Obama Opposes Ban on Gay Marriage

Sen. Barack Obama today wrote a letter to stating he opposed a ban on gay marriage.

In a letter to San Francisco's Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club, the presumptive presidential nominee said he opposed "the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution" and similar efforts in other states.

Good on Obama. He's not afraid to change his mind.

Obama is skating gingerly past his previous position on the issue.

The Illinois senator has said repeatedly that he believes marriage should be only between man and a woman. When the California Supreme Court overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage in May, Obama released a carefully nuanced statement saying he respected the court's decision, believed states should make their own decisions on marriage and "will continue to fight for civil unions as president."

We're behind Obama on this one, all the way.

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    F.L.I.P. F.L.O.P. (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by shoephone on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:19:33 AM EST
    Wonder if he's no longer frightened of having his picture taken with Gavin Newsome?

    I wonder (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Chisoxy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:05:03 AM EST
    If he's as committed to this as he was to a FISA filibuster.
    Just another strong show of support..for something that would happen anyway.

    Would happen anyway (none / 0) (#155)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:16:52 PM EST
    I hope that is true....Recent polls suggest it will be close but that the initiative to reverse the ruling will probably fail....There is a poll showing the initiative passing.

    The defeat of the initiative is no slam dunk....The Religious Right will gin up their rusting machine one more time....


    "States' Rights" (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Fabian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:24:31 AM EST
    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  I'm not sure if this is one of those times or not.

    Like the way he 'fought' for reproduction rights (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Ellie on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:00:13 AM EST
    Stuck a bland statement on his web page in support of a Planned Parent clinic --- on the day of it's opening (it was delayed 2 wks in a last-ditch zoning kerfuffle).

    Way to get our backs there, Barack! Glad we didn't have to wait for the daughters to be grown up!


    also (5.00 / 4) (#65)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:27:25 AM EST
    his being not afraid to change his mind seems to have been pretty well established.

    He's not afraid to change it multiple (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by Grace on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:21:46 AM EST
    times, over and over again, if he wants to.  Can his speech, supporting marriage being between a man and a woman, be far behind this letter?  

    And, of course, if any of this comes up for a vote, he'll vote Present or skip the vote.  ;-)

    I think I've figured this pol out.    


    CampObi spin flip flops as Standing Up To The Left (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by Ellie on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:54:08 AM EST
    ... which has been Teh Main Problem lo these Bush-long years. (Pesky libruls!)

    And THAT's why Obama has to pander to the hard right.

    :: snivel ::

    Was there ever a braver man?


    The best summary I have seen on who (5.00 / 4) (#112)
    by hairspray on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:00:19 AM EST
    Barack is and who he represents is in Anglachel's Journal dated July 1, and titled "No Where Else to Go."  What a writer and thinker!  She puts my feelings into words and describes the schism in the Democratic party today.

    agreed (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:38:09 AM EST
    terrific post

    When Michelle Obama thanked Hillary (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by hairspray on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:54:44 PM EST
    on stage for "bringing to their attention the plight of so many Americans" I knew Anglachel's journal was on to something.

    excuse my ignorance (none / 0) (#121)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:38:10 AM EST
    but, how do i find the "Journal" you are referring to?

    here you go (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:42:53 AM EST
    zero points (5.00 / 10) (#2)
    by boredmpa on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:29:57 AM EST
    It's zero points because a) the governator is against the ban, b) he hasn't stood up for gay rights, c) he obviously wouldn't send the same letter to a state where the voters aren't majority pro-gay-marriage.  He's only doing this because it's a pander with a few liberal points and no downside because even the repub governor is against the ban.  Hell, he can still advocate state's rights on this.

    In my mind, this is a negative, because he's using a gay issue (which he absolutely has sucked on) to appeal to the dem base (that won't realize he sucks on gay issues) and in doing so exploiting a minority population that he will otherwise completely ignore.

    i shouldn't say completely (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by boredmpa on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:55:00 AM EST
    he will probably do something very minor, if elected, that costs no political capital of his own -- or go along with other dems.  but that's all i'd expect of him.  possibly some federal/exec changes and that's it.  i dont buy a change in DADT if he sees any resistance.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by JimWash08 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 05:24:53 AM EST
    he obviously wouldn't send the same letter to a state where the voters aren't majority pro-gay-marriage.  He's only doing this because it's a pander with a few liberal points
    He lost the state of California and the larger region around San Francisco (I believe) ... it would be a DEFINITE loss if that were to happen again in November. Surely he cannot depend on the Hollywood types and Latinos to carry him in the state.

    Obama carries CA (3.00 / 5) (#17)
    by sher on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 05:49:07 AM EST
    and Latinos in recent polling data.  As well, Obama carried San Francisco in the primaries.

    Who Cares (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by JimWash08 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:27:54 AM EST
    about 'recent poling data?" It's July.
    By how much did he carry SF?
    He lost the state by 10%.

    "He lost the state by 10%." (2.66 / 3) (#146)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:55:38 PM EST
    Well, if you're not going to pay attention to polling data in July, why on earth pay attention to a primary result in February?

    Wow, are you suggesting McCain is going to win California in November?


    I'm Not Suggesting Anything (3.66 / 3) (#189)
    by JimWash08 on Fri Jul 04, 2008 at 02:29:59 PM EST
    And it is from the turnout and the lessons learned during the Primaries that all campaigns plan out their general election strategies.

    So Primaries do matter, whether you like it or not.

    Considering how Obama is turning out to be a turkey candidate with each passing week, no state (maybe except Illinois and New York) is safe Democratic territory.

    And don't forget, it's either he wins or loses a state, so every vote and statistic, past and present, amount to something. It's only July. Lots can change.


    Actually, On Something We Agree (2.00 / 1) (#190)
    by daring grace on Fri Jul 04, 2008 at 02:40:02 PM EST
    I don't follow polls until after the convention, and even then...not always so much.

    I don't seem to feel as passionately optimistic as you are pessimistic about his chances, more like cautiously so.

    Anything can happen between now and the GE, but I'd wager pretty heavily Obama has nothing to worry about in traditionally easy Dem win states like California.


    No (none / 0) (#29)
    by tek on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:56:38 AM EST
    he carried Marin County.

    Marin County does not represent the (none / 0) (#74)
    by my opinion on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:44:31 AM EST
    Bay Area. It is more conservative and wealthy.

    Yep (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:49:44 AM EST
    There's no way he would do or say this in GA. Of course, GA is out of contention for him but he'd be all Donnie McClurkin down here.

    Plus he is really NOT an advocate (5.00 / 5) (#49)
    by talex on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:01:51 AM EST
    of Gay Marraige. He still says he "will continue to fight for civil unions as president".

    So yeah this is just another example of opportunism - not changing his mind.

    Why is it that almost everyday this guy politically panders to the Dems and then somehow EVERYDAY ends up screwing the Dems in some fashion? He keeps driving me further and further away from him, not because what I think about him but because of his own actions.

    I am going to be sad and proud to not vote for our nominee the first time ever. Sad because I always thought it is our duty to vote. Proud because I put the future of the Party ahead of blind partisanship, and not voting for him is better for the future of the Party.

    There really is only one way to send a message to these center hugging Republican-Lite candidates...

    And that is with our vote. If we keep voting for them then we will keep getting them. If we withhold our vote then and only then will they listen to us. Sad but true. Also very patriotic.


    "fight for civil unions" (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:18:11 AM EST
    Heck, I don't want him to fight for civil unions.

    One of the toughest arguments for proponents to overcome with people who are neutral or only slightly pro gay marriage is why civil unions aren't good enough and why just having equal benefits doesn't satisfy all these demanding advocates.

    Given the way his base stampedes to rationalize every stand he takes, no matter how new or opposite his previous statements, his support for civil unions and 'separate but equal' brand equality will only make it harder to argue that civil unions just aren't good enough.


    Civill Unions are good enough (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:23:52 AM EST
    as long as straights are willing to accept them too.  That's the answer to the "why aren't they good enough" question.

    Then churches can do what they want.  And we all know any gay couple who wants to be married can find a church willing to do it.

    So, your follow up question back to these people should be to question why a church that wants to marry a gay couple isn't allowed their religious freedom to do so....


    Not separate but equal (none / 0) (#84)
    by waldenpond on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:08:27 AM EST
    I thought they were equal so I never worried about the language difference, but someone who understands the law wrote here that 'civil unions' do not confer the same legal rights as 'marriage' in several instances.  I remember one of the examples given was health insurance.  Apparently there is historical language that covers those that are 'married.'  I would expect corps will see if it will be more profitable to cover those with civil unions or drag out the issue with lawsuits.  

    well, tat's why i say they are only equal (5.00 / 3) (#99)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:40:28 AM EST
    if straights have to accept them too.  Then ALL the other legal language which refers to marriage would have to be changed to be "unioned".

    And in the end gays would also get married in a church too and still use the term marriage.

    So, why all the stupid fuss, just give gays marriage now and be done with it.

    The whole argument is silly.  If opponents don;t want to give gays marriage based on religion, we just need to point out that there are churches that approve of gay marriage, so that's not an issue unless you plan to discriminate against SOME churches over others.

    If some oppose it because of children, then you just have to point out that "childless" straight couples get married all the time and it is legal for gays to adopt.

    There isn't any argument against gay marriage that can't be logically challenged with actual circumstances as they exist.


    How about equal rights for everyone (none / 0) (#154)
    by PssttCmere08 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:13:39 PM EST
    concerning hitching up with someone....and concentrating on oh, I don't know, maybe FISA!
    obama will probably have a few more changes of heart on gay marriage before this is over anyway.

