Equality Florida Lauds Obama's Support for Same-Sex Marriage
President Obama announced today his support for same-sex marriage, with advocates across Florida, including Gulfport, cheering his decision.
The head of Equality Florida lauded President Obama today for voicing his support for lesbian and gay couples who want to marry.
This is a "historic day," said Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida.
"The President's support moves us closer to the day when all Americans will be able to enjoy full marriage equality," Smith said in a written statement released this afternoon to the media.
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage in a sit-down interview with ABC's Robin Roberts. During the interview with ABC News Obama stated that he's "always been adament that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly," Obama told Roberts.
"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," he said.
The interview with Robin Roberts will air in full during ABC's "Good Morning Amerca" on Thursday.
Domestic Registries in Florida
The President's discussion comes at a time when some Florida communities are moving toward adopting domestic registries that would recognize unmarried couples in committed relationships, including same-sex couples.
Gulfport city leaders are expected to vote May 15th on creating a domestic partnership registry.
If passed during second reading, the registry will grant unmarried couples rights similar to that of married couples making critical choices for children's education, emergency medical decisions, end-of-life care and funeral arrangements.
Supporters say that the ordinance is moving in the right direction, toward creating rights to all couples. Some supporters say they won't stop until gay marriage is recognized in Florida.
During first reading of the registry, Gulfport resident Jan Lowe told city leaders, “This does not replace marriage equality. I don’t believe we should stop here, I believe we should move forward.”
During that same meeting Councilor Barbara Banno stated, in reference to marital rights, "The number that Council Member Salmon brought up at the workshop is over 1,100 rights we are not entitled to, 1,100 rights, because I love somebody of the same sex. Call that symbolic, call it that there's doubts, call it little value, but I call it unfair," Banno said.
Supporters say that Obama's announcement may help them in their quest for legalizing same-sex marriage in Florida.
Smith of Equality Florida explained why she feels that Obama's support is so vital to lesbian and gay couples:
“This is an historic day, when the President of the United States has come out in support of marriage for same-sex couples. The President is clearly in step with the growing majority of people across the country that support marriage equality, as people come to understand that same-sex couples want to marry because they love each other. We believe that marriage also provides the best means of taking care of each other and our children. The President's support moves us closer to the day when all Americans will be able to enjoy full marriage equality.
"The announcement comes at a time when a Gallup poll released just yesterday shows that half of Americans support same-sex marriage. This marks only the second time in Gallup's history of tracking this question that at least half of Americans have supported legal same-sex marriage. In another recent poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, a nationwide plurality of swing voters favors same-sex marriage, 47 percent to 39 percent, and outside the South the margin widens to a majority of 53 percent in favor and 35 percent opposed."
What do you think?
Gulfport Patch asked our friends on Facebook about today's announcement.
Candace L. Weyand wrote,
"I'm glad he is stepping out of his box and realizing love is love period!"
Ken McNamee wrote,
"An announcement of a reversal of a previous position - extracted under increasing political pressure - is not the same thing as 'support.' "