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Moore writes: "One reason the majority's opinion on this issue has changed is due, in large part, to the many of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who have taken the risk and come out of the closet."

Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty)
Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty)

Obama and Gay Rights

By Michael Moore, Open Mike Blog

13 May 12


am deeply moved by the announcement made a short while ago that President Obama has gone back to his original position in 1996 and come out publicly in support of same-sex marriage. It may seem like a risky move, but the majority of Americans already support the equal rights of gays and lesbians to marry. Public opinion has completely flipped since 2004. It's been a faster change than anyone could have predicted. But the older generation with their anti-gay views are replaced with a younger generation who are not as rigid, hate-filled, frightened, and bigoted as many of their elders. Hate to have to put it that way, but that's the truth. It's why we were able to have an African American president, and it's why I believe, in spite of all other proof to the contrary, things WILL get better in this country.

One other point: One reason the majority's opinion on this issue has changed is due, in large part, to the many of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who have taken the risk and come out of the closet. By doing so to their friends, family, neighbors, classmates and co-workers, they have forced people to deal with them as human beings. It is much harder to hate when that gay person is your son, that lesbian is your aunt, that homosexual is the person who covers for you on the job when you've got a sick kid, and that gay couple next door have the best-kept yard on the block (I'm not saying they're better at gardening, I'm just saying, they're neighbors, like anyone else). So, the more people said they were gay, the faster that fear and hate peeled away.

To all of our gay and lesbian citizens who have had to suffer for far too long in this "land of the free," thank you (and President Obama) for making us a true home of the brave.

Addendum #1: Yes, Obama did the wrong thing not speaking out before the North Carolina vote to ban gay marriage yesterday. I don't know the guy, but let me suggest this: perhaps he was as disgusted by that vote as the rest of us were today and just couldn't remain silent any longer. For those of you who are commenting and saying that this was just a calculated political move on his part - well, what politician, the day after the public votes one way, comes out the OTHER way. This is a swing state. A slick pol, on this day after, would have either remained silent or said something to show he is "with the people." He didn't do that. He took the position opposite to the one the majority of people in North Carolina took. Look, I have a lot of criticisms of Obama. I have been profoundly disappointed by him. But when he does the right thing, he needs to hear from the majority that we support what he did. You can't stay stuck in your cynicism every single day.

Addendum #2: I agree there are many older people who aren't bigots and who are more open-minded than their peers. But the polls are very clear on the age issue: According to ABC News tonight, 61% of those under 40 are in favor of legalizing gay marriage. But for those over 65, the majority are opposed and believe it should be illegal, with only 40% in favor of same-sex marriage. That is a HUGE generational gap - and a testimony to the older boomers who raised these "kids" to grow up to be loving, accepting human beings. your social media marketing partner


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+80 # Lisa Moskow 2012-05-13 12:01
Yeah to the gays and lesbians declaring their right to be who they are!

And let's give Obama credit for this too!

And finally, credit to my boomer generation
for passing on the value of tolerance for
people who may not be exactly like what we are!
+3 # Merschrod 2012-05-14 10:57
That was a an interesting finding that Michael made. That is, the boomers encouraged their children to be more open minded, and that it is a big generational swing. Looking at the statistics, it looks as though half of the boomers did just that. Of course many of those under 40s are their grandchildren!! !!
+63 # juliajayne 2012-05-13 12:14
It was time for the president to speak out on this issue. I'm glad he did and the timing was that of a thoughtful human being. It took some courage and is a huge deal for civil rights. He's taking heat from the usual suspects, and painting a stark contrast with Mitt Romney who delivered a commencement speech this weekend at Jerry Falwell's U. Oy. ;-)

I do hope this means thing WILL indeed get better, Mr. Moore. And thanks for always being on the side of righteousness. You're a mensch!
+66 # jlohman 2012-05-13 12:16
Let me ask.... why are we screwing with these little fires? On this issue, I'm a Lefty (and a 74yo heterosexual grandfather). I don't want my government in my bedroom, or yours.

