In light of this week's announcement that Barack Obama supports gay marriage, making him the first-ever sitting U.S. President to make such a profound statement, response to the news has been mostly positive. Even noted conservative and Hunky Jesus hater Andrew Sullivan described himself as "uncharacteristically at a loss for words," adding, "Obama did more than make a logical step. He let go of fear. He is clearly prepared to let the political chips fall as they may. That's why we elected him. That's the change we believed in." Following are other reactions to Obama's "evolved" stance on same-sex marriage.
Former San Francisco mayor and current California Lieutenant Governor >Gavin Newsom beamed, "Historic moment. So proud to see our President come out in support of marriage equality and full equal rights for ALL Americans." He also said, "[Obama] didn't need to do this...We've got a president who puts everything on the line."
Political analysis of Obama's stance ranged from glowing to furious. New York Times notes:
"The very riskiness of what Mr. Obama did — some commentators were invoking Lyndon B. Johnson’s embrace of civil rights in 1964, with all the attendant political perils — made it hard to understate the historic significance of what took place at the White House on Wednesday.
" 'If you are one of those who care about this issue, you will not forget where you were when you saw the president deliver those remarks,' said Chad Griffin, the incoming president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group. 'Regardless of how old you are, it’s the first time you have ever seen a president of the United States look into a camera and say that a gay person should be treated equally under the law. The message that that sends, to a young gay or transgendered person struggling to come out, is life changing.'
John Cook of Gawker, however, had a different reaction, calling Obama's remarks on gay marriage "bullshit" and slamming the President for saying that marriage rights should be a state-by-state issue.
"Equality is not a state-by-state issue. There is no reason other than ignorance and hatred that two men can get married in New York and not North Carolina. At a time when vindictive hucksters are rolling out anti-gay marriage amendments across the nation, and when conflicting state and federal laws portend an insoluble morass of divorce, custody, and estate issues, and when gay Americans are turning to the U.S. Constitution and the courts to seek an affirmation of their humanity, 'it's a state-by-state issue' is a shameful dodge."
Meanwhile, the folks at the National Review Online were typically aghast at anything to do with gay marriage, clumsily noting that legally sanctioned marriage is for procreation.
"... The only good reason to have marriage laws in the first place — to have the state recognize a class of relationships called "marriage" out of all the possible strong bonds that adults can form — is to link erotic desire to the upbringing of the children it can produce.
"We have already gone too far, in both law and culture, in weakening the link between marriage and procreation. To break it altogether would make the institution of marriage unintelligible. What possible governmental interest is there in encouraging long-term commitments with a sexual element, just as such?"
While the editors at the New Republic were more than thrilled with the news, even if Obama's statement was a touch too late.
"Yes, it was a few years too late. Yes, his hand was forced by Joe Biden and Arne Duncan. Yes, his statement is just a statement—it does not change any law. And yes, we shouldn't minimize the role of an extraordinary civil rights movement—comprising millions of average Americans, gay and straight—in dragging our country over the past two decades toward the current moment, one where a president could feel politically able to take such a stand. But none of this should minimize the significance of what took place yesterday in Washington. President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage was both substantively important and politically brave. And he deserves enormous credit for it."
Back in San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement that "we stand ready to begin marrying same sex couples, and we will take this hard fought fight all the way to the nation's highest court, if necessary."
On the celebrity front, both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert gave audiences their bent on the news, featuring gay jokes aplenty. Tyra Banks noted, "A fierce day for my gays and my prez @BarackObama - way 2 stand up 4 luv for ALL!" While Neil Patrick Harris tweeted, “@BarackObama: President Obama announces his support for same-sex marriage Bravo, Mr. President, and thank you." And last but never least, tireless civil rights advocate Kim Kardashian blogged, "Wow I just heard that President Obama has officially announced that he supports gay marriage!! This is such a huge step forward in our country’s fight for civil rights and I hope that today this will give hope to so many young people across the country."