published Friday, May 11th, 2012

Affirming marriage rights

Though the political impact on the November presidential election is yet to be clarified, Barack Obama’s statement Wednesday in support of same-sex marriage for gay couples clearly puts him on the right side of history. Whatever reason brought him to this moment, Obama, the nation’s first black president, may now become equally known as a symbolic champion for the Constitution’s 14th amendment, which affirms equal rights under the law for all Americans. His is a position that inevitably will be recognized one day by the U.S. Supreme Court as the law of the land.

At least half of all Americans, polls confirm, already believe the right to same-sex marriage should be accorded to all citizens to guarantee equal access under the law to the storehouse of legal rights conveyed by marriage — whether it be property rights, spousal Social Security benefits, alimony or access to an ICU ward to care for a committed partner or child.

Churches can make their own rules for marriage as a matter of their religious rights and traditions, but the federal government can hardly continue to sanction the legal discrimination that now pervades public laws against same-sex marriage. Just as the march to social justice under the Constitution ultimately brought emancipation of slaves, women’s voting rights, civil rights and anti-discrimination laws, and the dismantling of miscegenation laws that barred interracial marriage, so will the legal right to marriage rise for same-sex couples.

Though a constitutional scholar himself, President Obama’s path to this epiphany was perhaps as hard as for him as anyone of his generation and older generations. He had said his views on the matter were “evolving,” and that was plain. He subscribed first to the right to civil unions to provide legal rights to committed partners, but not to the right of marriage for gay couples. He had refused to enforce the federal Defense of Marriage Act that former President Bill Clinton had signed into law in 1996. He more recently ended the “don’t ask, don’t tell” era for the military that had allowed, but avoided sanctioning, the rights of gays to serve in the military — and then fixed a policy allowing gays to serve openly.

As he told ABC’s Robin Roberts in a hastily scheduled White House interview Wednesday, he had come to question how he would explain to his daughters why marriage was disallowed for the committed gay couples his family knew and respected. He wondered about the effect on “soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage.”

“The thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the golden rule — you know, treat each other the way you would want to be treated,” he said. “And I had to think that’s what we try to impart to our kids, and that’s what motivates me as president.”

“At a certain point,” he said, “I’ve just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” Which is to say that at the end of the day, Obama realized that “separate but equal” isn’t truly equal when core marriage rights are allowed to some, and denied to others. Otherwise, there would be no controversy about it.

The timing of Obama’s statement — following Vice President Joe Biden’s similar statement on a national talk-show Sunday, and North Carolina’s vote Tuesday in favor of another state constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage and civil unions — is more superficial than material. Obama, like Mitt Romney, would have been put on the spot about gay marriage in the pending presidential campaign until he issued an unequivocal answer.

Whether the political fall-out will be scant or significant remains to be seen. Certainly Romney will seek political advantage by appealing to traditional evangelical opposition to same-sex marriage. He made that clear in his response to a question about Obama’s statement, issuing the harsh rejoinder that he is firmly against civil unions as well as same-sex marriage.

That may resonate with the Republican base, but it’s not likely to impress the swing vote of independents, younger voters or a range of other segments of voters who want an open-minded, forward looking, and more inclusive and thoughtful president. The deeper humanity of acknowledging all citizens’ rights to full personal relationships is bound to sink in, and to offset the harshness of denial of a basic human right. Beyond that, the more important thing is nonjudgmental compassion and fairness to all committed couples.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

Hey now, at least some Republicans will support same-sex marriages, in the sense that they believe that the government shouldn't recognize marriages at all.

May 11, 2012 at 12:24 a.m.
EaTn said...

It's either a constitutional right or not, and to be on any ballot is totally absurd.

May 11, 2012 at 5:45 a.m.
joneses said...