But far more important, I want my political leaders LEADING!!! Not taking bribes, but running the country in a manner in the best interest of the citizens. ALL citizens, not just those Fat Cats that fund the elections!!!
+12 # PGreen 2012-05-13 18:21
The Republicans have adopted an economic platform that is so far from the interests of the public that they have little hope of selling it straight. They can only disguise and distort it. Their strategy is to mobilize the support of the religious right (since many in the US have extremely strong religious fundamentalist beliefs) and use that to their political advantage. The party strategists have often thought this way somewhat; it is simply that now they don't have much else. The result is that they sound loonier every day.
By hinting of support for Gay rights, Obama is taking a page from their playbook, but targeting a different audience. His economic and civil liberties record has created serious problems for him with progressives, and he hopes to skirt those problems.
+2 # photonracer 2012-05-13 21:55
But far more important, I want my political leaders LEADING!!! Not taking bribes, but running the country in a manner in the best interest of the citizens. ALL citizens, not just those Fat Cats that fund the elections!!!
jlohman I respectfully disagree. These people are just people. They should not be LEADING. They should be FOLLOWING! Their job is to represent the interest of their elecorate. "We the people" are obligated to lead. They are supposed to follow our instruction and vote OUR direction. "We the people" have the responsibility to be our government. That is the "great experiment". I totally respect your philosophy but I am ashamed of of so many of our co-citizens who have abandoned the responsibility of self government. The idiot is Washington, the professional lobbyists, the career warriors and congressional crooks are OUR creation. Time to rework the clay. Do not re-elect anyone and only elect those who REPRESENT. That is their job. Leadership is ours.
+1 # robbeygay 2012-05-14 20:31
Sorry Treasury funds the election and siolly people stay home because they don't care their vote cost is then wasted on their indecission, or decission to let the fat cats decide for their guy.

The ones you are talking of those fat cats that do all religiously cast a vote, they only pay for campaigns not the election you pay from tax via treasury.
+57 # Peacedragon 2012-05-13 12:40
I am a 70 year old heterosexual married man who believes in legalizing gay marriage. But then I was lucky enough to live for a while after high school in New York City's Greenwich Village.
+6 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-05-14 07:25
Thanks to St. (Irish Devil) Michael M. for his yet another wakeup call to thank the Pres. when thanks is deserving, as it most certainly is.

And, thanks to you Peacedragon, for your reminding me to be thankful for being lucky enough to be asked in the 1990's,by a dear old friend and former city councilman/comm unity organizer in human(e) rights named Luis Cortez, to be on the Colorado Springs Minority Coalition. I couldn't say no when his call for help came to be a rep. for the disabled on the coalition. Educated I was, while serving, regarding the incredible suffering the members of the LGBT community and their families/friend s go through, based far too often on erzatz Christian hatred and unending push to keep them invisible and in the closet.

A dear man on the coalition, Frank Whitworth Wimberly, fought the so discriminating, anti-gay law passed in Colorado, by and through his gay rights Ground Zero. All the way to the Supreme Court the fight went, and, miracle of miracles, the Supremes ruled in favor of Constitutional rights, and Amendment 6 went bye bye.

A few years ago, out came a great book from my friend, Fr. Patrick Hannon (another St.-Irish devil). The Notre Dame award winning priest/writer, wrote of his giving pre-nup counseling to a Lesbain couple, then blessing their marriage.

Full of determination and courage we must be, in these so troubled/justic e and peace quashed times.
+67 # Patch 2012-05-13 13:13
Thank you Michael Moore for stating it like it is. I am one 65 plus person who supports same sex marriage and find the opposition to it puzzleing and repugnant. How can the declaration of love between two people hurt anyone else?
+83 # fishmother 2012-05-13 13:14
I'd like to say a few words on behalf of the over 65s. I grew up in a Republican family. Listening to them set me off on leftward trajectory and into early and abiding activism. I have worked &/or participated in the anti-Vietnam, civil rights, women’s, anti Iraq, & LGBT movements, and an in favor of the right to marry. I will turn 70 in July, just about four months ahead of Vice President Joe Biden. I bring this up to remind you that it was Biden who came out vocally and clearly for the right to marry and so had a lot to do with making it very hard for the President to spend any more time “evolving.” So yes, I am thrilled that President Obama did the right thing, but I am also grateful to Joseph Biden, who has also been fighting for the rights of all citizens. VAWA was created in his office in 1994 and he, as now, spoke powerfully for what is right.
+57 # Bookmark 7 2012-05-13 13:30
I am somewhat annoyed each time I hear that those 65 and older are against gay marriage or did not vote f/Pres. Obama. My family and I worked on the Obama campaign [and will again] and those I worked with were not younger than middle aged.

