Extraordinary. Truly extraordinary.

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

President Barack Obama's announcement today that he supports the right of all Americans - regardless of sexual orientation - to legally marry the person they love marks an enormous milestone.

It was just back in 2004, when Republicans made antagonism to gay marriage a central organizing principle of their fight to win the presidential election. But in 2012, after Republicans greeted Vice President Joe Biden's announcement of support for gay marriage with stunned silence - it just took three days for the President to join him.

For those who still worry about the impact this announcement will have on the presidential race, consider the upside: After making his views plain, President Obama will now be able to credibly state in 2013 and beyond, that the American people considered the alternatives and chose his position. There won't be any accusations that he tried to keep his position secret or any of that.

This is a historic day. And it's a very big day for our politics.

Comments

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    Thank you President Obama for understanding love. We've been on this equality journey for generations. Truely one of the greatest days in our history.

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    I know this is a good long term move by the President, but I am worried about how it will impact independents in the swing states in 2012. Any one care to assure me we won't lose key states like Ohio or Wisconsin because of this? The vote in North Carolina yesterday chilled me because of the margin and Obama won NC last time.

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      With regard to your request for reassurance, I was reading poll results from PPP on the state of Iowa. Iowa you may recall has some experience with legalization of SSM. The results showed a 51-41 advantage for Pres. Obama. One of the additional questions asked on the poll was this: "Have you or your family had a helpful effect, no effect, or a bad effect from the experience of SSM in your state?" The numbers were that 67% had a beneficial or no effect on their family life. So maybe this poll shows SSM is not a big deal for most swing state voters anyway. I also have read that 57% of Indie voters favor SSM.

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        Thanks Bill. Nate Silver has a post up that looks at national polls However, a comment on his post articulates better my fears:

        "It seems to me there is considerable wishful thinking here. Quite clearly the media has managed to stigmatize opposition to gay marriage, and it underpolls consistently. If the issue really slightly tilts toward legalization nationally, you would expect massive victories in places like California and slight losses in places like North Carolina and Iowa. Instead we get landslides for opponents in the latter places. Also, the polls on social attitudes are polls of all adults over 18, and don't they therefore massively overpoll young voters and Democrats for the purposes of adjudicating the electoral effect of the issue.

        Finally, consider the profile of the swing states. Often they are socially traditionally but economically "liberal" (PA, MO, NC, VA, FL, MI, OH, CO, NV, IO). Gay marriage has been polling in the 30s in places like Ohio and Florida. It just doesn't seem to me that it will help Obama in any state that he doesn't already have sewn up."

        The key political question in my mind is whether this announcement motivates the Dem or Rep base more. Traditionally this issue pushes the conservative base more.

        Having said that, if it wasn't politically risky no one would consider Obama's announcement a gutsy important move. So yes there is political risk. The question is how much?

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          Nate Silver knows accounting and numbers but zip about politics in my view. My view is that it's going to turn out to be a wash. From a strategy viewpoint some are noting that it keeps Mitt Romney having to focus on social issues, which hurts him with indies.

          Here's what polling shows just out from OH:65% of voters approve gay marriage or civil unions. When you discuss just gay marriage it goes down of course.

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    I think politically this will not have a great impact. The numbers I've seen say that a large number of independents are in favor of SSM. The issue will remain a state and not federal issue. Psychologically this nation did cross a big threshold today. Today 'the arc of history" did bend toward ' a more perfect union.'

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    Not so fast- he (Obama) also said that he thinks it should continue to be up to the individual states to decide on the legality of same-sex marriage. The old "states rights" argument as regards whether or not federal equal treatment under the law ought to be (or not) applied. You know he knows better than that!

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    So, he ought to sue the 38 states that have enacted initiatives against this, using federal equal protection as the complaint. No problem finding plaintiffs!

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      Predictable from the Naderites. President Obama can do no good. And of course his suits against the states will hold up, given the RW SCOTUS? You bet. He can just wave his hand as dictator and force all the states to adopt SSM. Utterly ridiculous!

      He is right. The states will decide this, state by state, a slow and steady process, with the red states the last to sign on. But of course if we just elected, what's-her-name, Jill Stein for President, she would just wave her hand and bring equality to all.

      We had some LWers in this state convince a judge to order SSM. It was overturned, and the result was backlash and the passage of a constitutional amendment banning SSM. That's the wonderful solution your fantasy would bring. This is a generational change that is happening slowly, but much faster than I could ever have imagined in my lifetime. We are now at 50% in this country. That's big, and it's growing.

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        Bill- if a Repub proclaims that gay marriage is up to states-rights, you'd be calling him the reincarnation of Orville Faubus.

        And I said nothing about Obama can dictate anything; I just said if he believes it then he ought to try the legal route. Action would be better than sentiment.

        And, as for "the states will decide this, state by state": so far every state where it's been up for a vote has decided that they will deny equal protection! In California they overturned it on a legal challenge.

