I got a letter from Barack Obama

Taslima —

Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:

I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I hope you’ll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality.

I’ve always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I’ve talked to friends and family about this. I’ve thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, I’ve gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I’ve come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

Thank you,



  1. Nathair says

    And where states forbid same-sex marriage, no federal act should validate them.

    Thanks for nothing then Barry.

  2. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Dear Barack,

    Considering the abysmal divorce rate and the number of actual married opposite-sex couples who have no interest or capability to raise a family at all, it is kind of laughable (I was going to say f-ing hypocritical) that same-sex couples were apparently held to a much higher standard than traditional married couples in your considerations of whether they should have the same rights. I hope it’s just part of your right wing appeasing rhetoric.

  3. Art says

    Lincoln only freed the slaves in confederate states. People don’t often remember this much more nuanced application. It did, in time, become freedom for all slaves but it wasn’t as sweeping as people remember.

    It also has to be noted that this was all phrased in terms of a “personal” decision and a statement of what the federal government “should” NOT do.

    It is a step in the right direction, a big one for a sitting president, and a step that may trigger a cascade of other positive changes.

    Leadership is a fine line between waiting too long and ending up behind the crowd, and starting too early and charging forward alone. IMO he timed it fairly well. The nation is divided on the issue but the long term tend is for acceptance of SSM. Adding his considerable clout and persuasive abilities will advance the cause.

  4. mynameischeese says

    I think one US state should ban straight marriage. Just as an experiment to see if the federal government will act. Come on, Rhode Island, let’s do this.

  5. marcus says

    I agree that the statement should have been stronger and sooner. Still the United States is a better place today than it was yesterday, if only a little.

  6. Nathair says

    The nation is divided on the issue but the long term tend is for acceptance of SSM.

    Exactly. How very meh of Obama to wait for a clear majority and a solid trend and then trail along behind, taking credit “leading”.

  7. Art says

    What, you buy into all the ‘great man’ theory about how a few elites get in front of nice but little understood ideas and, somehow, change the course of nation? As humans go Obama has a lot of power and influence. But you are talking about a nation of over 300 million and with most of 250 years of tradition that has allowed ideas and institutions, such as religions, to grow and take root with the profits obtained by promulgating those ideas.

    One man, even Obama, cannot make a significant difference without a better portion of those 300 millions who are at least marginally willing to accept the idea that SSM is at least not evil incarnate. If they can be shifted to to think it is practical, perhaps even beneficial the proposition has a chance.

    Leadership is a matter of knowing how much influence you have and finding situations where that influence can make a difference in outcome. You do not change the mind of crowds. You find that portion of their thinking that wants to go along, crystallize it, make them aware of it, and then, once you have that critical mass necessary to carry the day, you lead.

  8. says

    I’m a little underwhelmed by Obama’s statement, but I’m glad we live in a world where a president can say it. Things are getting better.


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