We value our gay friends and want them to have all the rights others have in this country. And I have to wonder who does the I have never been polled.
+9 # genierae 2012-05-14 06:44
Bookmark 7, you must belong to a liberal family. I live in an area where the older folks are mostly conservative, and they think that the idea of gay marriage is ridiculous. They have been raised to believe that gays are deviants, and usually child molesters. I had a cousin who was obviously gay, but he stayed in the closet, and was an object of ridicule in the family. As far as I know he has yet to come out. My 89-year-old mother is incensed at the very idea of "women marrying women and men marrying men". I speak gently but firmly to her about the facts of being gay, but she is adamant in her resistance. Despite being raised in that kind of atmosphere, I was blessed with an open mind, and I am so happy that people are evolving as human beings. A new wave of consciousness-r aising is sweeping across this country, and like Michael Moore I think this bodes well for all of us.
+44 # redjelly39 2012-05-13 13:37
I am 11 years shy of 65 and am not gay BUT I agree with Patch/Fishmothe r that there is no reason for banning marriage or legal unions. It seems like we have to go through this with every change that comes down the pike. Equal rights, Womens rights and Workers rights all had to be vigorously fought before finally being accepted.
The 3 Steps:
1st - it is ridiculed.
2nd - it is violently opposed.
3rd - it is accepted as being self evident.
Seems like the latest tactics by the GOP against same sex rights and their new war on Women are all but handing over the election in 2012.
+48 # David Ehrenstein 2012-05-13 13:54
I'm 65 and gay and my lover and I have been together for 38 of those years. Speakign as a longtime gay activist our greatest weapon in this struggle has always been being out and proud. Thanks why things have been moviong so fast. You can't hate a group of people in the abstract where they're unseen. Being out means being real. And when you're real you can no onlger be treated as a boogeyman.
+56 # Jaylu 2012-05-13 14:05
You'll hear a lot from all of us over 50. We're 70 and 75, respectively and have participated for the rights of African American citizens in the 60's, the rights of students unwilling to be killed (physically, mentally, or spiritually) in Vietnam in 60's and 70's, and currently, the rights of gay citizens to live as fully entitled Americans. Further, we work against the hate speech against Muslims, in favor of saving the planet, against needless wars, in favor of proper care for veterans of those wars, and against the theories of the Chicago School of Economics. Our children and grandchildren seem to be of the same mind in these issues, and we are grateful.

I speak out with other older folk to let you all know that we are a highly verbal and motivated minority. Don't give up on us. We never did give up on you.
+50 # giraffee2012 2012-05-13 14:09
I agree with allowing "gay" people to marry, adopt, etc.

I still wonder WHY WE HAVE TO VOTE ON THIS? It IS THEIR RIGHT (period) just as it is the RIGHT for a woman to VOTE or a person of color to marry and a person of another color (or white) to marry.

As the GOP/TP regress to taking back a woman's right to "her body" - their "man/woman" marriage dictate is laughable. In fact, Mitt Romney came from a group who believe(d) in a man and many women -- so how does he .....

If a "gay" marriage hurt my welfare or marriage or ???? - then I'd say "no" but how, in any way- shape-form, can a marriage of 2 persons of same sex hurt me? WOW --

Vote Dem + Vote Obama + JUST VOTE!!!!!