Have you people noticed the attention the commie liberal news media is giving obastard for his flip flopping on gay marriage? The commie liberal news media is trying to present this as a great revelation form obastard and that this issue is on everyones mind. I am around hundreds of people everyday of different races, political beliefs, genders and sexual orientations and not one person has mentioned obastard announcing his stance on gay marriage. There are only two reasons why obastard and the commie news media are bringing so much attention to this issue, (1) Obastard wants the gay vote. This is stupid because the gays will vote for obastard regardless of what he believes as they are being used just as the most blacks are for political purposes. (2) To take away from all of obastards failures which is everything he has done as obastard is a complete failure. This is the real reason for all this attention to gay marriage. I wonder how many gays are unemployed because of obastards failed policies? This gay topic impacts a very small percentage of the population but obastard's failed policies impact all of us. It is that stupid of a topic. Politicians have not the ability to define marriage only God can. But I can see how you liberals think your politicians can define of gay marriage because you actually worship your dummycratic, liberal, commie politicians as gods and obastard as your Messiah. You are that misled.

May 11, 2012 at 6:17 a.m.
joneses said...


"Obama nets $15 million at gala Clooney fundraiser"

I wonder if these one per center obastard supporters that support obastard raising taxes on them will deduct from their taxes this 15 million dollars of donations to avoid paying taxes?

Another fine example of liberal/dummycrat hypocrisy.

May 11, 2012 at 6:48 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Politicians have not the ability to define marriage only God can.

no god defined my marriage, joneses marriage is a contract-mine is with the state of TN

May 11, 2012 at 7:06 a.m.
joneses said...

Then apparently the state of Tennessee is your god. Being that I am a taxpayer in Tennessee and part of the state of Tennessee I expect you to worship me. NEAL FOOL! LOL!

May 11, 2012 at 7:16 a.m.
conservative said...

There is no Constittutional right to same - sex "marriage", it is a lie!!!

May 11, 2012 at 7:55 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

There is a constitutional right to "equal protection under law" conservative. There is no specific "right" to marriage for anyone, gays or straights. Where is that non-religious argument to deny gays full rights anyway? Don't you have one? Why can't you admit that you want all of us to live under your sectarian requirements? That you expect everyone to adhere to your holy book? Be honest.

May 11, 2012 at 8:09 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

joneses: my contract is not with a god. I know you have difficulty reading. My marriage license is with the state. I can choose or not to have a ceremony that is religious in the church/temple/synagogue/mosque/woodland clearing/coral reef of my choice. Without the license I have none of the rights and privileges awarded a married person. Therefore it is a contract with the government, not with a god.

To both of you: how does a same sex marriage diminish or threaten your straight marriage? How does it cost you money? Remove your rights? Why do you care what other people do? Do you pass judgment on all marriages? Must they meet some standard before you will allow it to happen? Do you recognize married couples that did not undergo a religious ceremony? The state does. All states do.

May 11, 2012 at 8:12 a.m.
conservative said...

There is no Constitutional right for a man to marry another man or two other men, it is a lie!!!

May 11, 2012 at 8:14 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Answer the questions conservative, or you will continue to appear dishonest, ie a Liar for Jesus.

May 11, 2012 at 8:16 a.m.
joneses said...


I do not care one way or the other to be honest. You can marry a donkey if you wish. It is my belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. The state only supplies a piece of paper saying one is married but I do not answer to the state although they force be to abide by their laws which some I agree with and others I do not. Another note, this is actually a nonissue to me and I will never look at two men or two women as being married because I do not believe it possible. That is me and actually it is none of your business what I believe. There is nothing you can say to change that. This whole gay marriage issue was put out here by the obastard nation to take away from obastards failures as a man and a president. The gay marriage issue only affects a very minuscule part of the population but obastards failures as a president affects us all. This issue does not warrant this much attention. Did you know that the unemloyment rate among young adults 25 years and younger is 16.5%. Some of those are gay. My point is I would like to hear from you liberals why you support a president that lied to you saying h will cut the debt in half and he has increased the debt 60% causing the United States rating to go from a AAA to AA. I would also like to hear why you agree that a massive debt is good for America. I would also like to hear from you why you support a president that says he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy but extended President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. To sum it up why do you believe anything this pathological liar of a president says? He originally siad he was against gay marriage and their was no outrage from the left. This is a perfect example that you liberals lack the courage to hold obastard accountable and you are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.

May 11, 2012 at 8:40 a.m.
joneses said...


I answered your question so answer this one that not one liberal/dummycrat has had the courage to answer.

