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06/29/2011

'I'm not gonna make news today'

by Jeremy Hooper

When asked again today about his marriage stance, the President responded with the quote in the above headline. Think Progress grabbed vid of Laura Meckler's (WSJ) question:


[Think Progress LGBT]

The "not making news" thing has become something of a stock phrase of the Obama administration, ever since the President personally uttered the phrase to Americablog's Joe Sudbay back in October of 2010. The idea being that we're all waiting for this huge revelation. And we are, undeniably.

But here's the thing: By constantly serving up a word soup that comes across as incongruous, at best, the President is himself the one choosing to make news on this issue. Because for those of us who live within a same-sex-loving reality, it shouldn't be news for a President who has deeply studied constitutional law, who claims to support LGBT equality, who opposes discriminatory amendments, who's supportive of state processes that lead to full marriage outcomes, and who once signed on to a statement saying he did support our full and unequivocal civil rights, to come out here in 2011 America for a notion that has majority support in some polls and near-majority support in all voter surveys. The Democratic President's support for our constitutionally-sound equality should be commonplace, not headline-grabbing!

I will go to my grave believing that if we had had more support for our equality during the most heated of the Bush years (when virtually no elected Democrat would come out for full equality), we would've gotten even further, even faster. And I continue to believe that today, with this President. His staunch support could open more eyes than any of us ever could hope -- something that would be especially welcome in states where a process like NY's is not anywhere close to an immediate possibility, but also quite welcome in states like RI and MD, where voices of opposition continue to use the President's stance to defend moderate "no" votes.

And the thing is: I really don't believe it would even cost him politically, since the vast majority of those who make an issue out of gay people's ring fingers already believe this President supports same-sex marriage, and will likely campaign in 2012 under the idea that he does. In fact, I (and many others) would argue that the true political cost comes in the highly possible apathy of unengaged progressives. Apathy that could alleviate our President's worry about making any kind of news on just about any kind of issue, come January of 2013.

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