And if you can spare a "time" - go to Dem headquarters & get registration forms and sit outside grocery stores in your "area" to get minority people registered. Explain "they, too, can mail-in their ballots" and don't have to stand in long lines (etc)

It is imperative ALL Americans VOTE (period) or the Koch led TP/GOP will continue to give us "the best govt money can guy"

Think about running for elections - even at the local level (we need good education)
+53 # allie 2012-05-13 14:20
I’m 71 years old and have never understood how those who say they live by their Bible, go to their house of worship religiously and preach in God’s name, yet deny equality for all. An oxymoron for sure. The Christian right is determined to run this country.
+35 # Janice 2012-05-13 14:38
I am a "senior" and I support Gay rights and many of my "senior" friends do also. don't believe all the polls you read.
+18 # HiMothra 2012-05-13 14:54
Thank you, Michael, for keeping it real.

I remain deeply disturbed by the lack of conversation on the gay marriage issue vis a vis separation of church and state. Under the US constitution, the state has an overt interest in, and responsibility for, the legal definition of marriage only. Any other meaning--econom ic, spiritual, religious, sexual--is constitutionall y beyond the reach of state up to the individual.

We need to argue about marriage, and everything else. It's the American way. Let's keep those arguments where they belong, and recognize a threat to the separation of church and state--the American raison d'etre--when it is staring us in the face.

Marriage morality is discourse for families, neighbors, communities, lovers and worshipers of any and every faith.
The economics of marriage is discourse for businesses and lawyers.

Because public discourse on this and many other issues has been effectively hijacked by the ever-so-effecti ve marketing and communication gurus tied to both parties, I am no longer a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent.

I am nothing more than, and nothing less than, a voter.
+15 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2012-05-13 21:44
AGREE! It's so obvious, yet so absent in the discussion.

We don't get to vote for OTHER people's rights; the Constitution states we are BORN with those rights. Just as we did not "free" the slaves — they were BORN free — we stopped ENSLAVING them; likewise we don't need to GRANT gays their rights, we need to stop DENYING them their rights.
+24 # Regina 2012-05-13 15:33
All rights granted to "traditional" married couples MUST also be granted to same-sex couples, as a matter of American principles of equality before the law. That's BEFORE THE LAW -- no matter religious limitations. Hospital visitation rights, spousal inheritance as survivor's rights, joint tax returns, etc. should apply equally to all persons. To qualify couples for these provisions requires a procedure called "marriage" which has civil elements that are binding, irrespective of added religious customs which by themselves do not provide the legal rights. There is no constitutional basis for segregating same-sex couples and denying them the civil rights provided to heterosexual couples. Those rights must be recognized and applied to all who qualify for them. That means marriage, at least the civil-legal procedures. Equality before the law does not require equality before the altar. The law must be applied. The tradition is a matter of choice and sectarian acceptance. (And I'm decades older than others in this thread.)
+33 # epcraig 2012-05-13 15:49
I am still puzzled that anyone could see any threat to straight marriages from gay marriages.
-17 # infohiway 2012-05-13 15:53
Cynical, damage limitation and/or a strategic diversion - work just as well AFAICT.
+12 # robbeygay 2012-05-13 17:57
Sorry infohighway I don't catch your meaning. English sentence completion may help me?
+23 # lilpat126 2012-05-13 17:00
They feel threatened because they are not secure in their heterosexual marriage. Two people happy in their relationship makes them realize what they are living is lacking. Who gives a hoot what someone does in their own home. I am very sure that some of us had teachers who lived with another teacher. Everyone thought they did it for economic reasons. Wanna bet some of them were lesbians? There is nothing new under the sun. There have been gays forever and will continue forever. So forget about it and get on with your life. It is no business of mine or yours.
+4 # robbeygay 2012-05-13 18:04
A bit simplistic we must care what they do in their house, if it is murder or terrorism etc. Surely there is a fine line, perhaps best think who cares how they make love.
Jesus chose to travel with 12 mates whose feet he could wash with eyes at what level? But he preached love as we all should love and care for others is not to be a gossipy busybody interfering in privacy or others, I think.
-11 # infohiway 2012-05-13 17:26
YES indeed!
But THEY make it and outing / blackmail an issue - FFS!
'Straights' don't.

