In an ABC News interview today, President Obama announced his support for marriage equality, saying, "I think same sex couples should be able to get married." Conservative media figures immediately accused Obama of declaring a "war on marriage" and the Catholic Church.
Obama: "I Think Same Sex Couples Should Be Able To Get Married"
On ABC, Obama Voiced Support For Marriage Equality. In an interview with ABC News correspondent Robin Roberts, Obama stated: "[A]t a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that same sex couples should be able to get married":
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married. [ABC News, 5/9/12]
LGBT Groups, Public Officials Cheer Obama Announcement
Former George W. Bush Solicitor General: "President Obama's Words Remind Us That Marriage And Equality Are Universal Values That Unite Us All." Ted Olson, a former solicitor general under President Bush and lead co-counsel for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, said the following in response to Obama's announcement:
"Today is a proud day for all Americans. ... The bedrock American principles of freedom and human dignity are central to the political and legal convictions of Republicans, Democrats, liberals, and conservatives alike. President Obama's words remind us that marriage and equality are universal values that unite us all. They remind us that we are all -- as a People and a Nation -- striving to form a more perfect Union." [American Foundation for Equal Rights, 5/9/12]
Human Rights Campaign: "In Supporting Marriage Equality," Obama Sends A "Message Of Hope." Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese released this statement following the announcement:
"Today, President Obama made history by boldly stating that gay and lesbian Americans should be fully and equally part of the fabric of American society and that our families deserve nothing less than the equal respect and recognition that comes through marriage.
His presidency has shown that our nation can move beyond its shameful history of discrimination and injustice. In him, millions of young Americans have seen that their futures will not be limited by what makes them different. In supporting marriage equality, President Obama extends that message of hope to a generation of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, helping them understand that they too can be who they are and flourish as part of the American community. And his words remind gay and lesbian families across the country, who, like their neighbors, struggle to afford healthcare and college for their kids, pay their taxes and plan for retirement -but with the added burden of discrimination -- that they do not face those challenges alone and unheard.
"Americans fundamentally believe in fairness, but many, like the President, have struggled to reconcile that core belief and the question of marriage equality. The President's words will no doubt inspire thousands more conversations around kitchen tables and in church pews. We are confident that our nation will continue to move inexorably toward equality and we thank the President for so boldly leading us in that direction." [Human Rights Campaign, 5/9/12]
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network: "This Is A Great Day For Gay And Lesbian Service Members." President of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Aubrey Sarvis stated:
"This is a great day for gay and lesbian service members, who are living with the daily reality that while they are now able to serve openly, they and their families are treated as second-class citizens under laws like the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Certainly, the President's leadership in repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' laid the foundation for his reaching this positive outcome. We welcome the President's support for marriage and will work with him to repeal DOMA and all laws that undermine equality and treat our service members unfairly." [Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, 5/9/12]
Fox Anchor Shep Smith: Obama Is "Now In The 21st Century." After playing video of Obama's announcement, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said: "The President of the United States, now in the 21st century." [Fox News, Studio B, 5/9/12 via Media Matters]
Conservative Media Accuse Obama Of A "War On Marriage" And The Catholic Church
Rush Limbaugh: President Obama "Is Going To Lead A War On Traditional Marriage." Reacting to reports, before Obama's announcement, that Obama would come out in support of same-sex marriage, Rush Limbaugh said to a caller that Obama is going to "lead a war on traditional marriage." Following the announcement, Limbaugh stated:
LIMBAUGH: We've arrived at a point where the President of the United States is going to lead a war on traditional marriage. That's where we -- you want to call that winning? Your side is winning when the president has to lead a war on traditional marriage?
LIMBAUGH: Obama and people like [caller] are trying to turn traditional institutions on their head. And people like me who are minding their own business all of a sudden have to stand up and defend these traditions and institutions from people like you, and now the president, who's waging a war on traditional America.
LIMBAUGH: There's no other way to characterize it, Barack Obama is leading a war on gay [sic] marriage, just like he's leading a war on the Catholic Church, the war on stay-at-home moms.
LIMBAUGH: It's official. Obama has announced he supports gay marriage after talks with his wife and daughters, gay service members, and others. Pink smoke coming from the White House chimney. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/9/12]
Fox Nation: "Obama Flip Flops, Declares War On Marriage." In highlighting Obama's announcement on marriage equality, a Fox Nation headline read: "Obama Flip Flops, Declares War On Marriage." Hours later, Fox Nation changed the headline to remove the words "declares war on marriage."
[Fox Nation, 5/9/12, via Media Matters]
Jim Hoft: "Obama Continues Attacks On Christian Church." In a May 9 post on Gateway Pundit headlined "Obama Continues Attacks On Christian Church -- Throws His Support Behind Gay Marriage," Jim Hoft wrote:
You knew this was coming. After Joe Biden came out and supported gay marriage (something that is against his Catholic faith), and then Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education of all people, came out and endorsed gay marriage... You knew this was a planned strategy, promoted by Democrats and pushed by the liberal media, for Barack Obama to come out and support gay marriage too.
In an interview with ABC, Barack Obama just came out in support of gay marriage. He just threw MILLIONS of Christian Americans under the bus.
Personally, I don't have a problem with gay relationships. I don't have a problem with gay unions. I do have a problem with a president pushing a law on the people with the specific intent of punishing the Church and Christian Americans. [Gateway Pundit, 5/9/12, emphasis original]
Fox Regular Bill Donohue: Obama "Has Fully Broken With His Christian Moorings" Frequent Fox guest and Catholic League president Bill Donohue reacted to the news by urging for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between "two people who can naturally produce a family, namely a man and a woman":
In 1996, when Barack Obama was up for a state senate post in Illinois, he said he supported gay marriage. Eight years later, when he set his sights on the U.S. Senate, he discovered his Christian roots and said he was against it. In 2008, he said he was opposed to homosexuals marrying, but he also opposed a ballot initiative in California, Proposition 8, that affirmed marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman. In other words, his Christian roots were losing their grip. Since then he's been "evolving." Now the evolution is over and he has fully broken with his Christian moorings.
The time has finally come to pass a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as an institution reserved to the only two people who can naturally produce a family, namely a man and a woman. [Catholic League, 5/9/12]
MRC's Tim Graham: "This Is Not An 'Evolution.' It's A 'Devolution.' " In a May 9 tweet, Media Research Center director of media analysis Tim Graham wrote: