Thursday’s decision to overturn California’s Proposition 8, which paves the way for gay marriage in that state, brings to light the president nuanced view on gay marriage. The White House Thursday applauded the overturning of Prop 8, but as a candidate, Obama said he didn’t have a problem with it.
While he has implemented some rights for gays and lesbians since he’s been in office, liberals have charged he hasn’t done enough and others say he has done too much.
As a candidate, then Sen. Barack Obama, said he personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but that he supports a federal civil-union law and has compared the effort to the civil-rights movement.
Here are some of President Obama’s previous statements and positions on gay marriage, both as a candidate and as president:
RADIO INTERVIEW (WHILE RUNNING FOR SENATE) -2004:"I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."
"AUDACITY OF HOPE" BOOK EXCERPT, BY BARACK OBAMA– October 17, 2006:"[N]o matter how much Christians who oppose homosexuality may claim that they hate the sin but love the sinner, such a judgment inflicts pain on good people."
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL – August 4, 2010:"The president has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans."
SENATE VOTE – July 18, 2006:Obama votes against a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage because the decision should be left to states.
CAMPAIGN STATEMENT – Tuesday June 17, 2008:"Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage."
ABC NEWS INTERVIEW WITH JAKE TAPPER -June 16, 2008:TAPPER: OK, last one, and that is same-sex marriage is now going on in California.
TAPPER: You oppose same-sex marriage.
TAPPER: Do you think that the fact that this is now going on in California, does that cause you to re-think your pledge to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act?
OBAMA: No. I still think that these are decisions that need to be made at a state and local level. I’m a strong supporter of civil unions. And I think that, you know, we’re involved in a national conversation about this issue.
You know, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but I also think that same-sex partners should be able to visit each other in hospitals, they should be able to transfer property, they should be able to get the same federal rights and benefits that are conferred onto married couples.
And so, you know, as president, my job is to make sure that the federal government is not discriminating and that we maintain the federal government’s historic role in not meddling with what states are doing when it comes to marriage law. That’s what I’ll do as president.
TAPPER: Does it bother you, what California’s doing?
PRIMARY DEBATE ON LOGO TELEVISION – August 9, 2007:"I am a strong supporter not of a weak version of civil unions, but of a strong version, in which the rights that are conferred at the federal level to persons who are part of a same-sex union are compatible." He added that his parents wouldn’t have been allowed to marry because of miscegenation laws in some states.
TAMPA FLORIDA TOWN HALL – January 28, 2010:QUESTION: All right, I’m Hector and I’m a student at UT. (Applause.) And my question is, last night you talked about repealing "don’t ask, don’t tell," and my question is what are you doing now to put in motion so that same-sex couples and homosexuals are treated as equal citizens of the United States, i.e., same-sex marriages and the thousand-plus benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy after marriage? (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Look, as I said last night, my belief is, is that a basic principle in our Constitution is that if you’re obeying the law, if you’re following the rules, that you should be treated the same, regardless of who you are. (Applause.) I think that principle applies to gay and lesbian couples. So at the federal level, one of the things that we’re trying to do is to make sure that partnerships are recognized for purposes of benefits so that hospital visitation, for example, is something that is permitted; that Social Security benefits or pension benefits or others, that same-sex couples are recognized in all those circumstances.
I think that we’ve got to — we actually have an opportunity of passing a law that’s been introduced in Congress right now, and my hope is this year we can get it done, just for federal employees and federal workers. A lot of companies, on their own, some of the best-run companies have adopted these same practices. I think it’s the right thing to do and it makes sense for us to take a leadership role in ensuring that people are treated the same. (Applause.)
Look, if you are — regardless of your personal opinions, the notion that somebody who’s working really hard for 30 years can’t take their death benefits and transfer them to the person that they love the most in the world and who has supported them all their lives, that just doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem right. (Applause.) And I think it’s the right thing to do.
REMARKS AT THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST – February 4, 2010:"We may disagree about the best way to reform our health care system, but surely we can agree that no one ought to go broke when they get sick in the richest nation on Earth. We can take different approaches to ending inequality, but surely we can agree on the need to lift our children out of ignorance; to lift our neighbors from poverty. We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are — whether it’s here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.
REMARKS AT LGBT PRIDE MONTH RECEPTION – June 22, 2010:"In addition, I’ve issued an executive order[SIC]* to extend as many partnership benefits to gay and lesbian federal employees as possible under current law. And I’m going to continue to fight to change the law: to guarantee gay federal employees the exact same benefits as straight employees — including access to health insurance and retirement plans. (Applause.) And in an announcement today, the Department of Labor made clear that under the Family and Medical Leave Act, same-sex couples — as well as others raising children — are to be treated like the caretakers that they are. (Applause.)
Because I believe in committed — I believe that committed gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country, I have called for Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. We are pushing hard to pass an inclusive employee non-discrimination bill. No one in America should be fired because they’re gay. It’s not right, it’s not who we are as Americans, and we are going to put a stop to it.
REMARKS AT HUMAN RIGHTS CAMAPIGN DINNER, OCTOBER 10, 2009:"And that is why — that’s why I support ensuring that committed gay couples have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country. (Applause.) I believe strongly in stopping laws designed to take rights away and passing laws that extend equal rights to gay couples. I’ve required all agencies in the federal government to extend as many federal benefits as possible to LGBT families as the current law allows. And I’ve called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act. (Applause.) And we must all stand together against divisive and deceptive efforts to feed people’s lingering fears for political and ideological gain."
REMARKS AT SIGNING OF FEDERAL BENEFITS AND NON-DISCRIMINATION — June 17, 2009:
"Many of our government’s hard-working, dedicated, and patriotic public servants have long been denied basic rights that their colleagues enjoy for one simple reason — the people that they love are of the same sex.
Currently, for example, LGBT federal employees can’t always use sick leave to care for their domestic partners or their partners’ children. Their partners aren’t covered under long-term care insurance. Partners of American Foreign Service officers abroad aren’t treated the same way when it comes to the use of medical facilities or visitation rights in case of an emergency.
These are just some of the wrongs that we intend to right today.
In consultation with Secretary of State Clinton, as well as OPM Director John Berry, my administration has completed a long and thorough review to identify a number of areas where we can extend federal benefits to the same-sex partners of Foreign Service and executive branch government employees.
…Now, under current law, we cannot provide same-sex couples with the full range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.
That’s why I’m proud to announce my support for the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, crucial legislation that will guarantee these rights for all federal employees.
…It’s a day that marks a historic step towards the changes we seek, but I think we all have to acknowledge this is only one step. Among the steps we have not yet taken is to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. I believe it’s discriminatory, I think it interferes with states’ rights, and we will work with Congress to overturn it."
Fox News’ LA Holmes contributed to this report.