Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-12-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Windy City Times exclusive: Obama's Marriage Views Changed. WCT Examines His Step Back
by Tracy Baim, News analysis
2009-01-14

This article shared 23041 times since Wed Jan 14, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


This week's Windy City Times features an exclusive look back at Barack Obama's views on same-sex marriage as they have evolved since his Illinois State Senate campaign in 1996. He has gone from a strong statement in favor of gay marriage in that race to what he viewed as a more practical support of civil unions when he ran for U.S. Senate and then president. This photo is from the "Yes We Can: John Gress on the Campaign Trail with Barack Obama" exhibit opening Friday, Jan. 16, at the third-floor gallery of the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. Gress's work involves commercial and photojournalism/documentary photography, and the show will run through Sunday, March 1.

Obama answers 1996 gay media

Shown here is a copy of Barack Obama's typed responses to the Outlines newspaper 1996 primary election questionnaire. Obama signed and dated the form Feb. 15, 1996, sending it to Outlines political reporter Trudy Ring. In 2000, Outlines newspaper purchased and merged with Windy City Times.

1996 statement: 'I favor legalizing same-sex marriages'

News analysis by Tracy Baim

During the final weeks of the presidential campaign last fall, several media outlets contacted Windy City Times because of an old Internet story from the 1996 Illinois State Senate race. In that campaign, Outlines newspaper, which merged with Windy City Times in 2000, reported that 13th District candidate Barack Obama supported gay marriage. Reporters wanted to know what exactly Obama had said.

Outlines newspaper, as with the new Windy City Times, surveyed candidates for all levels of elected office, and also reported on the results from pro-gay and progressive groups. We summarized the results in that 1996 article by Trudy Ring, but did not list exact answers to questions. In that article Outlines did note that Obama was a supporter of same-sex marriage; that article was never challenged or corrected by Obama.

Now, in the process of sorting through my 25 years of archives of Chicago gay reporting to eventually post materials on www.ChicagoGayHistory.org, I have found the original surveys on which Ring's reporting was based. Sometimes, it pays to keep those boxes.

IMPACT, which was Chicago's main GLBT political action committee for several years, surveyed Obama and other candidates, as did Outlines. What we are including with this special Presidential Inaugural issue of Windy City Times are copies of the answers to the IMPACT and Outlines questions. For IMPACT, the Obama campaign simply responded on the form. For Outlines, the candidate typed in his answers and signed his letter.

More recently, as Obama has run for higher office, from senator to president, he has further shaped his views on marriage, and now he does not back same-sex marriage. In a January 2004 interview I conducted with Obama at the Windy City Times' office, Obama clearly stated that lack of support for full marriage equality was a matter of strategy rather than principle, but in even more recent comments, it appears he is backing off even further, saying it is more of a religious issue, and also a "state" issue, so he favors civil unions. Both are compromises most gays do not support. First, the U.S. has a separation of church and state, and laws are in place locally and nationally that give benefits based on the very word, "marriage." Therefore, marriage as it is now defined is a government ( both state and federal ) institution that comes with specific financial and social benefits ( taxes, benefits, inheritance, immigration, custody, etc. ) . So, until government eliminates the word "marriage" from state and federal laws, it is a government issue, and that includes the federal government.

Obama's answer to the 1996 Outlines question was very clear: "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." There was no use of "civil unions," no compromise whatsoever.

The IMPACT marriage question was a bit less direct. It asked if Obama would support a Marriage Resolution being considered at the time, which read in part "Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual personal choice, RESOLVED, the state should not interfere with same-gender couples who [ choose ] to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of civil marriage." Obama responded: "I would support such a resolution."

What follows are Obama's responses in our Windy City Times 2004 interview, six years after his successful 1996 state Senate run, when he was now running for U.S. Senate:

Tracy Baim: Do you have a position on marriage vs. civil unions?

Barack Obama: I am a fierce supporter of domestic-partnership and civil-union laws. I am not a supporter of gay marriage as it has been thrown about, primarily just as a strategic issue. I think that marriage, in the minds of a lot of voters, has a religious connotation. I know that's true in the African-American community, for example. And if you asked people, 'should gay and lesbian people have the same rights to transfer property, and visit hospitals, and et cetera,' they would say, 'absolutely.' And then if you talk about, 'should they get married?', then suddenly ...

TB: There are more than 1,000 federal benefits that come with marriage. Looking back in the 1960s and inter-racial marriage, the polls showed people against that as well.

Obama: Since I'm a product of an interracial marriage, I'm very keenly aware of ...

TB: But you think, strategically, gay marriage isn't going to happen so you won't support it at this time?

