Obama takes a stand against gay marriage ban

McCain supports a California measure to ban same-sex marriage, but Obama rejects the controversial bill.

Published July 1, 2008 6:12PM (EDT)

There's been plenty of speculation of late about whether Barack Obama is "moving to the middle" and rejecting some of his progressive persona. Some of the arguments are more persuasive than others.

Regardless, with the discussion drawing scrutiny, it's encouraging to see Obama take a stand like this one.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who previously said the issue of gay marriage should be left up to each state, has announced his opposition to a California ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriages.

In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club read Sunday at the group's annual Pride Breakfast in San Francisco, the Illinois senator said he supports extending "fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law."

"And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states," Obama wrote.

Some conservatives have suggested this is a flip-flop. It's not -- Obama said he supports states making their own decisions, and in this case, he'd like to see Californians make the superior decision in support of equality.

This may seem routine -- of course Obama opposes an antigay measure like this one -- but James Kirchick raises a good point: The Kerry/Edwards ticket wasn't willing to go this far four years ago.

I'd add, by the way, that John McCain, who is so conservative on gay rights that he has even opposed civil unions, supports the ballot measure, and wants to see gay marriage banned in California and other states.


By Steve Benen

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