After President Obama's historic announcement that he is in favor of marriage equality, many in the right-wing media are refusing to debate the substance of same-sex marriage. Instead, they are casting about for ways to attack Obama's position on marriage that ignore the actual debate.
Obama Announces His Support For Marriage Equality
On ABC, Obama Voiced Support For Marriage Equality. In an interview with ABC News correspondent Robin Roberts, Obama stated: "[A]t a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that same sex couples should be able to get married":
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point 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. [ABC News, 5/9/12]
In Addition To Basic Fairness, Same-Sex Marriage Has A Variety Of Other Benefits To Society
Gay And Lesbian Couples Are Denied A Variety Of Basic Rights Because Of Their Inability To Marry Each Other. The Human Rights Campaign has compiled a list of federal rights that gay and lesbian couples are denied because their marriages are not recognized on a federal level. Those rights include:
- Same-Sex Couples Are Denied Social Security Surviving Spouse And Surviving Parent Benefits.
- Employers Who Cover Same-Sex Partners' Health Benefits Must Pay Additional Taxes.
- Gay And Lesbian Couples Have Less Access To The Child Tax Credit, The Earned Income Tax Credit, And Other Tax Laws That Benefit Families With Children.
- Gay And Lesbian Couples Do Not Have A Right To Take Leave Under The Family And Medical Leave Act To Care For A Sick Family Member Or New Child.
- Same-Sex Couples Receive Worse Tax Treatment When They Sell Their Home.
- Same-Sex Couples Receive Worse Tax Treatment Under The Estate Tax.
- Same-Sex Couples Receive Worse Tax Treatment Of Retirement Benefits.
- A U.S. Citizen Does Not Have The Right To Petition To Have His Or Her Same-Sex Spouse Legally Immigrate To The United States.
- Gay And Lesbian Federal Employees Cannot Cover Their Partners Under Their Health Insurance Plans.
- When An Employer Fires A Gay And Lesbian Employee, They Are Not Required To Allow The Employee's Partner To Receive Health Insurance Via Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). [Human Rights Campaign, accessed 5/10/12]
Marriage Equality Would Create Benefits For Businesses And The Economy. An October 2006 study by UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy titled "The Effect of Marriage Equality and Domestic Partnership on Business and the Economy" outlined the potential business benefits that would be derived from official recognition of same-sex couples:
We find several potential business benefits of equal treatment for same-sex couples:
- Current employees will be healthier, more satisfied, and less likely to leave their jobs if they get domestic partner benefits.
- Domestic partner or spousal benefits will increase the competitiveness of employers in recruiting and retaining talented and committed employees.
- New weddings or other ceremonies would be a $2 billion boon for wedding-related industries in the United States.
- Marriage equality would make it easier for multistate and multinational businesses to transfer employees and to create consistent benefit and salary policies. With a potential hodge-podge of growing jurisdictional requirements, business leaders are likely to crave uniformity and simplicity in responding to diverse family needs and sustaining fair treatment for all employees. [UCLA School of Law, October 2006]
Marriage Equality Has A Positive Impact On State Budgets. An October 2006 Williams Institute study titled "The Effect of Marriage Equality and Domestic Partnership on Business and the Economy" outlined the impact of marriage equality on state budgets:
States would spend less on public assistance, since family-level income thresholds associated with some means-tested social programs would reduce the eligibility of some same-sex couples and their children if they are treated as a family unit.
The increased spending on weddings noted earlier would also generate sales tax revenues. [UCLA School of Law, October 2006]
Marriage Equality Would Generate Economic Gains Due To Increased Spending On Weddings. A Williams Institute Study titled "Spending on Weddings of Same-Sex couples in the United States" showcased the increased economic expenditures derived from wedding spending that would follow as a result of Marriage Equality enactment.
The extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples in various jurisdictions will generate economic gains for the businesses in those jurisdictions due to increased spending on weddings. A 2004 Forbes magazine article projected that if same-sex marriage rights were granted nationwide, same-sex weddings would generate $16.8 billion dollars in expenditures, adding significantly to America's annual $70 billion wedding industry. For over twenty years, various other commentators have argued or found that the first state or states to offer marriage equality would experience a wave of increased tourism from out-of-state couples that would bring millions of additional dollars in revenue to state businesses.
