Gay Republican groups lashed out at President Obama on Wednesday after he announced his support for same-sex marriage, deeming the president’s reversal too little, too late.
“This administration has manipulated LGBT families for political gain as much as anybody, and after his campaign’s ridiculous contortions to deny support for marriage equality this week he does not deserve praise for an announcement that comes a day late and a dollar short,” said R. Clarke Cooper, the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, in a statement issued minutes after news broke of Obama’s decision.
Both groups also claimed that Obama was following the lead of former Vice President Cheney, who announced his support for gay marriage in 2009. Cheney, who has a lesbian daughter, was no longer in office when he announced his support for gay marriage on the state level, and said he opposed federal legislation to legalize it nationally. President George W. Bush, whose administration Cheney served for two full terms, backed a federal amendment banning gay marriage.
“It is good to see that after intense political pressure that President Obama has finally come around to the Dick Cheney position on marriage equality,” said GOProud co-founder Christopher Barron. “I am sure, however, the President’s newly discovered support for marriage is cold comfort to the gay couples in North Carolina.”
Obama’s announcement on Wednesday made him the first sitting president to endorse gay marriage, and also put him at odds with Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Romney said Wednesday that he is opposed to both gay marriage and civil unions, which Obama has long supported.
Reached by telephone, Barron said there was no political downside to Obama embracing gay marriage, which he said many conservatives already believed he supported.
“We shouldn’t pretend this process has been anything but what it has been, and that is cynical and political from the very beginning,” he said.
Cooper, of the Log Cabin Republicans, told The Hill that Obama’s long delay suggested he had waited to see the results of Tuesday’s vote in North Carolina — and the reaction in other states — before making a decision about whether to back gay marriage ahead of the election in November.
“There was a determination of ‘Let's take the temperature,’ ” Cooper said, adding that Obama’s announcement could have had a bigger impact had it come just a few days earlier.
But Cooper said Obama’s statement could turn up the dial on an issue of top significance to gays and lesbians, and could force more Republicans to take a stand one way or another.
“We’ve been critical of our own,” he said. “We're on record with our critique of Gov. Romney.”