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Thread: Barack Obama seemed in favor of gay marriage in 1996.. flip flop ?

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Question Barack Obama seemed in favor of gay marriage in 1996.. flip flop ?

    1996 statement: ‘I favor legalizing same-sex marriages'



    During the final weeks of the presidential campaign last fall, several media outlets contacted Windy City Times because of an old Internet story from the 1996 Illinois State Senate race. In that campaign, Outlines newspaper, which merged with Windy City Times in 2000, reported that 13th District candidate Barack Obama supported gay marriage. Reporters wanted to know what exactly Obama had said.

    Outlines newspaper, as with the new Windy City Times, surveyed candidates for all levels of elected office, and also reported on the results from pro-gay and progressive groups. We summarized the results in that 1996 article by Trudy Ring, but did not list exact answers to questions. In that article Outlines did note that Obama was a supporter of same-sex marriage; that article was never challenged or corrected by Obama. Now, in the process of sorting through my 25 years of archives of Chicago gay reporting to eventually post materials on www.ChicagoGay - History.org, I have found the original surveys on which Ring's reporting was based. Sometimes, it pays to keep those boxes.

    IMPACT, which was Chicago's main GLBT political action committee for several years, surveyed Obama and other candidates, as did Outlines. What we are including with this special Presidential Inaugural issue of Windy City Times are copies of the answers to the IMPACT and Outlines questions. For IMPACT, the Obama campaign simply responded on the form. For Outlines, the candidate typed in his answers and signed his letter.

    More recently, as Obama has run for higher office, from senator to president, he has further shaped his views on marriage, and now he does not back same-sex marriage. In a January 2004 interview I conducted with Obama at the Windy City Times' office, Obama clearly stated that lack of support for full marriage equality was a matter of strategy rather than principle, but in even more recent comments, it appears he is backing off even further, saying it is more of a religious issue, and also a “state” issue, so he favors civil unions. Both are compromises most gays do not support. First, the U.S. has a separation of church and state, and laws are in place locally and nationally that give benefits based on the very word, “marriage.” Therefore, marriage as it is now defined is a government ( both state and federal ) institution that comes with specific financial and social benefits ( taxes, benefits, inheritance, immigration, custody, etc. ) . So, until government eliminates the word “marriage” from state and federal laws, it is a government issue, and that includes the federal government. Obama's answer to the 1996 Outlines question was very clear: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” There was no use of “civil unions,” no compromise whatsoever.

    The IMPACT marriage question was a bit less direct. It asked if Obama would support a Marriage Resolution being considered at the time, which read in part “Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual personal choice, RESOLVED, the state should not interfere with same-gender couples who [ choose ] to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of civil marriage.” Obama responded: “I would support such a resolution.”

    What follows are Obama's responses in our Windy City Times 2004 interview, six years after his successful 1996 state Senate run, when he was now running for U.S. Senate:

    Tracy Baim: Do you have a position on marriage vs. civil unions?

    Barack Obama: I am a fierce supporter of domestic- partnership and civil-union laws. I am not a supporter of gay marriage as it has been thrown about, primarily just as a strategic issue.

    I think that marriage, in the minds of a lot of voters, has a religious connotation. I know that's true in the African-American community, for example. And if you asked people, ‘should gay and lesbian people have the same rights to transfer property, and visit hospitals, and et cetera,' they would say, ‘absolutely.' And then if you talk about, ‘should they get married?', then suddenly ...


    TB: There are more than 1,000 federal benefits that come with marriage. Looking back in the 1960s and inter-racial marriage, the polls showed people against that as well.

    Obama: Since I'm a product of an interracial marriage, I'm very keenly aware of ...

    TB: But you think, strategically, gay marriage isn't going to happen so you won't support it at this time?

    Obama: What I'm saying is that strategically, I think we can get civil unions passed. I think we can get SB 101 passed. I think that to the extent that we can get the rights, I'm less concerned about the name. And I think that is my No. 1 priority, is an environment in which the Republicans are going to use a particular language that has all sorts of connotations in the broader culture as a wedge issue, to prevent us moving forward, in securing those rights, then I don't want to play their game.

    TB: If Massachusetts gets marriage and this gives momentum to the proposed federal Constitutional amendment against gay marriage?

    Obama: I would oppose that.

