Obama's Gay Marriage Stance in Spotlight as NY Nears Legalization

As both Republican and Democrat lawmakers near legalizing same-sex marriage in New York, Obama's fundraiser for gay supporters in New York City is magnifying his somewhat noncommittal stance on the issue. The AP gets succinct on it:

After getting off to what gay activists viewed as a slow start on their issues, Obama won over many by repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military and by instructing the Justice Department to stop defending in court a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

On gay marriage, though, the president has disappointed gay supporters. He endorses civil unions but not marriages for gay and lesbian couples, although he's also said his views on the issue are evolving — as are the country's as a whole.

It doesn't appear, however, that the president's views will evolve fast enough for him to use Thursday night's campaign fundraiser as an opportunity to embrace gay marriage. White House officials say not to expect any new stance from Obama at the event, a star-studded gala with as many as 600 guests paying up to $35,800 each at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers. 

But it will be interesting to see how Obama articulates his views, as he almost certainly has to address the issue -- particularly if gay marriage becomes legal in New York state in the late hours of the night. Richard Socarides, head of EqualityMatters, told the AP that the chemistry of the night could create a reversal. "I do not think that he is going to articulate a new position on Thursday," he said, "but I do think that the timing of what we think will be a big win in New York ... does up the pressure on him to do something and might just create enough of a political magic moment to bring about a surprise." 

The New York gay marriage vote could be put off for the summer, depending on how the legislature pushes it... but the political situation places Obama squarely at the forefront of it, and at the very least provides an opportunity to prove the fearless leadership skills we hoped we were voting for. Read more here, and here.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at June 23, 2011, 4:51am

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