Rare case of Obama waffling

One thing I admire about Obama is that he, rather than McCain, has been a pretty straight shooter, even when the stand isn’t the most politically expedient.

But his stand on same sex marriage is a bit wishy washy, IMO.

He stated several times during the primary that he opposed same sex marriage and said “marriage is something for a man and a woman.” He’s also said he felt that same sex marriage is something that should be left to each state to decide. And now he says he opposes Proposition 8.

Sure, as an Obama supporter I can turn it around and say oh, what he really means is this or that. But just listening to his comments, he comes across on this issue absolutely “politician” - try to be all things to all people.

By the way, before you all start calling names, accusing me of being a right wing homophobe, etc. - one of my wife’s best friends in high school emails her frequently, and has invited us to his wedding, and so beautifully expressed his feelings on the issue, made it so easy to see from a personal point of view, that I support same sex marriage. I don’t support forcing churches to marry same sex couples if it is against their beliefs, but I do support such couples being able to be married and having the rights.

Edit: wife’s friend is gay, in case that isn’t clear.

I lambasted Obama about this during the primaries. I can’t be bothered to dig it up right now, but regardless, it’s probably one of my biggest complaints and one thing that gets in the way of him being truly ‘perfect’ as a candidate.

This is one of those issues that has no winning side for a politician who’s trying to appeal to a national audience. And Obama is nothing if not a consummate politician. I think he’s taken about the only possible position that a Democratic candidate for president can take in 2008 (i’m “against” it personally, but it’s not up to me).

The candidates who have the opinion we prefer tend to lose terribly. I’ll take what I can get.

But his answer doesn’t satisfy anyone. He ticks off people like our friend by saying he opposes gay marriage, he ticks off those who are against gay marriage by saying that he thinks states shouldn’t be able to ban it, etc.

In my mind, Kerry would’ve won in '04 if not for gay marriage. I think Obama, like many others, knows this, hence the position. I don’t like it either, but you know he’s probably got the better true stance on it than McCain does.

This is an issue where you have to tick the fewest number of people off the least. His position ticks a lot of people off a little, but any other position would tick slightly less poeple off, but to a far greater degree.

Really? I don’t even remember this as an issue at all during that election, nor Kerry’s position. I’d be shocked if that was the issue that lost Kerry the election.

Do people really think that there are social conservatives who would vote for Obama because he says he’s against gay marriage? I.e. significant numbers of people who would vote for Obama because he says he’s against gay marriage who wouldn’t vote for him otherwise?

The anti-gay-marriage proposals that hit in 2004 mobilized a large number of single-issue bigots to get to the polls and tip the favor with their straight tickets.

The Democrat position (at a national level) seems to be that they are opposed to “gay marriage”, but okay with something that is exactly the same as marriage in every way, except that it isn’t actually called marriage. I don’t quite remember what the word is.

Not people that would vote for Obama, but people that otherwise wouldn’t bother to vote would vote against him.

This year the economy is voter’s most important issue but, IIRC, “moral values” was pretty high on the list in 2004. Marriage amendments were on ballots in 11 states in 2004, and turnout was higher in those states, particularly christian conservative turnout. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Kerry would have won, but it certainly cost him votes.

Has anyone ever advocated this position? I find it weird that people even bother to say they don’t agree with it – it seems too obvious that nobody would force churches to marry people they don’t want to. Churches choose not to marry straight couples right now based on any criteria they want. Nothing proposed has any effect on churches, it only has to do with the legal benefits of marriage from the state.

Yeah. Forcing churches to marry gay people is the first bogeyman that right-wing pundits trot out in their endless line of strawmen and slippery slopes.

I haven’t gotten too worked up over the campaign’s opposition to same-sex marriage, although I got annoyed at how emphatic Biden was recently when he expressed that opposition. I can’t remember the occasion.

I’m also not too worked up over Prop. 8, because ultimately I think this will get decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, I hope after a Dem administration has had a chance to make a couple of appointments. I don’t see how a more centrist Court could come down against same-sex marriage given their decision in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 and the Loving decision in 1967, holding that marriage is a fundamental right.

The only thing that worries me is an amendment to the U.S. constitution, but I just don’t think there’s enough political momentum for that. Would a Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage create such momentum? I don’t know. I think the tide is changing.

For now, I’m sticking with my li’l Vermont civil union, even though it’s meaningless in Tennessee except to us.

Yes and yes. This is why:

I would. Ohio was one of the gay marriage ban states in 2004; Bush won it by 2%, or about 120,000 votes. If Kerry had got Ohio he would have (hilariously) won a electoral college victory with a -2.5% popular vote margin.

Don’t take my word for it, check out this paper.

But what about the decisive state of Ohio, where Bush’s margin of victory was less than 119,000 votes? Our surveys found that 29% of Ohio respondents supported the marriage ban and said they were very motivated by it to turnout. Turnout in Ohio increased nearly 10% in 2004, second only to the increase in South Dakota spurred by a US Senate contest. CNN exit polls show Bush enjoyed above average increases in support over his 2000 Ohio performance among the same voters we found to support the gay marriage ban there (see Table A5): those with low education, the elderly, and non-whites. Although whites were still far more likely to vote Bush, we find non-whites consistently more likely to support the gay marriage ban. The magnitude of the effect is largest in Ohio, and exit polls show Bush’s increase in support among African American in Ohio – up 7% - was nearly four times the rate of his increased support nationally among African Americans. Likewise, Bush increased his support among Ohio’s over age 60 voters by 10%, his support among Ohio voters without a high school degree increased
by 12%, and among frequent church goers by 17%, far above his national average (nationally, he increased his support among these voters by 7%, 10%, and 1%, respectively).

All of this is consistent with our issue mobilization thesis: key groups of voters opposed to gay marriage were mobilized to turnout in Ohio and they swung toward Bush. We can get a sense of how the issue may have tilted the outcome in Ohio to Bush by projecting Bush’s increased support among these key groups (measured in exit polls) into raw numbers of voters. These (crude) estimates illustrate that the increase in Bush support among African Americans could have delivered a maximum of 39,000 votes to Bush in 2004, while the increase in support among those with no high school education could have produced a maximum of 27,000 votes for Bush. Increased support among frequent church goers and the elderly could have produced a maximum of 133,000, and 112,000 of Bush’s votes in Ohio, respectively. Of course, we have no way of knowing, definitively, how many of these voters were motivated to turnout and vote Bush because of the effects of the gay marriage issue.

Rove had an open strategy to put gay marriage bans on the ballot in as many states as possible. He knew what he was doing; it’s electoral poison for Democrats.

Also, don’t forget a lot of African American folks are, sadly, relatively socially conservative and homophobic. I honestly don’t think Obama (or Clinton, or McCain, or Bush) really care, but it’s still tricky.

SO glad I live in Massachusetts where we finally got this settled properly.

Back in 2004, Bill Clinton advised John Kerry to affirm that marriage should be between a man and woman. Kerry refused. I think Obama has taken that advice (Kerry is an advisor to Obama) to heart.

I’m not sure Kerry could have taken a stronger position against gay marriage than Bush without alienating a lot of his base. And unless he somehow convincingly took a stronger position against it, gay marriage opponents would probably vote Republican on the issue by default. The issue got people out to vote, but I don’t think there was any realistic way Kerry could have gotten those people to vote for him.

I haven’t decided whom to vote for yet. However, I hope that those of you who do vote for Obama, will keep him accountable for the promises that he’s made.

Dirt, for the sake of the country just STAY THE FUCK HOME. If you’re really such a moron that you can’t decide, the right to vote is wasted on you.