May 14 2009

Obama Over and over again during the campaign and into the Obama Presidency, the president has stated that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Often he would attach the word "always" before that indicating this has been a deeply held life-long personal belief. While disappointing, there are many people with principles that were on the same page as the president when it came to marriage equality.

Except, once early in his career, the president strongly supported marriage equality.

In January of this year, I guess as folks were very busy watching appointments, sweating the economy and still in the euphoria of his election, Ben Smith of Politico ran an item on his blog - "Obama Backed Same Sex Marriage in 1996". How this was not a bigger story at the time is beyond me. There is no question that some might have noticed it but as I have spoken to many people this week, most were totally unaware that Obama was a strong advocate of marriage equality.

As a candidate for the Illinois State Senate in 1996, Barack Obama responded to and personally signed a questionnaire from a then LGBT newspaper called "Outlines" (which later became the Chicago Windy City Times) In that questionnaire, President Obama wrote on point number six:

"I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."

As Ben Smith points out, there is no mention of civil unions, or compromises. He strongly and directly supported marriage equality without qualifications.

Wonder what caused the change?