Wayback Machine: Obama Supported Gay Marriage in 1996

feb-08-2007-vid00075_1.thumbnail.jpgIn 1996, while the tormented post-teens of Beverly Hills 90210 were dealing with secondary characters like Joni and her stripper daughter Lily and Tara-the-psycho-Kelli-wanna-be, Barack Obama was running for Illinois state senator.

As part of his campaign, he answered  a questionnaire for a Chicago gay and lesbian newspaper Outlines (now merged with the Windy City Times) and another for IMPACT which was then “Chicago’s main GLBT political action committee.”

His responses, part of  1996 article were never challenged or corrected by Obama. The original questionaires were recently uncovered by editor-in-chief Tracy Baim while she was going through some old boxes of papers. Eureka!

In his typed answers to the Outlines questionnaire, Obama clearly stated he was in favor of same-sex marriage, which he has since opposed on the public record during both his U.S. senate run and his campaign for president:

I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.

At the same time, Obama completed another questionnaire for IMPACT which discussed a pending same-sex marriage resolution. Obama, in his own handwriting, wrote:

I would support such a resolution.

In 2004 during his bid for the U.S. Senate, Obama sat down with Tracy Baim at Windy City Times for an interview. Here are some excerpts:

WCT: But you think, strategically, gay marriage isn’t going to happen so you won’t support it at this time?

Obama: What I’m saying is that strategically, I think we can get civil unions passed. I think we can get SB 101 passed. I think that to the extent that we can get the rights, I’m less concerned about the name. And I think that is my No. 1 priority, is an environment in which the Republicans are going to use a particular language that has all sorts of connotations in the broader culture as a wedge issue, to prevent us moving forward, in securing those rights, then I don’t want to play their game.

But as Baim points out in this weeks’ cover story about the questionnaires and interviews:

civil unions are not “marriage” unless 100 percent of the benefits are the same across all states and the federal government.

In the 2004 interview, Obama also comes out against a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage, saying:

I would oppose that.

Which gives hope that DOMA will be repealed–if it can get through the House and Senate.

[H/T Ben Smith at Politico]

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Will Go

During open questions on change.gov, Obama’s incoming press secretary Robert Gibbs answered Thaddeus from Lansing, MI’s question about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, seen at 4:17 on this video.

Thaddeus asks:

Is the new administration going to get rid of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy?

Gibbs responds:

Thaddeus, You don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much. But it’s ‘yes.’


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