Would Supporting Marriage Equality Help Re-Elect Obama Or Just Ensure His Defeat?

The president has dug himself a hole, having thought the states’ rights argument was a way of saying there wasn’t much he could do as president on marriage. That’s backed by his comments at an LGBT Pride reception at the White House at the end of June: “I’ve met my commitments to the LGBT community. I have delivered on what I promised.” He’s saying his administration is no longer defending DOMA in court, and since there’s not much he can do legislatively on the issue since Republicans control Congress, that his job is done on marriage and he’s leaving it to the states. That analysis, however, completely ignores the power of the presidency, which is being used by our enemies who fight us on marriage equality by continually pointing to the president’s position.

This is in sharp contrast to Cuomo’s position, and it’s where the comparison between the two is absolutely justified. What either man can or can’t do with respect to his respective legislative bodies is not the point. This is about leadership. Andrew Cuomo stands up and says, I’m your champion and I’m going to lead. Obama says, I’m “evolving,” and rather than leading, I’m following the American people, the majority of whom now support marriage. Obama refuses to get out front. This is true on a variety of issues, from the stimulus package to protecting the environment—to health care too—where Obama has started out with the compromise position rather than going forth boldly with what he truly believes. He’s so afraid of losing that he pursues a strategy he perceives to be safe but which is ultimately weak.

That’s exactly what he’s doing on marriage right now. He believes his position will help him in battleground states (and, as some have said, he likely will change his position after the 2012 election). But the voters he is thinking about are already opposed to him for a variety of other pro-gay achievements—including dropping DOMA—and already believe he secretly supports marriage equality, no matter his claims. It can only help him to publicly come out in support because the base of his party will be energized. That is where Obama can learn much from Cuomo, who went full speed ahead and didn’t look back.

– Gay American writer and a national talk radio host Michael Signorile comparing President Barack Obama‘s leadership (or lack thereof) on marriage equality to that of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Via AmericaBlog

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  • Luke

    Yeah, he could only be helped because Mike is right that everyone already believe’s he secretly supports same-sex marriage. So all of his delaying and waiting and taking increasingly awkward positions just makes him look like a feckless liar to the left and a feckless liar AND a fag-enabler to the right.

  • Fitz

    My guess is that it would help him. Poll after poll has shown growing support for us. But– it speaks to his whole style, which i find lacking. When he was elected it was like an international (literally) holiday. People were excited to get out of the repugnigton days. He squandered all that energy by trying to appease the right wing-nuts, who aren’t winnable anyway. Rick Warren at the inauguration? And that was just a taste of what was to come. So… short answer: I think he is a one term president, but I would vote for him if I thought he supported my family.

  • Chris

    @Fitz: I agree. Cant wait for Bachmann or Romney in 2012 to finally restore what America should really be.

  • ewe

    I am tired of the Bummer.

  • Luke

    Oh there’s not question that I’ll vote for him. Feckless liar or no. You think Romney can stand up to the Tea Party and the hostage takers? Please. I have so little faith in his convictions I’m surprised he’s still a Mormon.

  • Ernest

    Chris jump off a cliff stat! Bachman would unleash hell

  • inoits2

    His support of gay marriage will not influence his re-election an inch. He has no chance unless the economy suddenly rises from the dust. People don’t care about gay marriage (except NOM). They are more concerned with jobs and paying the bills. Every gay in America could vote for him and it wouldn’t make a difference. On the other hand, when faced with the hideous alternative of bible thumping idiots, people may hold their nose and vote for him. I have no problem with a Republican president as long as they are Reagan Republican. At least Reagan made us proud to be Americans after the horrid Jimmy Carter.

  • Ganondorf

    You think Romney can stand up to the Tea Party and the hostage takers

    You think Obama can? He has PROVEN that he can’t. He agrees with most of the conservative arguments more than some democrats are comfortable admitting. He quite literally is a gay friendly, pro choice republican. So too are those who support him. I think much of it constitutes legitimate disagreements about how the debates that will shape our future as nation should be framed, but the polarity of gay friendly pro choice republicans on gay blogs condemning even gay republicans is comedy. I don’t expect even middling political insight or understanding from queerty, of course, (or most gay blogs, to be fair and balanced) but to pretend that there’s this huge difference between gay democrats and gay republicans (or democrats and conservatives in general) is like arguing over how many grains of sand constitute a handful. Obama’s not “standing up to” the tangerine and the deficit hawks not because he can’t, but because he won’t. If you’re frightened that Bachmann or Perry, or less controversially, Romney will get elected because of some dystopian teabag nightmare, and that is the ONLY reason you’ll vote for Obama, then you are essentially giving up on the American government. If you don’t have faith that the system that can withstand such an inept executive, why are you participating in it? Most Americans live in the country that they want to live in, as it is. This is the arrangement that they most desire.

