The big news of the past week has been President Obama’s comments in an interview that he now supports same-sex marriage. Over the years, he has stated his opposition to gay marriage, but added that his views were “evolving”. This has been an issue where many Democratic and Republican politicians have seen their views evolve to the point where they now support gay marriage. This issue cuts across ideological lines where now several conservative Republicans are joining their liberal Democrat colleagues in support of marriage equality. In an article by Helene Cooper and Jeremy Peters for the May 15, 2012 New York Times, they write:
“If you don’t know anyone who’s gay, then it’s an alien lifestyle,” said Theodore Olson, the former solicitor general for President George W. Bush who supports same-sex marriage. But, he added, when “you realize that that’s Mary from down the street, she’s a lesbian and she’s with Sally, what would it be like if they couldn’t be together?” people come around.
During the civil rights movement, many white Northerners — including some who had never before interacted with black people — joined African-Americans to fight for the principle of equal rights, often opposing white Southerners who had lived among blacks all their lives yet saw nothing wrong with the separate but equal statutes. Principle seemed to come before the personal in many cases.
With the gay rights movement, it often seems that the opposite applies. While there are many people who support gay rights because it is in line with their personal or political views, for many others, their approach on the issue is experiential, and comes down to a simple issue: knowing an openly gay couple. In fact, it can seem as if there are two Americas when it comes to gay rights: one in which same-sex couples interact regularly with their straight counterparts, helping to soften impressions of homosexuality, and another in which being gay or lesbian remains largely unspoken.
Here are some youtube videos of Democrats and Republicans supporting gay marriage and gay rights
A youtube video of President Barack Obama supporting gay marriage
A youtube video of Republican former Vice President Dick Cheney supporting gay marriage
A youtube video of Republican state representative Maureen Walsh endorsing gay marriage
A youtube video of Republican Theodore Olson, the former solicitor general for President George W. Bush, describing his support of gay marriage
A youtube video of Democrat Bill Clinton endorsing gay marriage
A youtube video of Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Democrat) and Ileanna Ros-Lehtinen (Republican) giving their thanks for receiving the 2010 Equality Florida Voice for Equality award
A youtube video of Republican San Diego mayor Jerry Saunders discussing his personal journey to becoming a supporter of gay marriage
A youtube video of NYS Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson speaking on the Marriage Equality Bill on the floor of the NYS Senate Chamber. Dec. 2, 2009
A youtube video of Democratic Vice President Joe Biden support of gay marriage