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Obama speaks out in support of marriage equality law at Maryland fundraiser

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Speaking at a campaign fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore, Maryland, President Obama yesterday urged the state’s voters to uphold a recently-passed marriage equality law that will be up for a referendum on the November ballot.  According to an unofficial count on the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website (updated yesterday), over 109,000 signatures in support of the referendum have been validated, around twice the 55,736 signatures required by state law.

“We’re moving forward to a country where we treat everybody fairly and everybody equally, with dignity and respect,” Obama said at the event. “And here in Maryland, thanks to the leadership of committed citizens and Gov. O’Malley, you have a chance to reaffirm that principle in the voting booth in November. It’s the right thing to do.”

As we’ve written about before, Obama’s expression of support for marriage equality has caused a dramatic shift in polling on the subject in Maryland.  An ABC News/Washington Post poll after Obama’s announcement showed an 18-point increase in support amongst the state’s African-American community, and a PPP poll found that 57 percent of the state’s voters would vote to uphold the law.

To be honest, Obama’s outspoken and frequent support of marriage equality in the month after his announcement supporting equal marriage rights is much more engagement that I thought we would see from the President.  When the Obama administration chose not to support an executive order on employment non-discrimination, I suspected that the move was in preparation for a later announcement of support for marriage equality.  But I thought Obama would come out for marriage in a low-profile way, and would steer clear of making it an issue in his campaign.

In the month since Obama’s ABC News interview, though, we have seen quite the opposite response.  The Obama campaign changed the front page of its website to reflect the President’s new position and emailed supporters asking for donations while specifically referencing marriage equality.  And Obama has continued to speak out on issues of marriage equality referenda across the nation.  Whereas before, Obama had to walk the tightrope of opposing marriage bans without explicitly endorsing marriage, he can now make the more authentic argument that marriage bans and referenda overturning marriage equality legislation are wrong because they keep rights from couples that deserve them.  The President’s support could make all the difference for marriage in a state like Maryland, and it’s refreshing to see him standing up and speaking out on the issue.


  • 1. Obama speaks out in suppo&hellip  |  June 13, 2012 at 8:13 am

    […] Obama speaks out in support of marriage equality law at Maryland fundraiser […]

  • 2. AnonyGrl  |  June 13, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I think it is time we offered some cookies and MILK to President Obama.

    Here you go sir, my famous White Chocolate Chunk and macadamia Nut (WiCCaN) cookies and an ice cold glass of MILK for you. Enjoy. And plenty left over for everyone else!

  • 3. Sagesse  |  June 13, 2012 at 9:01 am


  • 4. karen in kalifornia  |  June 13, 2012 at 9:56 am


  • 5. karen in kalifornia  |  June 13, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Too early…..Finally.

  • 6. BradK  |  June 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    My thoughts exactly. Better late than never, I suppose.

  • 7. Malisa  |  June 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

    <img src=> Kudos to Pres Obama for this. I hope this is not just some campagin strategy he used.<img src=>

  • 8. Seth from Maryland  |  June 13, 2012 at 10:28 am

    bad news in Washington State:In Washington, anti-marriage foes qualify referendum for November ballot:
    Anti-gay forces once again are going to the polls, this time in the state of Washington, to vote on marriage equality:The secretary of state said Tuesday that the anti-marriage foes qualified Referendum 74, which would overturn a law passed by the Washington legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire. Gay and lesbian couples were supposed to begin getting married on June 7, but the referendum action put the law on hiatus.

    The anti-gay groups Washington United for Marriage, which opposes marriage for gays and lesbians, and the rabidly homophobic National Organization for Marriage (NOM) have vowed to raise millions of dollars to prevent marriage equality.

    One recent poll by Strategies 360 showed that 54% of Washington voters approve marriage equality.

    Also in November, voters in Maryland are also expected to be asked to vote to take away marriage equality in that state. The anti-gay foes are still collecting signatures in Maryland in an attempt to qualify a referendum for the ballot.

  • 9. Seth from Maryland  |  June 13, 2012 at 10:39 am

    this is really bad off information , my bad for posting this , it came from this sit e

  • 10. BradK  |  June 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    The risk for NOM & Co. here is high though. Polling in both MD and WA looks to be clearly in our favor and with our Johnny-come-lately messiah finally making good on promises made 4+ years ago it doesn't seem likely that support will shift away. If either or both of those initiatives fail, NOM will have shattered its unbroken record of mob rule decisions. That could only ever be devastating to their message and their base. As some point their donors would conclude the cause is lost and they are pissing away their money pretending otherwise.

    NC may be their last, bitter victory.

  • 11. Stefan in CA  |  June 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Agreed, but people who support marriage equality must forgot about the polls and work as though they were way behind. As November gets closer, NOM and company are going to unleash the floodgates and come out swinging hard. The posts from NOM regulars are getting more heated with more anger and animosity. They will fire up the anti-marriage equality side. Marriage equality groups need to be proactive and ready. They need to get to work educating people now. If ads are part of the equation, they need to be hard and hit home, not the soft stuff that helped the Prop 8 win. It cannot be treated lightly even if the polls are favorable. A loss in WA would be the worst.

  • 12. BradK  |  June 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I certainly wasn't suggesting otherwise, only that our chances for victory in either or both contests look better than they ever have in the past.

    I also question the effectiveness of NOM's quite stale messaging. "If you allow Teh Gheys to coopt the word Marriage, they will come in the night to steal your children and indoctrinate them into their perverted lifestyle choice" has a certain appeal to it and has worked quite well in the past. But I think the more people hear the same tired old shibboleths – and see how nothing untoward has come to pass in any state that has granted marriage equality – the less impact they begin to have. We're not talking about changing the minds of hardcore zealots only those in the rational, movable middle.

    Meanwhile the opposite applies to our case. The more that same-sex marriage is talked about (person-to-person and in the media) the less shocking is the notion of "two dudes getting married". Couple that with poll after poll showing the scales of public opinion have tipped and that most people are inclined to follow the herd. You must support marriage equality because everyone else is – you don’t want to be left behind, do you?

    Even if by some chance NOM wins one or both, I think they’ll find it’s not nearly as easy as it used to be.

  • 13. NancyH  |  June 13, 2012 at 11:16 am

    He’s got my vote.

  • 14. NancyH  |  June 13, 2012 at 11:18 am

    One more thing, when Obama wins, how will NOM be able to argue against the fact that a majority of Americans voted for a president who favors marriage equality?

  • 15. Tim in Sonoma  |  June 14, 2012 at 2:13 am

    What Stefan in CA said!

    "If ads are part of the equation, they need to be hard and hit home, not the soft stuff that helped the Prop 8 win. It cannot be treated lightly even if the polls are favorable."

    The ads in Washington and Maryland MUST not be the same poor me ads we saw during the prop 8 election!
    It's time to get serious! I've been talking till I'm blue in the face over the years and have managed to change some minds but we NEED some aggressive ads during election time if we expect to win!

  • 16. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    One VERY important thing in our favor is that DC is the home of the President, and the DC television market covers a large part of Maryland. The President and/or some/most of his staff will be seeing the ads, both pro and con, and the President can incorporate things into his speeches, and/or the WH staff can give the pro-marriage equality people a good kick if they feel they need it.

    The bad part of the DC television market is that it is extremely expensive (in the top ten in the US, if not the top five), and Baltimore is not that far behind in expensiveness. It cuts both ways, though, as what is expensive for us is also expensive for them.

    (And I see there is someone else signing on as 'Mike', so I'm changing my identification from "Mike" to "Mike in Baltimore".)

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