    Google Anglachel's Journal (7/1/08) (4.00 / 1) (#113)
    by hairspray on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:04:49 AM EST
    for a really good analysis of what is happening in the Democratic Party today and how Barack fits into it. "No Where Else to Go."   Excellent read!

    Arnie isn't exactly a neocon (none / 0) (#71)
    by dianem on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:41:19 AM EST
    He is the kind of Republicans Californian's tend to elect as governor - moderate. He has always been okay with gay marriage. Not quite in favor, but not going to work very hard to oppose it.

    if memory serves (none / 0) (#122)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:41:02 AM EST
    Arnie hasn't been any too solid with his position on this eitehr.

    When the courts decided, he said the legislature needed to decide.  when the legislature decided, he said the courts need to decide.

    He finally has come around when the Supreme Court weighed in.


    Ahnold vetoed (none / 0) (#158)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:28:11 PM EST
    the gay marriage bill passed by the Democratic Legislature....

    But he was prescient about the California Supreme Court's ruling.  The case has been percolating through the system for a long, long time.  Ahnold has said for months if not years he would have to comply with the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, warning off conservatives...

    He knew what many did not.  On the eve before the ruling was made public, an openly gay Supreme Court clerk abruptly resigned.  Many thought he did so because of an anticipated adverse ruling....The ruling was somewhat of a surprise....especially because the court had invalidated the marriages allowed by Gavin Newsome.

    Let's see if it sticks....The initiative battle will be close....  


    any money I would have donated to Clinton's (none / 0) (#162)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:40:47 PM EST
    general election campaign will now be going to help uphold marriage equality in CA instead of going to Obama or the DNC.

    If it holds up, I think within a year we will have marriage equality in MA, CA, NJ, NY and possibly many of the smaller north east states.

    NY will have it by default now because they are accepting legal marriages performed outside NY even if performed in another country.

    NJ has just reviewed their civil unions for equality and has reported the failings of that equality.  So, the courts will probably for full marriage rights there.

    And, if DOMA is repealed, I don't see how the feds can withhold benefits if you have a legal CA marriage even if you no longer reside in CA.  I don't think federal benefits depend on your state of residence.


    The incremental approach is the best one (none / 0) (#171)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:06:03 PM EST
    It may take more time but the gains will be more solid......

    Good for him. (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by OrangeFur on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:50:23 AM EST
    It doesn't seem to be too big a risk--after all, even Schwarzenegger is opposing the amendment. But still, it's the right decision.

    Still waiting for the national Democratic Party to do more to actually promote marriage equality, rather than not oppose it.

    He is not for marriage equality (none / 0) (#50)
    by talex on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:03:24 AM EST
    Read the quote in the diary again. Civil Unions are not marriage equality.

    I agree. (5.00 / 0) (#145)
    by OrangeFur on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:55:26 PM EST
    I meant that opposing the California amendment is really the least one can do, and that's all that most Democrats, including Obama, are willing to do.

    On the civil unions vs. marriage issue, I strongly believe that anything short of marriage is discrimination, and I remain highly disappointed, though not surprised, that national Democrats haven't led on this issue.

    Back when Vermont instituted civil unions, it was a big step forward, and a courageous step as well--just as separate but equal was a big step over separate and unequal. But we've moved well beyond that now. Civil unions now are an inadequate consolation prize.


    Why? (none / 0) (#68)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:34:55 AM EST
    I really don't get this.  How is a civil union different than a marriage in any form other than name?

    Perfect is the enemy of good.


    Separate but Equal? (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by northeast73 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:42:54 AM EST
    A very poor analogy (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:13:51 AM EST
    And if you read the history of segregation you would know why.

    They are the same (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Panhandle on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:05:10 AM EST
    Marriage is something performed by a church, civil unions are where all the rights from the state come from. Should a church be required to marry a gay couple? No, they should be allowed to be the intolerant bigots they want to be, but the state shouldn't have a choice. I got ordained and perform weddings; I'd marry a gay couple that wants to.. however they have to go through the state for the certificate and official stuff, so it's the states that need to be changed. I think it's a shame that in an effort to fight for a word choice the important stuff gets lost in the argument. It should be about the rights involved, not the word choice.

    Also I find this pretty consistent as far as Obama goes. He opposes a Constitutional amendment banning it.. I thought that was the case all along. Doesn't mean he supports the word choice, cause he's probably smart enough to realize that the word choice isn't the important thing and it ruins the argument with low-info voters.


    Marriage is not a church issue (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:40:47 AM EST
    You can get married in a church all day long, but at the end of the day, you need a state-issued marriage license to actually be married. That makes it a state issue.

    Also, defining marriage as a church issue is rather insulting to people who don't have religious ceremonies. I guess that my wife and I aren't really married, because we did not have the word "god" uttered at our wedding.

    The line "marriage is performed by a church" has been used as a cop-out by politicians who fear that saying "gay" and "marriage" in one sentence will cost them votes.

    Civil unions are only useful as a stepping stone to actual equality.


    it's word choice (none / 0) (#119)
    by Panhandle on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:38:03 AM EST
    in my opinion the reason we don't currently have civil unions is because of the argument over the word "marriage". Is that right? of course not, but stupidity is a renewable resource in America. civil unions are what the state endorses, yes, they call it marriage, but "marriage" is only a word. Are you and your wife "married" despite any religious inclinations. yes, but if it was called a civil union would it be any less of a commitment between you? instead of fighting for equal rights, it's become a fight over verbage.

    there are already two different terms (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:02:04 PM EST
    states issue "civil marriage" licenses.  Churches have marriage ceremonies.

    No church is required to perform a wedding for any opposite sex couple now, so I don't understand why anyone thinks any church would be forced to perform a same sex wedding.

    Atheists are perfectly capable of being called "married" without ever stepping foot inside a church.  So, marriage is NOT a religious word.  If it were, justices of the peace, ship's captains and Elvis impersonators wouldn't be allowed to "marry" people.

    There exist today MANY churches that are willing to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples.  But, the state is currently not allowing them their religious freedom to do so.  And because of this, the state is favoring some religions over others.  Which I thought was illegal.


    this is simply not true either.... (4.00 / 1) (#157)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:21:05 PM EST
    Many of the states tat adopted constitutional ammendments banning gay marriage included language that also banned ANYTHING that approximated marriage under another name.  Thus these states have also banned civil unions and even baneed giving partial legal right to same sex couples.

    One mid west state, I don't recall which one, just forced state universities to stop giving benefits to same sex partners of employees because of the wording in their constitutional ban of same sex marriage.

    So, to claim if we just fought for civil unions and not marriage everyone would be happy to give it to us is just plain wrong.


    do you advocate changing (none / 0) (#139)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:33:55 PM EST
    state issue licenses to "civil union" licenses for ALL couples both straight and gay?  If so, then I'll go along with you.

    And, if you check the results for civil unions in NJ, you will find out they aren't equal.  The "word choice" has been proven to be very important.


    Actually I like that idea. (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:59:24 PM EST
    IIRC some places in Europe have two separate ceremonies. One is a civil ceremony (necessary) and the other is in church (option?).

    If I had my way, America would give licenses for the civil transaction only and everyone would participate in a City Hall type environment to obtain the rights that go along with what is now called marriage. Only those wishing to have their union blessed by a religious organization would then have a marriage ceremony. It would be up to each individual place of worship to decide under what circumstances they would be willing to perform the ceremony.

    Don't think that will ever happen here but I like this way better than  the way we approach it now.


    and then in those cases in Europe (none / 0) (#152)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:07:21 PM EST
    where the couple chooses NOT to have the church ceremony, is the couple still referred to as "married"?  And, are they still treated in public as "married" and do they still refer to each other as spouses and husbands and wives?

    And, if these are all true, doesn't it just prove that the term "marriage" isn't owned by the church?


    I'm google challenged (none / 0) (#181)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:16:00 PM EST
    I can't find the info that I originally read about some European dual ceremonies. Wikipedia does have some interesting info on countries and how they handle gay marriage. Basically doing a quick read, quite a few countries bestow equal rights to gay couples using various terms such as marriage, civil marriage, civil unions, civil partnerships and registered partnerships. You need to go down to the bottom of the page and access the different categories if you are interested.

    I guess where I was going with my original statement was a way to completely separate the actual rights into some kind of civil transaction for everyone straight or gay and let the churches etc. have the word "marriage." While I agree that the word marriage should not be owned by the churches, here in the U.S. the word marriage translates to into a religious thing for too, too many people and thus in their minds carries with it the religious restrictions.

    if all rights were bestowed outside of religion using a term other than marriage, it is my understand that gay couples can find religious "marriage" ceremonies if they want them.  


    Oh, I get it... (4.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Upstart Crow on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:05:56 PM EST
    Low-info voters are the ones who don't agree with you?

    It would be nice if liberals started respecting those who hold other opinions.

    I saw that so much with the Hillary race. Those who didn't vote for Obama -- Puerto Ricans, West Virginians, older women -- were bigots, racists, low-info voters, etc.

    I think the liberal movement -- and Obama in particular -- are headed for a big kick in the can for precisely this subtle contempt. It's all over this thread.


    I agree (none / 0) (#87)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:13:03 AM EST
    A marriage is defined by the 2 people involved in it.  A civil union is a legal relationship entitling 2 people to various rights.

    Calling a same sex union a marriage isn't going to change how people view that relationship.


    then why (none / 0) (#151)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    are you willing to call an opposite sex union that was never religiously blessed in a church a marriage?

    One way it is differnt is this: (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by talex on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:40:37 AM EST
    A civil union is only recognized in the state it was preformed. Unlike a marriage it doesn't transfer across state lines. So if the couple wanted to move to another state their rights of union do not go with them. That is a big problem.