  • Robert in NYC

    So Chris, you’re ok voting for a republican who’s going to make sure that you get NO equality in any way shape or form and overturn same-sex marriage in the 6 states? I guess it’s not important to you. By the way, Ron Paul supports DOMA! A republican is a republican be they tea party or civil libertarians when push comes to shove.

    The Tea Party scumb baggers cheered when S&P downgraded our bond rating and they call themselves patriots? Traitors if anything. What they want is the destruction of this country, so go ahead, vote for them and their mob rule mentality. Supply side economics has NEVER worked since Reagan. That’s what caused the meltdown in 2008 and those toxic mortgage backed securities issued by the banksters, none of whom went to jail for their treasonous crimes against the economy and the United States. Where was all the job creation under 8 years of Bush, pal, as a result of lowering taxes on the wealthy and corporate oligarchs running this country? The debt was caused by Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43. Clinton was the last president in 30 years to leave this country with a net surplus. But no, the republicans came along and squandered it on two fucking wars. Since Reagan, the republicans ran up the debt to $9 trillion and if the two Bush wars are added (which the GOP refuses to include thinking that they would pay for themselves), guess what, it didn’t pan out and the debt is now $14 trillion. Do the math. The GOP NEVER takes responsibility for its own fiscal mishandling but tries to dump it on the democrats. Keep drinking the koolaid!

  • Ganondorf

    Worthy of note is contrasting Cuomo’s economic policies with this social policies. Fiscally, Cuomo is to the right of Reagan. That, however, isn’t given much gum flap amongst the professional homosexuals like signorile.

  • Cam

    Obama and the Dems keep thinking that it’s 1985. When something like 70% of the population said that DADT should be repealed, they were still not advocating it until they were forced to.

    Name ANY other issue that 70% of the population would support that Politicians wouldn’t be stepping on each other to support?

    The Dems got hurt in the last election, not only because of gay rights, but because of GITMO, the Public Option, Gay Rights, etc… they responded well in the lame duck session and there was some redemption.

    They won me back, I’m not enthusiastic, but they are far far better than the alternative.

  • ewe

    The stock market is rising. The Bummer has kicked the can down the road till after he gets elected again which means the Bummer is avoiding progress once again in favor of a no solution result that puts the Bummer back in power to do this all over again. Similar to supposedly holding off on taxing the 1% of the wealthiest till after 2012. OhBummer is a real selfish drag. Meanwhile gay people still can’t donate human blood as many rah rah Bummer cheerleaders say he doesn’t really think you are a second class citizen.

  • matt

    “I have no problem with a Republican president as long as they are Reagan Republican.”

    President Reagan sat back and watched as an entire generation of gay men died in the most horrific and painful way possible without saying a word or allocating a single penny to help. In fact he had cut the budget of the CDC prior to the start of the AIDS epidemic which made things even more difficult to deal with the crisis with no help or even acknowledgement from the white house.

  • inoits2

    @matt: I didn’t say Reagan was right in ignoring the AIDS crisis. It was disgusting that he did but the times have changed and their generation didn’t discuss homosexuals in polite company. What did we expect. Putting people in the context of their time does not mean we forgive them but it can explain a lot. As horrible as it is that he never spoke of it until 1987 I can still separate his shortcomings from his leadership of the country as a whole.

    Maybe all of his achievements were luck but no matter he instilled confidence in people and made them proud to be American. Otherwise he wouldn’t be the most popular president of our time.

    I am saying that we need a leader that we can respect. Obama is quickly becoming a Jimmy Carter, ineffectual and not perceived as a leader. We need an asshole that can make things happen. This bullshit about about playing nice doesn’t work when dealing with the Tea bitches. He should have just let the tea party pull us all down then we would never have to hear from Republicans again.

  • tjr101

    The only thing more unpopular than Obama at this moment is a Republican and that maybe his saving grace.

  • Fitz

    I don’t see that it matters much. If the republicans win the presidency, then a right-wing faith-based and anti-humanistic agenda will rule the day. If Obama wins, then a right-wing faith-based and anti-humanistic agenda will rule the day. I mean.. the man had a super majority at one point, and still has the senate, and yet still he allowed the conversation to be held hostage. That’s not compromise. That’s grabbing your ankles.

  • Riker

    @Ganondorf: Which is why I, a gay Republican, was willing to cast my vote for Cuomo. That, and the fact that he had the Albany connections to get the job done. Well, those and the fact that Paladino didn’t have much of a governing strategy besides being angry at everything. While anger at the way things were being run is perfectly reasonable, you need more than that to successfully govern.

    Cuomo pushed through same-sex marriage, a more balanced budget, ethics reform and a school/property tax cap. I am proud to have voted for him, and will be donating my time or money when he is up for reelection.

