by Peter Sprigg
February 13, 2015
News broke this week that former Obama political strategist David Axelrod has published a book in which he admits that, as Time magazine put it, “Barack Obama misled Americans for his own political benefit when he claimed in the 2008 election to oppose same sex marriage for religious reasons.”
It may well be that adopting this posture was effective in reassuring some moderate to left-leaning evangelicals, and socially conservative pastors and members in African American churches, who were drawn to Obama’s historic candidacy but would not have supported a redefinition of “marriage.”
Mr. Obama continued to publicly oppose a redefinition of marriage until he announced a change of heart in 2012.
The revelation that Mr. Obama’s position was one of convenience rather than conviction comes as no surprise to Family Research Council. President Obama’s actions have always spoken louder than his words, and his actions always belied his claim to oppose same-sex “marriage.”
As early as August of 2008, shortly before then-Senator Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for President, I wrote something that seems to be essentially what Axelrod is now verifying:
“ . . [I]t is clear that Obama’s supposed “opposition” to “gay marriage” is a matter of political strategy—nothing more. All it means is that he is unwilling, for political reasons, to make legalizing it a policy priority for which he will actively campaign.”
Below is reprinted in full the piece that I wrote for FRC Action (which is still available on the web):
Obama Backs Same-Sex “Marriage”
By Peter Sprigg
In recent weeks, there has been a spate of stories suggesting that Barack Obama has begun moving to the center. On issues ranging from the Iraq war to terrorist surveillance to gun control, Obama has been moderating some of his previous liberal positions.
But there is at least one issue on which Obama has been moving steadily to the left. In fact, it’s now fair to say it—Barack Obama supports same-sex “marriage.” All that’s left is for him to admit it.
You may not find a statement anywhere from Obama in which he comes right out and says, “I support same-sex marriage.” In fact, on March 2, Obama said, “I will tell you that I don’t believe in gay marriage … . I believe in civil unions … . [but] I don’t think it should be called marriage.”
But when Obama says, “I don’t believe in gay marriage,” what is he really saying? The evidence suggests that he is not saying what most people would mean by that statement-namely, that there is good reason why marriage, in principle, ought to be defined as the union of one man and one woman.
In fact, when you examine it closely, it is clear that Obama’s supposed “opposition” to “gay marriage” is a matter of political strategy—nothing more. All it means is that he is unwilling, for political reasons, to make legalizing it a policy priority for which he will actively campaign.
For example, Obama has more than once endorsed the analogy, often used by activists, between homosexual “marriage” and interracial marriage. He told The Advocate, “I’m the product of a mixed marriage that would have been illegal in 12 states when I was born. That doesn’t mean that had I been an adviser to Dr. King back then, I would have told him to lead with repealing an antimiscegenation law, because it just might not have been the best strategy in terms of moving broader equality forward.”
Presumably, Obama supports legal recognition of his parents’ marriage-so the comparison would suggest that he supports legal recognition of same-sex “marriage” also, but worries only that the current campaign for it is not “the best strategy.”
When the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex “marriage” in May, it would have been a perfect opportunity for Obama to display “centrist” credentials. To be consistent with his stated position on the issue, Obama should have condemned the court’s decision, while endorsing the status quo of the generous “domestic partner” benefits already granted under state law. Instead, his campaign announced that Obama “respects the decision of the California Supreme Court.”
Are there any policies safeguarding man-woman marriage that Obama will endorse? Not constitutional amendments, since he has declared, “I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.”
What about the federal Defense of Marriage Act? This is the 1996 statute, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, which defined marriage for all purposes under federal law as the union of one man and one woman. It also declared that states would have no obligation to recognize same-sex “marriages” from other states.
Obama favors complete repeal of this law, which would open the door for the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in Massachusetts and California and grant domestic partner benefits to federal employees, and would in effect allow California to redefine marriage for the entire country.
I haven’t found any evidence that Obama supports statutory provisions at the state level to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, either. He joined the Illinois State Senate the year after that state adopted its Defense of Marriage Act.
The final nail in the coffin for Obama’s supposed “opposition” to same-sex marriage can be found in a letter he wrote to a California “LGBT Pride” group on June 29. Obama concludes the letter by saying, “I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.”
To summarize, Obama supports granting 100% of the legal rights and benefits of marriage to homosexual couples; opposes virtually any legal means available of defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman (calling them “divisive and discriminatory”); “respects” courts that unilaterally overturn the democratically determined definition of marriage; compares legalizing same-sex “marriage” with legalizing interracial marriage; and “congratulates” homosexual couples who have entered into legally-recognized civil marriages.
This is not the description of someone who opposes same-sex “marriage.” Obama supports same-sex “marriage”—and he should be honest enough to say that to American voters.