    I also belive that Federal benefits are not covered in a civil union. So for instance survivors Social Security rights are non-existent as would other federal benefits be.


    But (none / 0) (#103)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:49:37 AM EST
    A state doesn't have to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state if they don't want to, any more than they have to recognize (offensive analogy coming) an incestuous marriage if I can find some country that will let me marry my sister.

    That's certainly true under DOMA, and before DOMA it was already true under the public policy exception to the full faith and credit clause.

    The label makes no difference in terms of whether other states are required to recognize it.  A same-sex marriage is what it is, and either states will choose to recognize it or they won't.


    Well you have to put a label (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by talex on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:55:24 AM EST
    on what advocates of gay marriage are fighting for so they tent to separate the term civil unions and marriage as meaning different things.

    I don't have time to explain the entire thing but there is plenty online to read about it.

    Bottomline is people want to have the same legal and recognizable rights as heterosexual couple have wherever they may choose to live.


    The easy fix.... (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:11:27 PM EST
    is get the govt. out of the marriage business...which they never should have been involved with in the first place.  As far as the govt. will be concerned every partnership is a civil union, the individuals and their place of worship can call it whatever they want....marriage, partners, torture, what have you.

    check the results in New Jersey (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:50:00 AM EST
    if you want to why they aren't EQUAL.  IT's because even though they are supposed to have ALL the rights of marriage, they don't really have them.  People and employers and companies find loop holes around the rights because many laws or company policies apply to the term "marriage" specifically.

    good point (4.00 / 0) (#127)
    by Panhandle on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:47:48 AM EST
    not being personally affected by the issue, i didn't realize some of the finer points of the problem. it's hard to believe that equal rights is such a difficult concept for so many...

    when the opposition (none / 0) (#137)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:30:09 PM EST
    continually defines this as "SPECIAL" rights, it's easier to believe.  

    When many blacks continually act offended if gays claim the issue as "CIVIL" rights, it's easier to believe.  

    When the opposition claims we already have the same EQUAL right to marry anyone of the opposite sex we want to and they don't get laughed off the stage for saying it, it's easier to believe.

    When politicians like Obama take a stand that we must tolerate gay bigotry because it is rooted in deeply held religious beliefs, it's easier to believe.


    Not equal (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:59:16 PM EST
    I have posted on this before. When New Jersey passed its civil union law a little while back, part of the law created a commission to study this very issue. After the NJ law had been in effect for awhile, I think a year but not sure on this, the commission went to work.

    The conclusion? Civil unions are not equal to marriage. One of the problems is societal recognition. That is, society in general does not consider them to be the same. So, people feel free to continue to discriminate because in their minds marriage is what really counts.

    Let's take health insurance. Unless a company has a policy that affirmatively includes civil unions, companies have refused to cover same-sex partners. The policy says "marriage," the same-sex couple is not "married", so no health insurance. Generally speaking, only large corporations, usually more national as opposed to locally owned, include provisions for same-sex partners. And, in the scheme of things, not all that many large corps. do this.

    They are not equal. No amount of saying it makes it so.


    I'll want to read a detailed account of (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by EL seattle on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:57:17 AM EST
    what Obama said in that letter.  Specifically what the story means by "similar efforts in other states".  Is that all similar efforts in all states?  Past and present, or only future efforts?

    The way the excerpt is written, it sounds like Obama is throwing the idea that "states should make their own decisions on marriage" under the bus in a big way.  But I doubt if this is the case.  Perhaps he's personally opposed to the bans, but as president his policy would be that he's "constitutionally forced to recognize" that this is a state's decision that he has no power over.  He can hope that the states allow the marriages or civil unions, but golly, it's not his call to make, so good luck!

    I'm sure we'll be getting more clarification on this over the next few cycles.

    Jeralyn the link for the letter (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:00:47 AM EST
    does not work for me. Would be interested in reading the actual letter before commenting. Thanks.

    MO Blue (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:11:41 AM EST
    I posted a working link below, see comment #54.

    Thanks Valhalla, Much Appreciated n/t (none / 0) (#70)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:38:08 AM EST
    It's interesting (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:31:39 AM EST
    that Obama is taking this step at the exact same time he's aggressively reaching out to evangelicals in other ways.

    The implication seems to be that whatever else he's willing to offer the evangelicals, discrimination is not on the table, which is a great message.

    Respectfully disagree (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Upstart Crow on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:45:57 AM EST
    I think it shows an enormous lack of consistency, and it would seem to point to what others are already figuring out: He really doesn't have any values, other than getting votes. He'll say whatever he needs to say to get whatever he can get -- and he'll hope the wires don't cross.

    Why pander to the evangelicals -- and that was a phony move if ever there was one -- if you're going to turn around and do this?  He doesn't seem to value the efforts of his staff and supporters who helped him formulate that particular pander -- licked the stamps, wrote the copy, made the phone calls.

    He doesn't seem to get that you can't be everybody's best friend.

    Where is the real Barack Obama in all this? Has anyone at all figured this out?

    This all really strikes me as so cynical.


    Well (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:45:47 AM EST
    I think Obama is banking on evangelicals caring about things other than gay marriage.

    Younger Evangelicals care less (none / 0) (#159)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:29:45 PM EST
    about that than their parents....

    strikes me as just the opposite (5.00 / 3) (#80)
    by tben on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:56:13 AM EST
    Perhaps all you need to realize is that Obama is simply NOT accepting the stereotypical categorization of the electorate that all of us have internalized recently.

    Just because someone is an evangelical does not mean that person necessarily is an anti-gay bigot - even the loudest and most prominent evangelical political leaders are. So by reaching out to evangelicals, but also making clear his position on some gay issues, he is trying to carve out those evangelicals who have values consistent with the Democratic party.

    They exist in other areas as well - enviornmental issues (the "we should be good stewards of god's creation" movement), and economic as well - lots of evangelicals are working class folks who are amenable to Democratic ideas on the economy.

    And it is not just evangelicals. Too often, when Obama goes after some traditionally non-Democratic group, the shallow thinkers start screaming about how he is selling out, as if he simply wants to adopt the positions of that non-Democratic group. But what he seems to be doing is to try to find those segments of those groups that can be persuaded, and those particular issues on which the persuading can take place.

    I think the evidence of the past year is that the guy is a pretty damn smart politician - and the strategy he is persuing - of finding a reason to get people to identify with us, and then using that to flip their allegiances to us, is basic, smart, party and movement building.


    Your last graf (5.00 / 5) (#83)
    by zyx on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:07:30 AM EST
    reminds me of what Bush's supporters said about him for all those beginning years--that he was really a very smart guy who was going to make a "permanent Republican majority".

    I don't think "Obama the Great Uniter" is The One, sorry. This business of how nobody is supposed to give money to other Democratic groups, but only to Obama Himself? Get all united and all? We aren't supposed to have any other agenda except to let him set it? He can just go shove it. I don't do Big Man Thinks For Me. Then he cloaks it all in this "it's all about YOU". Gawd, he sounds like the Soviet-Marxists.

    Won't work. A few sheeple like it, but heck, my BFF, who is black, wrote me a discontented e-mail about Obama yesterday. Yes, she did confess that she thought Obama was different--sheepishly. She's angry about FISA. And she notices the campaign money and she'll notice everything else.


    I guess you think that is a snarky insult (1.00 / 0) (#102)
    by tben on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:43:43 AM EST
    but I dont see what the problem is about Bush supporters having hoped, at one time, that W would be someone to build an enduring Republican majority. I suspect every new leader has supporters who hope that the leader will build a majority - isnt that the whole point of political leadership? And why do you think that pointing to one politician who failed miserably at that (Bush) is somehow relevant to what Obama will or will not accomplish?

    You dont think he is "The One"? Well gee, thats nice. I dont know what "The One" is, so I am not hoping anyone is that, so I really dont know what you mean. But hey, you think he is some kind of commie, so maybe you should be arguing with the regulars around here. That would be enlightening.

    Sheeple, huh? Oh, this is the part where us Obama supporters get educated about how to speak respectfully to half of our party. Hmmmm


    Funny, you, again! (none / 0) (#169)
    by zyx on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:02:07 PM EST
    I mean, you don't get that when you say " But what he seems to be doing is to try to find those segments of those groups that can be persuaded, and those particular issues on which the persuading can take place" that what we're seeing is a guy who is trying to be everything to everybody. Progun, antigun, pro-this, anti-this.

    If that works for you, good for you! But count me out. No snark.


    hey, what can I say? (none / 0) (#170)
    by tben on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:05:56 PM EST
    I think we all have a right to bear arms, and I also think that communities have a right to regulate arms. I tend to oppose extreme positions on either side. That means I can relate to SOME of the things that either side says.

    What a complicated world we live in. I got me a candidate who deals with that. So I'm in.
    See ya later...


    Correct me if I'm ,wrong (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:13:25 AM EST
    but I think there is literally no such thing as an evangelical to whom gay marriage isn't a deal breaker, however much some may be interested in things like saving the environment and actually helping the poor.  Younger, more liberal evangelicals that Obama is trying to reach out to think the nearly single-minded focus of the James Dobsons and Pat Robertsons on abortion and gays doesn't make sense, but that doesn't mean they aren't themselves vehemently opposed to abortion and gay marriage.

    The number of gay-marriage-supporting evangelicals available to be peeled off for the Dem. Party would fit in a phone booth, IMHO.


    I think you are wrong about that (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by tben on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:26:17 AM EST
    Attitudes about gays are changing dramatically along generational lines, and that extends into the evangelical community as well.

    Although this doesnt fully address that issues, or all the issues I raise, this story is pointed at the general phenomenon that I am referring to, and to the opportunities (to make the Dems a real majority party again) that Obama is pursuing.



