Saturday, May 12, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriage

Cartoon courtesy: The Toronto Sun (May 11, 2012)
Cartoon courtesy: The Globe and Mail (Toronto: May 10, 2012)

U.S. President Barack Obama on May 9, in an interview with the ABC News, said he now supports the same-sex (homosexual) marriage in the U.S.A. He said his support for gay marriage evolved through several  years although initially he had supported marriage between a man and woman only. Later he supported gay civil unions instead of marriage.

Barack Obama is the first U.S. president to openly voice his endorsement for the same-sex marriage which is a contentious issue in the polarized U.S.A. There are Americans who demand gay marriage, whereas there are others who vehemently oppose this type of marriage because, to them, a valid marriage is only between a male and a female.

“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,” Mr. Obama said.

It is interesting to note, as if a part of a choreographed play, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, in order to test the waters ahead of the President, in an interview with the NBC on May 6, said he was “completely comfortable” with the same-sex marriage. He also mentioned that they should get “the same exact rights” heterosexual married couples receive. Vice-President Joe Biden is a Roman Catholic politician and he went against his Church’s teaching on marriage between a man and woman only and gave his support to the homosexual marriage.

Next day, on May 7, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan expressed his support for the gay marriage, too.

These endorsements from the President, Vice-President and Education Secretary are their personal opinions only, gay marriage does not become official in the U.S.A. The laws on marriage are determined by individual states. So far about a half dozen states made laws allowing gay marriage, whereas 31 states already passed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The above notable endorsements will no doubt energize the gay marriage movement in the U.S.A. and abroad.

Reactions to the President’s announcement were immediate. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican Party nominee for president, expressed his opposition to the same-sex marriage or same-sex unions.

Roman Catholic bishops rejected Mr. Obama’s declaration. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said on May 9: “President Obama’s words today are not surprising since they follow upon various actions already taken by his administration that erode or ignore the unique meaning of marriage. We cannot be silent in the face of words and actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society. The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better.”

Gay marriage is officially legal country-wide in the following countries: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden. Of these, Roman-Catholic majority countries are Argentina, Belgium, Portugal and Spain.

Gay marriage or gay civil unions are partially legal in some states (provinces) of Brazil, Mexico and U.S.A.

The gay rights movement is gaining ground in many countries of the world. Canada is as example for having full same-sex marriage rights. Every summer, it has the largest gay parade in the world. With the full recognition of the gays in Canada, the definition of a family has completely changed.

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