Obama: What I'm saying is that strategically, I think we can get civil unions passed. I think we can get SB 101 passed. I think that to the extent that we can get the rights, I'm less concerned about the name. And I think that is my No. 1 priority, is an environment in which the Republicans are going to use a particular language that has all sorts of connotations in the broader culture as a wedge issue, to prevent us moving forward, in securing those rights, then I don't want to play their game.

TB: If Massachusetts gets marriage and this gives momentum to the proposed federal Constitutional amendment against gay marriage?

Obama: I would oppose that.

After Obama's WCT interview, he called to clarify that he opposed the proposed U.S. Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He said he also opposed the two proposed state bills banning same-sex marriage.

During his presidential campaign, he has remained consistent with his 2004 position, but clearly he has moved away from the 1996 statement of "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages." A rose is a rose is a rose, but civil unions are not "marriage" unless 100 percent of the benefits are the same across all states and the federal government.

The full 2004 interview can be found at: www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php .

This week's related story: Putting Obama's questionnaire in context, can be viewed at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php .

Tracy Baim is publisher and executive editor of Windy City Times. She was the co-founder and publisher of Outlines newspaper.


This article shared 23041 times since Wed Jan 14, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD Indian marches, delegation in Cuba, anti-LGBTQ+ investigation 2023-01-15
- Hundreds of people took part in the first Delhi Queer Pride march in three years as pressure grows for legal recognition of same-sex marriage in India, The Manila Times noted. In March, the South Asian's top ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Testifying in D.C., Brittney Griner, marriage law, school policies 2022-12-18
- WARNING: This week's news contains graphic content. Survivors of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs that killed five people and injured approximately 20 others joined GLAAD and other advocates in providing testimony before the House ...


Gay News

Cook County's Kevin Morrison attends signing of Respect for Marriage Act at the White House 2022-12-13
-- From a press release - Washington D.C. — December 13thth 2022 — Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison attended the signing of the historic Respect for Marriage Act recently passed by both chambers of congress. The bill guarantees the federal rights ...


Gay News

With President Biden's signature, Respect for Marriage Act is law 2022-12-13
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — celebrated today as President Biden signed the Respect ...


Gay News

President Biden signs Respect for Marriage Act into law; groups and leaders respond 2022-12-13
-- From press releases - In response to President Biden signing the Respect for Marriage Act into law, groups and leaders release statements. ...


Gay News

Respect for Marriage Act passage important step but not equity says LGBTQIA+/ally Catholic group 2022-12-09
-- From a press release - Dec. 8, 2022. DignityUSA, the nation's foremost organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church and society, is pleased that both houses of Congress have now passed the ...


Gay News

Groups and leaders celebrate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act 2022-12-08
-- From press releases - U.S. Representative Mike Quigley: Washington, D.C.— Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, released the following statement celebrating the passage of ...


Gay News

Congress passes Respect for Marriage Act, sends to President Biden for signature 2022-12-08
-- From a press release. Video below - (New York, NY - December 8, 2022) — GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in the U.S. ...


Gay News

WORLD Japan ruling, Kenya groups, World Cup, Almodovar 2022-12-04
Video below - A district court in the Tokyo Prefecture ruled that Japan's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is legal, according to The Washington Blade. In a statement to Reuters, plaintiffs' attorney Nobuhito Sawasaki said, "This is actually a ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Trans officials, marriage equality, Karl Schmid, Pelosi, Buttigieg 2022-12-04
Video below - Once all of the newly elected officials are seated, there will be nine transgender state legislators (up from eight this year) and nine non-binary state legislators across the country, NBC News noted, citing The Victory Institute. ...


Gay News

Landmark step toward equality: Senate passes bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act 2022-11-29
-- From press releases - WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — today celebrated the bipartisan passage of the Respect ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Respect for Marriage Act, lesbian judge, gay official resigns 2022-11-20
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said that debate on the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) is suspended and will continue on Nov. 28, when the Senate reconvenes after Thanksgiving, LGBTQ Nation reported. The RFMA ...


Gay News

Senate marriage equality bill advances with 62-37 bipartisan vote 2022-11-16
- A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators voted 62-37 for cloture—the end of debate—for the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA), signaling passage in the near future for the measure that enshrines marriage equality into federal law. The ...


Gay News

Rights advocates: Nov. 16 Senate vote a 'backstop' against SCOTUS overreach 2022-11-16
- Representatives from HRC and GLAD met with media virtually the morning of Nov. 16 to discuss the implications of the Respect of Marriage Act. That legislation, scheduled for a Senate vote the same day, codifies marriage ...


Gay News

Reports: Senate to vote on marriage equality law Nov. 16 2022-11-15
- The U.S. Senate will vote on a measure enshrining marriage equality into law Wednesday, according to reports. Supporters of the measure, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, which aims to protect against an eventual repeal ...


 




Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.