The press is quite pleased with President Obama’s proclamations on gay marriage. The evolutionary process appears to have finally come to a conclusion. Yet, it might be useful to place the President’s epiphany in historical context. To assist in the process, I have placed several quotes from past and present elected officials on the issue of gay rights, civil unions and marriage. Lets see how many readers can correctly identify the speaker (answers below…no cheating)
Quote Number 1
The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they’re gay. You don’t have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that’s what brings me into it.
Quote Number 2
Well, I think that freedom means freedom for everyone. … I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute that governs this, I don’t support. I do believe that historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue, and I think that’s the way it ought to be handled today, that is on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions. But I don’t have any problem with that. I think people ought to get a shot at that.
Quote Number 3
I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix…. . I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions. I do believe that we should not — that for gay partners to want to visit each other in the hospital for the state to say, you know what, that’s all right, I don’t think in any way inhibits my core beliefs about what marriage are. I think my faith is strong enough and my marriage is strong enough that I can afford those civil rights to others, even if I have a different perspective or different view.
Quote Number 4
I don’t think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that’s when a state chooses to do so. … I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between, a union between a man and a woman.
Quote Number 5.
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. Now– I have to tell you that part of my hesitation on this has also been I didn’t want to nationalize the issue. … I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what’s recognized as a marriage.
1. Barry Goldwater, July 1994 (source)
2. Dick Cheney, July 2009 (source)
3. Barack Obama, August 2008 (source)
4. George W. Bush, October 2004 (source)
5. Barack Obama, May 2012 (source)