    Good article (5.00 / 0) (#138)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:31:22 PM EST
    that says essentially what I said above.  It doesn't, however, address the issue of gay marriage.  I'm deeply skeptical that any significant number of evangelicals, even the younger folks, would be willing to accept gay marriage.  THey might possibly be willing to live with civil unions, although I'm dubious about even that.

    Having lived now in two states where the issue is high-profile, Mass. and Vermont, I've seen how deeply emotionally entrenched the feeling is among thank goodness a decreasing minority of people.  But when we've still got a sizable minority of folks in those two very liberal states who can't accept the idea at all, I have a hard time believing there's much tolerance for it in even the younger evangelical community.


    Younger Evangelicals (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:35:19 PM EST
    won't support gay marriage....But the thing is their peers are in favor of allowing it in such large numbers, that they know they are out of step....

    They could well vote for Obama for other reasons....and I cannot see many younger religious folk getting worked up over the issue.  Peer pressure can be a good thing....

    The tide is turning....We are very close to having a resigned acceptance among younger religious people to gay marriage....



    Nice link tben (none / 0) (#185)
    by laurie on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:52:26 PM EST
    Here's another on the same subject from annabellep

    makes for interesting reading;-)


    I don't agree (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:39:15 AM EST
    There are millions of people who oppose gay marriage but don't see it as a deal-breaker, because it's simply not that critical an issue to them.

    The idea that 100% of the evangelicals in this country oppose gay marriage so strongly that they will never, ever vote for a candidate who supports gay marriage, regardless of any other issues they may agree on, strikes me as a little nutty.


    SteveM, you exaggerate (none / 0) (#141)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:35:53 PM EST
    what I said above, so of course it's nutty.

    You said (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:41:06 PM EST
    there is literally no such thing as an evangelical to whom gay marriage isn't a deal breaker

    Unless you mean something by "deal breaker" other than the commonly accepted definition, I find it hard to understand how I exaggerated your position.

    My position is that there are some evangelicals who will never, ever vote for a politician who supports gay marriage, but there are also many evangelicals who would be open to supporting that politician if they agree on other, more important issues.  If you disagree with me, please explain why.


    Possible change in focus (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by waldenpond on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:11:03 AM EST
    I watched an interesting program on college age evangelicals.  There was a large difference in what the lived in their personal lives versus what they wanted legislatively.  The focus was on charity, social service and care for the environment.  There were a number of young people who defined themselves openly as Dems in a conservative environment because these issues were more pressing for them.

    wouldn't the entire world be.... (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:34:22 PM EST
    a much happier place if people with religious convictions decided they would live their own lives based on those convictions without feeling the need to force everyone else to live that way through legislation.

    I always thought that was the point behind separation of church and state anyway.


    As I said above (none / 0) (#140)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:34:57 PM EST
    However, all major Dem politicians have very publicly refused to endorse gay marriage.  Obama's letter is the first exception to that I'm aware of.  We'll have to wait and see what the reaction is, and whether he walks back from it as "inartful" at some point.

    But his letter doesn't endorse (none / 0) (#166)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:57:07 PM EST
    gay marriage.  It has all sorts of vague-y wording about encouraging their efforts and equality, but  1) doesn't mention marriage; and 2) doesn't contradict a single thing he's said in the past about it being a states rights issue.

    All he's opposing is efforts to amend state constitutions to ban gay marriage.  Which is better than a flat-out states-rights  only statement, but not really an endorsement.

    For major Dems, Al Gore has endorsed gay marriage.  And, I understand, so does Eliot Spitzer, but I'm not so sure about really broadcasting that now.  Of course, Gore has nothing to lose politically now, so his endorsement is not quite the same as Dems who are looking at active campaigns.


    Lets face it (none / 0) (#168)
    by tben on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:01:37 PM EST
    Gay marriage was the most ludicrous, way out position imaginable in the very recent past (I am old enough to have been politically aware in pre-Stonewall days). Gay marriage will probably be widely accepted before I die (fingers crossed). That is an enormous distance for society to travel in a relatively short time. We are in the early to middle stage of that evolution. Obama seems to be positioning himself in a position that points to where we need to go, is somewhat ahead of the center of gravity of society, but is still rhetorically connected to that mass of people who could slow the train down if they mobilize their energy.

    We can be all self-righteous and fantasize about leaders who are ideologically pure, but they never accomplish anything. Its a very delicate balance - one can argue, for instance, that getting just a small bit too far out in front, as Bill did on gays in the military (and even there he kinda fell into that rather than leading some charge) provoked a reaction that played a big role in handing the Congress to the reactionaries for more than a decade.

    I am guessing, and I recognize it is a guess, that Obama is threading the needle in the appropriate way for now.


    Two words (none / 0) (#188)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jul 04, 2008 at 12:01:49 AM EST
    Donnie McClurkin.

    I could buy what you're saying here except for that.

    I have learned not to trust this guy any further than I can throw him.

    Still, one of the very few things I can give him credit for is this letter, particularly given who it was sent to.

    OTOH, there's McClurkin and the refusal to be photographed with Gavin Newsom, etc.

    Personally, I prefer a politician who stakes out a position and sticks to it, even if it's not 100 percent what I want, to somebody whose position I'm constantly having to guess at.


    How is discrimination (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by The Realist on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:40:38 AM EST
    and equality a States Rights issue? While I would disagree, i don't understand it when he says he believes in one man and one woman. Obama supporters kept claiming that his church was and open and affirming church and supportive of same sex marriage. If this is the case, where does his one man and one woman belief come from?

    "Separate but equal" = Jim crow. One would think he would understand that.      

    How many gay marriages were (none / 0) (#167)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:58:20 PM EST
    performed at his open and affirming Church, I wonder?

    It's Nothing But (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by JimWash08 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 05:20:42 AM EST
    Pandering For Votes. Period.

    Watch him chuck everything he's promised at the rubbish collection corner on Pennsylvania Ave. on Jan 21 (should he win).

    Count me on among the cynical (5.00 / 11) (#20)
    by Pol C on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:42:49 AM EST
    Given Obama's history, this looks like pandering that he's trying to keep as quiet as possible. A press release containing a "carefully nuanced statement" looks like something he can parse and back away from if the heat is on.

    When he wants to start allowing his picture to be taken with gay-rights leaders, I'll start believing he's turned around on this.

    When he wants to start to appearing at gay-pride events, like Hillary unabashedly did, I'll start believing he's turned around on this.

    When he wants to give a speech supporting gay rights in clear, unequivocal language, I'll start believing he's turned around on this.

    Principles, beliefs, and commitments mean nothing until you're in a situation where they can cost you. A press release containing a "carefully nuanced statement" would be hard to use against him. The stuff I bring up would. When he wants to go Hillary Clinton's route and effectively say, "Go ahead. Use it against me. I don't care. Right is right," I'll believe there's something to it.

    well said (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by northeast73 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:18:53 AM EST
    nipping this in the bud (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Edgar08 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:10:27 AM EST
    if this a strawman, my bad.

    If I'm missing some snark, my bad.

    Let us rise and give a standing ovation for the brave obama who takes a stand against...... Discrimination.

    Let us rise and give a standing ovation for the brave obama who takes a stand against..... A constitutional ban on gay marriage.

    What about a standing ovation for being against sending more troops into Iraq?

    A round of applause for being against lower taxes for the upper two percent?

    I hope the point I'm making here is a strawman.

    I hope I am missing some snark.

    It would be the neat trick of movement to pillory one politician for not going far enough and then to cheer on another politician for bravely doing the bare minimum.

    Its a breath of fresh air to see the kids get brought up out of triple A but I'm not one to stand up and cheer when they work a walk.

    not to accept your metaphor (2.00 / 0) (#85)
    by tben on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:08:52 AM EST
    as having anything whatsoever to do with the political situation today,...

    but I certainly am one who cheers on a rookie just up from AAA when he works a walk. Its because I have some sense of the learning curve that rooks are facing, the pressures they are under, and I have this deep abiding hope that they succeed. Working a walk is actually a very good sign - it shows an ability to stay within yourself, to be calm in the face of a diversity of incoming, to exercise your judgement correctly as to the quality of that incoming - not to flail away at things in a desparate attempt to make your mark - and a willingness to advance the teams cause in the small way that happens to be appropriate at that particular moment in the game.
    In other words - it shows maturity and basic competence, and is a very good sign of things to come. So yeah, I stand and cheer.

    Baseball is cool. This has nothing to do with todays political world though...


    I don't (5.00 / 0) (#93)
    by Edgar08 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:23:30 AM EST
    I think its nice I wouldnt say swing at the bad pitches, but I still think a .300 avg with a .350 obp is better than a .250 avg with a .350 obp.

    That's what I cheer for.

    I also think the analogy applies.


    Changing your mind just so you can be elected (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Saul on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:15:46 AM EST
    is not a very good trait.  Is there anything he won't do now to be elected.  I have more respect and trust for someone who sticks to their initial gut feelings and beliefs than someone one who is virtually changing before the voters eyes on what he initially  stood for.  I say a person like that cannot be trusted because you can not be sure he is sincere even if the change is in the right direction.

    Really? (none / 0) (#153)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:07:42 PM EST
    Before this was Obama going to lose votes because of his previous position, because that former position seems to me to be the general default Dem stance held by many of them.

    Who, exactly, is going to vote for him now in large numbers who weren't before he wrote this letter?


    Hm (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:18:05 PM EST
    I would hope that at least some liberals and members of the LGBT community feel more enthusiastic about Obama now than they did previously.

    Probably So (none / 0) (#178)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:40:48 PM EST
    But I was inferring from what you wrote that he would do anything to get elected that you felt there were people who wouldn't vote for him until he came out with this position.

