WASHINGTON — Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama made many promises to the American people. Msnbc.com has chosen 14 of these to explain, explore, and track. See if the new president keeps his word, and vote on his progress during the first 100 days.
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Obama’s words: “I have not said that I was a supporter of gay marriage, but I am a strong supporter of civil unions, and I would, as president, make absolutely certain that all federal laws pertaining to married couples — benefits pertaining to married couples are conferred to people who — same sex couples who have civil unions as well.”
The issue: Currently, 30 states have banned gay marriage through constitutional amendments. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Iowa are only states that allow same-sex nuptials. California briefly allowed gay marriage last year until a voter initiative repealed it. New York Gov. David Paterson has also recently unveiled a same-sex marriage bill.
has said he plans to introduce legislation to legalize same-sex marriage,
Throughout the campaign, President Barack Obama advocated civil unions in lieu of same-sex marriages. He’s argued against the idea that civil unions would be a “lesser thing” than marriage.
"If we have a situation in which civil unions are fully enforced, are widely recognized, people have civil rights under the law, then my sense is that's enormous progress," said Obama.
Frequently, during stump speeches, he included references to rights for gay Americans. “It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled — Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of red states and blue states,” said Obama on a victorious election night. “We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
There was some recent controversy when a document emerged suggesting that he had taken a more liberal stance in the past. In a 1996 questionnaire for a Chicago gay and lesbian newspaper, Obama came out clearly in favor of same-sex marriage.
Following through: Obama ruffled some feathers when he chose Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. The Saddleback Church founder had recently backed a ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in his home state of California.
Although the first openly-gay Episcopal bishop was invited to say a prayer at Obama’s inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial, advocacy groups were upset that it was not included in the televised broadcast.
However, the official White House website now mentions his support of “federal rights for LGBT couples” and highlights opposition to a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
The White House invited gay leaders to the health care and fiscal responsibility summits, the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and an online town hall. Gay parents also brought their kids to the White House Easter egg roll.
And openly-gay John Berry has been confirmed by the Senate as the director of the Office of Personnel Management.
It is not yet known whether the president will take an active role in persuading Congress to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or if he'll take a position if Congress debates a bill allowing gay nuptials in Washington, D.C.
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