- (Photo: Reuters / Jason Reed)
President Obama is scheduled to attend a fundraiser tonight in New York, hosted by gay and lesbian supporters, and interestingly, at the same time the state’s legislature is debating a controversial bill to allow same-sex marriage.
While his fundraisers will be making a large deposit into the president’s campaign account, a handful of state senators in Albany, N.Y., will be deciding the fate of a controversial same-sex marriage bill – one that has far reaching implications for the White House. It is reported they need only one more vote for passage in the Senate.
The timing of the visit will in no doubt be a blessing and a curse for Obama.
Obama has received tremendous support in the LGBT community, although their patience has been tested by the president’s lack of enthusiasm for their legislative priorities – at least until now.
During the 2008 campaign for the White House, then Senator Obama told Pastor Rick Warren and a congregation at Saddleback church that be believed marriage should be between “one man and one woman.” Obama was later criticized for asking Warren, a same-sex marriage opponent, to deliver the invocation at his first inauguration.
But now the White House says the president’s position on same-sex marriage is “evolving.” And some speculate he may shift from what he espoused during his campaign and endorse marriage this week or next.
While supporting the traditional Christian definition of marriage, Obama had also stated in 2008, “I think that it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on, and I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency.”
For supporters of the homosexual agenda, consistency has been an issue. Earlier this year, gay rights advocates applauded his decision to quit defending a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that bars federal government recognition of same-sex unions. Then a California bankruptcy judge recently struck down DOMA. However, continued court action will be necessary due to the courts limited jurisdiction on the matter.
Obama has placated the homosexual community in a number of other ways as well. In 2009, the White House extended benefits to the domestic partners of federal workers and later the president signed the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” for gays in the military. That decision is still awaiting official certification.
Tom McClusky, senior vice president of Family Research Council Action, also said Obama appeared to be inconsistent on same-sex marriage issue.
“The president appears to be returning to his original convictions that same-sex marriage is acceptable – at least that was indicative of his record as an Illinois state senator and during his brief tenure as a U.S. senator,” said McClusky. “Most Americans are still not on board with same-sex marriage but I believe Obama will most likely continue to evolve until the next election is over.”
So why does the LGBT community remain unsatisfied?
“I recognize that he has made changes that improve our quality of life, but until he embraces the notion that we deserve true equality, he hasn’t’ delivered,” gay rights activist Sue Kerr told Politico.
Kerr also defined a “fierce advocate” as someone who would counter the rhetoric from the “far right” that demonizes and dehumanizes the homosexual community.
Referring to Obama’s complete acceptance of LGBT issues, Kerr said, “He’s taken steps to right these injustices, but I grow impatient with delayed equality.”
It appears for some in the LGBT community, it is an “all or nothing” proposition.
President Obama may not have given them everything they want, but the $1,250-a-ticket, sold-out fundraiser will be an opportunity for Obama to more clearly define his support for LGBT, tout his support for the right of each state to pass whatever they believe is in the best interest of their citizens and even publicly declare his support of same-sex marriage.
Seattle author and columnist Dan Savage plans to support President Obama while still expresses dissatisfaction for his stance on LGBT issues.
“I totally intend to write a bit, fat check for Barack Obama this year,” said Salvage to Politico. “I would rather have the political calculations add up in my favor.”
However, Salvage believes “there is going to be less enthusiasm for Obama as a known quantity than there was before. We have no other choice.”
And what about the president’s strategy for winning a general election? “There is no political advantage for President Obama to support same-sex marriage,” said Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow in Policy Studies for FRC. “But short of endorsing same-sex marriage, he’s done everything in his power to advance the homosexual agenda.”