Obama remains evasive on gay marriage

Two gay men holding hands, San Francisco, California 5 October 2006 Barack Obama has said he is opposed to a rollback of rights for gay couples

There's an old piece of advice that it is better to take the wrong decision than to do nothing.

US President Barack Obama might heed that. His contention that his position on gay marriage is evolving looks at best lame and at worst dishonest - as though he is a mere spectator neutrally watching his own position develop of its own accord.

Evolution takes aeons, but the president hasn't even got weeks. His spokesman has just said that he has an "unparalleled" record on gay rights and he rather awkwardly suggests that the president will, some day soon, make his position clearer.

"I can tell you that I'm sure it is the case that he will be asked again at some point when he gives interviews or press conferences about this issue, and I'll leave it to him to describe his personal views."

Could that be a touch of exasperation from the man who has to defend the president's views?

Given that most of us would suspect the president's liberal instincts would make him favour gay marriage, you have to ask: "What's the problem?"

Most social conservatives are going to vote Republican anyway. But not all of them. Many strongly Christian African-Americans will have profoundly conservative views about this.

And Mr Obama is desperate for this usually loyal group to turn out and vote for him. He doesn't want any distraction that might curb their enthusiasm.

But there is an "on the other hand": one report suggests one-in-six of Mr Obama's big fundraisers are gay and his campaign has gone out of its way to court the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) vote.

So, a firm decision probably means offending someone and losing some votes. This evolution is about survival of the fittest - which policy mutation allows the most votes to survive.

Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell North America editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    The Great Sky Pixie on his Purple Sparkly Unicorn told me blond people should not be allowed to drive.I shall write it down and distribute it to a million brainwashed idiots who will kill for and die upholding the commandment.In 200 years there will be a scism, where those believing bottle blonds don't count will slaughter those who feel otherwise.Homosexuality won't matter...unless they're blond!

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    171 Hugh Oxford RE 169
    “It would be irrational and harmful to undermine the meaning and purpose of marriage simply because some married couples don't have children.”

    It is irrational and harmful to undermine equality and constitutional protections because bigots can’t se their bigotry has negative effects on society, on children, and on homosexual parents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    "something will be missing. We have to think of the children."
    This is a discussion about gay marriage not if they should raise children (which they can do already!).That being said the majority of murderers,rapists,child abusers,thugs,drug dealers, thieves, speeders and stealers of penny sweets are hetrosexual.They all get free reign to breed.
    Loving gay parent vs abusive drunk thug?

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    109 Andrew Cherry-picking so-called “Christians” are perfectly happy with Leviticus as long as they can use the bits that support their hatreds, while excusing themselves from the regs about pork, sex, marriage, etc. You won’t get through the wall of hypocrisy and self-serving drivel. Anything they don’t like will be edited out or interpreted away!

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    102 Andrew We tried separate but (un-)equal in schools until it became clear and the Supreme Court ruled it inherently wasn’t equal because it creates unequal classes of citizen. What should happen is all marriage becomes “Civil Union” with equal rights, while religious “marriage” is left to the churches. Churches with rainbow flags will marry them, so the bigots will always object.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    60. Mark "Societies based on religion are usually FAR nicer places to live." Like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, and others? The "nicer" ones are those that have separation of church and state and don't try to force their religious abominations on others through government power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    52. Salmaci "Then he smelt power and his position 'evolved' - rightwards. It's that change that makes his current position so distasteful...his pursuit of power at all costs, and when he finds his support has tired of him, he'll have only himself to blame.

    This is Romney, right? He was a great Liberal Massachusetts Governor! Make that Liberal POTUS!

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    Does a loving mother and father bring any distinctive qualities into parenthood? Of course they do. Do they compliment each other and add to the sum of parenting. Of course they do.
    That is not to say that two homosexuals cannot be equally loving, but something will be missing. The 'whole' is not the same. We have to think of the children.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    Mark Mardell once again proves his insight in the President's thinking.....not. 8th May Mardell publishes his opinion on the 9th May President Obama announces his support for gay marriage. Time to rotate Mardell out of Washington if this is the quality of his analysis.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    "Obama says same-sex couples should be able to marry"
    I guess he didn't want to wait for the debate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    Perhaps Mr. Obama may have to take a stand if it comes up during a debate, but I agree with your comments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    What about the children? Will they be adversely affected by having 2 homosexual parents? I say yes - emotionally & socially. But in the absence of studies / data for the next decade or so, let me ask a simple question to all the honest 'once was child' readers out there:

    Would you have preferred to be raised by a loving mum & dad or a loving dad & dad? You can vote with the arrows.

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    re. 68.Fruitbanana: "It is of course known throughout the world that Americans do tend in general to stick to the affairs of their own country...vietnam,korea, afghanistan,kosovo, iraq, panama,nicaragua, etc..."

    Posting on a British website to accuse America of meddling in the affair of other nations, what delicious irony.

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    Lucy, NAMBLA is the word. Can't say more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    Of course he's evasive on "marriage equality" (the new PC term). Numerous referendums have showed its a vote loser. He already has the pro-gay marriage vote, he doesn't want to offend the rest of the voters until after the election when he's no longer answerable to them, then he'll announce he has "always supported" it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    214.Jon T

    210.powermeerkat - I'll bite. The UK's head of state is The Queen.

    I know that thread is about homosexuals, but the 'queen'?

    I say, you could be more tactful. :-(

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    Margaret: After centuries of black persecution, what else would you expect the first black (half white) president to do?

    To not take sides based on skin color

    Centuries of persecution does not justify racism

    Margaret: Especially in the Treyvon Martin case

    The prosecutor testified there was no evidence who started the fight

    Why takes sides on a case w/ no definitive evidence?

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    220 Lucy
    "The mother+father were both created for a reason"
    In the animal kingdom many species mate for life. They, like their human equivalent, evolved this strategy to maximise survival. It has nothing to do with being created this way.

    Today the natural cycle of life does not depend on this system alone otherwise how would millions of babies raised by single persons survive?

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    218 Lucy
    " every race debate such Professor vs the cop, the Black Panthers voters intimidation , Trayvon Martin, etc
    he always takes the side of the black or minority person"
    After centuries of black persecution, what else would you expect the first black (half white) president to do? Especially in the Treyvon Martin case where no-one was arrested for a month.

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.


    Peter D: I wonder if their raising children might influence those children to become homosexual too
    Without using science only a man+woman can physically have a baby

    Historically a percentage of homosexuals among heterosexuals was at ca 5%.

    Just like a similar biological deviation in the animal population.

    Otherwise both animals and humans would long cease to exist.


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