Rather Than Debate The Issues Of Same-Sex Marriage, Many Right-Wing Media Figures Have Found Other Ways To Attack Obama
Free Beacon Headline: "Gay For Pay." A May 9 post by The Washington Free Beacon suggested that Obama is caving to donors who were "threatening to withhold donations over the president's position on gay rights":
President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage less than 48 hours after the Washington Post reported that prominent political donors were threatening to withhold donations over the president's position on gay rights.
"[A]t a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," Obama told ABC News in an interview. [The Washington Free Beacon, 5/9/12]
FoxNews.com: "$AME-$EX PAYOFF?" A headline on FoxNews.com stated: "$AME-$EX PAYOFF." The headline led to an article on an Obama fundraiser that claimed he is "raising Hollywood cash on heels of gay marriage endorsement."
Fox's Carlson Asks If Obama Is "Demonizing Those Who Disagree" With Marriage Equality. From the May 10 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
GRETCHEN CARLSON: President Obama makes history announcing his support for same-sex marriage. But is there tolerance for both sides or is he demonizing those who disagree with him now? We're going to report and you can decide. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/10/12, via Media Matters]
Carlson Also Asks: Is Obama's Support For Same-Sex Marriage A "Political Ploy" To Distract From The Economy? From the May 10 edition of Fox & Friends:
CARLSON: So is this a distraction? Is this another political ploy because of November and the election coming up? I mean, let the voters decide that. But should we be now talking about this? Is this the most important issue of the day? Or should we be talking about the economy right now? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/10/12, via Media Matters]
Cavuto Suggests The White House Came Out In Support Of Marriage Equality To Increase Progressive "Enthusiasm." From the May 9 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
NEIL CAVUTO (host): As you, I think, were mentioning earlier Ed, the White House is nothing else but brilliant political strategist and you don't get to the White House without toppling the Hillary Clinton campaign and doing all the rest. So they have calculated the potential fallout from this and the possibility of losing key states they've won before like North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana and must have crunched the numbers and said "well we pick up -- maybe -- an enthusiasm or from our base, elsewhere, enough to swing states that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise.
Now maybe I'm making that political leap, and this is just by accident that this happened but is there that potential that they can make up for what could be loses in those key states.
ED HENRY (Fox White House correspondent): Yes, I mean senior officials insist in private that they haven't sat down with the polls to sort all of this out, but let's face it, this White House like the White House before it is acutely aware of where public opinion polls are on any big issue whether it's the economy or same-sex marriage. Bottom line is they do have concerns that there could be fallout from states like North Carolina, but yes, they also believe they can make up for that with young voters.
Let's note the president that kicked off those rallies last Saturday, officially kick off the campaign to college campuses where you look at the college Democrats and the college Republicans often opposing each other on economic issues but largely coming together on issues like same-sex marriage. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 5/9/12]
CNN's Loesch Attacks Obama For Taking "A Federalist Stance" On Same-Sex Marriage. From a May 9 post on Brietbart.com by CNN contributor Dana Loesch titled "Is Obama's Federalist Stance On Same-Sex Marriage Racist?":
The President today said that he personally supports same-sex marriage, but took a federalist stance on it:
The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states' deciding the issue on their own.
A states' rights stance? Remember when that was racist? A growing chorus of progressives said that states' rights were racist: people like Chris Matthews, Al Sharpton, and even newspapers. So what is their opinion now that the President has brought up states' rights as his explanation for his same-sex marriage stance? Racist, still? [Breitbart.com, 5/9/12]
HotAir's Allahpundit: Obama May Have Dropped "Cynical Charade" On Marriage To "Maximiz[e] Turnout" Among The Base. In a HotAir post titled "Breaking: Noted gay-marriage supporter finally drops cynical charade," pseudonymous blogger AllahPundit stated: "As for the politics, Karl notes in the Greenroom that Team Hopenchange may now be shifting from a campaign aimed at winning back disaffected working-class swing voters to a campaign aimed mainly at maximizing turnout among their base." [HotAir, 5/9/12]