In Congress, Mixed
Reaction to Obama's Support for Gay Marriage
May 14, 2012
Reaction in the U.S. Congress to President Barack Obama's Wednesday
announcement that he supports homosexual marriage has been mixed.
Several leading Democrats cheered the statement as a historic
advancement of civil rights, while several Republican lawmakers said
they are concerned with the main issue Americans are focused on, which
"Yesterday was quite historic for all us," said Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,
House of Representatives Minority Leader, strongly praising President
Obama's announcement. "America's children and families, workers saw
history being made right before their very eyes - the president of the
United States advancing civil rights in our country."
Pelosi also responded when asked whether her religion, Roman
Catholicism, made same-sex marriage a difficult issue for her.
"My religion compels me - and I love it for it - to be against
discrimination of any kind in our country," she said. "And I consider
[being against same-sex marriage] a form of discrimination, I think it
is unconstitutional on top of that."
Several other prominent Democrats also welcomed the president's
announcement, including Representative Barney Frank, D-Mass., one of
four openly gay members of the House.
Frank said that although the president's stand could pose political
risks this election year, he does not believe that Obama will lose a
single vote over the issue.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., backed the right of states to
define marriage, but said that, if his state were to vote on it, he
would "follow his grandchildren and children," who he indicated support
Congressional Republicans were not as vocal as Democrats on the
president's announcement. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, seemed to
downplay the issue of gay marriage, saying that Republicans are focused
on the economy.
believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and the
president and the Democrats can talk about this all they want," he said.
But the fact is the American people are focused on our economy, and they
are asking the question, 'Where are the jobs?'"
In court, House Republicans are fighting the Obama administration's
decision not to defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines
marriage as between one man and one woman.
Rep. Pelosi said she believes that Americans eventually will accept
"It is a matter of time. It is all about time," she said. "And on these
issues, what is inevitable to some of us is inconceivable to others, and
what we want to do is to shorten the difference between the inevitable
and the inconceivable."
A recent Gallup public opinion survey shows that Americans are evenly
split on the issue, with 50 percent of those polled saying they support
gay marriage. That is up from 27 percent in 1996 when Gallup first posed