Tag Archives: gay marriage

Obama’s new middle on same-sex marriage

He knew it all along.

The New York Times reports it was on Tuesday morning before leaving for a speech in Albany, New York, that it was decided the president would finally come out in support of same-sex marriage on Wednesday.

So later on Tuesday night, in his speech at Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies dinner in D.C, he knew that the bombshell was coming.

What a poker face Obama showed before his “ohana.”

I knew same-sex marriage was on the radar since Vice President Biden’s unbridled support of it on Sunday. But I wasn’t expecting Obama to say anything on an election night when politicians’ “gay-dar” tends to work overtime.

My ears, however, were perked for anything on affirmative action, a new wedge issue in the Asian American community with the Supreme Court expecting to rule on the Texas case this summer. It’s a big deal for minority groups.

When addressing the Asian American group, the president dropped hints about his support for affirmative action without saying it. Very political.  But it was the right thing to say to an organization dedicated to empowerment and civil rights of an often ignored and under-represented minority.

Still, he said nothing about topic A, gay marriage.

Now that we know he knew he was going to evolve on gay marriage the very next day, I feel cheated. He could have given us a little more of a preview.

But not even a wink. He was totally in the closet.

Here’s the transcript from the APAICS dinner and what he told Asian Americans:

“So some of the things that matter to this community are things that matter to every community, like making sure that a woman earns an equal day’s pay for an equal day’s work.  (Applause.)  Or ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” so that nobody has to hide who they love to serve the country they love.  (Applause.)  Or enacting education reform so that every child has access to good schools and higher education.  (Applause.)  Or caring for our veterans because it’s our duty to serve them as well as they have served us.  (Applause.)”

He touched on it a bit with the “gays in the military” reference. But he didn’t go all the way.

At every applause note, he could have said, “Or making sure that any two human beings regardless of their gender had a right to marry one another. ”

That certainly matters to Asian Americans, as well as all Americans.  Asian Americans, especially those in Hawaii and California, have long been at the forefront of the same-sex marriage battle. (I’ve written about it a number of times over the years).

I guess the timing just wasn’t right to show his hand to Asian Americans. Maybe the president was still evolving. I suppose he could have changed his mind right up to the last moment.

But he’s just in time for today’s Clooney event in Hollywood where the president should be closer to fully evolved, and gay rights supporters are ready to open up their pocket books.

Politically, the barometer must have indicated the time is right.  

If conservative Republicans think they win this issue, great. It seems to be a tremendous non-issue.

Gays are an integral part of our society. Discrimination against them makes no sense. To be against gay marriage in today’s world is just illogical. (Asian Americans know how troubling it is when laws get in the way of love. For years, my father was unable to intermarry in the ‘20s because of anti-miscegenation laws)

Even national polls show a majority in favor of same-sex marriage.

At the same time, states always vote the idea down (North Carolina being the most recent).

Considering that history shows Obama is too political and too moderate to be all that daring, maybe what we have here is simply Obama carving out the new middle ground.

The historic new middle?

Conscience, family talk, and Joe Biden may have forced him to move, but the evolving is still happening.

Any movement by a president toward equality, justice and progress is a good thing.

So for now, activists must settle for this new fence point: being for same-sex, but letting the states decide.

It’s Obama’s new middle for the national moderates.

Now will someone just fix the non-tech economy?