Barack Obama has become the first sitting president to pose for the cover of an LGBT magazine. Out Magazine has named the 44th president the “Ally of the Year” for his support of issues important to the community.
In an article accompanying the cover, the editors wrote that Obama “came to office on a wave of euphoria, appeared to lose momentum halfway through, and has since rallied, helping us secure marriage equality, among other landmark initiatives that are transforming our place in America.”
Among the first actions his administration took was to refuse to defend the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court, arguing it was unconstitutional.
Obama told the magazine he saw the gay community’s push for protected rights status as part of the American promise of equality under the law:
[G]rowing up as a black guy with a funny name, I was often reminded of exactly what it felt like to be on the outside. One of the reasons I got involved in politics was to help deliver on our promise that we’re all created equal, and that no one should be excluded from the American dream just because of who they are. That’s why, in the Senate, I supported repealing DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act]. It’s why, when I ran for president the first time, I publicly asked for the support of the LGBT community, and promised that we could bring about real change for LGBT Americans.
The president believes that the Supreme Court made the right call in ruling unconstitutional state laws that define marriage as between a man an a woman.
When asked about the “Kim Davises of America” — referring to the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples — Obama responded, “I am a man of faith and believe deeply in religious freedom, but at the end of the day, nobody is above the rule of law — especially someone who voluntarily takes an oath to uphold that law. That’s something we’ve got to respect.”
Many critics will find the president’s call for a respect of the rule of law ironic, given his actions as chief executive. Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley testified before Congress in 2014 that the president had created a “constitutional crisis” by his efforts to subvert the will of Congress.
On Monday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found his administration’s “executive amnesty” program a violation of the separation of powers.
Last year, Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican seeking the GOP nomination in the 2016 presidential race, released a document chronicling 76 “lawless acts” by the president, which included his administration’s failure to defend DOMA.