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Do Now #32: The Gay Marriage Debate

| May 20, 2012 | 24 Comments
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Do Now

Should same-sex couples in the U.S. be allowed to marry? Why or why not?

Introduction

Throughout his political career, President Obama has gone back and forth in his views on same-sex marriage. And it makes sense to some extent, given how loaded an issue it is in America, where 30 states have already passed their own amendments banning same-sex marriage.

But it took just 10 words from President Obama to end his career-long wrestling match with the issue. During a deceptively casual television interview on May 9, Obama simply said:

“I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

And with that, history was made: he became the first sitting American president to endorse same-sex marriage.

Although Obama’s stance on the issue doesn’t change any existing laws, and his endorsement was almost certainly pressured by unexpected remarks that his vice president and education secretary made (both independently voicing support for same-sex marriage), the president’s statement marks a watershed moment in one of this nation’s biggest and most contentious social issues. Because even as the country remains bitterly divided about it, a presidential endorsement packs a pretty powerful punch in influencing the debate.

Resources

Watch Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriage: Now What? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.


PBS NewsHour segment Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriage: Now What?
– May 9, 2012
President Obama said Wednesday that he now believes “same-sex couples should be able to get married.” Judy Woodruff and author Kerry Eleveld discuss the president’s “evolution” on the subject, then Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry and the Rev. Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church debate the legal future of same-sex marriage.

More Resources

KQED’s The Lowdown Timeline
Scroll this this video timeline to see Obama’s changing positions on same-sex marriage throughout his political career.

The Daily Show segment Endless Suffrage 2012 – States’ Rights Edition – May 9, 2012
North Carolina takes a step towards equality, since many opposite-sex couples will now enjoy the same lack of rights same-sex couples have always never had.

Student Tweets for Do Now #32

http://storify.com/kqeddonow/do-now-32-the-gay-marriage-debate

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Category: Do Now, Do Now: Government and Civics

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About the Author ()

Matthew Green runs KQED’s News Education Project, a new online resource for educators and the general public to help explain the news. The project lives at kqed.org/lowdown.
  • Lena Brodie

    iBeelive Same Sex Marraige Should Be Allowed Because EveryOne should Be Able Too Be With Who Ever They Want too Be With . Itss Whaat Ever Makess Them Happy

  • Lena Brodie

    iBeelive Same Sex Marraige Should Be Allowed Because EveryOne should Be Able Too Be With Who Ever They Want too Be With . Itss Whaat Ever Makess Them Happy

  • http://nothing Jose Espinoza

    I feel that they should be able to be married because they should be able to do whatever they want to be happy. Also just because you don’t believe in it, doesn’t mean that other people shouldn’t have the opportunity to do it.

  • http://nothing Jose Espinoza

    I feel that they should be able to be married because they should be able to do whatever they want to be happy. Also just because you don’t believe in it, doesn’t mean that other people shouldn’t have the opportunity to do it.

  • Leticia Espinosa

    I believe same sex marriage should be allowed. if a person is happy with someone of the same sex then they should be allowed to be with whoever they want without being judged by the rest of the population

    • Castillo

      I disagree since the bible is clear on this issue. If u disagree with the bible, then that’s your right.

  • Leticia Espinosa

    I believe same sex marriage should be allowed. if a person is happy with someone of the same sex then they should be allowed to be with whoever they want without being judged by the rest of the population

    • Castillo

      I disagree since the bible is clear on this issue. If u disagree with the bible, then that’s your right.

  • sarah maile

    no i don’t think its allowed because i do NOT think it’s right!

  • sarah maile

    no i don’t think its allowed because i do NOT think it’s right!

  • http://nothing Jose Ayala

    Ithink that gay people shoukd be able to get married because the sooner they get married, the less we will see this topic. Also if your gay and you want to get married then you should.

  • http://nothing Jose Ayala

    Ithink that gay people shoukd be able to get married because the sooner they get married, the less we will see this topic. Also if your gay and you want to get married then you should.

  • Erika Mendoza.

    I Think That Gay Marriage SHOULD Be Allowed Because It Doesn’t Affect Anyone Else If Theres A Marriage Between A Guy & A Guy , Or A Girl & Girl. If They Want To Be Together Then That’s Their Life & It Shouldn’t Matter Anybody Else :)

  • Erika Mendoza.

    I Think That Gay Marriage SHOULD Be Allowed Because It Doesn’t Affect Anyone Else If Theres A Marriage Between A Guy & A Guy , Or A Girl & Girl. If They Want To Be Together Then That’s Their Life & It Shouldn’t Matter Anybody Else :)

  • Edgar Reveles

    I think that same-sex marriage should be allowed in the US because everyone has a choice to how they live their lifes and not be judged because of their ideas. That is all what this country is supposed to be.

  • Edgar Reveles

    I think that same-sex marriage should be allowed in the US because everyone has a choice to how they live their lifes and not be judged because of their ideas. That is all what this country is supposed to be.

  • lucky

    i think that it shouled be ok for them because who are we to tell some one, not love a person of the same gender.

  • lucky

    i think that it shouled be ok for them because who are we to tell some one, not love a person of the same gender.

  • Aaron De La Torre

    I think that same-sex marriage should be allowed because everyone chooses what their life is going to be, so if the United States is where one can be “free” then why would they neglect ones right to do to ones self life with what one pleases? Why prohibit the happiness of someone just because of their sexual preference?

  • Aaron De La Torre

    I think that same-sex marriage should be allowed because everyone chooses what their life is going to be, so if the United States is where one can be “free” then why would they neglect ones right to do to ones self life with what one pleases? Why prohibit the happiness of someone just because of their sexual preference?

  • Leon Achekian

    I think gay marriage should be allowed, if it makes people happy then let them live their life.

  • Leon Achekian

    I think gay marriage should be allowed, if it makes people happy then let them live their life.

  • BenMeister

    Equality is beneficial to society. Exempting homosexuals from marrying based wholly on the ideals and opinions of straight individuals, who make up the majority, is oppressive. Banning gay marriage has no true positive consequences in society. It should be legalized, for equality in society.

  • BenMeister

    Equality is beneficial to society. Exempting homosexuals from marrying based wholly on the ideals and opinions of straight individuals, who make up the majority, is oppressive. Banning gay marriage has no true positive consequences in society. It should be legalized, for equality in society.