Just weeks after the Obama administration announced it would no longer legally defend the Defense of Marriage act, some of the president’s biggest Hollywood supporters have signed a letter urging him to go a step further and legalize same-sex marriage.
Anne Hathaway, Martin Sheen, Jane Lynch and Ellen DeGeneres are among the actors who have signed an open letter sponsored by Freedom to Marry, a New York-based advocacy group working to promote marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Citing Obama’s decision on DOMA last month, the letter calls for Obama to exhibit similar leadership on same-sex marriage rights.
“Whether to end discrimination in marriage is a question America has faced before, and faces again today… It is a question that calls for clarity from the president,” the letter reads. “We ask you to complete your journey and join us, and the majority of Americans, who support the freedom to marry.”
The letter was also signed by NFL linebackers Scott Fujita of the Cleveland Browns and Brenden Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens; entertainment moguls David Geffen and Bob Wright; former NAACP chairman Julian Bond; and Facebook co-founders Chris Hughes and Sean Parker. Hughes, who is openly gay, previously worked for Obama’s campaign in 2008, heading up its enormously successful new-media efforts.
The letter comes as Obama prepares to launch his 2012 re-election campaign, in which he will no doubt count on entertainment types as an important source of financial and public support. But the president’s relationship with Hollywood has noticeably cooled since 2008, as celebrities have openly expressed their discontent with Obama in part because of his position on same-sex marriage.
Just last month, Matt Damon railed on Obama in an interview with CNN, bluntly saying he has not done a good job as president. Meanwhile, Lynch, the openly gay star of “Glee,” called Obama a “huge disappointment” for his handling of gay rights.
Obama has long said that he supports civil unions as an alternative to marriage for gays and lesbians—putting him to the right of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has endorsed same-sex marriage. But in December, Obama admitted his views on gay marriage are “evolving” and said he would continue “to wrestle” with the issue.
Last month, the Justice Department dropped its attempts to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in court—with Attorney General Eric Holder saying in a statement that Obama had personally concluded the law was “unconstitutional.” Many gay rights supporters view that position as an opening—though it’s unclear how far Obama will be willing to go ahead of what could be a tough re-election campaign.
Source. Photo of Hathaway: Ethan Miller/Getty Image.
What do you think Harlem, should the president go all out to support the bill?