Do you think Obama was being honest when he said he would cut the debt in half if he became president and he actually ended up adding 6 trillion dollars to the debt increasing it by 60%? Please do not evade this question by answering "he just changed his mind" or "the Republicans would not let him tax the wealthy" or "it was president Bush's fault" or my best liberal response "you have to spend money to be able to cut the debt". There are only two answers, one is "yes" and the other is "no" so please do not evade the answer by answering with any other answer other than yes or no. I will give you a hint. One of two of the answers will make you look foolish so be very careful.

May 11, 2012 at 8:43 a.m.
conservative said...

There is no Constitutional right for a woman to marry another woman or two other women, it is a lie!!!

May 11, 2012 at 8:43 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Another note, this is actually a nonissue to me and I will never look at two men or two women as being married because I do not believe it possible.

It really doesn't matter what you believe. Your beliefs are not to be imposed on others.

The questions were about gay marriage, not the economy. Your lack of answers reveals that you have none.

By the way, I will continue to flag every comment where you use the term "bastard".

conservative, your continued refusal to answer these questions confirms that you are a Liar for Jesus". Thanks.

May 11, 2012 at 8:45 a.m.
joneses said...


Just as I thought you are a another hypcritical, lying liberal who lacks courage to hold obastard accountable and answer a simple question about obastard lying to you. You mean nothing to me.

I will stop using the term "obastard" and resort to "obutthead".

Will that heal your tender hurt feelings?

What you ad the rest of you liberals are experiencing is the same thing I experienced when you referred to President Bush as "stupid". Thie is a perfect example of you can dish it out but are to weak to take want you dish out. Hypocrites.

May 11, 2012 at 8:53 a.m.
conservative said...

At the time the Constitution was written, the definition of marriage was only between a man and woman. Therefore, it is IMPOSSIBLE for same - sex "marriage" to be Constitutional. Stated another way there is no Constitutional right for a man to marry another man, it is a lie!!!

May 11, 2012 at 9:38 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

I am perfectly happy for you to criticize the president. I just think the term bastard applied to anyone crosses the line.

Your continued lack of answers is revealing. But not surprising.

May 11, 2012 at 9:38 a.m.
joneses said...


Bastard: A child whose birth lacks legal legitimacy—that is, one born to a woman and a man who are not legally married.

Bastard is not a bad word and you people should be ashamed of yourself for making it one. I only add the "O" to honor Obastard's Irish heritage he claims to have.

I will give you foolish liberals all a break and so you can continue to spread your foolish lies and run away from the real issues you are afraid to face.

My point was proven by you liberals being afraid to answer a simple question about obastard lying to you. You are to stupid to admit the truth.

May 11, 2012 at 9:44 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

And you changed the subject to avoid answering, which makes you dishonest.

May 11, 2012 at 9:50 a.m.
Downtownman said...

Ikeithlu, I have a challenge for you. go argue with a bag of hammers, then come back and argue with joneses. I swear there is no difference.

May 11, 2012 at 9:55 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

True. I am not convincing joneses (or conservative) but any bystander should see that they cannot be trusted.

May 11, 2012 at 9:56 a.m.

Marriage is a religious concept. Why aren't gays happy with calling their arrangements civil unions? I support their right to have a civil union, but not a marriage. The only difference would be that theirs wouldn't be a christian marriage ceremony. That is a concept that has been well established for years, if you start changing that now, you might as well let polygamy and anything else, tri, quad, quint or septangle arrangements be called marriage as well. Why hyjack a word that doesn't apply and try to force the square peg into the round hole instead of just making a square hole for it to fit in?

May 11, 2012 at 10:10 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Marriage is a contract and does not require a religious ceremony. No one is suggesting that churches perform same-sex marriage. As for plural marriage, a lot of laws would have to be revisited if there were multiple partners; maybe that will happen but it is far more complicated.

The fact is, most opponents of same sex marriage have RELIGIOUS objections, and no one should be subject to laws based on sectarian belief. To get anyone to suggest a NON-Religious argument seems more difficult than pulling hens' teeth, which suggests there are none. You are welcome to try, since both joneses and conservative refuse to do so.