  • Ganondorf


    I’m not going to argue about the economic illiteracy of bringing about a statewide fiscal contraction during a depression (oh, I mean double dip recession), but he’s certainly where I think many republicans ought be. Fiscally, he’s a chris christie clone, and socially, he’s very pro gay. I think this is the future of the republican party. The sooner it happens, the better, because the identity politics of lgbt merka (and the knee jerk sanctimonious condemnation from socially liberal republicans who call themselves democrats of republicans and gay republicans is getting tiresome despite the fact that yes, most republicans are antigay) is a stumbling block to constructive discourse. Identity politics in general, though, seems to be for people who aren’t very educated. It’s an anachronism.

  • Markie-Mark

    If Obama comes out in favor of marriage equality it won’t make any difference to his re-election chances because the majority of voters care about the economy and other issues. It also won’t make any difference in our lives because he will continue to enforce DoMAor until the SCotUS strikes it down. The best case scenario would be if someone good were to challenge him in the primaries. That’s change we can all hope for.

  • Mike

    It absolutely will ensure his defeat, and I cannot understand the short-sightedness and selfishness of people who don’t realize this. Your memory apparently cannot reach back 7 years to 2004.

    Every year, the presidential election comes down to ONE STATE: OHIO. No candidate has become president without winning Ohio. If Obama stands a chance in 2012, it will come down to this state. And if he supports marriage equality, the same “value voters” who defeated Kerry will vote out Obama.

    It does not matter if opinion polls in Ohio show majority support for gay marriage (they DON’T), as has been proven in every previous election where gay rights are put to a vote, voters will be scared into voting against gay marriage by a barrage of hate- and fear-filled campaigns and robocalls including lying parents from Massachusetts telling everyone that if gay marriage passes, your 5 year-old will be shown gay porn in kindergarten.

    If Obama supports gay marriage, the republican smear machine will capitalize on it and the Ohio election will become a one-issue election, and he will lose. So before you try insisting that Obama commit political suicide to make you feel included, I suggest you have a close read of the NOM pledge signed by all the republican candidates, where they promise to not only introduce a federal gay marriage amendment, but roll back marriage rights in states where they have already passed. Because I will blame you when that happens.

    For God’s sake, get him re-elected and wait until 2013 when he has signalled time and again he will come out in favor of marriage after being re-elected.

  • jeff4justice

    Down with the 2 party system. I feel so much pity for all the liberals who still haven’t figured out the Democrats have sold then out as much as the Republicans.

    For a great, gay perspective on leaving the 2 party system, read:
    Why do Americans keep voting for Republicans and Democrats no matter how bad the country gets?


    To the fearful who think an alternative party can never win, just member we used to think a black person would never be President or gay people would never win elections. Alternative parties will win win we wise up and stop voting for the 2 party system.

  • Chitown Kev

    The only way to look at this is to look at the probable “battleground states”

    Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia (Indiana was a fluke)

    I mean let’s face it, with the possible exception of Iowa, the other states where there is already gay marriage would go for Obama regardless of his position.

    It probably wouldn’t affect his chances one way or another but a lot of that also depends on who the Republicans nominate.

  • the crustybastard

    @Mike: It absolutely will ensure his defeat…No candidate has become president without winning Ohio…wait until 2013 when [Obama] has signalled time and again he will come out in favor of marriage after being re-elected…

    First, Obama has not “signalled [sic] time and time again that he will come out in favor of marriage [equality].” Frankly, that’s just weapons-grade bullshit repeated ad nauseum by the Kool-Aide Crowd. Rather, and in fact, what Obama has unambiguously “signaled” is that his religion informs his belief that gay people lack the basic competence to enter the civil contract of marriage. Put another way, he believes no gay American deserves what every straight Americans takes for granted as a birthright, because Barack imagines that’s what Jesus wants.

    If there is any signaling going on, it is that — when it comes to the issue of whether gay Americans deserve to have their fundamental rights recognized by their government — Barack Obama is just another empty-headed theocrat. What’s more, President Obama has — contrary to the Constitution and his own oath of office — chosen to enforce laws he believes to be unconstitutional, which he thinks is okay because it only affects homos, so it’s really no big deal.

    Why would any sensible gay person vote for that? It’s basically the same shit we can get from any Republican, without the insulting “I feel your pain” pantomimes for the benefit of the guilty limousine liberal donors.

    Honestly, given that I’ve become resigned to getting kicked in the teeth by my government for the rest of my life, at least Republicans have the decency not to pretend like they’re doing it for my own good.

    Democrats don’t deserve a second term to do what they ought to have done in their first.

  • Jeb

    OBAMA will win by a landslide.

    As for ‘gay republicans’ they fall into the category of “with friends like them who needs enemies?”

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