Rendell Goads Obama Into Supporting Gay Marriage
President Barack Obama affirmed his support for gay marriage Wednesday in response to demands – including one from former Gov. Rendell, a man not known for dancing around the issues – to “man up” and take a side.
Obama announced his change of heart during an ABC interview at the White House.
Saying that his views on the issue had “evolved” throughout his presidency, Obama established that he fully supports marriage between same-sex couples, ending a persisting question that received national attention after North Carolina banned gay marriage through a referendum Tuesday.
Obama said he originally believed civil unions for gay couples were “sufficient,” since they provided hospital visitation rights as well as concessions for those who valued traditional, heterosexual marriage only, but that, over time, his stance changed.
“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said.
After he canceled a trip to North Carolina, members of the LGBT Community as well as the Democratic Party have demanded that Obama affirm his position on the hot-button issue.
And, during a roundtable discussion on MSNBC yesterday, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell called for Obama to establish his stance on this issue.
Appearing on MSNBC’s News Nation, Gov. Rendell fielded a question from host Thomas Roberts, who mentioned Obama’s appearance at a $2,500-a-plate LGBT fundraiser fundraiser in New York City hosted by openly gay pop singer Ricky Martin.
Roberts asked Rendell how it was possible to maneuver the “political tightrope” presented by the situation. Rendell said the solution to the entire situation was quite simple.
“I think he should do exactly what Michael Steele said he should do, he should man up and say, ‘This is what I believe,’” Rendell said.
Despite support for a gay-marriage ban among African Americans, a voting bloc that overwhelmingly supports the president, Rendell said the group will continue voting for Obama regardless of the president’s stance on the issue.
Rendell also said voters who base their ideology on a single issue wouldn’t have voted for Obama in the first place.
Curiosity also mounted after Vice President Joe Biden and Campaign Strategist David Axelrod had established that they fully support gay marriage, leading some to believe that a discrepancy existed over the issue within Obama’s administration.
Biden stated in an NBC “Meet the Press” interview that he felt “perfectly comfortable” with marriage between gay and lesbian couples.
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties,” Biden said. “And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.”
Facing a potential loss in funding from LGBT donors, Obama encountered a political quandary, where he hoped to avoid isolation of Democratic constituencies who oppose gay marriage while maintaining the support of the LGBT community, an active voting bloc for Obama.