President’s fundamental philosophical stance evolves in shadow of election
by Skylar Brown
President Barack Obama announced in a television interview May 9 that he is in favor of allowing homosexual couples to marry.
This announcement came days after Vice President Joe Biden stated he is “completely comfortable” with gay marriage. Biden’s statement put pressure on Obama to clarify his stance on the issue.
Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts on Wednesday, “Over the course of several years as I have 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 the president taking this new stance on gay marriage he has realigned himself with other democrat leaders who favor allowing homosexual couples to marry. Many gay rights activists believed that the president silently supported same-sex marriages but did not make any public statements on the issue out of fear of alienating voters in key swing states.
While Obama has declared his support for same-sex marriages he has taken multiple stances on the issue in the past. As a candidate for the state Senate in Illinois in 1996, he stated that he favored same-sex couples having the right to marry and vowed to fight any effort to block this right. However, as a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2004 Obama stated that be believed a marriage to be between a man and a woman, citing his religious beliefs as the source of his stance.
In 2008, Obama restated his stance to evangelical pastor Rick Warren by saying, “for me as a Christian it’s also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” Obama also stated that he would not support adding an amendment to the Constitution with this definition of marriage. Since 2008 the democratic party has moved more in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry and Obama has moved his stance with the party. Following this new stance, Obama repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2010, stating his support for “a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have.”
Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, told MSNBC that Obama “doesn’t want to fully embrace what his vice president is saying but he wants to benefit from what his vice president is saying.” When Obama begins presidential debates it will be a difficult task to explain his “evolved” stance on gay marriage but he has a made a stance showing same-sex couples they have support.