May 11, 2012 at 10:16 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

I posted this under the right-side editor's article. I will do the same here. I think it's worth repeating myself. Most Christians probably won't want to look at it, thinking it's ridiculing them and their "holy" Bible. But it's all in there. God apparently sanctioned every one of these wide-ranging marital unions, so they must be okay. And fundie Christians think that men marrying men or women marrying women is perverted and unholy?! Check this out:

May 11, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.
joneses said...

This is a president who is all about Obama and has a bad case of the "me's." In his explanation for support of gay marriage to Robin Roberts, the president said:  "When I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on “my” behalf and yet feel constrained." My behalf?  The uniform says USA, not "Obama."

But this falls right in line with this statement by Valerie Jarrett.

The co-chair of Barack Obama's Transition Team, Valerie Jarrett, appeared on Meet the Press and used, shall we say, an interesting word to described what she thinks Barack Obama will be doing in January when he's officially sworn into office. She told Tom Brokaw that Obama will be ready to "rule" on day one. It's a word that reflects the worst fears that people have for Obama the "arrogant," the "messiah," the “narcissist” that imagines he's here to "rule" for him instead of govern for us.

May 11, 2012 at 12:24 p.m.
joneses said...

I do not care if obutthead is for gay marriage or not. I will not vote for him because he is a failure and the proof of his failures is below.

$16,000,000,000,000.00 deficit with no end in sight, no budget for his entire term, highest unemployment ever for any president , more people on welfare than any president ever, highest gas prices in history just like the deficit, failed obamacare, failed stimulus package, weak and failing foreign policies, a ridiculous energy policy, committing more troops into afghanistan, the ndaa, spending multi millions of tax dollars for personal use, attacking the catholic church, dividing race, gender, religion & wealthy people with all his hate speech, bowing to our enemies and giving them billions of our tax dollars while stabbing our allies in their backs , his illegal libyan war, the muslim brotherhood in the white house, keeping gitmo opened, threatening and disrespecting the supreme court, disrespecting our constitution, disrespecting our veterans, appointing communist radical czars, spending almost $1,000,000.00 to hide his college records and past, a fake birth certificate, his father being a communist, his twisted and sordid upbringing, his indonesian muslim transgender prostitute nanny, his communist grand parents and life long friends, his denied muslim faith, his racist church of 20 years, the new black panthers, his association with known weather underground admitted communist Bill Ayers, his wife’s hatred of our flag and shame for this country, his arrogance and hypocrisy... obamas the best president ever, just ask him or any of his brain washed followers. Bennetts cartoons are a bigger joke than Barry Soetoro aka Hussien Obama, aka, obastard. What is really pathetic and disgusting is you liberals are proud of this fool of a president’s failures.

May 11, 2012 at 1:11 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Joneses, this is an editorial about gay marriage. Answer the questions please.

Remember that your crazy-soaked rantings are here for everyone to see, so you are chipping away at any credibility you might have had.

May 11, 2012 at 1:15 p.m.

FPSE, the state of North Carolina disavowed the civil union concept too.

But if you wish the state to refrain from any recognition of marriage, you can certainly make the argument, I doubt you'll accomplish much, but you can try. It'll be honest of you.

First though, you'll have to admit that marriage has numerous components that have nothing to do with any particular religion. As such, your presumption that they are the property of ANY given religion is a false one. You are the one trying to take possession if something that is not owned by any one religion. Or do you think that the Chinese, Japanese, Australian aboriginals, or Native Americans had no concept of marriage?

If you want to argue the particulars of marriage, and what form it should take, fair enough, but I can assure you there is abuse in any form you can imagine.

Lkeithlu, Joneses is trying to go through the barrier and come out the other side.

May 11, 2012 at 3:42 p.m.
Walden said...

TFP's Libby editor wrote, "...Barack Obama’s statement Wednesday in support of same-sex marriage for gay couples clearly puts him on the right side of history."

Ah, nice feelgood Lib cliche, but history remains, and will always be, what we have experienced, not what we wish for. Chew on that one for a while libtards.

Fact: 32 of 32 states that have put marriage on the ballot have affirmed the institution as being between one man and one woman. I suspect more are to follow.

It shall be fun to watch the Left squirm over the decision whether to keep the convention in Charlotte! Hee hee...