Boring ...
+5 # amye 2012-05-13 17:36
One comment...why is Michael Moore quoting ABC news?? Who really cares about main stream media??? We, in the alternative media have known for a very long time that the majority of Americans in this country support gay rights which includes marriage!! What's up Mike? The alternative world doesn't care about the main stream! You should know that better than any of us!! Unless you are trying to be main stream??
+10 # wfalco 2012-05-13 18:25
Michael is absolutely correct when he states polls show only "40% are in favor" of same sex marriage in the over 65 demographic.
Obviously the 60% who are opposed in this age bracket due not read RSN and comment on these pages. Facts are facts and can be upsetting to those who do not agree.
But facts don't lie...older people are disproportionat ely more bigoted and conservative. These may not be the people many of you associate with-but they are out there.
+15 # Richard1908 2012-05-13 19:08
It's hard to be an older person of 68 years and gay for as long as I can remember and then be against gay marriage. I asked my partner of 32 years whether we should if we could, and he said he thought it was too early into our relationship to say.
+19 # Kraag 2012-05-13 19:34
Thanks Michael Moore. I'm an old white guy who just turned 60 and you are right about how knowing someone changes your mind. My best friend came out after high school. He was the same fun and funny guy and he's now had the same companion for near 40 years. I'm supposed to think he shouldn't be secure in his job or have his loved one by his hospital bed or they're less deserving of benefits and respect? Sorry. He's my best friend.
+4 # genierae 2012-05-14 06:53
What a moving tribute to your friend. Thank you for telling us about it.
-5 # robbeygay 2012-05-13 19:38
wfalco oh! you are so wrong. Just read back through above comments 10 of the first 12 replies say they are over 65 age. So clearly a majority of this item's comments are in the that category you suggest don't read and comment?
+6 # conniejo 2012-05-14 09:33
wfalco's point was that the people commenting here are from the 40% of over-65ers who support gay marriage. He says, correctly, that you won't see comments here from the bigoted over-65ers because, for the most part, they don't read Reader Supported News.
+2 # robbeygay 2012-05-14 20:47
Ok right just coincidentally 84.33% of the early comments were that 40% sector. Only 2 of that early 12 say 16.66% were the under 65's who bothered to comment early.

Got it excuse my mistake. I'm only Bi since 32+ and 68nowslowing down.
+7 # Rick Levy 2012-05-13 19:47
I wonder how accepting heterosexual adolescents really are of their gay counterparts. Note that both physical and psychological bullying (the latter mainly via social media) of homosexual teens seem to be on the rise. True, maybe there's actually not an increase, just more exposure of such events. But I'm not so sure that's the case.
-7 # robbeygay 2012-05-13 20:26
Rick probably like I was bi by convenience and availabilkity in prevailing conditions of time, study, poverty. But an interesting point is it contageon?
+20 # Raging Granny 2012-05-13 20:20
My husband and I are in our 80's, been together for almost 59 years. I went to Mass last night. Our lesbian daughter and her partner, who have never threatened our marriage, just spent the most delightful Mother's Day with us. We had a really marvelous, loving time. Almost all of my friends from church, most over 65, are in favor of marriage equality. A few are not, but isn't that true of nearly anything under discussion? The heck with the polls.
+6 # Grammy Mimi 2012-05-13 21:00
In general, Michael Moore, I like your bias and agree with you on issues, but on the subject of people over 65 opposing marriage equality I think the ABC poll has missed the mark and so have you for believing it. All my friends and family are over 65 and there's not one who hasn't supported equal rights for gays and lesbians long before it became popular. Frankly, I find the millenium generation far more conservative than we were in the 60s. I think we deserve some credit for teaching the baby boomers tolerance and openness to all people. Let's have another poll. And not in North Caroline
+11 # Paulette453 2012-05-13 21:13
Well- I am a 70 year heterosexual woman . But that is not relevant o what I am about to say. Isn't it it interesting how much the Republican rigtht wingers want to talk about SEX!! Birth control, abortion, gay marriage. Maybe my age is relevant as I fought the sexual revolution. But never was there so much focus on women's bodies and who is doing it with whom! Makes me kind miss the 70's when all we dealt with was open marriage!
+7 # Bev 2012-05-13 22:02
I'm 84 but beyond the age factor I believe education plays a big part in the attitudes among the older population. I was an activist with C.O.R.E. in the mid 40's at college working for social justice. But after WWII there was more emphasis on job training with much less concern for intellectual development.
+3 # photonracer 2012-05-13 22:11
The obvious trend in the responses is that many over the age of 65 have taken the time to respond. The response is that they feel the polls are incorrect. So sorry but the polls stand. Yes you responders are of a group who have a sane grip on reality. I bet none of you watch Faux news, attend and evangelical prayer meeting or openly aver your beliefs to your neighbor.

