14 - The Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project ( BLMP ) [ https://transgenderlawcenter.org/programs/blmp ] , a first-of-its-kind program housed at Transgender Law Center and made possible ...


Gay News

HRC: Five Years After Sandy Hook, Time for Gun Safety Reform 2017-12-14 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign issued the following statement from President Chad Griffin on the fifth anniversary of the horrific mass ...


Gay News

$1.35M in grants go to grassroots organizing by women of color, trans people of color 2017-12-14 - Groundswell is proud to announce $1,350,000 in grants for 30 organizations in its inaugural round of grantmaking through the Liberation Fund, a joint ...


Gay News

Misinformation Nation, The Threat to America's Federal Data and Civil Rights in new report 2017-12-14 - WASHINGTON — The federal government's collection, reporting, and protection of accurate, comprehensive data is central to implementing, monitoring, and evaluating civil rights laws ...


Gay News

Nomination of Mateer withdrawn, right-wing leaning Willett confirmed 2017-12-13 - From HRC: Anti-LGBTQ Judicial Nominee will Not Be Confirmed WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, ...


Gay News

Bermuda Senate Votes to Repeal Marriage Equality 2017-12-13 - WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Human Rights Campaign, urged the Governor of Bermuda — John Rankin — to veto legislation passed by the ...


Gay News

AG Madigan calls for delay on net neutrality votes, demands investigation 2017-12-13 - Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today called for a federal investigation in light of widespread reports that millions of comments received by ...


Gay News

Judge subjects Hastert to restrictions 2017-12-13 - In Chicago, U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin ruled that disgraced former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is barred from contact with minors ...


Gay News

Doug Jones bests anti-LGBTQ politician Roy Moore, according to reports 2017-12-13 - Birmingham, Ala. — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) celebrated the election of civil rights prosecutor Doug Jones over Roy Moore, ...


Gay News

Gay activist details undercover journey inside alt-right 2017-12-13 - Imagine spending a year undercover among the alt-right in the United Kingdom and United States. That's just what Patrik Hermansson ( a young ...


 



Copyright © 2017 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

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.