    My sense is not many people will be voting for him after this who wouldn't have been before. Vice versa too, of course.


    For how long? Next week it may change (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by koshembos on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:25:17 AM EST

    Pandering? One of my closest friends, a huge (5.00 / 7) (#26)
    by Angel on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:32:02 AM EST
    Obama supporter, told me the other day that he is extremely disappointed in Obama.  Says he is pandering to whomever on any given day, and that he'll say whatever is necessary to win.  My friend is not happy, and he was drowning in the kool-aid during the primaries.  I wonder how much Obama's support is softening because of this.

    wan't the "say anything to win" (5.00 / 9) (#32)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:04:01 AM EST
    one of the BIG complaints that his most ardent supporters had about Clinton?

    Has Obama now decided that his loyal base now doesn't have anywhere else to go just like he decided about Clinton's 18 mil supporters?


    That's it exactly. (5.00 / 10) (#41)
    by Mike H on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:25:05 AM EST
    Clinton at least had a long record in the public eye.  Even as First Lady, she had positions, stances, and effort on the national and international levels.  She may have evolved over time, but there is a thread, a consistency, that is there if you are looking at her career with an unbiased eye (and not trying to prove she's the bride of Satan or secretly a Republican).

    With Obama, while there is a lot of fine rhetoric, actual actions are more scant, so his rhetoric is what built up a lot of his support and good will.  But now, on closer review, many people are seeing contradictions, reversals, and him distancing himself from previous speeches.

    It's disturbing because we really don't know what kind of president he would be, what he would truly take a stand for -- and what he'd back down on for the sake of "compromise" and "bipartisanship".

    I find this zig-zagging on gay rights very confusing, and don't trust him to be a firm ally for gay causes.


    my biggest fear with Obama (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:39:48 AM EST
    is that he would appoint judges to satisfy the "compromise" and "bipartisanship" theme in order to avoid fights and we would end up replacing reliably liberal judges, who are the ones ready to retire, with moderates like O'Connor.  And, being a dem, it would be difficult for a dem controlled senate to not confirm them.

    What we need is reliably liberal judges to replace the liberals we have now.  And they need to be younger and healthier than Roberts and Alito.

    With McCain, it would be easier for a dem senate to stand their ground and not even let nominees out of committee.


    Interesting (none / 0) (#48)
    by Lil on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:00:53 AM EST
    I still gotta root for the Dem, however.

    Why? Which program, iniative, (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by zfran on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:06:47 AM EST
    idea, position etc. do you agree with.He changes, panders, equalizes, vastly compromises, etc. every position on everything. Dem values, w/Obama, imo, cease to exist in any form I as a staunch, long-term (about to be independent) dem. can identify.

    This is snark, right? (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by samanthasmom on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:09:38 AM EST
    "Good on Obama. He's not afraid to change his mind."

    positive reframing (none / 0) (#47)
    by Lil on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:57:32 AM EST
    of the "flip-flop" charge, which I never understood anyway. Isn't a good leader someone who is willing to listen to all aspects and then be willing to change their mind? I'm not saying Obama's motives are pure. I'm just saying what's wrong with changing your mind? It drove me crazy when Kerry got labeled a flip flopper and it stuck. I think that trait would have been much preferable to stubborn one-way thinking. I appreciate the try at reframing to changing one's mind. That said, I'm still not thrilled with Obama, and I just can't believe that, because a year ago I couldn't wait to get behind the Dem nominee.

    this would be true.... (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:15:23 AM EST
    if Obama announced the reasoning he used to come to his new position.  But, have you heard that from him?

    Doesn't he usually just say that his position hasn't "changed" his previous statements were just "inartful"

    Doesn't this very post have a statement from Obama's campaign saying this is not a change in his position?


    Actually no (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by angie on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:18:43 AM EST
    you asked:

    Isn't a good leader someone who is willing to listen to all aspects and then be willing to change their mind?

    A good leader has strong core convictions that s/he does not abandon to make himself more "likable" to whomever s/he happens to be talking to.


    Positions (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Kate Stone on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:35:24 AM EST
    Like George W. Bush?

    You mean that as snark (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by angie on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:10:13 AM EST
    but the fact is, GWB's "positions" (I call them "convictions") were always very clear to me, which is why I have never voted for him & why I am very sure that I did the right thing by not voting for him. With Obama, I'm having a hard time being able to know what exactly what his convictions are and that does not make me inclined to vote for him.  

    No snark intended. (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Kate Stone on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:19:12 AM EST
    Thanks for the clarification.  I will agree that Obama is not clear on many issues and I believe there are more to come like that.  Iraq pull outs for one.  Politics is politics.  We know that.  But as another poster here noted, Obama doesn't give us information on why he changed positions.  He makes speeches so obtuse that it is hard to tell what he is thinking.  My hunch is that his primary campaign position on Iraq will change in the GE and again when he is in the WH.  I hope he doesn't obfuscate but tells us clearly what his thinking was on the issue.  As for marriage equality -- his position has not changed.  It was easy for him to state he does not support the amendment.

    he doesn't give us reason for wht he changed (5.00 / 0) (#109)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:55:58 AM EST
    because he doesn't ever admit there was a change.  He denies the first position ever existed...

    Agreed -- principles are not negotiable (5.00 / 5) (#72)
    by aquarian on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:42:10 AM EST
    There is a difference between negotiable political issues (how to amend the tax code) and core principles.  I accept that reasonable people will disagree over the death penalty, gay marriage, and abortion.  But these are principles and I cannot trust people who pick "a middle ground."  Gosh darn it, there is no place for nuance on the death penalty -- you are either for it or against it.  Same with gay marriage.  Candidates must pick one answer or say they are hopelessly conflicted and haven't made up their minds yet.  And for heaven's sake -- they should think about it before they answer the question -- I hate it when candidates "change their minds" because I suspect their old and new positions are not based on principles at all.

    As for FISA, there is only one principled position IMO.  But that's just me and no one is paying me to take a position.  


    The ground up approach (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:11:19 AM EST
    Can't work on this issue. It does nothing but create confusion. The dinosaurs will return before gay marriage is apporved in at least a dozen states. This has to be a federal issue of civil rights.

    Laughed out loud at this: (5.00 / 11) (#36)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:13:24 AM EST
    He's not afraid to change his mind.

    No, he sure isn't.  And it must be so freeing for him, you know, that he can take a position today and change it whenever he wants, and can just act as if there was never any other position.

    I've also been wondering if he thinks he's got some kind of Get Smart-style "Cone of Silence," that makes him think that what he says to one group or in one venue is not heard anywhere else.  Ties in nicely with the ever-changing positions, though.

    Seriously, all snark aside, Obama may be the closest thing to the Hollow Man as I have ever seen.  His early speeches - including the one he gave at the convention in 2004 - were so well-crafted that millions of people were able to believe that this was a man of unparalleled integrity, who was the embodiment of deep convictions and strong principles.  After years of unprincipled leadership and deep erosion of the democracy, he appeared to be "the" answer for what ailed us.

    Some still believe this man is different.  That he is the new politics.  That he is going to change the way things are done.

    I don't understand this, at all.  I don't see it, and Obama isn't actually doing it - he's not living his words, or acting on these alleged beliefs and principles.

    Remember when he said he was a blank slate that others could project their hopes and dreams on?  That may have been the only thing Obama has said that you could take to the bank.  He is a blank slate - and whatever is written there on any given day is what he will represent.

    This is so much worse and so much more that just something that can be explained by saying that "pols are pols."

    But, Obama said (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:22:22 AM EST
    words matter.  Remember when he gave his (well really Deval Patrick's)  "Just Words?" speech in response to Clinton's attacks that he was just  pretty speeches?

    How many more times does this stuff have to happen before his supporters wake up?

    When is the realization going to set in that Obama isn't the Obama that Obama thought he knew any more than Rev Wright, Tony Rezko, Fr Pfleger and the rest of the list?  


    IIRC Wasn't the "Just Words" Speech (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:52:06 AM EST
    the one that he "borrowed" from Deval?

    Obama is like MO weather. If you don't like his position, wait a minute, it will change. See, he is really is an agent of change.


    jeralyn, the link didn't work (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by cpinva on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:11:09 AM EST
    for me either. though i think the excerpt probably gives the core of the letter's contents.

    there's nothing inherently wrong in changing your mind, in response to new information, or perhaps a re-analysis of previously available data. that's the essence of true intellectual inquiry, the "scientific method" if you will.

    further, there's no law, cast in stone, requiring that X amount of time passes, before you're allowed to change your opinion, based on whatever new information or analysis becomes available. to argue otherwise is just, well, um, stupid.

    then we come to sen. obama. his changes of position (indeed, if they actually are!) seem predicated, not on receipt of new data or critical re-analysis of old data, but strictly for the purpose of appearing to agree with a specific segment of potential voters.

    as well, there's nothing inherently wrong with having a personal opinion on an issue, but supporting the rights of all to not have that position shoved on them, by legislative fiat.

    gov. kaine, of va, had this problem with the death penalty. he expressed his personal opposition, based on his catholic beliefs, but stated that he would, as gov., follow the law. he won.

    the big problem with sen. obama is his failure to clearly articulate that which is personal belief, vs that which he supports for the population as a whole. he appears to be either supporting, publicly, two polar opposite positions, or changing positions, in the twinkling of an eye.

    neither is a comfort to the voters.

    link fixed (none / 0) (#94)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:24:31 AM EST
    sorry about that.

    Not afraid to change his mind?? (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by mrjerbub on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:29:01 AM EST
    It appears to be his entire M.O.

    In order to change your mind (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by daryl herbert on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:50:16 AM EST
    you have to make up your mind to begin with.  I think Sen. Obama just goes with the flow, taking the path of least resistance.  That's not an admirable quality in a president.  He will sign whatever Congress puts in front of him (like the FISA bill, for instance).