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          If you look at it pragmatically it makes sense. The public sentiment has changed rapidly in the last 8ish years. Even our own B.R.O. is waging an education campaign before they put it back on the ballot because they know they need time. I don't see this any differently. Regardless it's a huge step in the right direction. Four years of not having to worry about another election is a lot of time on the bully pulpit making the case that there is no need to fear SSM.

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            Only if Obama wins. Only if he wins. BRO wasn't convinced they could win in 2012 in Oregon. Oregon should be a cakewalk compared to Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.

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              Of course. If Obama loses all is moot and we get 4 more years of a Bush like Presidency. If Obama wins its 4 years of advocating for the right thing from the bully pulpit where he doesn't have to worry about appealing to the general public.

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          You're leaving out the actions of the legislatures of Washington, New York, Maryland, and New Hampshire. Nothing will damage the cause more than an arbitrary federal imposition of this on the states. Laws on marriage have been a state jurisdiction and it will continue to be.

          When you have overwelming pro-SSM majorities in Congress, pro-SSM presidency, and pro-SSM SCOTUS, come back here and start talking about federal action. Until then you're blowing hot air, another opportunity to throw stones. What is increasingly predictable is how the firebagger Naderites keep moving the goal posts on this president. I don't think they actually care about governing, just being righteous. This kind of divisiveness and negativity does nothing to advance the cause.

          This is a fight about changing the attitudes of America and they are changing because of time and the culture of younger generations. That has been true of the expansion of every right we have had in this country. As Michael Bloomberg said today, "Whenever a sitting president has embraced an expansion of human rights in this country, it has become law eventually." This is a good step.

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            Tell you what, Bill, I'll compromise with you in that maybe I'll admit that maybe the time is not right to initiate legal action (although I'd advise doing it, anyway). So let's just see if we can agree on this: rather than expressing his personal opinion about same-sex marriage (which is actually irrelevant, as anyone's would be), Obama should've said: "I believe same-sex marriage is covered under equal protection of the law according to the US Constitution." (Which might have been better for him politically, too, as he removes hismself as being the target and gets everyone to focus where they should: on the law).

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              I would agree with the statement about coverage under the Equal Protection provision. Not so sure it really was bad politics the way he stated it.

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    I have no idea how this one issue will affect the president's election prospects. But I am glad he is taking actual leadership, and hope this means he has decided to be bold rather than listening to the pork-chopper too clever by half "professional" advisers who want him to fight over a reduced electorate in the middle rather than energizing the base. Maybe he understands that this is the same choice that people made who didn't listen when some people said a black man could never be elected president, and supported him anyway.

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      KC, thanks for speaking of your evolution, kind of from the other side (a lesbian moving into mainstream political activity). i'm really tired of individuals demanding that other people adhere to their worldview, be they right-wing preachers or left-wing activists. Obama has already been an amazing President for glbtq Americans; this just adds to that legacy.

      and given how few of the commenters on BlueOregon, FB and anywhere else can speak from Obama's position - President of the fracking USofA - it seems a bit arrogant to tell him what he ought to do.

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        I haven't read it, but David Corn's book just out, apparently gives pretty high marks for the President's political adeptness in dealing with the forces of darkness. The far lefties seem to have worked up a pretty good hate for our President, but he's managed pretty well. He took all kinds of crap on DADT but in the end it proved masterful, and now DOMA is dead in the water also. Timing and process matter, as well as political skill. The commenters on Americablog and Firedoglake will continue to spew their venom, but it plain doesn't matter. As Andrew Sullivan (gay conservative columnist) said yesterday, (paraphrase) gay teenagers wrestling with their orientation are going to be helped now knowing their Commander in Chief thinks they are just fine people who have a seat at the table. A change in consciousness is happening and that matters.

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    It's about F-ING time.

    That is all.

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    Barack Obama's personal take on this issue has "evolved" to that of Dick Cheney's and progressives are elated. Meanwhile his evil GOP opponent takes a position similar to Obama's in 2008. Gotta love political theater.

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      You are out wrong on this. Mitt Romney is clear that he is against SSM, Civil Unions, and will try to pass a constitutional amendment banning SSM.

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        One of us is wrong. Romney has opposed marriage and favored civil unions, not unlike Obama's stance in '08.

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          Brian, you're wrong.

          Mitt Romney opposes both gay marriage AND civil unions. Watch the video from Wednesday.

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            Come on Kari. In that video Mitt states he opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions if identical to marriage. He has supported domestic partnerships and civil unions in the past. Of course he's playing to the base. Obama said basically the same thing four years ago in an attempt to draw the biggest number of independents. Since this "extraordinary" epiphany, the current administration's line has been it's not a priority and should be left to the states. You know as well as I this is merely weak-ass political pandering. As I said initially, Obama has caught up with Dick Cheney on this issue. Look it up. Disclaimer: I could give a rats ass who marries who.

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    Firebaggers like to troll on Blue Oregon.

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    For those wondering how this plays. An initial poll by USAToday/Gallup (Gallup stinks mostly these days)

    51% approve 45% Disapprove 60% say no effect on their vote.http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-05-11/USA-TODAYGallup-poll-Obama-gay-marriage/54905424/1

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