He may have only “evolved” in favor of “gay” marriage when it was politically expedient, but President Obama has made LGBT history.
OUT magazine photographed Obama for the cover of its 2015 “Ally of the Year” issue. The decision made him the first U.S. president to accept such an offer from an LGBT publication.
“This is the first time a sitting president has been photographed for the cover of an LGBT title,” OUT’s editor-in-chief, Aaron Hicklin, wrote on the magazine’s website Tuesday, “a historic moment in itself, and a statement on how much his administration has done to advance a singularly volatile issue that tarnished the reputations of both President Clinton and President Bush.”
Hicklin then called Obama, “a president who came to office on a wave of euphoria, appeared to lose momentum halfway through, and has since rallied, helping us secure marriage equality, among other landmark initiatives that are transforming our place in America.”
Political strategist David Axelrod wrote in his recent book, “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics,” that Obama publicly opposed same-sex marriages prior to the 2012 U.S. president election for political reasons. Obama began telling reporters in 2010 that his position was “evolving.”
“Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union,'” Axelrod wrote in his book, Time reported Feb. 10, 2015.
“I’m just not very good at bulls—ing,” Obama allegedly told Axelrod, a claim the president denies.
“I think David is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue,” Obama told Buzzfeed Feb. 10 after Time’s story ran. “I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else. And so, it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there.”
Despite conflicting accounts between the two men, Obama used his OUT magazine cover shoot and interview to solidify his support for LGBT activists. The president said he was “proud and happy” the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage in June, Mediaite reported Tuesday.
“I wasn’t surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision, but, like millions of Americans, I was proud and happy that it came down the way it did – and I was honored to stand in the Rose Garden and reiterate for every American that we are strongest, that we are most free, when all of us are treated equally,” Obama said of the historic Obergefell v. Hodges case.
Obama also told the magazine, “Part of being American is having a responsibility to stand up for freedom – not just our own freedom, but for everybody’s freedom.”