The Queerest Part Of Obama’s Speech Wasn’t The Heckler’s Marriage Proposal

Last night at Obama’s big gay $1,250 per plate New York fundraiser he mentioned how he’s helped repeal DADT, pass hate crimes legislation, ensure hospital visitation rights, opposes DOMA, and blah blah give me money, Born This Way joke, blah.

But the queerest part of his speech surprisingly wasn’t when an audience member proposed—um, Obama doesn’t support polygamy either, random audience dude. The queerest part was when he actually spoke about the New York Marriage Equality Bill; something he had been silent on up to now. Not that he said anything revolutionary. In fact, he said states should determine their own marriage laws and it’s good for New York to debate it (yawn, punt). But here’s that small segment for you nevertheless:

Ever since I entered into public life, ever since I have a memory about what my mother taught me, and my grandparents taught me, I believed that discriminating against people was wrong.  I had no choice.  I was born that way.  (Laughter and applause.)  In Hawaii.  (Applause.)  And I believed that discrimination because of somebody’s sexual orientation or gender identity ran counter to who we are as a people, and it’s a violation of the basic tenets on which this nation was founded.  I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country.  (Applause.)

… That’s why we’re going to keep on fighting until the law no longer treats committed partners who’ve been together for decades like they’re strangers.

That’s why I have long believed that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act ought to be repealed.  It was wrong.  It was unfair.  (Applause.)  And since I taught constitutional law for a while, I felt like I was in a pretty good position to agree with courts that have ruled that Section 3 of DOMA violates the Constitution.  And that’s why we decided, with my attorney general, that we could no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA in the courts.  (Applause.)

Now, part of the reason that DOMA doesn’t make sense is that traditionally marriage has been decided by the states.  And right now I understand there’s a little debate going on here in New York — (laughter) — about whether to join five other states and D.C. in allowing civil marriage for gay couples.  And I want to  — I want to say that under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, with the support of Democrats and Republicans, New York is doing exactly what democracies are supposed to do.  There’s a debate;  there’s deliberation about what it means here in New York to treat people fairly in the eyes of the law.

And that is — look, that’s the power of our democratic system.  It’s not always pretty.  There are setbacks.  There are frustrations.  But in grappling with tough and, at times, emotional issues in legislatures and in courts and at the ballot box, and, yes, around the dinner table and in the office hallways, and sometimes even in the Oval Office, slowly but surely we find the way forward.  That’s how we will achieve change that is lasting — change that just a few years ago would have seemed impossible….

There will be setbacks along the way.  There will be times where things aren’t moving as fast as folks would like.  But I know that he’ll look back on his struggles, and the struggles of many in this room, as part of what made change possible; part of what it took to reach the day when every single American, gay or straight or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, was free to live and love as they see fit.  (Applause.)

Obama could have lead on this issue and told the New York senate to vote, but y’know… he has to get re-elected. Besides, he has never supported marriage equality—although his evil twin did. So now that you know where he stands, you ready to cough up some money for his re-election?

You know you’re gonna.

Transcript by Pam’s House Blend.