Newsweek, which has recently become a conduit for controversy with its cover art choices, drew more attention with the debut of its latest issue declaring President Obama to be “the first gay president.”
The cover, featuring Obama anointed with a rainbow halo above his head, made its arrival on newsstands Monday and comes in the wake of Obama’s declaration last week that he is personally in favor of gay marriage.
The cover article, by prominent Newsweek political writer and outspoken gay community member Andrew Sullivan, delves into Obama’s past and asserts that given his background, his declaration of support for gay marriage should come as no surprise. Drawing parallels between the sense of isolation felt by many growing into accepting their homosexuality and Obama’s struggle to assert his own racial identity in his early years, Sullivan wholeheartedly celebrates Obama’s decision.
“Like many others, I braced myself for disappointment,” Sullivan writes. “And yet when I watched the interview, the tears came flooding down. The moment reminded me of my own wedding day. I had figured it out in my head, but not my heart. And I was utterly unprepared for how psychologically transformative the moment would be. To have the president of the United States affirm my humanity — and the humanity of all gay Americans — was, unexpectedly, a watershed.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked if Obama had any thoughts about the cover Monday, said “I don’t know if he’s seen it and I haven’t spoken to him about it.”
Sullivan, it should be noted, was also one of the first voices within the media calling for gay marriage, with his prominent 1989 cover story in the New Republic, “The Case for Gay Marriage.”
“It’s one of the richest ironies of our society’s blind spot toward gays that essentially conservative social goals should have the appearance of being so radical,” Sullivan wrote back in 1989. “But gay marriage is not a radical step. It avoids the mess of domestic partnership; it is humane; it is conservative in the best sense of the word. It’s also about relationships. Given that gay relationships will always exist, what possible social goal is advanced by framing the law to encourage those relationships to be unfaithful, undeveloped, and insecure?”
Obama’s declaration comes alongside a turning point for gay marriage in the court of public opinion, with a recent Gallup poll finding that, for the first time in the poll’s history, a majority of Americans support the legalization of gay marriage, 53% to 45%. But, one-fourth of Americans still say that Obama’s support for gay marriage will make them less likely to vote for him in November, while 13% say they’re now more likely to vote in his favor. Obama will also be using his declaration as a means to bolster his fund-raising, as reported earlier by The Times.
The president will be taping an appearance on ABC’s “The View” Monday, to be aired Tuesday, in which he is expected to speak further on his support for gay marriage.
Original source: Newsweek cover declares Obama ‘the first gay president’