You were out spoken in your youth but are less out spoken with age. You do not openly support gay anything outside of your immediate household unless with the anonymity of an online avatar (even with gay friends, offspring etc). I ask you to remember the days of our youth and activism.

Challenge your neighbor, card group, book club, whatever. Take your power back. Make your representative in congress do their job and represent YOU! Their job is not leadership. They are not beholden to any church, think tank or economic power. They are responsible to the voter only! Re-elect no one. Vote only for those who represent your philosophy not someone who owes allegiance to a church or corporation. Your life depends on it.
-5 # ellen.rosser 2012-05-14 00:36
I guess Michael Moore doesn't know that the chairman of the LGBT Committee on Same Sex Marriage is Leon Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, which gave Obama $999,000 in his last election campaign.. Obama didn't prosecute Goldman Sachs for their blatant fraud and he has just come out for same sex marriage. The corporate oligarchy just bought a president for the gays. How revolutionary.
+1 # infohiway 2012-05-14 17:17
Er - that's Lloyd "Doing gawd's work" Blankfein(d) CEO GoldieSux who's also endorsed same sex marriage.
-5 # infohiway 2012-05-14 00:50
Well, Michael, 19 Arab hijackers did not pull off 911. Otherwise F911 was brilliant. But you got 'distributed' and rich - huh?
+5 # pernsey 2012-05-14 02:06
All men are created equal...unless your gay. Its all republican BS.

To me this whole gay issue is a distraction by the righties to get people focused on this crap instead of the real issues, like the economy and what a train wreck the Mittster already is.
-1 # infohiway 2012-05-14 03:25
+2 # alter chemiker 2012-05-14 08:38
I have to chime in here along with many other "over 65" supporters of gay marriage. The comment that the polls are not wrong about people over 65 is both right and wrong. As with all polls, the issue is what was chosen as the age criteria. My parents are 22 years older than I and absolutely against gay marriage and consider it both illegal and immoral. My point being that the polls would be a better representation if the age grouping was 60 to 75, maybe 80, and then over that age. That would probably be a far better representation of aged base beliefs as well as cultural changes that have occurred in our society.
+1 # kyzipster 2012-05-14 13:28
I don't think it's cynical to acknowledge that Obama is a brilliant politician and this was a calculated move with an army of political analysts backing him up. It's clear that support of equal rights is escalating and that Obama's stance against equal rights was beginning to hurt him. I would guess that by the end of his second term support for same sex marriage will be as solid as support for ending DADT.

If polling showed disapproval at the rates of 2004, there's no doubt in my mind that Obama would not have evolved this quickly, no matter what his wife and daughters believe.

LGBT rights have been politicized to the extreme for decades and we're sick of it. Democrats rarely stand by LGBT people until polls show that it's safe to do so, then they reap the benefits. I understand the influence of the religious right, I might even buy an argument that it was necessary for Obama to flip flop on this issue because the threat of the Republican Party is so severe but when I see the New Yorker suggesting that Obama's statement will go down in LGBT history as monumental as Stonewall, it makes me cynical. There was nothing brave about it in my view. At the same time I can be pleased with the statement and supportive.
0 # IThinkErgo 2012-05-16 15:43
To Bookmark 7 and Janice: The polls didn't say all people over 65 oppose gay marriage. You (and I) are some of those who don't. It doesn't make the polls wrong. And if you weren't polled, what does that show? Only that a poll of randomly selected people doesn't include everyone. If it did, it wouldn't be a poll.
0 # madresabia 2012-05-21 09:13
I'm glad I can count myself among the 40% over 65 who support gay marriage and all the rights that accrue to every citizen.

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