    How many days until Obama flip flops on Iraq?  I still think he is waiting for after the convention (can you imagine how dispiriting it would be for DNC delegates to show up in Denver and listen to Obama promise not to make a full withdrawal from Iraq?) but not too long after.


    iraq is off topic (none / 0) (#95)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:24:57 AM EST
    A teacher taught me this ... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by dianem on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:53:30 AM EST
    ...from the Rubiyat, by Omar Khayyam. It seems particularly appropriate right here.

    "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on, not all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it".  

    Flip Flops & Iraq... (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by mrmobi on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:53:39 AM EST
    How many days until Obama flip flops on Iraq?  I still think he is waiting for after the convention (can you imagine how dispiriting it would be for DNC delegates to show up in Denver and listen to Obama promise not to make a full withdrawal from Iraq?) but not too long after.

    I wonder if any of you here think that there's any real chance that Obama, if he wins the Presidency, will actually be able to get us out of Iraq in less than five years?

    I think not. Among the reasons I don't think this will be easy is that he'll have folks like some of you and a whole bunch of Republicans at the ready to brand him (and the Democratic Party) as defeatocrats. There is also the possibility of a genocidal bloodbath in the wake of our withdrawal from Iraq. Because we don't want that to happen (given our responsibility for creating this catastrof*ck) and because no President wants that kind of stain on his record, (see William Jefferson Clinton - Rwanda) this is going to be a long haul, IMHO.  

    Obama has given a clue as to how he might set the strategy, in the statement, "We must be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in." In the context of a Middle-East strategy that involves diplomacy and working with out allies, it's quite possible we'll still be in Iraq for at least another decade. But the truth is, no one knows what the situation will be in Iraq on Jan. 20th, 2009. For example, we may be at war with Iran. (see Seymour Hersh)

    Of course, for many of you here, that won't stop you from denigrating whatever position Obama takes on Iraq as the campaign moves forward. He can't change his position to react to events on the ground, because then he's a "flip-flopper." But he has made it clear that the strategy will be different, and that's all he can do until, and if, he takes office.

    As far as the ban on gay marriage and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of the military, he's clearly against them, and he has always supported civil unions (a position which fulfills most of the legal requirements for gay couples to enjoy the same rights as straights.)

    Again, people here and elsewhere won't be satisfied until he takes positions which make him virtually unelectable. It's a great strategy, if you goal is to lose in November.

    Lastly, a reminder, in case any of you haven't seen the MSM lately. If you're Republican, there is no such thing as a flip-flop. When John McCain changes positions, he is "reacting to events." (see Andrea Mitchell). When Obama changes positions, he's a "flip-flopper." (see John Kerry) Good to know.

    Interesting (4.66 / 3) (#115)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:10:38 AM EST
    So even though Americans, by a 2-1 margin, say that "bringing the troops home" should be a bigger priority for the next President than "winning the war," taking a stronger position on Iraq would make Obama virtually unelectable.  Uh huh.

    Just like during impeachment, there are two different Americas right now: one consisting of actual people who vote and have opinions, and one which has been invented out of whole cloth by the Beltway media.  In the media version of America, the surge has been a big success, the paradigm on Iraq has completely shifted, and now Obama is in a tough bind because he has to walk back his position from the Democratic primary based upon the new facts on the ground.  Meanwhile, in the real America, people are done with this war and want the troops home, just as they have for years.

    There could not have been a clearer mandate for getting out of Iraq than the 2006 election.  Yet the Democrats simply refuse to do it, and voters are not going to buy this "gee, we have to be really careful, it might take another decade" line for much longer.  No matter how much you berate people and tell them they're unreasonable for wanting us out of Iraq sooner rather than later, people are still going to hold that opinion and they're going to want Democrats to share it.


    Electability.... (none / 0) (#163)
    by mrmobi on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:42:07 PM EST
    There could not have been a clearer mandate for getting out of Iraq than the 2006 election.  Yet the Democrats simply refuse to do it, and voters are not going to buy this "gee, we have to be really careful, it might take another decade" line for much longer.  No matter how much you berate people and tell them they're unreasonable for wanting us out of Iraq sooner rather than later, people are still going to hold that opinion and they're going to want Democrats to share it.

    I would quibble that 2006 was not only about Iraq. By that late date even the information-impaired among us knew how badly this government was being run. I also get it that Democrats in congress only seem to come from the "weak-kneed" branch of humanity. Most of the time, I'm infuriated by the lack of backbone Democratic Representatives and Senators exhibit.

    So, for the most part, you are correct. Americans want this war drawn to a close. But their support will turn into condemnation the moment things start to go badly. They don't want a bloodbath, they don't want "surrender" and they won't (and shouldn't) accept a badly handled quick exit which results in even greater regional problems.

    So, imagine a fast, unilateral withdrawal from Iraq that results in the much discussed bloodbath, followed by a radical re-structuring of influence, with Iran becoming the pre-eminent power in the region (If it already isn't).

    Now, tell me that the next congressional election would not result in a landslide for Republicans. You could also pretty much assume that Democrats' national security credibility would be severely damaged.

    So, some care will need to be, and should be, taken. This isn't going to be fast enough for most Americans, IMHO. We (you and me and all Americans) are responsible for this catastrophe, and it would be monstrous to just leave the Iraqis to their own devices after all this, not to mention idiotic.

    I'm not berating anyone, I'm just pointing out that we have a responsibility to try and help correct the situation we have created. We don't have the luxury of using "Bush Lied, People Died" as an excuse for poor performance.

    Obama has said he would set the agenda, and implement a regional strategy. What would be different about his approach is that there would be a strategy. We don't seem to have one now, unless getting no-bid oil contracts for American conglomerates was the goal of the Iraq War. Ironic isn't it, that it turns out "no blood for oil" wasn't some radical DFH smear, but the truth?


    Heh (none / 0) (#165)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:49:56 PM EST
    So after Saigon fell and the South Vietnamese were slaughtered in large numbers, suddenly public opinion turned to outrage against the politicians who forced a withdrawal?  In fact, the opposite was the case.  By and large, people didn't really care.

    It's not like voters haven't heard all the arguments about how bad stuff may happen if we leave Iraq.  They've heard the arguments, and they want to leave Iraq anyway.  They understand that it may get messy.

    The most likely victims of any sort of ethnic cleansing in Iraq would be the Sunnis, and yet, they are practically united in wanting the Americans gone.

    I have heard all the arguments about why we need to stay in Iraq for several more years.  I reject them, as do millions of other voters.  People have made up their mind on this, it goes well beyond the passions of the moment, and at some point in a democracy you either let the people have their way or make room for someone who will.


    I'm not really sure how many NEW liberal dems (none / 0) (#172)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:15:21 PM EST
    were elected to congress in 2006 versus how many new conservative dems were elected such as Heath Schuler in NC.  And the conservative dems who were elected never supported timetables for getting out of Iraq and neither did the constituencies who elected them.

    I've never fully believed that the 2006 election results were a huge mandate about Iraq.

    There are too many different varieties of dems and those who vote for them to have any kind of lock-step agenda the way the repugs are always able to do with their members of congress.  Dems need a much larger majority in congress to be able to accomplish anything because they need to be able to get bills passed while still allowing many of their members to vote AGAINST bills that would cause them trouble in their home districts.


    Iraq (none / 0) (#180)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:09:00 PM EST
    was the defining issue of the 2006 elections, according to the exit polls, and not a single Democratic incumbent lost their seat.  Not one.

    Again, the latest poll shows that Americans favor "bringing our troops home" over "winning the war" by a 2-1 margin.  And you can't phase the wording any more favorably for the pro-war position than "winning the war"!  There's a national consensus that is crystal-clear to everyone except the Beltway media and the Democrats who slavishly lap up whatever narrative the media feeds them.


    Matthew 25 Network PAC Hits Christian Radio-Pro-O (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by SunnyLC on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:12:54 PM EST
    "Matthew 25 Network PAC Hits Christian Radio with Pro-Obama Ad as Christian Conservative Leaders Decide to Support McCain"

    Oh, boy...religion all the time...what issues will be overlooked by the barrage of religiousity??

    Obama's evangelical outreach is a (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:47:23 PM EST
    Obama's evangelical outreach is a
    strategy that takes advantage of the generational differences in the faith community.

    according to the times (none / 0) (#12)
    by boredmpa on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:02:31 AM EST
    "But his campaign said that Mr. Obama's opposition to the initiative, which will appear on the state's November ballot, did not signal a change in position. He remains opposed to same-sex marriage, but supports civil unions and domestic partnerships."


    in terms of Pol analysis (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by boredmpa on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:04:10 AM EST
    Of all the things to get nuanced on...that has to be the stupidest.  Conservatives won't follow the nuance and Liberals will /eyeroll at the lack of leadership.

    this isn't nuance... (5.00 / 7) (#18)
    by p lukasiak on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 06:23:02 AM EST
    its saying two completely different things --

    he's opposed to gay marriage.

    he's opposed to a ban on gay marriage.

    he wants to have it both ways -- and this combined with the rest of his ACTIONS strongly suggests that he will be absolutely horrible on gay rights.  


    I don't agree. (5.00 / 4) (#39)
    by brodie on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:20:00 AM EST
    Someone can be personally opposed to abortion, say, yet also opposed to a ban on it.

    I dont' see Obama's position on GM as any different from other Dem majors from the Dem wing of the party.  That is, no one wants to take point on this traditionally dicey issue, so they fall back on the safer CU/state matter positioning.  Not much news there.

