Is there any real reason to believe Obama is actually for same sex marriage?

I’ve seen some comments to the effect that although Obama says he’s against same sex marriage, some think he’s only saying that for political reasons and is really OK with it. Is there really any reason to believe this besides wishful thinking?

A follow-up question:

… And does it really matter?

That is, whatever his opinions, if he is not willing to risk any political capital on the issue, what good are his opinions (assuming they were positive)?

By “risk any political capital” I mean being willing to at least speak out on the issue in an unambiguous way. I believe he opposed proposition 8 in California (operating on hearsay here) but on more or less technical grounds. He never came out and said “same-sex couples should have the same rights to civil marriage as opposite-sex couples”. At least not that I have been able to find. I would be happy to be wrong.

Honest question: Why do people care if the rights they get are called “marriage” or “civil union”?

(1) Separate but equal doesn’t have a stellar history in this country.

(2) It will just shift the fight to what rights a civil union should have.

He’s for civil unions and is generally pro-GLBT, so I see his official opposition to SSM as political semantics. He’s not officially opposed to granting the same rights, just not the word.

I’ll admit, I don’t have real evidence of his true inner thinking on this. I confess to some intellectual prejudice here. I think the guy is just too smart and too thoughtful to really believe something like this matters.

I also believe that his religious faith, while sincere in a general way, is not truly dogmatic.

This is from a source biased toward SSM rights and Barack Obama while also quoting him as being against same-sex marriage per se. This kind of quote is my reason for arguing that he isn’t really against same-sex marriage, because he defers to states’ rights–which, in this context, is essentially the same thing as being pro-SSM. It’s fairly left-of-center to expect the federal government to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples right now, unfortunately. He’s just being as far left of the center as possible while still retaining political viability on this issue.

“Separate but equal” is never truly equal.

Also, the only way to make sure we actually get the same rights is to officially call it marriage, because marriage has an existing rights-based definition that can be easily applied to us. By contrast, “civil unions” and “domestic partnerships” do not necessarily grant the same rights, and can easily be defined to exclude many important rights like hospital visitation, recognition of the wedding outside of our home state, federal benefits and protection, etc. See also:

Not to mention that the very existence of “civil unions” and “domestic partnerships”, especially if they are confined to same-sex couples, is unfair for opposite-sex couples: opposite-sex couples have to commit to marriage in order to get the same benefits at work, while same-sex couples don’t–because we can’t.

Since the whole anti-SSM stance seems doomed since younger folks just don’t care, it seems it would be easier to get the rights ASAP then fix the semantics later. Always thought it’d be easier to push for everything to be called civil unions though, a lot of people seem hung up on the marriage word, not really caring about the legal niceties.

That’s the very problem: we can’t get the rights without getting actual legal marriages. We already have a small subset of the rights in the form of domestic partnerships, and that subset is not going to grow any time soon, especially considering the current political climate.

(bolding mine) Could you clarify please? Something like what exactly? Matters to whom?

As far as leaving it up to the states, I can see that as a strategy until it becomes the default standard in most states, but marriage rights for same-sex couples will never be equal until they are recognized by the federal government. Remember that inter-racial marriage was still illegal in a number of states until the federal government stepped in.

At the point that happens, if it comes in my lifetime, I may feel about my minority status the way may black people presumably feel now about having a black president. And not until.

Isn’t that Bush’s position? “Let the states deal with it”

To the well being of society.

No. Bush pushed for a federal Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

ETA: Although he also supported states’ rights to ban SSM–that is, Bush was into states’ rights when those states did what he wanted them to do, which tends to be how states’ rights movements go.

That’s McCain’s position.

As for Obama…

I would suspect that he takes his position from his church. Find out what his church’s official position is, and I think you’ll find out what his position is. But even if he is personally against SSM, I couldn’t see him vetoing legislation legalizing it.

In theory, I would agree with you. In practice, however, I fear that this would end up giving opponents of SSM more ammunition to work with.

For example: “They already have the same rights; why do they insist on calling their union ‘marriage’? This is proof that they’re wanting to destroy our Christian values!

They’ll do that anyway. Trying to appease bigots doesn’t work, because you aren’t in the wrong in the first place. They’ll find SOME reason to try to hurt homosexuals, because that’s their motivation.

Which is one reason why civil unions won’t ever give same sex couples equal rights; they are just an attempt to create a ghetto-marriage, to lock in second class citizenship in even longer. Just like segregation. It’s not a stepping stone to full marriage, but an attempt to prevent full marriage from ever happening.

Why do people who oppose SSM vote to deny them the word “marriage” to describe those rights?

…and the United Church of Christ, as is well-known, was the first mainstream, mainline denomination to support SSM on a national level. Individual congregations are free to make their own decisions, however, and Trinity UCC is no exception. As far as I know, Trinity UCC has not taken an explicit stance regarding SSM (it’s not, for example, listed as an “open and affirming” church), but it does have a same-gender loving singles ministry among its many programs, and Rev. Wright has been noted for his support of the LGBT community.

Because that’s what they’ve been able to get away with. I’m sure most of the people who voted against gays on this issue would happily vote to have civil unions banned, and homosexuals as a group imprisoned or exiled or executed. That’s the sort of things bigots of all kinds do, given the chance.

Gotta say I am amazed at what I view as a debate over semantics.

When we get married (hetero marriages)there are two aspects to it: 1) Legal implications, 2) Religious implications.

To #1 the state should allow the same legal framework for Same-Sex couples as they do anyone else. I have seen not a single argument to suggest why that is a bad idea and there are lots of reasons why it is a good idea.

To #2 leave it to each religion to do as they see fit. It is not appropriate for the state to demand they do or not provide same-sex marriages. That is entirely up to them.

As for Obama he is playing politics. In 2004 the Reps made gay marriage a big enough deal to sway voters and it certainly helped him. We will never know but may well have handed Bush the win. That said Obama is no dummy, there was no upside to him scaring people with allowing gay people to marry so he punted on the issue.

Sad but understandable from him as he plotted his strategy.