Kerry Eleveld to President Obama: ‘evolve fully on marriage equality’

On October 27, 2010, during the blogger meeting with President Obama I asked him about his position on same-sex marriage. That set off an interesting back-and-forth. He reiterated his support for civil unions, but also said, “I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine.”

In December, Kerry Eleveld interviewed the President and asked him about marriage. He responded:

Joe asked me the same question. And since I’ve been making a lot of news over the last several weeks, I’m not going to make more news today. The sentiment I expressed then is still where I am — which is, like a lot of people, I’m wrestling with this. My attitudes are evolving on this.

So, there’s been a lot of talk about evolving. From her new perch at Equality Matters, Kerry has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post (it appears in the print edition, too.) She urges the President to “evolve fully” on marriage soon, as in, before the reelection campaign gets underway. It’s worth a read. She makes a strong case for how and why Obama should come around on marriage. Here’s the conclusion:

With equality legislation stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, one of the most significant advances Obama can make between now and his 2012 reelection campaign is to evolve fully on marriage equality.

The repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was a turning point in the marriage discussion. It poses a major challenge and an opportunity for the president.

While he, like many Americans, grapples with the fact that civil unions provide no remedy for gay taxpayers with regard to federal spousal benefits, he has enlisted the most powerful lobby in the nation to work on behalf of gay rights – the U.S. military.

Once repeal is implemented, the military will begin to move toward eradicating the inequalities endured by gay service members.

Indeed, 67 percent of service members told the Pentagon’s study group that lifting the ban would have a positive effect or no effect at all on readiness – surely those service members will care that their comrades in arms get equal treatment. I would bet they will insist on it.

This is a political calculation for the President and his reelection team, which will be led by Jim Messina. Let’s hope they make the right decision.

Cross-posted at AMERICAblog Gay.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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