Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


‘Same-Sex Couples Should Be Able to Get Married’

Obama is first sitting president to express support for gay marriage

Print Email
President Obama announcing his support for gay marriage.(ABC News)

In case you’re not on Twitter, you may have missed that in a new interview, President Obama tells ABC News’ Robin Roberts that he personally is okay with gay marriage (you can watch some video through that link). In part, he says:

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.

He also notes that much of the shift on this topic has been “generational,” and credits his kids’ perspectives, as well as his wife Michelle’s opinion, for helping his “evolution” on the topic.

At Mother Jones, Adam Serwer reports the important caveat: Obama is saying he personally is okay with gay marriage; he is not advocating any policy that would extend gay marriage to anywhere it doesn’t already exist or even to protect it in those six states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, plus the District of Columbia) where it does. A case in point would be North Carolina, where only yesterday voters resoundingly banned same-sex marriage: Obama would change nothing there, as of now. Obama’s statement has no legally binding power, and he hasn’t expressed any interest in pursuing legally binding routes toward promoting it.

As a member of a younger generation for which having gay friends and relatives is roughly as noteworthy as eating three meals a day, a dark memory for me is President Bush’s endorsement eight years ago of an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution (despite the fact that, by all accounts, he is personally tolerant). What I mean to say is, I will be extremely shocked if this is even remotely an issue in 25 years; to say, as Fox News’ Shepard Smith did today, that Republicans, most of whom (including Mitt Romney) oppose gay marriage, are “on the wrong side of history” on this issue seems like nothing so much as a statement of fact.

Finally, half of Americans, exactly, support gay marriage, according to a brand-new Gallup poll, although the figures are incredibly sensitive to age (the younger you are, the more likely you are to support it). Among Jews, however, according to last month’s PRRI poll, the figure is 81 percent, and fully 51 percent hold that position strongly. As ever, we are a people of the vanguard.

Obama: ‘I Think Same-Sex Couples Should Be Able to Get Married’ [ABC News]
Obama Endorses Marriage Equality, But Not For All [Mother Jones]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

ThomasNeidhart says:

I consider this action extremely powerful, being done by a sitting president!  Also, there’s no reason for people to try and prevent two adults from getting married.  What right do they have in saying, “oh no no no, that’s just not right”?  If churches/synagogues/mosques (mine doesn’t, thank GOD) feel so compelled to get involved in politics and tell their congregants to get out and vote as “God would have you” all while saying marriage is only for a man & woman, then churches need taxed.  You cannot have it both ways, folks. 

Also, if this were truly about protecting marriage, why didn’t they stop divorce?  Or is that on the way, too?  There’s already a great stain on the state for doing this to their fellow citizens.  I would protest in the state and form days without gays to let people understand who they’re harming!  Doctors, nurses, teachers, firemen, cops, everyday folks who make coffee, bake goods, watch kids, clean streets and clergy – you have attacked your fellow man, NC voting majority.  Shame is on you, not the gays…

You eat 3 meals a day?

Brothers and sisters! 
The global economy IS GOING TO COLLAPSE IN 5 DAYS! 


jmm64 says:

    Yippy!! Hopefully, the Gays and Lesbians can save our Conservative and Reform Movements from withering away. If not, then we will just have to admit non-Jews without any nominal conversions.
    Right now, at my Conservative Synagogue, our membership has decreased in the last 25 years, the number of our children marrying non-Jews has dramatically increased and few of them attend synagogue regularly, if at all, and even with egalitarianism over the past 30 years , we cannot get a minyan during the week and the second day of Yom Tov. So, I hope that the Gay and Lesbian Jews will revive the life in the synagogue. I do not mind revising the Hebrew school curriculum to include Gay marriage/lifestyle as a Jewish lifestyle.  But, if  Gays/Lesbians cannot revive life in the synagogue, then we will have to expand again to include other groups, such as more non-Jews or merge with the Reform Synagogue in our city which is ,also, struggling with membership. 

    oaklandj says:

    I’m a gay convert to Judaism, and am part of a community that embraces me. My partner (not Jewish) is supportive – he even bought our house a mezuzah when I converted – and we plan on raising the children we’re going to adopt Jewish. So several more Jewish people added to our community and Klal Yisrael, in no small part because the Reform movement has always been ahead of the game when it comes to supporting equal rights. (I know gay converts to Conservative & Orthodox Judaism, but they face a bit more resistance, of course. Kol haKavod to them, though, if that’s where their hearts lead them)
    Although not a Biblical literalist, the “kingdom of priests, a holy nation” has always resonated with me, because Jews have, in my experience, always pushed humanity forward.

    I detect sarcasm. Maybe the reason your community is getting smaller is because people feel it’s filled with too much sarcasm. Btw, how is posting identical comments on various Jewish sites working out?

I think Obama has said exactly enough. Everybody knows that nationwide marriage equality will not come in through any Congressional action. The Republicans are too backwards to be open to any LGBT-friendly bill, I won’t even go into the issue of marriage equality at this point – the acceptability of even civil unions has decreased among Republican politicians. So, whatever Obama says or has said, it’s been clear that he is a much better LGBT-friendly candidate than Romney. Obama has clearly done through Presidential actions what Romney would never do. (Mind you, Romney won’t be liberal the first four years for sure – if he wants to be reelected. And I’m sure he does.)

Actions speak louder than words


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

‘Same-Sex Couples Should Be Able to Get Married’

Obama is first sitting president to express support for gay marriage

More on Tablet:

Obama: Denying Israel’s Right to Exist as a Jewish Homeland is Anti-Semitic

By Yair Rosenberg — The president draws a line in the sand in his latest interview