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Obama Comes Out In Support Same-sex Marriage
By WeHo News staff, West Hollywood, California
The President of the United States of America today made history by openly supporting Marriage Equality for gays and lesbians.
Today President Barack Obama told ABC News’ reporter Robin Roberts, “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
According to his campaign staff, President Obama’ decision to come out came about as he and his campaign advisors faced a pair of unpalatable alternatives: to support the idea and face a backlash in battleground states or keeping his heartfelt support quiet and face charges he put politics over his principles.
Facing a Republican nominee well-known as a waffle and political chameleon, combined with yesterday’s North Carolina vote to ban same-sex marriage and all other forms of official recognition of same-sex partnerships, the decision to make a formal announcement in support became a no brainer.
Today’s news was foreshadowed by Vice-President Joseph Biden’s full-throated support of marriage equality on Sunday’s Meet The Press.
West Hollywood City Councilmembers Reaction:
West Hollywood, which implemented the nation’s second domestic partnership registry, has long led the fight for official recognition of gay and lesbian relationships, and was ground zero for the “Summer of Love,” that brief period wherein same-sex marriages were legal in the State of California in 2008.
After those 27 years of fighting for the rights of the LGBT community, the members of the West Hollywood City Council expressed their profound elation that President Barack Obama has endorsed marriage equality.
West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang said, “President Obama has done more for LGBT equality than any other President in history – Mathew Shepard Hate Crimes, Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, and now, marriage.
Mayor Jeff Prang lauded the President's announcement. Photo by WeHo News.
“His record over the past 3 ½ years in office has demonstrated a strong commitment to equal rights for all Americans, including equal rights for the LGBT community.
“We, the LBGT community, must now show our strong commitment to ensure that he is reelected as our Nation’s leader,” added Mayor Prang.
“It has always been our hope that the President would come to view this as the civil rights issue that it is,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Abbe Land.
“With continuing efforts to inject discrimination into state constitutions, as happened in North Carolina yesterday, it is vitally important that that the leader of our country makes a strong and clear statement about the importance of marriage equality.
When more people understand what this is really about -- and the real harm done to families when legal recognition is denied – then hopefully we can move forward as a country where everyone is treated equally and fairly and these discriminatory amendments and policies become things of the past,” said Mayor Pro Tempore Land.
The newest council member, John D’Amico, said that his husband "Keith and I were married in 2008 after being domestic partners for 16 years and I am happy to report that the sky has not fallen. And as far as I know the sky has not fallen anywhere same sex marriage is legal."
John Heilman was a council member when the city began its domestic partner registry in 1984. Photo by WeHo News.
“This was truly a moment of a ‘profile in courage’ by the President,” said WeHo council member John Duran. “He took an extraordinary risk with his statement. We will now be alert in West Hollywood for potential political blowback from those who might retaliate against our community,” continued Councilmember Duran.
“Today President Obama demonstrated his commitment to equality for all Americans,” said council member John Heilman. “He also demonstrated his leadership. This is a great day for our country. Now we need to continue the hard work to make marriage equality a reality,” said Council member Heilman.
In 1984, the City of West Hollywood became the second city in the nation to create a domestic partner registry. In 1985, the City of West Hollywood adopted a Domestic Partnership Ordinance that provided equal rights for domestic partners and married couples in the City.
This groundbreaking ordinance provided hospital and jail visitation rights for domestic partners, and protected renters from eviction or rent increases in the event of a partner’s death.
In 1985, the City of West Hollywood successfully lobbied to change California state law so that the California Public City Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) would include domestic partners in benefit plans statewide.
John Duran and John D'Amico both congratulated the President on coming out - for Same-Sex Marriage.
The City of West Hollywood was one of the first cities in the country to pass a resolution in support of same-sex marriage. The City has been one of the most ardent and vocal advocates for the legal rights of same-sex couples and the right to marry, both in and outside its City boundaries.
Since 1995, the City Council has passed almost a dozen resolutions supporting progressive domestic rights initiatives, and condemning the opposite, in various states and on the federal level.
The California Supreme Court ruled on May 15, 2008 that same-sex couples had the right to wed. From June 17 until November 4, 2008, the City of West Hollywood issued more than 1,000 same-sex marriage licenses and performed more than 600 marriage ceremonies.
When Proposition 8 was passed by the state of California in November 2008, the law was overturned and same-sex marriages were no longer allowed. In May 2009, the California Supreme Court made a devastating ruling that upheld Proposition 8 and reinstated the ban on same-sex marriage in California and halted all same-sex marriages in the state.
The marriages granted during this time period, however, remain legally recognized.
According to ABC News, Governor Mitt Romney, who fought against Massachusetts’ marriage equality constitutional amendment, told a local reporter in Colorado today that domestic partnership benefits — including hospital visitation rights– are “appropriate, but that the others are not.”
WeHo's newest congressman, Rep. Adam Schiff, will take over the city in January because of redistricting. He, too, applauded the President's courage and conviction.
“Now is the time for the Democratic Party to cement its stance for fairness for all Americans by making marriage equality a part of its national platform, “ said Stephen Simon, President of Stonewall Democratic Club. “What makes America great are equal rights for all – not rights for gay people, women, African-Americans, or Latinos but all people,” said Nii-Quartelai Quartey, Obama California spokesperson. “Mr. Romney believes in some rights for some people and this is why Americans will reject his worldview in November.”
“The LGBT community and all our allies intend to pressure incumbent Democratic candidates and delegates from sea to shining sea until we succeed."
West Hollywood’s new congressional representative, effective in January, made a statement supporting the President’s announcement.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said, “Marriage equality extends one of our most basic rights of citizenship to all Americans – that is, the right to marry the person you love.
"Members of the LGBT community serve in our armed forces, and contribute to the strength of our nation and community in every field of endeavor. They should have the right to marry, and enjoy all the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship without discrimination."
Rep. Schiff was an original co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would require recognition of any marriage performed in any state under federal law, including that of LGBT Americans.