May 11, 2012 at 4:12 p.m.

If history isn't what was wish it to be, explain the people who create their own historical narrative?

But I'm sorry for your ignorance, in this country we know that the public doesn't have unquestioned power to decide what it wants based on a majority. There's a reason why courts have overturned such votes. The people don't have the right to vote in discrimination and intolerance. And have you actually checked the votes? Many of them were within single digit percentages and all had more than enough voters not voting to sway the outcome. In California's case, it was five million people not voting.

May 11, 2012 at 4:21 p.m.
conservative said...

At the time the Constitution was written, homosexuality was a crime in all of the states. Homosexual "marriage" was not then and is not recognized now in the Constitution. Homosexual marriage is not Constitutional, that is a lie and that is what Lieberals do.

May 11, 2012 at 4:40 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

The framers of the Constitution also considered black people to be three-fifths of a human being. Should that never have been changed to reflect the evolution (oops - that's a dirty word for the con-man!) of our acceptance and realization of the equality under law of all human beings? The Constitution is and should be looked upon as an evolving document - not written in stone forever and ever. No laws are so absolute and immutable that they cannot change over time in accordance with our changing culture.

"We have not yet so far perfected our constitutions as to venture to make them unchangeable. Can they be made unchangeable? Can one generation bind another, and all others, in succession forever? I think not. - Thomas Jefferson

May 11, 2012 at 5:07 p.m.

At the time the Constitution was written, a lot if things were illegal.

Some that were legal are now illegal.

And I sincerely doubt they'd demand an unquestioning devotion to their laws at the tie, given how they'd just repudiated the English crown.

May 11, 2012 at 5:15 p.m.

There are some who say that about any consumption of meat.

The less prejudiced among us...are not so quick to condemn.

That you're saying such a thing, points to your own warped perspective.

But hey, thanks for destroying the Romney-bots arguments about what a person did in High School not mattering.

May 11, 2012 at 5:47 p.m.
conservative said...


Now if people want to amend the Constitution to put homosexual "marriage" in it there is a process and procedure for that.

I would love to see Obamination and all the Demoncrats try to do just that.

All of you leftists, Socialists, Lieberals and homosexuals please contact your Demoncrat Senators and Congress and demand that they start the process and demand that they do it before the election. Please! Please! Please!

May 11, 2012 at 5:47 p.m.

Nope, unlike literal Republicans, I see no reason to put every little thing in the Constitution, when a simple statement about everybody having equal rights serves the purpose.

See, I don't to have a right listed to know I have it. Besides, if we're going that route, where is marriage listed in the Constitution at all?

Oh, it's not?

Guess we'll have to follow the Libertarian advice and repudiate all state recognition and involvement.

May 11, 2012 at 5:50 p.m.

Sorry JonRoss, you're the one who started talking about eating dog as a child. It's too late to pretend you're focusing on today. You opened up the door.

As for your complaints about vicious attacks, your own posts proves the falsehood of those claims. See your own conduct? Belies your complaints.

Reminds me of what I saw on Colbert last night:

"Automatically calling people frauds just because they're fake? That's bigotry!"

But at least Colbert is clearly putting on an act, his outrage was clearly a parody, but you? You're going to claim you're genuine.

May 11, 2012 at 6:09 p.m.

Is your idea of being informed like Mourdock's idea of bipartisanship?

May 11, 2012 at 6:46 p.m.
conservative said...

This Lieberal writer needs to "Embrace The Truth About Marriage"

May 11, 2012 at 7:40 p.m.

And anybody who doesn't adhere to the Right-wing version of the truth shall be burned at the stake!

Of course, they'll never once recognize how they are being constructively challenged, and protest that they're actually the ones being persecuted, since they aren't allowed to be fake without being called a fraud!

May 11, 2012 at 7:44 p.m.
joneses said...

Obutthead flip flopped and said he is for gay marriage but in the whole scheme of things he has no authority to make laws.

May 12, 2012 at 7:56 a.m.

No authority to make laws? At all? That's untrue.

You should know better. He can propose laws to Congress, set executive policy and regulation, and all of this would be known to anybody who bothered to read the Constitution.

May 12, 2012 at 3:10 p.m.
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