Obama backed same-sex marriage in 1996

May 11th, 2012

Barack Obama explicitly supported gay marriage in 1996:

In a 1996 questionnaire filled out for a Chicago gay and lesbian newspaper, then called Outlines, Obama came out clearly in favor of gay marriage, which he has opposed on the public record throughout his short career in national politics.

“I favor legalizing gay marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” Obama wrote in the typed, signed, statement.

Here’s the narrative the administration has created: President Obama used to believe that, in line with his religious beliefs, that marriage is between a man and woman, homosexuals should be able to have civil unions, but his views “evolved” until he decided that no, “marriage” should not be restricted to heterosexuals.

Unless the president’s views changed after 1996, when he said he’d “fight” efforts to prohibit gay marriages, and then changed again suddenly, that’s simply a fiction created by the administration. The reality is 16 years ago, when it was far from popular, the president believed gay marriages should be legal, but changed his public position to be a politically-viable candidate. And now that changing his public position again is in the interest of his campaign, and especially since Biden forced the campaign’s hand, the president decided to affirm his support for gay marriage.1

Of course, biting your tongue and keeping quiet on your true beliefs is a staple for politicians. But Obama was supposed to bring change to Washington, a new kind of candidate who didn’t deal with such cynicism and calculation. And, worse, the administration’s narrative has been that this was a change-of-heart for the president, something he came to believe after considering it heavily, and the views of his wife and daughters. Which makes this all the more cynical: they’re covering the president’s all-too-political opposition to gay marriage in the past, and sudden conversion now, with a story about how he just couldn’t keep that belief any more because he realized it’s wrong.

No. He believed it was wrong, and kept it anyway.

  1. But not his support, it’s worth noting, for doing anything about it on the federal level. He believes marriage is a state issue, despite the Defense of Marriage Act, while he also apparently believes marijuana is a federal issue that must be enforced by the federal government. Being coherent isn’t worth much in Washington, I guess. []