Friday, September 20, 2013

Bishop Barry Clarke's 2012 Comments on Obama's Support for Same Sex Marriage

Here are excerpts from a 2012 Anglican Journal article in which Montreal Bishop Barry Clarke discusses US President Barack Obama's endorsement of the rights of same sex couples.

On May 9, President Barack Obama announced his personal support for full-fledged same-sex marriage. Obama once said that his faith defined marriage as a man-woman union and believed that civil unions would suffice for same-sex couples. But as Obama told ABC News, "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."

The impetus for this shift in thinking, he added, was witnessing same-sex couples raising children in committed relationships and realizing that many gay U.S. military personnel who were putting their lives on the line overseas "were not able to commit themselves in a marriage."

The Anglican Journal spoke about Obama's change of heart to the diocese of Montreal's Bishop Barry Clarke, who also supports same-sex marriage and civil unions between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people. "From my perspective, this is a good-news story, especially as a statement from someone with such political clout and international presence," says Clarke. "It's a good way to move forward for the community." He notes that many gay American couples have come to Quebec to legitimize their unions.

Clarke wonders, however, about Obama's motives at this election year and also whether he may have created a problem for himself at the voting booths come November. He concedes the declaration may be driven by political expediency or it may be a case of "someone bold enough to stand up regardless and say, 'We have to move forward around this issue of human rights, justice, dignity and equal treatment.'" Equality—in health care and the military, for example—has been one of Obama's strongest platforms, he notes.

In 2004, same-sex marriage became a reality in the U.S. after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that it was required under the equal protection clause of the state’s constitution. Before this year, same-sex marriage was also legalized in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Other states are grappling with the issue, and early this month, North Carolinians voted overwhelmingly for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Source: Anglican Journal

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