    I can't think of a single pol of prominence in Congress or in a governor's office who's gone as far as Gavin Newsome and embraced and pushed for gay marriage.  Maybe someone knows of some big Dems who have come out for something stronger than Obama's MOR position.


    Marriage Equality (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Kate Stone on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:32:54 AM EST
    Gov. Patterson of New York

    Al Gore. (none / 0) (#147)
    by OrangeFur on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:57:15 PM EST
    But you're right in general--Democrats have been as courageous on this as they have been on anything else.

    Obama's position is better than Kerry's was (none / 0) (#27)
    by kempis on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:45:45 AM EST
    Kerry took one of those baroquely-nuanced positions of his: he support state constitutional bans on gay marriage as long as civil unions were permitted. He could have saved his breath because CW holds that Dems are for gay marriage, no matter what they say.

    Therefore, to this day people think Kerry expressed strong opposition to those gay marriage amendments on state ballots. He didn't. He expressed lukewarm support FOR them. It's just that the people who are motivated to vote by the desire to discriminate tend to vote GOP.

    So Obama's unequivocal opposition to CA's proposed "marriage amendment" is progress compared to Kerry's.

    I'll take it.

    It's good (none / 0) (#28)
    by tek on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:53:39 AM EST
    that he can change his mind?  Oh dear.

    He has always (none / 0) (#30)
    by cannondaddy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:58:35 AM EST
    been against a federal or constitutional ban on same sex marriage.  He said it should be left to the states.  I think he prefers civil unions but would rather have legal same sex marriage over discriminatory laws written to block it.

    well, isn't this a STATE initiative? (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:14:04 AM EST
    Is Obama for states being able to decide as long as they don't decide on a constitutional ban?

    I am totally FOR equal marriage rights.  But, this is just one more instance where you can't really figure out what Obama's position really is.

    Obama's position on gay marriage has been a total muddle since the beginning ofthe campaign.

    First he said the states should get out of marriage and let the church have it.  But, when I wrote his campaign for clarification on this they said he didn't mean the state should get out of marriage for Heteros, just gays.  I thought I would like his position if it was have the state issue civil union licenses to ALL gay and straight and then let individual churches decide if they wanted to "bless" a union in a religious cerimony.  We all know any gay couple would be able to find a church for a wedding cerimony if they wanted one.  And, this would actual be a position of equality.

    But, what it came down to is Obama is for "separate but equal".  And he's not even for that completely because he would not push or support a FEDERAL mandate that ALL states provide civil unions for gays.  His actual position is to allow any state that wants to discriminate, to just go ahead and do so.

    He does support repeal of DOMA so that gay couples in LEGALLY recognized unions can get all the federal benefits of marriage.  But, again, a gay couple only qualifies for the fed benefits if they happen to live in a state that has some sort of legal recognition.  So on federal benefits for gays Obama also supports discrimination by any state that wants to discriminate.

    He Obama really wants to be equal for federal benefits he should allow gay couples who live in states where there is no legal recognition to sign up for a federally recognized union that would allow those couples to get the federal benefits even if they can't get the state benefits.


    if what you are saying is that (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by english teacher on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:25:21 AM EST
    he supports the rights of states with majorities that will always vote against to prevent legal recognition over the rights of the individuals in those states to equal protection under the law, then that is a very weak position my friend.  individual liberty should be the paramount concern here.  at least it is consistent with the fisa flip.  

    Even GW Bush sent a letter to the UCC ministers (none / 0) (#33)
    by Ellie on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:08:27 AM EST
    ... who served a primarily gay parish congratulating them on the church's milestone (25 yrs?) and who were themselves married. It's the least anyone could do, and I do mean the least.

    Good for Obama (none / 0) (#43)
    by Exeter on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:31:31 AM EST

    Civil Unions are ... (none / 0) (#52)
    by JSF1 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:06:09 AM EST
    Civil Unions ...... are so 1990's.

    if we had accepted (none / 0) (#63)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:20:32 AM EST
    civil unions in the 1990s we would most likely have every right that straights do by now.
    but nooooooooo
    we have to get "married".

    you mean in a FEW states (none / 0) (#110)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:58:54 AM EST
    because i'll never even get a civil union in NC

    I just think (none / 0) (#123)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:41:35 AM EST
    particularly if you are talking about a federal law, civil unions are far more likely to be accepted than a "gay marriage" law.
    Bush won because of gay marriage laws. McCain might also if we are not careful.  the california thing is going to be a bid deal in the campaign.

    I can't believe I'm saying this but (none / 0) (#128)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:54:41 AM EST
    I think on this issue, 2008 is different.

    Most states have already passed either constitutional amendments or legislation against gay marriage.  Then there are the few that already have civil union laws, and one (Mass.) that actually has gay marriage.

    I think a lot of the fight has gone out of the anti-gay-marriage crowd (notice I said a lot, not all) because most places the fight is already over.  Plus, California is viewed by many in anti-gay-marriage camp as a crazy, bizarre accident of statehood filled with those all those near-commie movie stars.  That is, it's anomalous.  It's not necessarily a sign of a gay-marriage domino effect the way that, for instance, a pro gay marriage ruling in Texas would be.

    I think the referendum will bring out a lot of the anti crowd in California, but I'm not sure it will be the same big hullabaloo to people living in other states that it was with the Mass. ruling.


    I hope you are right (none / 0) (#129)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:57:55 AM EST
    but just the other day (I dont have time to google) I was reading a newspiece that quoted people from Arianna to Newt who all said the california ruling was a net plus for the right in this election.
    but I hope you are right and they are wrong.

    Fearmongering, probably (none / 0) (#173)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:19:15 PM EST
    For each with their own purposes.

    Defeating the amendment in California will be no cakewalk, that's clear.  But there's some reasons for cautious optimism.  

    Mass. already has gay marriage and the sky didn't fall.  A proposed amendment to ban gay marriage failed largely because of a huge and truly grassroots effort here.  I'm sure organizers in California have already looked at that success and are taking what they can from it in terms of what would apply to California (and, I'm sure, bettering it).

    With Hollywood and all, there's a huge amount of marriage equality money to be tapped in California, as well as a lot of famous people more than willing to advocate for it publicly.

    And, if what the Obama campaign thinks is true, that they will mobilise significant numbers of young, new voters to go to the polls in November, that would only help because younger demographics groups are for marriage equality.  Of course, the don't-give to 527s thing counterracts that, but I'm not sure how many groups are really listening, or will listen.

    FWIW, I have a friend who was heavily involved in the equality fight here in Mass. who now lives on the West Coast (not CA) and she's fairly optimistic about defeating the CA ban amendment.


    CU don't really help me (none / 0) (#187)
    by JSF1 on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 08:32:55 PM EST
    Actually I was trying to make a joke about BO being for CU's when he is supposed to be the New Man.

    But no, if we had CU's I would still not be allowed to bring over my international CU partner -- but if you are straight or not involved in a cross-border relationship it might be hard to imagine just how devestating that lack of equal rights really is to some of us.


    Link to letter (none / 0) (#54)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:07:09 AM EST
    The link up top isn't working for me, here's another:


    Here's the money quotes:

    That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same sex couples under both state and federal law. That is why I support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, and the passage of laws to protect LGBT Americans from hate crimes and employment discrimination. And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.

    For too long. [sic] issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It's time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect. This is no less than a core issue about who we are as Democrats and as Americans.

    Are there any efforts in other states that are still ongoing?  Haven't most of them already amended their constitutions?  I admit, I was keeping score for a while but gave up because it was so depressing.

    Sounds good to me (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:13:56 AM EST
    That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same sex couples under both state and federal law.

    I am all for giving him props if he has had a change of heart, and if this is a firm stand.


    Obama supports FULL EQUAL RIGHTS... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:20:07 AM EST
    well, you know, except for the marriage part.

    If Obama was for equal rights he would support either

    civil unions for all gays and straights  
    marriage for all gays and straights

    And, he would be pushing a federal mandate for it as well.

    Instead Obama support discrimination on a state by state basis.


    Actually that is a good statement (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 09:50:55 AM EST
    If Obama will stand firm on that position in all discussions of the issue, it would definitely be a positive step forward for him and IMO the LGBT community.

    Have to wait and see how consistent he is going forward.


    Just a pander (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:02:13 AM EST
    I think.  He 'supports' and he 'opposes'.  He hasn't promised to fight to get rid of DOMA or DADT, or even try.

    He promised to filibuster FISA, and look how that went through.  This isn't even that strong.

    Does the Toklas club have a lot of money?  That's the only reason I can figure for his statement at this point -- donations.


    O.K. I get that (none / 0) (#111)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:59:37 AM EST
    You are probably right.

    Maybe you can answer this for me because I'm a little confused on some of the nitty gritty details that can make or break a deal.

    If my understanding is correct, the major limitations of "civil unions" are that they do not give rights at a federal level and they do not have to be recognized by states that do not have "civil unions." IOW you lose your rights if you move to a non civil union state.

    If Obama really followed through and got DOMA repealed, how would that effect the rights granted by civil unions?

    Also, please correct any erroneous points in my understanding.


    the way i understand it (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:10:27 AM EST
    is that even if they get rid of DOMA you still can't force a state to accept a marriage or civil union from another state.  Many people believe that the "full faith and credit" clause will automatically kick in and make all states accept marriages from another state.  And it isn't really true.  If it were, all gays could run to CA get married and the minute DOMA is gone every state in the union would end up having gay marriage.  If this were true, how much chance do you think there would really be of getting rid of DOMA?

    the issue I have with Obama's statement is thah it isn't CLEAR enough.  When Obama started out the primary campaign his statements of supporting full federal and state level benefits for civil unions.... doesn't tell the whole story.  Many of his supporters assumed that means full benefits for all gays in all states.  But, it only really means full benefits for gays who just happen to live in a state that has legally recognized civil unions.  Obama actually supports any states' right to continue to discriminate against gays instead of issuing a federal mandate for all states to recognize civil unions.