    After Obama's WCT interview, he called to clarify that he opposed the proposed U.S. Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He said he also opposed the two proposed state bills banning same-sex marriage. During his presidential campaign, he has remained consistent with his 2004 position, but clearly he has moved away from the 1996 statement of “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages.”

    A rose is a rose is a rose, but civil unions are not “marriage” unless 100 percent of the benefits are the same across all states and the federal government.

    The full 2004 interview can be found at: Windy City Times - Obama Seeks U.S. Senate seat

    Tracy Baim is publisher and executive editor of Windy City Times. She was the co-founder and publisher of Outlines newspaper.

    Obama changed views on gay marriage Windy City times exclusive From a photo from Windy City Times archives, 2004.

    Shown here is a copy of Barack Obama's typed responses to the Outlines newspaper 1996 primary election questionnaire.

    Obama signed and dated the form Feb. 15, 1996, sending it to Outlines political reporter Trudy Ring. In 2000, Outlines newspaper purchased and merged with Windy City Times.

    Windy City Times - Obama changed views on gay marriage
    Gee, wonder what changed... apparently his "religious convictions" didn't enter the picture until he decided to run for higher office

    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Gold Member Glitter's Avatar
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    I have heard him talk about this issue and he said he does not really support gay marriage that it should be decided by the church. But he also stated that he signed this and other things like many other politicians just because of the other things that were in it like civil rights, HIV/AIDS treatment, abortion rights. What he basically meant was you have to pick your battles.
    Life is what happens to you
    While you're busy making other plans ~ John Lennon

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    Democrats are always saying they have to "pick their battles". What I wanna know is when the fuck are they going to pick one already?

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    "You have to pick your battles" = "not now, there are other things to deal with, when those are taken care of, we might think of becoming interested in thinking about maybe entertaining the possibility of further investigation of the matter"

    ie: never.
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    Elite Member NicoleWasHere's Avatar
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    I thought I've heard, at some point, from Obama AND Biden, that they were both in favor of gay marriage??

    Of course, Biden said he was pro gay marriage on the Ellen Degeneres show, so I don't know. I've heard that they've both flip flopped on the issue.

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    The reason Obama flip-flopped on gay marriage was because he wanted to get elected president. He knew that if he, or any other politician, at this point pushed for gay marriage they likely wouldn't get elected president. It was just like Jimmy Carter running as a segregationist to be governor, because he knew it would help get him elected in the south at that time.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    at this point. It was "this point" all last decade. Guess it'll be this point all the next decade too.
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    As long as the majority of the country is against gay marriage no politician who wants to be president is going to support gay marriage. If a liberal state like California can pass Prop 8, that spotlights the reality of the situation.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's time for a little of the ol ultraviolence.
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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Violence doesn't always work. But sometimes the threat of violence scares people into action. But in this case I don't think violence will force people into supporting gay marriage.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Well let's see.

    being nice doesn't work, lobbying does't work, assimilating doesn't work, waiting doesnt work, yelling doesnt work, being quiet doesn't work...

    As long as religious bullshit runs people's lives then it'll be opposed for the most part. The rest, the 'ick' factor can be dealt with.

    So we're going to have to do away with Jesus.
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    Somebody is going to have to bite the bullet and do the unpopular thing. Dems still can't win in the South, for the most part, because of their support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Most of the time the "majority" ie the mob is WRONG and they have to be forced to progress.

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    It worked well up here. There was some resistance (from the conservatives, of course) to gay marriage.. the weak spined Liberals punted the case to the Supreme Court, hoping THEY would decide for the government.. the Supreme Court just looked it over and told Parliament that it would be unconstitutional to refuse gay marriage.. and then kicked it right back and told the political parties THEY had to pass it or not.

    So they held a vote, and naturally most conservatives opposed it, but everybody else WITH A BRAIN let it pass handily. The Liberals finally bit the bullet.

    Since then, the sky hasn't fallen and churches haven't been forced to marry anybody outside of their silly doctrines.
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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Yeah well you kinda expect that with Canada being the greatest land in all the world.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Well the Premier of Alberta (one Ralph Klein) said there was no way his province was going to obey the federal gay marriage statute, so the gov threatened to cut off all their money.

    It was amusing... stupid bible thumping assholes.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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