Thursday, May 10, 2012

An Evolving Position

"On marriage, this great institution,
My views underwent evolution,
Where once I believed
That for gay folks aggrieved,
Civil unions remained the solution."

Said Obama: "I could not neglect
The wish for regard and respect,
Above and beyond,
For the family bond
From the children they love and protect."

President Barack Obama electrified the nation Wednesday with the statement that he now supports the right of same-sex couples to marry. This "evolving position", as he put it, represents a significant shift from his long-held view that the rights of same-sex couples could be addressed through civil unions, and comes at a time of upheaval on the issue. Where, on the one hand, polls show public support generally moving toward marriage equality, the President's announcement came one day after North Carolina voters ratified a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a contract between a man and a woman, and ban same-sex civil unions. Cynics may note that President Obama's public support, which he restricted to a non-federally-binding statement of his personal views, comes after heavy lobbying from the pro-marriage-equality CEOs of big banks, on whom Democrats are dependent for political contributions. Nevertheless, this is a historic first for an American President.

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