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Local and National Reaction to President Obama's Backing of Same Sex Marriage

Posted by David Zimmerman  May 9, 2012 05:35 PM

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In a recent interview with ABC News President Obama voiced his support for same sex marriage equality. Local and national reactions have been swift and divided. Locally Rebublican congressional candidate Richard Tisei was one of the first to comment on the Presidents position. Additional statements from MassEquality, GLAD, the Human Rights Campaign and many others have followed. Below is a sample of what some local organizations (and politicians) are saying.
As of this post, neither Senator Kerry nor Senator Brown have issued official statements. Senator Kerry is on record as being a staunch supporter of same sex marriage. In a recent interview with CNN Senator Brown did not offer an opinion saying only that it is ‘settled law’ in Massachusetts


Republican Congressional Candidate Richard Tisei:

“I support the evolution, as he has called it, of President Obama’s position on gay marriage. I’ve been a strong advocate for equal rights for all people in the area of marriage equality and elsewhere for years. As a country, we need to respect one another even when we sometimes don’t understand each other – especially when we don’t understand each other. In Massachusetts, I joined with other elected officials in both parties in support of these rights – not special rights, but equality.
President Obama is to be commended for changing his personal view on this matter, even as he reiterated his support for the right of states to do as they please regarding gay marriage. I would urge President Obama to work with people in both parties to lessen the fear surrounding this issue and to avoid its use for political gain. No one in either party should use this issue for political advantage. Voices need to be lowered and more tolerance needs to come into play throughout our land. When the Pilgrims came over so long ago, they didn’t agree on everything. So they focused on how they could successfully govern themselves and drew up the Mayflower Compact. They looked at what they had in common and how they could get along. We need to continually re-affirm our support for each other as Americans, even as times continue to change.”

Lee Swislow, Executive Director, GLAD:

We have just heard the exciting news that President Obama has made public his support for marriage equality.

The President has traveled a road that many Americans have traveled in recent years. He understands that gay and lesbian couples have the same love and make the same commitment as all couples, and deserve the same recognition as full citizens.

His journey has been guided by the work our community has done for decades - telling our stories, filing lawsuits, fighting ballot measures, and having conversations with our neighbors, families, co-workers and friends about our lives.

At GLAD we remember filing our marriage equality lawsuits in Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut; we remember our profound emotions when Massachusetts became the first place in the nation where gay people could marry; we remember filing our DOMA lawsuits in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Our country's history is one of expanding the circle of constitutional rights and protections to include more citizens, and our nation is always the better for it. We are proud to play a role in expanding the circle.

It remains to be seen what the President's statement will mean for our causes generally, and for our DOMA lawsuits in particular.

But for today, we celebrate your work and ours and the expanding American circle of equality

MassEquality:

“As the first state to secure marriage equality for generations to come, we in Massachusetts are thrilled by the President’s announcement. It’s hard to imagine anything more significant to the marriage equality movement than the most powerful leader in the world declaring his support for the right to marry for all Americans. It’s a powerful affirmation before the country and world of the basic human dignity of same-sex couples and their families.
“The President’s evolution on marriage equality is not unlike the experience of the majority of Americans who have come to understand why marriage is so important to loving same-sex couples and their children. Listening, learning, growing, and changing is the American way, but it takes courage and leadership. We applaud President Obama for showing both today.
“We can’t help but note the irony of the President’s statement coming just one day after voters in North Carolina approved an amendment to the North Carolina state constitution that denies any form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples. Despite this setback, today marks another step forward in the unmistakable trend toward public acceptance and embrace of marriage equality. At least seven national polls have found majority support among Americans for marriage equality. These polls, and major advances on marriage equality this year in Washington and Maryland, show that the day is fast approaching when we will finally put the politics of discrimination around marriage equality behind us.
“Here in Massachusetts we have been privileged to celebrate the right to marry for just a week shy of eight years. What we’ve learned is that our communities are safer, happier, and healthier when all families are respected, supported and celebrated. As time goes on and even larger majorities of Americans come to support marriage equality, we look forward to the day when all Americans can enjoy the freedom to marry.”

Boston Pride:

Boston Pride is congratulating President Barack Obama for affirming his support for marriage equality. The President told Robin Roberts of ABC News today, “I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

As members of a community who every day face discrimination in this country and around the world, we appreciate President Obama’s willingness to take this courageous stand. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same sex marriage, and since then, we’ve only seen support for marriage equality grow. Yet even while it has grown, there are those who would continue to deny us the basic right to love, marriage, and family. As such, we thank President Obama for his public statements in support of marriage equality and we look forward to the day that all Americans have the right to marry their partner, regardless of gender or orientation.

American Civil Liberties Union:

President Obama said this afternoon in an interview with ABC News that he believes that the freedom to marry should be extended to same sex couples.
Until now, the president has only favored civil unions, although he had said his views on same-sex marriage were “constantly evolving.” While in office, President Obama and his administration have taken critical strides toward LGBT equality by refusing to defend the discriminatory and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in court and pushing Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and reaffirming support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
“President Obama is doing the right thing and showing leadership by recognizing that lesbians and gays should be treated as equal citizens,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. “The freedom to marry whomever we love and want to share our life with is fundamental to who we are and what we stand for as a country. The fight for fairness and equal treatment under the law for all Americans took a critical step forward today.”

Human Rights Campaign:

“Today, President Obama made history by boldly stating that gay and lesbian Americans should be fully and equally part of the fabric of American society and that our families deserve nothing less than the equal respect and recognition that comes through marriage.
“His presidency has shown that our nation can move beyond its shameful history of discrimination and injustice. In him, millions of young Americans have seen that their futures will not be limited by what makes them different. In supporting marriage equality, President Obama extends that message of hope to a generation of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, helping them understand that they too can be who they are and flourish as part of the American community. And his words remind gay and lesbian families across the country, who, like their neighbors, struggle to afford healthcare and college for their kids, pay their taxes and plan for retirement –but with the added burden of discrimination— that they do not face those challenges alone and unheard.
“Americans fundamentally believe in fairness, but many, like the President, have struggled to reconcile that core belief and the question of marriage equality. The President’s words will no doubt inspire thousands more conversations around kitchen tables and in church pews. We are confident that our nation will continue to move inexorably toward equality and we thank the President for so boldly leading us in that direction.”


This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author: Boston Spirit Magazine’s daily blog brings you all of the information you need on New England’s LGBT community. In addition to highlighting local and national LGBT news, we will also highlight local leaders from the worlds of business, politics, fashion and entertainment and keep you up-to-date on all the latest events and parties, hot spots for travel, shopping, dining, and more!
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