New York officials cheer Obama's shift; Cuomo says 'sometimes evolution is smarter'
Among the first elected officials to react to President Obama's disclosure this afternoon that he supports same-sex marriage were Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, both of whom have been strong supporters of the cause.
The mayor called it "a major turning point in the history of American civil rights," and Gillibrand called it "a watershed moment in American history."
(Gillibrand predicted the president would eventually endorse same-sex marriage in an interview with the Advocate last year, saying "we could get a very strong public statement out of him.")
At a press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "When the President stands up and makes this statement, it will now resonate all across this nation, it will bounce off the airwaves from coast to coast. So he’s already, just by doing the interview and making the statement, he’s already made a tremendous contribution to the effort.”
Cuomo, who can very legitimately claim to have been ahead of the curve on this issue, also said of Obama's admitted "evolution," "We tend to have a traditional point of view … and there are some issues in life, I believe, that you should re-evaluate from time to time. ... Consistency is nice, but sometimes evolution is smarter.”
I'll update with other statements as they come in.
The mayor's statement:
“This is a major turning point in the history of American civil rights. No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people – and I have no doubt that this will be no exception. The march of freedom that has sustained our country since the Revolution of 1776 continues, and no matter what setbacks may occur in a given state, freedom will triumph over fear and equality will prevail over exclusion. Today’s announcement is a testament to the President’s convictions, and it builds on the courageous stands that so many Americans have taken over the years on behalf of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, stretching back to the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.”
“Throughout the 2008 campaign President Obama called on all of us to bend the moral arc of history towards justice. As President, he has backed up those words for LGBT Americans through his leadership in repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and by instructing his Justice Department to no longer prosecute DOMA cases. But our work is far from done. The President's unequivocal support today in favor of all committed couples to marry the person they love is a watershed moment in American history that will provide the leadership needed to finally repeal DOMA and win the unfinished fight for equality for all Americans.”
Representative Jerrold Nadler's statement:
“I applaud President Obama for announcing his support for marriage equality today. For the first time in this nation’s history, a sitting president has shown the courage and leadership to stand up for all American families by pledging to support the fundamental right of every person to marry the person they love, and to have that marriage fully respected. I commend President Obama for this brave and honest step. Those who seek to politicize civil rights for personal or political gain will certainly attack him, but the course toward marriage equality and justice is the correct and inevitable path.”
Representative Nita Lowey:
“I have been blessed to have a long and happy marriage. I strongly believe all Americans deserve that same opportunity.”