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Socarides: Obama will endorse marriage equality before 2012 election

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Writing in this week’s New Yorker, Richard Socarides, who served as an advisor on LGBT issues in the Clinton administration and founded the marriage equality group Equality Matters earlier this year, predicts that President Obama will declare his support for marriage equality before the 2012 election.  In doing so, he cites both Perry v. Brown and Gill v. OPM, predicting that those cases will be decided in favor of marriage equality activists in the Ninth and First Circuits, respectively.  Both of those decisions are expected to be handed down in the next few months.  Writes Socarides:

The remarkable new reality for Obama in this election is that supporting marriage equality is smart politics. A majority of independents and young voters already favor equal marriage rights. These are important voting blocks, and a key part of the President’s reëlection strategy. Support for gay rights will also help him energize liberals in the Party and others who think he has not acted boldly around core progressive issues such as immigration and the environment and on other civil-rights issues. Hard-right conservatives who strongly oppose marriage rights, meanwhile, will never support Obama anyway.

For most in the LGBT community, it’s not a question of if Obama will declare his support for the cause, it’s a matter of when.  I will admit that when the president made his now infamous statement earlier this year that his views on gay marriage were “evolving,” I, like many others, took that as a coded message saying, ‘I’ll support it in my second term.’  (Evolution in that context meaning survival of the elected, I guess.)  But Socarides’s point is well made.  An Obama announcement would be great news for the cause, and either way, 2012 looks like it could shape up to be a watershed year for marriage equality in the United States.


  • 1. _BK_  |  December 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Hopeful news, nothing more. Good material for daydreaming nonetheless. :\

  • 2. Derek Williams  |  December 23, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Whether the President does or he doesn't, I believe the Obama administration has already earned its LGBT stripes by a mile.

    We have to be realistic about how much more we can ask in the current term. I would hate to see Barack Oabama's re-election stymied by being perceived as kowtowing to a small minority group at the expense of issues, which let's face it, are bigger on the canvas right now.

    If we get Obama as president for a second term, there is every reason to believe he will continue to put himself out there for us.

    There is not a snowball's chance in Hell that we'll get anything from Republicans.

    They're already committed to upholding DOMA and reinstating DADT, and will more than likely tear up Hillary Clinton's UN LGBT rights address, and the supporting White House memorandum along with it.

  • 3. johnfromco  |  December 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Ron Paul seems to be the best of the Republican bunch.

    That said, I think equality is at least as important as health care and the economy. It's the very root of who America is.

    But I agree, no matter how bad Obama may or may not be, even if he never supported gay marriage, he's better than the clowns who would send gays to conversion therapy or jail.

  • 4. Dana Jeanne  |  December 23, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Has everyone seen this? It's awesome. I wish every Republican in DC could see it!

  • 5. AnonyGrl  |  December 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

    While the conservative side of me says "I'll believe it when I see it", I would, of course, LOVE to see it.

    I agree that maybe now IS the time politically to make that move.

    We live in interesting times!

  • 6. Gregory in SLC  |  December 23, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Apparent how far we have come when you can make such a statement!

    …maybe now IS the time politically to make that move

  • 7. thark  |  December 23, 2011 at 10:51 am

    The final – and 100% expected upholding of Walker's Flop 8 ruling will be the perfect opportunity for Obama to "evolve". Walker's ruling is blistering, but succinct, and makes for the perfect blueprint for winning any marriage equality debate that would come up.

    As the GOP scrambles to explain which of Walker's rulings were incorrectly explained, they will trip, and deceive and change the subject to something intolerable by our ever-evolving national media standards, where TV shows like The Bahelor, thrive in this climate of "marriage awareness". And every failed justification to defend the indefensible will have a slur or injustice conspicuously attached as it always is…

  • 8. thark  |  December 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

    ..And with each of those failures in the media's spotight, they will fail to justify their intentional disenfranchisement of gays and only gays, tarnishing once and for all, this crop of GOP clowndidates and their supposed claim to "moral superiority" over icky gay people that are "too icky to share OUR country with…"

    The irrational Antigays are in for some sticky interviews and debates that Obama can sail through; all he has to do is quote the republican selected judge verbatim, and win any marriage equality debate in terms beautifully laid out…

    It's all over for "constitutional" marriage bans, but the scene, folks.

    Like it or not.


  • 9. Tony  |  December 23, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Any ideas when the transcripts of the Golinski hearing will be available? I'm dying to see what answers BLAG came up with for Judge White's questions.

  • 10. Larry  |  December 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I agree, all the coverage I've seen seemed to focus on the pre-trial questions the judge asked, and on the fact that the DOJ was there to support Golinski.

  • 11. Rob in CA  |  December 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I had an opportunity to attend the Golinski trial last week as I had appointments in SF that afternoon but decided I'd laze out and just read about it. Now I'm kicking myself since evidently none or our team were there reporting. I'd have been happy to take notes and post. Next time I won't take it so much for granted.

  • 12. bythesea  |  December 23, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I think it will depend upon who the GOP chooses as their nominee ultimately. If it is indeed Romney or a couple other less likely one, I suspect the President's team will feel there is no real risk in coming out for Marriage Equality and it would be a net advantage in terms of boosting youth and lefty enthusiasm. If the GOP nominee is someone like Gingrich or Perry I suspect team Obama will do some hard analysis as to just how the issue will play out electorally whether or not endorsement will help or hinder and his official endorsement or lack thereof will depend upon the results of that analysis.

  • 13. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  December 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    […] up on the Obama/same-sex marriage discussion that Jacob posted on earlier today, John Aravosis makes this point over at AMERICABlog Gay in a piece titled “Note to the White […]

  • 14. karen in kalifornia  |  December 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Not a chance.

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