Obama To Endorse Gay Marriage Today? All Signs Point To Yes
Is President Barack Obama going to endorse gay marriage during an interview Wednesday? All signs point to yes, as a crescendo of events in recent days and months have made it nearly impossible for him to keep avoiding a clarification of his views until after the election.
Though Obama has been coy in the past about his opinion on same-sex marriage -- saying that his views are "evolving" -- he is losing his political cover for such a stance as more members of his administration have come out in support.
The administration's first major recent step in that direction came in November, when Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan spoke out about his support for gay marriage.
But Vice President Joe Biden is the man who brought the issue to head Sunday by speaking movingly in support of gay marriage on "Meet the Press," in comments that have been sliced and diced in the days since, saying he is "absolutely comfortable" with full marriage equality.
The prevailing impression is that it was just yet another moment of unclarity for the veep, in which he let his real thoughts slip through, thus forcing the administration's hand by exposing the untenable nature of Obama's "evolving" views.
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But a second camp that includes commentators like New York Times columnist Frank Bruni speculates that Biden's comments were a means for Obama to test the waters and see what the political ramifications of coming out for same-sex marriage would be for the campaign.
For Obama clearly leans toward support, as Bruni pointed out in a Monday column that during his 1996 Illinois state Senate campaign he wrote the following: "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages ... and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."
About half of Americans now support gay marriage, according to polls, a number of disparate states from Washington to New Hampshire have legalized it, and the Obama administration has stopped the Justice Department from defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act in court.
That move and Obama's successful push to repeal the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy have combined with the events of recent days to foment a rising chorus of calls for Obama to take a brave stance in support of gay marriage.
Even Rahm Emanuel, Obama's fiery first chief of staff and the current mayor of Chicago, has become a key supporter of gay marriage, advocating for Illinois to pass such a law.
And on Monday Caroline Kennedy, co-chair of Obama's campaign operation, made a call for marriage equality to become part of the Democrats' 2012 platfom.
Today at 1:30 p.m. President Obama will speak via an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts. The sit-down comes at a time when much is going on -- the debate over college tuition interest rates continues to rage, a major terrorist plot was just foiled -- but observers expect the conversation will inevitably turn to gay marriage, and that Obama will be forced to address the topic or face backlash from many of his liberal supporters.
The only thing left to do is wait and see. Will Wednesday be the day the nation's first black president, a man whose legacy was made possible by the civil rights movement, be the first commander-in-chief to come out in favor of equality for all U.S. citizens?
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