Thatís why I opposed DOMA in 2006 when I ran for the Senate. Thatís why I am a strong supporter not of a weak version of civil unions, but of a strong version, in which the rights that are conferred at the federal level to persons who are part of the same sex union are compatible.
When it comes to federal rights, the over 1,100 rights that right now are not being given to same sex couples, I think thatís unacceptable, and as president of the United States, I am going to fight hard to make sure that those rights are available.
A: It is my strong belief that the government has to treat all citizens equally. I donít think that the church should be making these determinations when it comes to legal rights conferred by the state. I do think that individual denominations have the right to make their own decisions as to whether they recognize same sex couples. My denomination, United Church of Christ, does. Other denominations may make a decision, and obviously, part of keeping a separation of churches and state is also to make sure that churches have the right to exercise their freedom of religion.
A: My view is that we should try to disentangle what has historically been the issue of the word ďmarriage,Ē which has religious connotations to some people, from the civil rights that are given to couples, in terms of hospital visitation, in terms of whether or not they can transfer property or Social Security benefits and so forth. So it depends on how the bill wouldíve come up. I wouldíve supported and would continue to support a civil union that provides all the benefits that are available for a legally sanctioned marriage. And it is then, as I said, up to religious denominations to make a determination as to whether they want to recognize that as marriage or not.
A: Look, when my parents got married in 1961, it would have been illegal for them to be married in a number of states in the South. So obviously, this is something that I understand intimately, itís something that I care about. But if I were advising the civil rights movement back in 1961 about its approach to civil rights, I would have probably said itís less important that we focus on an anti-miscegenation law than we focus on a voting rights law and a non-discrimination and employment law and all the legal rights that are conferred by the state. Now, itís not for me to suggest that you shouldnít be troubled by these issues. But my job as president is going to be to make sure that the legal rights that have consequences on a day to day basis for loving same sex couples all across the country.
A: My attitude is if people are being treated unfairly and unequally, then it needs to be fixed. So Iím always very cautious about getting into comparisons of victimology. You know, the issues that gays and lesbians face today are different from the issues that were faced by African-Americans under Jim Crow. That doesnít mean, though, that there arenít parallels in the sense that legal status is not equal. And that has to be fixed. Iím going to be more sympathetic not because Iím black. Iím going to be more sympathetic because this has been the cause of my life and will continue to be the cause of my life, making sure that everybodyís treated fairly and that weíve got an expansive view of America, where everybodyís invited in and we are all working together to create the kind of America that we want for the next generation.
A: Oh, come on, now. Thereís a reason why I was here first. Itís because Iíve got a track record of working on these issues. If people are interested at the federal level, they can look at who was the chief co-sponsor of Illinoisí version of ENDA [the Employment Non-Discrimination Acts, focusing on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation], which we passed. If people are interested in my stance on these issues, Iíve got a track record of working with the LGBT community. What I have focused on and what I will continue to focus on is making sure that the rights that are provided by the federal government and the state governments and local governments are ones that are provided to everybody.
The above quotations are from 2007 Democratic primary debate sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC, a gay-rights group) and the LOGO Network (a gay-oriented cable TV channel), Aug. 9, 2007.
Click here for main summary page.
Click here for a profile of Barack Obama.
Click here for Barack Obama on all issues.
Barack Obama on other issues:
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
(We rely on your support!)