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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Strange how America attacks religious fundamentalism in Islamic countries but sucks up to it at home...

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    I do not understand how this is still an issue. No one has the right to deny people, no matter what their sexuality, to be able to lead a life together in a legal capacity. Religion no longer has a place in controlling politics and especially the life of a person.
    Religion and politicians have no right to tell people what to do, or not to do, to their bodies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    It's clear enough - Mr Obama, it's time to get on with giving everyone equal rights.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Civil/human rights should be the same for all, regardless of sex, race, religion or sexual preference.

    He shouldn't bow to the wishes and views of the religious few who oppose it. They base their stance on scripture written by a person around 2000 years ago with 2000 year old views.

    This is the 21st century, not the 1st. He should do what's right and endorse rights for all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    If he really believes in equality and fairness, he'll do the right thing and make a stand for progress for these people.

    The US is really lagging behind when it comes to matters like this, but that's what you get with an over zealous religion trying to call the shots.


Comments 5 of 240



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