Democratic Senators to Obama: Evolve Already

UPDATE @ 3:12 PM: Word from the White House Press Secretary, who did a gaggle on Air Force One, this afternoon, is that Obama isn’t going to evolve. He’s going to mention the New York bill, but “but won’t say anything new or endorse it” according to the pool report.
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It’s not just us.

Even Democratic Senators think Obama should evolve already. Via Andrew Harmon at The Advocate who got them on the record:

Although White House press secretary Jay Carney said earlier this week that he does not anticipate any revelatory statement from President Barack Obama on his gay marriage position when he takes the stage at an LGBT fundraiser in New York this evening, a group of Democratic senators are now urging the president to support marriage equality.

This week, The Advocate reached out to senators who have previously stated their support for marriage equality and asked whether the president should now do the same. Not all responded, and some that did reiterated their own support for equal rights while sidestepping the question of whether President Obama should follow their lead.

But among the unequivocal statements in response were those from several original sponsors of pending LGBT equality legislation. Their bottom line, to borrow from a Twitter hashtag gaining momentum: evolve already.

And, here’s what the Senators had to say:

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.):
“Every American deserves equal treatment under the law, and there’s no question that same-sex couples deserve full marriage recognition. President Obama has taken important steps to help the LGBT community, and I urge him to join me and millions of other Americans in supporting equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.):
“I support marriage equality—this is an issue of fundamental fairness. I hope that President Obama will endorse that view and voice his support for equality for all.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.):
“This isn’t about politics or elections—it’s an equal rights issue. I hope the President and all Americans join in supporting marriage equality.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.):
“I am proud that Vermont was a national leader in legalizing gay marriage. I believe the example that Vermont set has helped change people’s attitudes all across America. I also hope that it will help shape the thinking of all our elected leaders, including the president.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif):
“I believe that support of the President would be very welcomed. I hope he endorses my bill to repeal DOMA.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.); statement issued from Deputy Chief of Staff Jennifer I. Hoelzer:
“The Senator believes that no one has any business telling consenting adults who they can and can’t marry as he has been saying publicly since 1996. Since then, he has been gratified to see politicians on both sides of the aisle recognize that simple truth. It is Senator Wyden’s hope that all of our political leaders will understand the limits of their authority and carry out their obligation to extend equal protection and the full faith and credit of the law to every American.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); from May 17 interview with The Advocate:
“[T]here’s no reason why he can’t lean into marriage equality in a public speech or through some action he could do through the White House. I’d be thrilled if he decided to do that. He did take the step of not [defending] DOMA through his Department of Justice, which is a fantastic step because it was one that he was unwilling to do in “don’t ask, don’t tell.” So it shows a shift in his willingness to use the power of the White House—the power of the administration—to change public perception and to change policy. So I think we could get a very strong public statement out of him.”

The Advocate will add any additional statements from senators if and when they are released.

Remember, we’re asking Obama to do something that the American people — particularly his base — support. The trendline is getting ahead of him. We want him to catch up — and for his campaign to stop thinking it’s 2004.


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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