For the last few days I have been thinking about President Obama's stance on gay marriage. As much as I want to stand up and cheer for him I really have to do it with reservations. As an LGBTQA activist I have to pose the question to the president: Why are you making such a statement at this juncture versus making one two years ago? Understandably the president is figuring out ways to handle our nation's economic crisis, conflicts in the Middle East, and wanting to be re-elected as president. One has to beg another question. Is the president taking a stance on gay marriage simply because he is running an re-election campaign?
The Windy City Times, Chicago's LGBT newspaper, reported that when Obama was running for Illinois state senate for the first time in 1996, as a New Party candidate, he was a supporter of gay marriage; however he did not win the 1996 election. Since then he never said anything more about gay marriage, but was a supporter of civil unions.
So does President Obama support gay marriage genuinely, or does his support for gay marriage come with a price tag?
The Center for Responsive Politics researched in late 2011 that the following contributions from proponents of same-sex marriage:
• Tim Gill, a former tech executive and LGBT activist, and his husband, Scott Miller, of Denver, Colo., who bundled at least $500,000
• Charles Myers, of Evercore Partners, who has bundled at least $500,000 • Eugene Sepulveda, of Austin, Texas, who bundled at least $500,000
• Andrew Tobias, a writer and treasurer of the DNC, who bundled at least $500,000
• Dana Perlman and Barry Karas, of Los Angeles, who bundled at least $500,000 • Wally Brewster and Bob Satawake, of Chicago, who bundled at least $100,000
• Terry Bean, of Portland, Ore., who bundled at least $200,000 • Kathy Levinson, former president and CEO of E-trade, who bundled at least $200,000
• Laura Ricketts, of Ecotravel LLC in Chicago, who bundled at least $100,000 • Jeff Soref, of New York, who bundled at least $100,000
• Fred Eychaner, of Chicago, who bundled at least $50,000 • Paul Horning, of Atlanta, who bundled at least $50,000
• Kevin Jennings, the former Department of Education official, who bundled at least $50,000
Looking forward, if President Obama was truly for gay marriage, then would it not make sense to have him make a strong suggestion on the international stage? Plenty of countries discriminate against either homosexuality or do not recognize same-sex unions or marriage, such as India, China, and various African countries.