President Obama has told ABC news that he supports the right for same-sex couples to get legally married.
Obama told ABC, in an interview where he appeared relaxed and calm (even if he’d been pushed into this moment due to Joe Biden’s loose lips on Sunday, Andrew Cuomo’s bro-date yesterday, and the White House Press Corps’s full on assault on Jay Carney), that he believed that, “It’s important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
The Voice reached out to four New Yorkers for their immediate reactions: Blogger Joe Jervis of Joe My God, New York native (and North Carolina resident) Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend, and both Dean Dafis, Director of Legal Affairs and Community Liaison for Marriage Equality USA, as well as that group’s Co-President Cathy Marino-Thomas.
Obama has many LGBT supporters, and Democratic voters overwhelming favor same-sex marriage equality, so they are taking the news (in our small sampling) with a mixture of unabashed glee and a little regret that it didn’t happen sooner.
Joe Jervis, Joe My God
This is long overdue, and welcomed wholeheartedly. Nobody was fooled during the entire dance, but we’re happy to finally be able to sit down and talk. It’s a landmark day in American history, of course, and for LGBT history. The leader of the free world, without reservation, on national TV, said that he endorses full equality for LGBT people. No quibbling, no way to parse it, no reservations. He said it comfortably and calmly.
He may have been backed into it by Vice President Biden, and we’ll always be grateful to both of them.
(The Voice: We know where you stand. But you’re astute politically. Will this affect him, come the fall?)
I don’t think it will have the slightest affect. This will give the other side some ammunition which they were using anyway. It will create some hot air, but nobody on either side of this quagmire doubted where he stood. People who wouldn’t vote for him anyway won’t vote for him more now. But he certainly won back some progressives, and people in the middle — not that we really had anywhere else to go. But it’s a wonderful day. Could he have done this sooner? Why did he put us through this? Today, I’m just going to sit back and smile.
Pam Spaulding, Pam’s House Blend
In terms of the President, from my point of view it doesn’t help and and it doesn’t hurt, where I am in North Carolina. Speaking as a national blogger covering the movement, this is good news, because it ends the torturous tap dance around the issue, which had become ludicrous. I think the breaking point was the last press conference with Jay Carney, where is was clear the mainstream media was going to press this until he did something. I am glad this moment happened, even if it wasn’t a moment of [Obama’s] choosing.
I don’t think this makes a huge difference [in terms of the election]. Romney’s position is that he wants a federal marriage amendment. The choice is clear, but how many votes will today’s news convert? It’s hard to know.
(The Voice: More personally, how does it affect you, if at all? I was following your tweets from the War Room last night. What was it like when you got home to your wife?)
Like I keep liking to frame it, it doesn’t have anything to do with what happened last night. [Amendment 1] wasn’t about marriage equality at all. It was about stopping civil unions and domestic partnerships. This wasn’t about extending rights, it was about taking them away. I was very sad that the Obama campaign couldn’t even be bothered to email their massive email list and tell them to vote no. Something that would have cost them zero. Today, he’s taking something which will have a national impact. But yesterday, the campaign couldn’t even take that one, small local step.
Dean Dafis, Marriage Equality USA
I am overwhelmingly elated, and I also feel kind of justified doing today’s work. Most of the time in this journey, you feel defeated. It’s two steps backwards instead of two steps forwards. We’ve suffered tremendous losses, like last night. So when this happens, it really validates what we’re doing. With determination, education people always works. Even dedicated foes — and this president was far from a foe — through education, and living out loud as proud gay people, gay couples, gay families –and their hearts change. This is historic, and almost unbelievable.
Cathy Marino-Thomas, Co-President, Marriage Equality USA
I wasn’t predicting this at all. I was pleasantly — fabulously — surprised. It shows Obama’s real dedication to change. It shows his dedication to the constitution. My gut reaction was, “Oh, my God, someone has finally read the constitution!” It was really hard for him to do and say this, but he did it. He took a stand, and a chance. And now, maybe we can get back to the equality which this country was founded upon.
I’ll be on Yetta Kurland Live tonight at 10:00 PM to talk about Obama’s big announcement at 10 PM EST. Tune in live in NYC at 1600 AM.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 9, 2012