Friday, October 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Obama shifts stance on gay marriage

By
February 24, 2011 |

ANALYSIS

WASHINGTON (AP) — One way for President Barack Obama to win the future, it seems, is to have his administration stop defending a federal law that bans recognition of same-sex marriage.

Opinion polls show a steady rise in Americans’ embrace of gay rights, and young voters solidly back positions their grandparents opposed, including gay marriage.

“Anybody under the age of 40 doesn’t care, or actively supports it,” said Steve Elmendorf, a longtime Democratic staffer and lobbyist.

The administration said Wednesday it no longer would defend the constitutionality of the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. Attorney General Eric Holder cited recent shifts in legal thought, not public opinion, in explaining the decision.

“Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed” the Defense of Marriage Act, Holder said. He noted that the Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional and that Congress has repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which barred service by openly gay men and women.

Five or so years ago, Obama’s decision might have touched off fierce Republican criticisms. But reaction Wednesday was comparatively sparse and muted from mainstream GOP groups and individuals. Most of the Republicans weighing a presidential bid were silent, as was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

One exception was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an evangelical minister who is considering a second try for the presidency.

“I think it was an absolutely boneheaded political move, and I think it was a boneheaded policy move,” Huckabee said in an interview. He said Obama seems to say, “I don’t answer to the voters.”

At least 30 states have held referendums on the issue, Huckabee said, and “without exception, when the voters decide, they always decide to affirm marriage” between a man and woman.

Thirty states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia. The 1996 law prevents the federal government from recognizing gay marriages and allows states to deny recognition of same-sex unions performed elsewhere.

Over the years, Obama has criticized the federal law without fully supporting gay marriage. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that Obama was still “grappling” with his view on the matter but had always personally opposed the Defense of Marriage Act as “unnecessary and unfair.”

Public opinion on gay rights has shifted substantially in recent years. An October poll by the Pew Research Center found that 42 percent of adults favored same-sex marriage, while 48 percent opposed. A year earlier, it was 37 percent in favor and 54 percent opposed.

Pluralities of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics favored same-sex marriage for the first time in the Pew surveys’ history, and the issue ranked at the bottom of voters’ concerns in the 2010 elections.

So-called millennials — Americans born after 1980 — favor same-sex marriage by 53 percent to 39 percent. Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1980) favor gay marriage by a somewhat smaller margin. Slightly more than half of the baby boomers, born 1946 to 1964, oppose gay marriage, with 38 percent approving.

Even most Republicans under age 45 said same-sex couples should have the same benefits as opposite-sex couples, according to an Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll last summer.

“The country’s moving, and it’s moving fast,” Elmendorf said. “No one has lost an election in the last 10 years” over gay marriage questions, he said.

Among traditional Democratic voters, blacks are more inclined to oppose same-sex marriage than are non-blacks. Black voters are Obama’s most faithful backers, and Democratic strategists said it’s unlikely the gay marriage issue would peel them away in his 2012 re-election bid.

Several congressional Republicans criticized Obama’s decision Wednesday. But most cast it as a matter of misplaced priorities rather than solely a question of gay marriage.

“While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the president will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said Obama cares little about the Constitution, “but cares deeply about pandering to liberal interest groups. Traditional marriage is the foundation of America’s culture, and the president’s refusal to defend marriage undermines our nation’s strength.”

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

    By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

     
    Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

    By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Gardner murder trial gets underway

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Yoga and chanting workshop planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Day of the Dead folk art class set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Flea Market planned Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    ‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Celebrate origami at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

    Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Weir honored, a year early

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    For a good cause

    By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

    Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

    Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    The magic is long gone

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    What’s next with Ebola?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    More theories on the abstention

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rights beget responsibilities

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Water returns to its source

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A solution to the drought

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Experience nature’s treasures

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Subs have other concerns

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked-up UCD

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sharks suffer from road woes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

     
    Car Care: Five things to ask yourself when shopping for a new vehicle

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

    .

    Obituaries

    Lewis Melvin Dudman

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Ann Foley Scheuring

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B3