    Full Faith and Credit (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:44:27 AM EST
    I agree that it's not at all clear that FFAC applies.

    I would argue that it does.  However, from a politcal-strategic point of view, no one wants to challenge that right now because it would end up in federal court, very likely go up to SCOTUS, and we can all guess the end of that story.

    If FFAC did apply, it wouldn't affect DOMA much because all FFAC does is require states that don't have gay marriage to recognize gay marriages performed in other states.  It would not, for instance, change any federal benefits or recognition issues.  The issue of what FFAC would mean at the state level would probably result in a lot of long drawn-out litigation over state benefits and laws governing marriage relationships, imo.  


    Thanks for the explanation (none / 0) (#126)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:46:41 AM EST
    One other question. What would the impact of repealing DOMA have if any on federal rights?  

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:00:08 PM EST
    If you repeal section 3 of DOMA, that would mean that the federal government, including its administrative agencies would be allowed to treat same-sex marriages as equivalent to any other marriage for legal purposes.  I'm not clear on whether equality would happen automatically, though, or whether it would take a further affirmative act.  I'm pretty sure it's something that a Democratic President could accomplish by executive order (similar to what Gov. Paterson recently did in New York).

    If you repeal section 2 of DOMA, the one that says states don't have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, I would argue that nothing would change.  Valhalla, apparently, would argue that universal recognition of same-sex marriages would be required under the full faith and credit clause.  Although I wonder how Congress could alter the meaning of the full faith and credit clause through legislation, if that were the case.

    It's worth noting that, if you agree with me about what the full faith and credit clause requires and doesn't require, section 2 of DOMA actually becomes good legislation rather than bad.  In other words, if states aren't going to be compelled to recognize same-sex marriages from other states whether or not DOMA exists, then having Section 2 of DOMA in place takes one of the key arguments for a federal constitutional amendment off the table because it prevents people from arguing "we can't leave it up to the states, because other states will be forced to recognize all those gay marriages from Massachusetts."


    this issue was discussed (5.00 / 2) (#135)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:17:16 PM EST
    during the primaries because Obama was for FULL repeal of DOMA and Clinton supported repeal of only the section that stops the federal govt from giving benefits to gays.

    Obama supporters argued that Obama's position of FULL repeal would bring the full faith and credit clause into play.

    Others argued that Obama's FULL repeal wouldn't accomplish anything MORE than Clinton's partial repeal

    I don't know the legal answer.  But, I find it hard to believe that full repeal would pass if doing so would bring full faith and credit into play.  Just how many conservative dems, like those who have been winning elections in the south recently, would vote to repeal DOMA if it would make all CA marriages legal in all 50 states?

    I'm pretty sure a new congressman Heath Schuler in NC wouldn't support that for one minute.  He'd be voted out of office fast enough to make his head swim.


    I tend to agree (none / 0) (#142)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:38:17 PM EST
    Repealing Section 2 of DOMA would do one of two things, depending on whose legal argument you believe.  Either it would do nothing at all except reopen the door for people to argue that a federal amendment is necessary to prevent Massachusetts from binding all 50 states, or it actually WOULD permit Massachusetts to bind all 50 states, a result that would not trouble me but would clearly be a political nightmare.

    I feel guilty about advocating an incremental approach because it feels uncomfortably like the people who told Martin Luther King to take it slow.  But it seems clear to me that right now, the most productive approach for supporters of gay marriage is to win victories at the state level wherever they can.


    this is only going to become more (none / 0) (#144)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:52:32 PM EST
    complicated with CA if marriage equality holds up there because unlike MA, CA has no residency requirement to get married in CA.

    Then I could see many more arguments as people go there to get married and sue their home states for recognition of their legal marriages.

    And, I don't believe federal benefits depend on what state youlive in.  So, I could also see people legally marrying in CA and then expecting federal benefits based on their legal CA marriage no matter what state they reside in.


    Slight correction (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:30:56 PM EST
    The residency requirements in Mass. weren't the real problem.  I don't remember what they were exactly but they weren't so onerous that determined couples (with resources) wouldn't be able to meet them.

    The problem was the Mass. has a law that forbids officials from marrying couples who intend to reside in another jurisdiction if that other jurisdiction would bar the marriage.

    The law was challenged but upheld in Mass. state courts.

    AFAIK, California doesn't have a similar law.


    This is correct (none / 0) (#177)
    by CST on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:37:20 PM EST
    The funny thing about MASS, is that while they have made it easier to get married here if you live out of state, it is still very hard to get divorced.  There is a case of a couple in RI who can't get divorced because they aren't "married" by RI standards, and to get divorced in MA you have to live there for a year.

    The law about getting married has basically been completely ignored for years.  Mitt Romney wanted to enforce it to prevent gay marriages but it didn't really work out too well.

    Good new from MA, people do get used to an idea.  For the first time, the opponents of gay marriage didn't have enough signatures to bring it to the legislature again.  Maybe people realize it's a lost cause, I think they just don't care anymore, it's not like the sky fell in.


    Do you actually mean that all the (none / 0) (#183)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:26:01 PM EST
    straight marriages survived this assault on marriage in MA? I thought this was suppose to destroy marriage. <snark>

    Thanks for the link! (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by EL seattle on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:55:11 AM EST
    I'm... not sure about this.  There's a congratulations message from HRC on that same page that's cordial and supportive and everything I'd expect from a politician who's aware that anything she says about the LGBT range of issues will be used by opponents in future print and TV ads.  

    Obama's message was a heckuva lot more explicit regarding a range of issues he is (apparently) now on record as to supporting.  The line "That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same sex couples under both state and federal law" reads like a full commitment of personal support that he'll have trouble backing away from.

    Unless... Obama didn't write this.  He's a busy candidate, and he probably doesn't personally write every letter that's sent out to smaller organizations and groups like the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.  He's responsible for everything that's sent out in his name, of course, but I'm not convinced that this letter was fully approved before it was sent out.

    I guess we'll find out soon enough.


    Reversed course before (5.00 / 0) (#118)
    by Mike H on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:30:24 AM EST
    Hasn't Obama backed away from released written statements before, blaming it on mistakes by his staff?

    I'm thinking of his waffling on gun control issues, I thought I'd read that a pro-gun-control statement that came out of his office years ago was being dismissed by him as a mistake, and that he's "always" been more nuanced and moderate about gun ownership.

    (But the NRA isn't buying that anyway... )


    that's the issue ofthe (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:20:35 PM EST
    questionnaire that he supposed never saw and was filled out by a staffer who answered the questions wrong.  Then an original document with Obama's hand writing on it was found.  Then he claimed that even though he had written some updates on the questionnaire, he hadn't read it in its entirety and hadn't reviewed the gun control question and still blamed the staffer for getting it wrong.

    The real good part was that all his supporters bought his explanation hoo, line and sinker.


    Another flip/flop? I can't keep count anymore (none / 0) (#97)
    by stefystef on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 10:34:12 AM EST
    I wonder how this is going to play to the conservative religious right and center he was sucking up to earlier this week?

    Which is it, Barry?  State control of marriage or federal mandate over ALL marriage laws in the United States?  Does the State of California determine the laws of the State of Alabama?  Does the State of Massachussets determine the laws of the State of New York?  

    He said for the longest that the individual STATES only had the right to determine marriage laws, not the federal government.  Now he wants the feds involved?  And this is going to play well to the Republicans and conservatives he's been kissing up to???

    Obama is spinning as fast as he can.  He's going to run out of steam soon.

    Troop Withdrawal (none / 0) (#117)
    by Kate Stone on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 11:24:50 AM EST
    This is what his website says.  Must be true.

    Bringing Our Troops Home
    Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

    Sixteen months, not five years.

    It's one flip flop I can support (none / 0) (#134)
    by SoCalLiberal on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:16:08 PM EST

    I can only think of two reasons... (none / 0) (#160)
    by TimNCGuy on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:32:28 PM EST
    for opposing marriage equality that I cannot easily refute with a logically sensible argument.

    And, neither of those two reasons has anything to do with logic.

    1.  It is political suicide to support marriage equality.

    2. man on man sex is icky.  Note, this reason doesn't apply to girl on girl sex which is most often seen as a turn-on to heterosexual males.

    The California initiative (none / 0) (#164)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 01:43:11 PM EST
    to overturn the California Supreme Court's ruling represents the first time that pro-gay marriage forces have chance of winning a state-wide vote.

    It seems to me that those concerned about gay marriage would welcome support from any and all quarters.....

    Rather than bash Obama, it would seem the better strategy is to use the letter--and Arnold's support--to win the initiative battle...

    I'm sure it will be used in just that fashion n/t (none / 0) (#176)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 02:34:58 PM EST
    but that does not mean we should all gag-order ourselves against criticism of his stand, or cease trying to decipher it.

    Obama's stand seems pretty clear (none / 0) (#182)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 03:24:31 PM EST
    He is in favor of gay rights and (probably gay marriage if truth be told) but wants to win Colorado and Virginia.

    Maybe that's just crude politics but there it is....So, he is being very low key in his support and would probably like to keep it that way.  He isn't going to lead on this issue, nor is any other national Democratic politician.

    The gay community is way ahead with Obama's tepid support than Republican opposition....This fight will be won on the state level in any event, and the fight is being won.  


    Again with the letter ... (none / 0) (#186)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 04:08:37 PM EST
    Sen. Barack Obama today wrote a letter to stating he opposed a ban on gay marriage.

    "I wrote you a letter because, you know, we can't be seen together."